Concern that one of Middleburg's largest farms could be developed and that other open land is on the market has sparked the creation of a task force called "Citizens to Save Middleburg."

The task force, which now has about 15 members, was formed last week after a crowded public meeting on the possible development of the 227-acre Homewood Farm on Foxcroft Road, on the north side of town. More than 300 people who packed the Hill School Playhouse last Thursday said they want Middleburg's outskirts to remain rural.

Homewood is under contract by Jack Andrews, a developer who has said he is considering building an upscale golf course.

Citizens also are concerned about potential development of the 94-acre Stonyhurst Farm, also north of town, which has been purchased by Middleburg developer Dale Schultz. Schultz said yesterday that he is considering restoring the house on the property but has no plans "at this point" to develop the land, which remains on the market.

"Our view is that it's in the financial interest as well as the cultural interest of the community to have them remain farms," said the task force's acting chairman, Charles Whitehouse, who lives in Fauquier County just outside Middleburg.

Task force members plan to urge Loudoun and Fauquier officials to limit development around Middleburg, Whitehouse said. They also have printed red and white bumper stickers that read, "Middleburg Says No to Sprawl."

Middleburg Mayor C.L. "Tim" Dimos applauded the task force's efforts. "I think it's great we have citizens that recognize the treasure in our hands and they are willing to take the time and effort."