A 288-unit housing development is being proposed in the Georgetown South neighborhood of Manassas, kicking off what could be a long and intensive process to redevelop land that currently includes 21 rental units and is otherwise vacant.
Ashburn-based Van Metre Homes has submitted a proposal to the city’s planning department to build a mix of single-family and multi-family housing complexes on 17.3 acres between Grant Avenue and Main Street, on both sides of Bartow Street. The development would sit across from the Grant Avenue Shopping Center, just south of Old Town.
A request to rezone the land from solely residential to a mixed-use designation is currently under technical review from city staff, but any decisions would first include a citizen participation plan and other neighborhood outreach. Ultimately, the request would require approval from the city council.
“A project of this size is going to go through multiple technical reviews before it goes for a public hearing, and in addition, a project of this size is going to be required to have some community meetings prior to bring scheduled for a planning commission public hearing,” said Matt Arcieri, the city’s director of planning and development. City staff had no comment on the proposal other than that it was going through the typical review process for a project its size.
According to the application, received Dec. 23 and formally accepted for review Jan. 5, the development would include attached townhomes, attached single-family homes in a quadruplex, and a four-story multi-family building featuring rental units. Van Metre would also build a public pedestrian trail that it says would improve connections to the downtown area, Baldwin Park and Manassas Museum, as well as a “play lawn.” Off-street parking would also be included for each unit.
Currently, the properties included in the proposed development are owned by a combination of Steele Enterprises and Marshall Enterprises.
The application also boasts about the proposed development’s proximity to the downtown area and the Virginia Railway Express station. In the comprehensive plan the city adopted last year, adding a diverse array of housing options close to the downtown area where people could walk to the train station was listed as a priority. The project would be about a half-mile from the station.
“Van Metre Homes at Manassas will strive to create a community with a safe and comfortable walking environment. Sidewalks and trails will connect residents to recreational amenities, as well as providing access between homes, parking, adjacent parking, perimeter streets and the historic downtown core,” the Van Metre proposal reads.
The developer has not yet proposed proffer payments for city schools and parks. But according to an analysis from Virginia Proffer Solutions submitted with the application, the development would add a net of 51 students to Baldwin Elementary School, 19 students at Baldwin Intermediate School, 20 students at Metz Middle School and 36 at Osbourn High School. All told, the analysis says that the project would add 597 net residents to the neighborhood. The city’s planning department said proffers and a potential plan for residents of the 21 existing units will be submitted at a later date.
Once Van Metre meets its obligations with regards to holding community meetings, the rezoning proposal will go before the planning commission for public hearings and a recommendation. If the council then decides to take up the rezoning, it will have public comment on the proposal as well before voting.