Haymarket townhome site

The site along Hunting Path Road slated for 38 new townhomes, a day care and a commercial building in Haymarket.

Haymarket Town Council will hold a public hearing in the coming weeks to consider a developer’s plan to build 38 townhomes, a commercial building and day care center on land along Washington Street and Hunting Path Road in Haymarket.

The proposal from Van Metre Communities LLC received the backing of the town’s planning commission on Jan. 21.

It now heads to the town council, which will hold a public hearing and decide whether to issue the needed special use permit. The council has scheduled the hearing for its 7 p.m. meeting on Monday, Feb. 3.

The land slated for the project is undeveloped and abuts the Longstreet Commons townhouse community. A commercial two-story building and the preschool would front Washington Street. The townhouses would be set back further on the lot between Longstreet Commons on one side and the commercial building and preschool on the other. A new access driveway would connect the townhomes with Washington Street.

During the Jan. 21 public hearing that preceded the planning commission’s vote, Haymarket resident Roya Delaney asked if there was enough room on the site for parents to drop off their children and make a turn to exit. Emily Lockhart, Haymarket’s town planner and zoning administrator, said there would be enough room to do so.

Denise Harrover, a Van Metre vice president, said the preschool will operate from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dropoff and pickup times will vary for different age groups.

Haymarket Town Councilman Steve Shannon, the council’s liaison to the planning commission, spoke favorably about the preschool planned for the site and the commercial building that he said could have a restaurant or coffee shop.

Planning Commission Chairman Matt Caudle said he supports the proposal overall but wondered whether there would be programs held at the preschool that would draw a large crowd, such as holiday-related events, and if so, what impact that would have on traffic. He asked that an answer be provided as the application proceeds.

The 4.8-acre site is zoned B-1 for business development. Town staff, in evaluating the application, noted the initial plan for townhomes only was in “a direct conflict with the intent of the comp plan for low-intensity commercial use on this property with adequate buffering,” the staff report said.

But the staff report also noted the town’s current zoning ordinance allows townhouses as a by right use in a transitional commercial district. The proposed project “would actively work to achieve blending of residential to commercial along Washington Street and secondary streets,” the report said.

Staff also said the proposal would not adversely affect the use or value of surrounding properties or structures, which, besides Longstreet Commons, includes Haymarket Baptist church, VCA Healthy Paws veterinary office and a dental office.

Reach James Ivancic at jivancic@fauquier.com.

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