Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors voted to buy 16 acres of land near Middleburg, Virginia, to avert the development of 30 single-family homes in an historically Black portion of the Virginia county.
The supervisors last Tuesday voted 7-0-2 to begin the process of buying the property from Mojax LLC, which had started preliminary work to build Middleburg Preserves, in the village of St. Louis — the largest historically African-American village in Loudoun.
The 16 acres of land in the unincorporated area will be placed under conservation, and become a passive, parklike recreation area, which would preclude construction, Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall said after a closed session of the board.
For more than a year, neighborhood opponents of the proposed project, located along Snake Hill Road, voiced concerns about the water wells on their properties.
The decision by the board to intercede with the development of this project is extraordinary, since Mojax was building the project by-right, in which the supervisors would have no opportunity to approve or deny the project.
The county will pay Mojax $1.5 million for the land.
Randall, the first woman of color in Virginia’s history to be an elected chair of a county board, has said historically Black sections of the county, including St. Louis and Conklin, have not shared in the county’s prosperity.
“I cannot wait to deliver this news to the Village of St. Louis,” Randall told the board. Supervisor Tony Buffington, whose Blue Ridge district encompasses the affected area, and Matt Letourneau, of Dulles, were absent for the vote.
Job Woodill, president of the Friends of St. Louis Facebook group, said Randall told him a written agreement with the developer is expected to be completed within two weeks, and then ratified.
“We have always had a great concern about the local water supply as well as other issues such as the cemetery on the property and increased runoff in an already notoriously wet area,” he told WTOP.
“I want to thank the community for the support, letters, and coming together to fight this,” Woodill wrote. “Having said all of that; the fight is not over and there are many parcels in our community ripe for development.”
Here is a map of St. Louis in Loudoun County: