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Falmouth Street apartment plans aired

Monday, Jun. 29 | By James Ivancic
A planned 288-unit apartment complex for Falmouth Street in Warrenton received its first public airing June 16 during a work session of the Warrenton Planning Commission.

A total of 160 units would be built in the first phase with 80 of the units reserved for households earning up to 60 percent of the area's median income for tenants in need of affordable housing and fall under the income cap.

The remaining 80 units in the first phase of Orchard Ridge will be rented at at the prevailing market rates, according to a plan description filed with Warrenton's planning and development office.

The target market would be persons earning between $50,000 and $74,999. For those who qualified for the reduced rents, a one-bedroom unit would rent for $985 monthly, two bedrooms for $1,180 and three bedrooms for $1,342, according to the project description.

The second phase of 128 units would be build a year after the first.

Nine buildings are shown in the plans for the 14.6- acre site between U.S. 15/29 Bypass and Falmouth Street. It is south of Old Meetze Road and adjacent to the Warrenton Greenway. There is access to public water and sewer but a sewer extension would be needed under the Greenway trail.

The apartment buildings would be four-stories tall. Start of construction is planned for mid-2016 if approvals from the town are secured.

The complex will have a clubhouse, outdoor swimming pool and picnic/grill area.

Local attorney Merle Fallon, representing the developer, Orchard Development Corp. of Maryland, said that a rezoning of the property at 615 Falmouth St. from the current industrial designation is being sought. An amendment to the town's comprehensive plan, parking waiver and a special use permit is also needed.

A traffic study done by the applicant was submitted to support the need of a traffic signal at Falmouth and Shirley streets. The development will add a projected 28 vehicles on Falmouth Street during peak morning hours and 29 at peak afternoon hours.

Fallon said this is the first multi-family development, other than age-restricted units, proposed in Warrenton since 2004.

He told the planning commissioners that “this will not be a children-heavy development.” An estimated 32 students will be living in the 288 apartments, he said. That's a projection based on National Association of Home Builders study of multi-family developments in Virginia.

Fallon said the developer is offering to put neighbors on water and sewer service as a proffer. In exchange, the developer wants the town to extend a credit on the cost of tap fees.

A proffer in the form of a $100,000 financial contribution to upgrade the nearest sewer pump station or toward fixing the town's infiltration and inflow is also being offered.

He said each unit will have an estimated water demand of 92 gallons per day.

Fallon said that the law looks at whether sufficient water exists for a given project under consideration.

“It doesn't look down the road. It's first come, first served when it comes to water demand,” he said, adding that there's been some confusion when it comes to potential versus actual demand.
“It has to be satisfied if available,” he said. “There is no by right usage. You can't speculate on what could happen and besides, in this area all you have to do is drill more wells.”

He said that New Baltimore as many water customers as Warrenton and that all are on well water.

The work session presentation followed a lengthy discussion and eventual vote by the planning commission to recommend approval to town council of plans by American Legion Post 72 to build an assisted living facility.

That project prompted discussion about the available water and sewer capacity in Warrenton and the ability of the town to provide service to new developments.

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