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Developer suing Stafford over cluster subdivision

BY KATIE THISDELL

A national developer filed a lawsuit against Stafford County on Tuesday afternoon, challenging a decision made by the Board of Supervisors last week.

 D.R. Horton, owner of a 472-acre tract of land known as Clift Farm Quarter, wants the circuit court to order an approval of a cluster subdivision concept plan, according to an email from a county attorney to supervisors and county officials.  The tract is southeast of the intersection of U.S. 1 and Eskimo Hill Road.

Last Tuesday, a board majority said a review by the Planning Commission was needed first, to determine whether the project’s request to connect 196 lots to public utilities was reasonable and consistent with the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

  Deputy Stafford County Attorney Alan Smith said in the email that the county will “file responsive pleadings within 21 days.” The suit was filed against the county, the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission, County Administrator Anthony Romanello and Planning Director Jeff Harvey.

 The Clift Farm Quarter project had originally asked for a rezoning to allow a mixed-use development with 585 units and commercial space. A cluster plan was later filed as well.

Part of the property is outside the Urban Services Area, where the county plans to offer public water and sewer. If an agricultural property has public water and sewer, a cluster plan allows 1-acre lots with half of the tract kept as open space.

 The suit alleges that D.R. Horton has a vested right to extend sewer service to part of the property, as allowed by a 2005 Planning Commission decision. Planning Director Jeff Harvey said the project had substantially changed since that time, when the commission OK’d hookups for public utilities.

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975

kthisdell@freelancestar.com

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