Michael Vanderpool, a prominent Manassas lawyer, spent about an hour before the Manassas City Council trying to sell the idea of building 28 new townhomes on 10 acres of his land.
Vanderpool, 70, told city leaders on Tuesday, December 14, that he raised his children in the two-story home that sits on the property at 10201 Godwin Drive, and it would now make a good home for other families.
He’s pushing the City Council to rezone his land from a lower density designation that would require single-family homes to build on the property to a mid-density classification that would allow new townhomes at the corner of Godwin and Hastings drive, next to George C. Round Elementary School.
Kings Landing, the name of the proposed development, would see the razing of Vanderpool’s nearly half-million-dollar home, and a new neighborhood, complete with a recreation area, rise in its place. The property is less than two miles from Micron, the massive computer chip-maker bringing 1,100 new jobs as part of the largest public-private company expansion in modern Virginia history.
The growing nearby industrial area also includes new data centers and the Landing at Cannon Branch development that includes new homes, a new Tru by Hilton hotel, and new office space plans.
“This area is going to the new ‘tax heart’ of the city, and we’re going to need housing for new workers,” said Vanderpool.
Mulitple people who live in the neighboring subdivisions, including the Great Oak neighborhood in Prince William County, opposed the townhomes, saying they’d rather see single-family homes build instead. Under the current zoning, Vanderpool could build 11 new single-family homes on his property without asking for a zoning change from the city.
However, developers balked at the idea, said Vanderpool, saying it wouldn’t be profitable to build so few homes on a property. The property needs extensive grading and stormwater management development, he added.
“In an age of a booming housing market, we got zero offers [for the property from builders],” said Vanderpool. The lawyer pitched his property to 11 prospective developers, and only NVP, Inc., of Manassas, which has built single-family homes in Dumfries and Triangle, bit on the opportunity. It’s willing to kick in nearly $40,000 in cash proffers to the city’s parks, fire, and rescue, and police departments should the project be approved.
The new homes, to be priced between $500,000 and $600,000, will provide young families an opportunity to trade up, said Vanderpool. The homes also fit well within the city’s comprehensive plan, which calls for more homes to address a growing housing shortage in the region. Homes at the Landing at Cannon Branch are selling at prices between $300,000 and $400,000.
“When you move into this city, it seems like your wants no longer matter,” asked Lynn Forkell Green of Manassas. “Is this the vision of the residents or the vision of city staff?”
Other city residents said Vanderpool is opting for profits over the wants of his neighbors. “It’s to the citizens’ job to make sure housing development is profitable. It matters if the citizens want it or not,” said Judith Mullinelli, of Manassas.
City Councilman Mark Wolfe motioned to defer a vote on Kings Landing until the next council meeting on January 11, 2021. The motion was passed unanimously and, when the item comes before the council again, the council will be under new leadership under the direction of Michele Davis Younger, who was elected mayor on November 3.