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Town approves rezoning for 306-home Laurel Park, off of Orange Road
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Town approves rezoning for 306-home Laurel Park, off of Orange Road

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Several hundred more houses are coming to the south side of the town of Culpeper

By a 6-3 vote on Tuesday night, Town Council approved a rezoning for the 306-home Laurel Park development on 60 acres off of Laurel Street extended, adjoining Highpoint.

The rezoning allows for more than eight times the homes that could have been built without the rezoning—37 single family homes on one or two-acre lots.

Voting against the project of Middleburg developer James Treptow were Councilmen Keith Brown, Pranas Rimeikis and Jon Russell.

As an approved planned-unit development, Laurel Park will compress the neighborhood to include 135 single family homes and 171 attached townhomes.

The neighborhood, bordered by U.S. Route 29, will be nearly one-third open space with various developer-paid amenities such as basketball courts, park, trails, a community green and roundabout. Including garages, parking lots, street parking and parking lots, the development will have nearly 1,400 parking spaces—double what is required.

The developer will also pay some $830,000 to the town and county as each building permit is issued to cover the costs of schools, public safety, library and other government services that will be impacted by the hundreds of new homes.

According to Treptow, townhouses will start in the $250,000 range while the single family houses will go for $350,000 to $400,000 each.

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Rimeikis questioned how the parcel—slated for a mixture of commercial and residential development in the town’s comprehensive plan—became only homes. Russell expressed concern at the significant density increase with the rezoning. Brown, who lives in Highpoint, previously spoke against the project due to continued parking deficiencies in his neighborhood.

According to the town planning director, the 60 acres is part of a larger mixed-use designation in the comprehensive plan that stretches all the way to the nearby Route 29 interchange. Commercial development would be better suited near that major arterial while the existing neighborhood would benefit from keeping a residential character, town staff told council on Tuesday.

Laurel Park is complimentary to neighboring Highpoint, Treptow said, but with lessons learned in terms of providing more parking for residents. He noted a housing supply deficit in Culpeper.

“The demand is increasing and it’s not going to get any better unless we add more housing,” he told town council.

Councilman Keith Price, who supported the rezoning, spoke of a recent housing study that again showed a lack of “affordable” or “workforce” housing.

“This has the potential of helping with some aspects the housing study brought up,” he said.

With a median home price of $349,000 in Culpeper and a median income of $66,000, the relatively lower-priced townhouses in Laurel Park may more be attainable for some, Price said.

The development will feature some $250,000 worth of on-site amenities, Treptow said, and will fix the inadequate intersection at Laurel Drive and Orange Road.

“As we’re entering the post-COVID era, this will be a major economic stimulus,” he said. “It’s a positive addition to Culpeper.”

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