Supervisor moves to capitalize on ‘hot’ housing market

Dennis Morris

MOUNT JACKSON – Board of Supervisors member Dennis Morris bought nearly 9 acres of land on Caverns Road in Quicksburg in 2005, and couldn’t flip the property before the Great Recession struck in 2008.

Thirteen years later, on Monday night, Morris went before the Mount Jackson Planning Commission to start turning the bureaucratic gears necessary to sell the property.

Mark Pangle, Morris’ real estate broker, asked the commission what purpose it had in mind, or would allow, for the property. Pangle wanted to have an idea of the land’s future zoning designation before approaching developers about a sale.

“We just need kind of a baseline of what your blessings would be, then we’d go market the property,” he said. “We want to maximize the usage of the property, and at the same time we want to create something for the town of Mount Jackson.”

Situated about a half mile north of Ashby Lee Elementary, Morris originally bought the property for $235,000. Currently, the land is under the county’s jurisdiction, and Mount Jackson would have to annex the land before rezoning it.

Town manager Kevin Fauber pointed out that, based on survey feedback from community members, town residents at large strongly support the creation of more townhouses. But under the town’s recently adopted comprehensive plan, the land in question is zoned as medium residential, which would discourage such development.

Several commissioners discussed the possibility of rezoning Morris’ land to allow for denser dwellings. Commissioner Robert Whitehurst said he would be interested in zoning the land for townhouses or commercial development.

“Right now, things are hot,” Whitehurst said. “And this is when we need to get things done as quickly and as efficiently as we can so we don’t miss the bubble.”

Pangle added, “And we’d like to ride that wave with you.”

He also noted that “At this point in time, the housings market’s stronger than the commercial market.”

The commission decided a public hearing should be held at its next meeting at 7 p.m. April 2, in conjunction with the Town Council at the Town Office, 57 Main St.

Referring to Todd Holtzman, who recently developed a property off Main Street in town with apartments and commercial space, Morris joked that he was going to “follow in Todd’s footsteps.”

“We want to put up a nice development that’s going to be an asset to Mount Jackson and the county … to bring some tax base into the area, and we’re thinking it’ll be a win-win for both the county and the town,” Morris said.