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Talks aim to preserve portion of Chancellorsville battlefield on Mullins farm
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Date published: 8/13/2004
By GEORGE WHITEHURST
The Civil War Preservation Trust is among the players in the talks and hopes to preserve a total of 300 acres of the farm's frontage--roughly 1,000 feet along the length of the property on Route 3. The trust has made overtures to Toll Brothers about its portion of the land, but no formal discussions have been held.
CWPT spokesman Jim Campi confirmed the discussions but wouldn't reveal the other parties, though he expressed optimism about a mutually beneficial deal.
"Everyone involved, including the landowner, seems committed to seeing the most historically significant portions of that property protected," he said.
Mullins didn't return phone calls yesterday seeking comment.
He caused a stir Tuesday evening when he hinted at the ongoing negotiations while speaking at a joint hearing before supervisors and the Planning Commission.
The supervisors called the public hearing to discuss removing all of the land between Route 3 and Spotswood Furnace Road from the county's designated growth zone.
Removal of the land from the so-called Primary Settlement District would make it virtually impossible for developers to obtain county water and sewer for any projects they build there.
The land would include the 789 acres that comprised Mullins' farm.
Mullins already has sold 555 acres west of Lick Run to Toll Brothers Inc., which is building 163 homes on that tract. Toll Brothers also has first rights on the 179 acres of residentially zoned property east of Lick Run, but hasn't yet exercised their option.
Mulllins warned Tuesday that removing his property from the growth district could ruin any potential deal for preserving historical ground.
"If there can't be a meeting of the mindswe have no choice but to allow Toll Brothers to complete their project," he said. "I'm under contract."
Mullins' development activities have drawn opposition from preservation activists almost since he bought the land in 1995.
In 1999, a lame-duck Board of Supervisors rezoned 55 acres of the parcel for commercial use. Critics argued the board did so as a favor to Mullins, a charge he denies.