After more than a decade of legal disputes, a 1,270-acre Loudoun County tract is being developed by a subsidiary of International Telephone and Telegraph.
The new residential community which will eventually be home for over 5,000 persons is called Countryside. It will have approximately 2,500 housing units, with a proposed density of two units per acre. The planned community will be built over the next five to seven years into seven neighborhoods.
The development plans tentatively call for variety of model homes including 1,200 detached houses, 500 garden apartments and 700 town, cluster and patio units. Depending on the model, which will be open for inspection in three months, prices will range from $80,000 upward.
The parcel which was originally assembled in the late Sixties by Levitt & Sons is now being developed by 437 Land Co., a susidiary of Hartford Insurance Group -- in turn a subsidiary of ITT.
According to James M. DeFrancia, regional manager of 437 Land, a number of builders are expected to be involved with the project. As of now only Pulte Home Corp. of Washington has purchased any of the lots. DeFrancia said that he has begun to negotiate with nearly ten other area builders.
"At Countryside the end of development has been as much of our planning as the beginning was. A limit to development is one of the most valuable reassurances that a homebuyer can look for. It means that the parks, the river shoreline and the other natural amenities will remain the same over the years to come," DeFrancia wrote in the introduction of his catalogue.
Considering the decade-long history of legal dispute and delays, development plans for this tract of land did indeed come close to ending before they ever began.
By 1969, with the assemblage of land essentially concluded, Levitt commenced land planning, engineering and subdivision processing of the tract hoping to create a "Levittown" style community of approximately 4,500 units, mostly multifamily apartments.
This type of development necessitated a zoning change, which Levitt applied for in 1970. After being turned down by the Loudoun Board of Supervisors, Levitt then brought suit against the county in Circuit Court. After losing the suit, Levitt appealed the question to the Supreme Court in Richmond.
While the appeal was filed the company kept a dialogue going with county officials which ultimately led to Levitt withdrawing the appeal litigation and instead submitting a modified development plan that conceded certain points to the county.
The supervisors denied the revised plan which caused Levitt to again bring litigation against the county at the Circuit Court level, placing the company back in its original position.
While this happened, Levitt & Sons was acquired by ITT, which was later forced to divest itself of the giant home building company by the Justice Department. Consequently, the company was then placed in the hands of a court-appointed trustee to be sold.
As a result of these events, the trusee sought to sell the Loudoun property and the land was transferred to 437 Land Co. in 1977, along with the pending lawsuit.
In June 1978, the second lawsuit was settled out of court, 437 Co. and the County Board of Supervisors agreeing on a total density of 2,500 versus the original 4,500.
After clearing up another dispute with the Virginia Highway Department concerning road improvements to be done by the developer on Route 7, the final plans were submitted and approved in early 1980.