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Posted September 12, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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County files suit against developer

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A developer owes money and land to Frederick County included as proffers for a housing project approved years ago, a recently filed lawsuit claims.

A complaint filed in Frederick County Circuit Court accuses developer Denver E. Quinnelly of failing to comply with open-space and recreational unit requirements for the Dogwood Landing housing project.

The lawsuit seeks from the court a mandatory injunction to require the developer deed three of four open-space lots to the property owners' association and a fourth to the county. The suit also asks a judge to order a similar injunction to make the developer pay $20,000 to the county for improvements to Sherando Park.

County Attorney Roderick B. "Rod" Williams filed the complaint Sept. 2. The defendant had not responded to the lawsuit as of Thursday.

County officials approved the final master development plan for Dogwood Landing on Oct. 24, 2003. The project is comprised of 25 single-family homes on minimum lot sizes of 5,000 square feet. The 7.65-acre Opequon District site, zoned residential performance, lies on the north side of Va. 277, bounded on the west by Landgrant Lane and to the east by Sherando Park.

Per county code, the developer must set aside 30 percent of the gross area of Dogwood Landing for use as open space to meet requirements for residential performance zoning, the complaint states. The preliminary master development plan identified 2.8 acres, largely bounding the perimeter of Dogwood Landing, as open space, with 1.25 acres on the eastern boundary as land to be deeded to the county.

The defendant subdivided the development into several residential lots and four open-space lots.

Also, county code requires developments of housing types with lots sizes under 5,000 square feet to provide recreational units or equivalent facilities for each 30 homes, the complaint states. All such developments shall contain at least one recreational unit. Additionally, single-family, small-lot housing developments must provide a community center which provides the equivalent of three, age-appropriate recreational units, according to the complaint.

Officials agreed to let the developer meet the recreational unit requirement by giving $20,000 to the county for capital improvements to Sherando Park.

The defendant acquired the property on June 28, 2004, and conveyed the last developable lot on Sept. 11, 2006.

According to the complaint, the defendant at no time gave the county nor a property owners' association a deed for the designated open-space lot. Nor has the developer, a predecessor or successor given the $20,000 for improvements to Sherando Park, the complaint states.

The county has given notice of a violation of the code to the defendant for failing to convey the four, open-space lots and the $20,000. Virginia code provides that a violation or attempted violation of a zoning regulation may be "restrained, corrected, or abated as the case may be by injunction or other appropriate proceeding."

In April, the bank foreclosed on seven of Quinnelly's unfinished subdivisions in the area: Cedar Valley in Strasburg; Orchard Hill, Orchard View and Woodstock Commons in Woodstock; and Lynnehaven, LaGrange Farm and Senseny Village in Frederick County.

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