Loudoun supervisors quit sale of Aldie’s land


Supervisors in Loudoun County withdrew from negotiations over the hoped-for sale of a historic property in Aldie, where the county had once planned a new fire station before being ousted by community opposition and put back in uncertainty a debate of several years in the community. thought to be solved.

Aldie resident and Aldie Heritage Association member Guy Gerachis had offered to buy the six-acre property for $ 600,000, presenting a proposal to restore the Aldie Tavern and nearby Satterfield Cottage as residences and to renovate. the 19e century cellar house, with other renovations. Supervisors said at their November 16 meeting on Tuesday that conditions had changed. And now they say they want the tavern to be used for a business.

“At least we all thought, the community believed, that he was going to buy these plots and renovate the tavern, and so we called it the community plan, and it turns out it’s not the community plan that we are anymore. thought we were getting in, ”supervisor Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) said.

“He should have maintained the property and renovated the tavern and started this within two years, and he’s just not willing to do that, so we couldn’t come to an agreement,” he said. -he adds.

“This community does not want to see the tavern sold under them, demolished or used for any purpose that does not conform to the character of Aldie Village,” said County President Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) . “After all this time, it is important to me that the tavern is used for a business, whether it is conserved and / or restored, and whatever business characterizes the village of Aldie, and unless that doesn’t happen, I don’t particularly see a reason to sell it to someone.

But on Thursday, Gerachis said county staff members had asked to put terms in the sales contract that had no place there and failed to respond during negotiations. And, he said, he still hadn’t heard from the county that supervisors had canceled the sale.

“They wanted to include my proposal in the contract of sale, and my proposal was not a final proposal, and I told them that it was not a final proposal and that it had no place in a contract. sales, ”said Gerachis. He had presented an illustrative concept for the property before the supervisors agreed to enter into negotiations, but not an engineering plan. Many people involved in the village and the long battle for the tavern had urged supervisors to accept his offer. Gerachis said members of the Aldie Heritage Association were unhappy with the end of negotiations.

And Gerachis said the property already had protections, demarcated in the county’s zoning by a steep mountainside neighborhood and historic Aldie neighborhood, to which the property was added after pressure in part from Aldie Heritage. Association.

“They would never really tell me what their goal was and give me a final position to put in the sales contract,” said Gerachis.

Since supervisors agreed to begin negotiations in July, Gerachis said, communication with county staff has been sparse and unproductive.

“They act like we’ve been in negotiations for five months. They sent me a first contract to which I replied. They sent a counter offer, which was even worse than the original contract and added things like deadlines and conditions that are not part of a real estate contract, then I made a counter offer again in August, and they never came back to me after that offer, ”said Gerachis. “So they weren’t over that, contrary to what they might say. It was not an intense negotiation.

He also said that there did not appear to be a single person responsible for negotiating the sale.

But, he said, his offer remains on the table.

“I stand ready. I pretty much told them exactly what I would agree to, and I said if you could set a definitive goal to put in the sales contract, and if it’s okay, it’s okay, but they don’t. ‘have never done,’ he said.

He said he was sorry to see the plans fail.

“I am very disappointed, because the community was behind me, they understood what my plan was,” said Gerachis. “People approached me to buy specific properties to live in, and I really hadn’t decided how I was going to approach the project. … I had some preliminary ideas, but the fact that people told me we would love to buy it, restore it and live there was definitely an option for me, but it doesn’t seem like an option for the county. “

The property was in disrepair when the county acquired it and was not maintained in the years the county owned it. It will now stay in county hands for at least a little longer until county staff members come back to supervisors with new ideas on how to sell it.

Supervisors voted 8-0-1 to end negotiations and order county staff to come back with new proposals for the property. Supervisor Juli E. Briskman (D-Algonquin) was absent.