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Supervisors say no to building changes at Blue Ridge Shadows

By M.K. Luther - mkluther@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday night against a request to change the Blue Ridge Shadows residential housing development's building requirements for single-family homes.

In 2002, the board approved a request by Blue Ridge Shadows LLC to rezone more than 150 acres along U.S. 340-522 from agricultural to suburban residential to allow for a 255-unit residential community and a commercial development with an 18-hole golf course, a hotel, conference center and retail space.

This year, builder D.R. Horton asked the county to amend the original proffer agreement and reduce the 2,500-square-foot minimum for single detached family homes. D.R. Horton also asked to amend the brick-to-grade requirement to allow materials such as siding, concrete and cinder block in new home construction.

In April, D.R. Horton builders division Vice President Mark Giganti submitted a letter to County Administrator Douglas P. Stanley stating the company needed to amend the requirements to be able to market smaller homes in order to increase its sagging sales during the economic downturn.

During Tuesday's public hearing, prior to the supervisors' vote, Blue Ridge Shadows resident Charles Funk, of 1048 Shadows Drive, urged the board to deny changing the brick-to-grade requirement. Funk said allowing the construction of residential buildings with other materials would negatively impact the current homeowners' property values as well as the long-term value and marketability of the whole development.

"It is our position that D.R. Horton is asking for this change solely for the purpose of cutting costs," Funk said.

Resident Warren Barker, of 71 Fairway Court, said that the best-selling home model currently offered by the builder is approximately 2,800 square feet, not 2,500 square feet or less.

"There is no evidence to support that the target market for the Blue Ridge Shadows golf community would be better served with single-family homes of less than 2,500 square feet," Barker said.

No one from D.R. Horton was present at the public hearing.

Happy Creek District Supervisor Tony Carter explained that although over the course of the years the board has been willing to amend the development's proffers, this proposed amendment could sacrifice the development's purpose.

"The intent was to make this as nice of a development as possible," Carter said.

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