FRONT ROYAL — During the public comments of Monday’s Town Council meeting, citizen Paul Gabbert said he conducted a poll and “100 percent” of people do not want the proposed development west of Target to be rezoned from commercial to residential.
The proposed development, Crooked Run West, has been zoned commercially for years but developers are asking the Board of Supervisors for a rezoning due to difficulties presented by the rise of online shopping.
Developer Ed Murphy recently proposed that the county issue Crooked Run West 150 building permits a year until 1,025 homes are complete.
For those houses to be built, the town must first agree to supply the development with water, an action that Gabbert also said “100 percent” of people he polled were against.
During an April work session, Town Councilman Jacob Meza was the lone supporter of providing water to the development.
“Everyone except you, Mr. Meza, was against sending water out there. Your argument for sending water was: ‘Aren’t we in the business of selling water?’” Gabbert said.
He added that “the water in the Shenandoah River is not yours to sell.”
“It belongs to everyone. I feel sorry for you if that’s how you look at the river...as a way to make a buck,” Gabbert said.
Meza responded that he would like to “go on the record” that he is a proponent of “different affordable housing options that were proposed in the Crooked Run project,” which would be developed alongside new shops.
“I think it’s a pretty cool model...I think if we have options for different price points for housing, I think it would be really good for this community. In order to make that happen, we have to send water out,” he said.
Meza said the term “selling water,” is what the town does for the commercial businesses in the Winchester Road corridor. He said the town charges for the water, “which generates revenue for the infrastructure and continued expansion and building of our plants.”
“I didn’t mean it as selling water as in we’re trying to make a profit on our community or on our residents for providing water services but rather charging for the water services that we’re providing. In return, we develop the infrastructure that will provide water out there. So, I do like the further development idea,” Meza said.
He added that he would like to see development within town limits and there is residentially-zoned land that could house 1,000-plus. However, he said, that land, which is within town limits, has sat vacant for decades.
“It would be wonderful if it was within the town limits, if it wasn’t out in Crooked Run. But that’s not happening and I would like to see that done sooner rather than later so that we do have some different, alternate housing options,” Meza said.