Katie Thisdell reports on news from Stafford County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 540/735-1975.
Developer files suit against Stafford regarding Clift Farm Quarter
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.
Last Tuesday, the board’s majority said a review before the Planning Commission was needed first, to determine if the project’s request to connect 196 lots to public utilities was reasonable and in line with the 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.
“D.R. Horton requests that the Circuit Court order the County to administratively approve the cluster subdivision concept plan without a further comprehensive plan compliance review. D.R. Horton argues that (i) a comprehensive plan compliance review is not required, or (ii) if it is required, the 2005 compliance review satisfies the requirement. The lawsuit challenges the Board’s November 20th decision to affirm the Subdivision Agent’s determination that D.R. Horton’s cluster subdivision concept plan application cannot be administratively approved until a comprehensive plan compliance review is obtained for the extension of sewer facilities to the property. D.R. Horton also claims vested rights based on the 2005 comprehensive plan compliance review.”
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 of land 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 hook-up for public utilities.