Fauquier native and long-time local Realtor Charlie Ebbets is working on a plan for a small, new development just outside the Town of Warrenton boundary adjacent to Fauquier High School, about which he came in to chat with us last week.
We were intrigued by a couple of innovative aspects of his approach.
For a start, his idea is to go beyond making the community aware of the project, to actually soliciting the community's interest and support prior to taking it to potential developers and potential builders, and long prior to its appearance on the agendas of the planning commission and board of supervisors.
To that end, he chatted with us, and has written letters to residents of nearby communities and otherwise spread the word through a network created and honed through his years in business.
If he can demonstrate that, yes, there is a sufficient number of people who say they will buy small but elegant, quality-built homes there in an over-55 community, then this project will be less of a gamble for those who would be asked to pony up the money to make it happen, and that their worries about a still-difficult market may be overcome.
If there is a demonstrable demand, Ebbets believes, the governing bodies might be more inclined to submit their inevitable demands and wish lists for the project up front, and the whole thing might then go forward with a bit more dispatch than housing projects generally move in Fauquier County.
We like his approach, but more than that, we like that his vision of the neighborhood just about doubles the density allowed by-right on the 10-acre property.
We harken back to our objection to Mosby Crossing, which is within Warrenton's boundaries, is within biking or walking distance of Old Town and, with a bit more energy, of Walmart, yet is being planned to contain just 110 homes. Given its location, we have argued, there should be much more intensive use of the site.
elea Village proposal is just beyond the town border, but it is within walking or biking distance of the WARF and of Warrenton Town Centre shopping.
At this stage, according to Ebbets, it is entirely possible that support from potential buyers could even change the proposal from about 32 single-family patio homes to many more townhouses, which would elicit our even more enthusiastic endorsement.
Ebbets has had success in endeavors like this before, as the initial driving force behind Carriage Chase near Hospital Hill. While it was still just a gleam in his eye, he had more than 60 people who verbally committed to buy in that community if and when it was built.
“I just really don't support great big, vinyl-sided, two-story colonial house subdivisions,” Ebbets said. “I think we have enough of those,” which is an assessment with which we entirely agree.