Two developments recently proposed for the Aldie area have been withdrawn or are being reconsidered, apparently because of community opposition, a possible lack of water and steep terrain.
Two weeks ago, Bahman Batmanghelidj, a developer who lives near Middleburg, withdrew a proposal to build 21 houses on 96 acres he owns near Aldie.
"Basically my neighbors contacted me and said, 'Please don't go through with this plan,' and therefore I decided to withdraw it," said Batmanghelidj, an Iranian expatriate.
"The majority of people in Aldie supported the project, but people in Middleburg basically did not like the idea of these kinds of homes in the area."
A hostile reception also greeted Fairfax-based Commonwealth Investment Service Corp.'s proposal to build 37 houses on 250 acres adjoining the Batmanghelidj property.
"We've heard about citizen opposition to the development and that many people wouldn't like even three lots on 250 acres," said Steve Donaldson, project manager for Commonwealth's Aldie proposal.
"The company is trying to decide what to do with the land. There's been talk of withdrawing the proposal, depending on some of the things the county decides."
The Loudoun County Planning Commission is considering Commonwealth's application to subdivide 250 acres of a 425-acre tract now owned by Susan M. Cromer.
A primary concern about the Commonwealth proposal is whether the area has enough water to serve the 37 proposed houses without reducing the water supply to Aldie's present residents.
Another consideration is the ability of existing roads to handle more traffic. The only access to the proposed development is Rte. 632, a mile-long, one-lane road that the state Department of Transportation has no immediate plans to widen.
In its present state, Rte. 632 might not be able to handle the traffic that the Commonwealth proposal would generate.
In addition, more than one-third of the Commonwealth site is on the western slopes of the Bull Run Mountains, which are considered too steep for development under the county's rural land management plan. These three factors were also of concern in the Batmanghelidj proposal.
Aldie residents are divided over whether they want development in their town of about 1,600 residents.
At a recent meeting of the Aldie Citizens Association, members voted 56 to 41 in favor of allowing development around the town under the current three-acre lot zoning ordinance.
Several landowners in the town favor development because they cannot make money farming their land.
Many residents are also prodevelopment because of Batmanghelidj's promises to give the town land for a new fire station and money for various citizens organizations, according to a member of the citizens association.
Most opposition to development in Aldie comes from Middleburg, about seven miles away on Rte. 50, which runs through both towns.
Leading the opposition are members of the Goose Creek Association, a local nonprofit conservation group founded in 1971 to preserve land in the watershed of Goose Creek, which flows through much of western Loudoun. Most of the association's 250 members live near Middleburg.
Recently the association hired a lawyer and a hydrologist in an attempt to draw up a legal case against development in Aldie.
Several Goose Creek Association members were influential in persuading Batmanghelidj to withdraw his development proposal, according to Janet Whitehouse, president of the association.
"I think we might have had an influence on the Commonwealth endeavor," Whitehouse said.
"We're delighted at the idea they may be withdrawing. It would change the character of the countryside around here if we start having subdivisions and streets and curves a subdivision requires in an area not slated for development."
In June, a developer from Charleston, S.C., withdrew a plan to build 61 houses on the 396-acre Trough Hill Farm near Middleburg and instead proposed to split the farm into 50- and 100-acre lots after several members of the Goose Creek Association voiced their opposition to his proposal.
The association's ultimate goal, according to Whitehouse, "is to create a greenbelt in which there will still be farming and villages, so the area won't end up looking like Manassas."