Landowner Escapes Congestion By Selling to Developer

Landowner Escapes Congestion By Selling to Developer

With family roots in Burke dating back to the early 1900s, Butch Jackson started feeling like an outsider compared with all of his new neighbors.

"I'd like to be someplace to get back to what Burke used to be," said Jackson, who is a distant relative of Silas Burke. "You could see it coming. It doesn't seem like home anymore. I feel out of place here."

For that reason, Jackson sold his 2.6-acre property on Lee Chapel Road to developer Clark L. Massie. Jackson found a place in Rappahannock County, Va., that used to be a farm.

"Rappahannock doesn't have one single stoplight or chain grocery store," he said.

Jackson intends to treat the new property like a farm, too, just as his grandfather had when he built Jackson's present house. The family had livestock on the Burke land up until the mid-1970s.

"My grandfather built this home," Jackson said. "My mother was born and raised in this house.

The land was recently rezoned from R-1, one house per acre, to PDH-5. Massie will build 12 townhouses on 2.42 acres of the parcel.

At the zoning hearing, Jackson was surprised to hear residents in the Britford townhouse community behind him complain about more townhouses. When Jackson was growing up, Britford was a wooded area.

"A lot of people in these townhouses complained about it," Jackson said. "It seemed weird. People that live in townhouses complain about townhouses."

Robert Sollenberger, a resident in the Britford townhouse community next to Jackson's land, moved into his house in the 1980s when it was less developed around there. He wasn't happy to see more townhouses on the land next to his community.

"I wasn't too pleased with that," Sollenberger said. "We're about as dense as we could be around here."

At the same time, the residents that Jackson has encountered in Rappahannock aren't welcoming people from Northern Virginia that are escaping congestion. Jackson thinks it will take about 10 years to become part of that community, but he's prepared for it.

"There's a lot of land for sale out there," he said. "It's hard to find things."

STEVE EDWARDS, a representative from Supervisor Elaine McConnell's (R-Springfield) office, said the public services that the land will be subject to don't necessarily have to be upgraded first.

"The comprehensive plan allows this. It's consistent with the surrounding area," he said.

According to their public facilities analysis, the impact on schools will be three elementary students, one high-school and one middle-school student.

"There's a formula that the School Board uses," Edwards said.

But every developer that comes along isn't just given free rein to build as he pleases. Access, traffic lights, sewer and drainage are considered.

"If it's off the mark, they're told right off the bat," Edwards said. Sollenberger doesn't think more roads or facilities are the answer.

"I don't think you need to fill every square inch of land," he said.

Although the house Jackson's grandfather built in 1928 is going to be torn down to make room for the townhouses, he is a contractor and will take some of the house with him to build into his new home. The doors, the glass doorknobs and some of the hardwood floors are going with him.

"I have salvage rights to it," Jackson said. "I'll take some bits and pieces with me."