The Kuhn family has put a contract on 42 acres in the village of Saint Louis with the goal of protecting it from development.
Mojax LLC subdivided the property for development called “Middleburg Preserve” that area residents said would have devastating effects on their already-poor water quality. The development plans required only routine administrative permits, leaving county supervisors—who the residents asked for help—with few legal options to stop the development.
Supervisors launched a effort to downzone other land around the village to prevent future development, but that did not include the Mojax property. Under Virginia law, doing so could easily lead to a lawsuit after stripping a property owner of the right to develop a property, especially where development work has already begun.
But that may not be averted. The Kuhns are now conducting a study of that land. If the purchase proceeds, they said their goal would be the place the land into conservation easement to protect it from development.
“We are excited to be working with Board Chair Phyllis Randall (D-At Large), her fellow supervisors including Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), and County Administrator Tim Hemstreet to help save and protect this historically significant and beautiful land. Saint Louis was bought by freed slaves following the Civil War. Preserving our county’s important history fits with our focus on helping preserve Virginia’s natural habitats, ecosystems and past,” stated ChuckKuhn, owner ofJK Land HoldingsandJK Moving Services.
Kuhn said buying the land—part of the village, which dates back to 1891—would protect and preserve it, as well as help ensure that the nearby Saint Louis residents—many of whom are descendants of the first African-American settlers—will be able to afford to stay in their homes by preventing property tax increases in the area.
The move also brings the amount of land Kuhn has announced he will protect just this week to 442 acres. Days ago, the family announced they had completed the purchase of the 400-acre Oakland Farm in Waterford, with plans to place it under conservation easement and use some of the land to support the JK Community Farm, growing chemical free crops and livestock and donating them to local foodbanks.
Across Loudoun, the Kuhn family has protected thousands of acres of land from development. The Kuhn family and their companies have also bought and conserved the 90-acre property that formerly housed the Middleburg Academy, the 500-acre Wolver Hill Farm near Middleburg, White’s Ferry in Maryland, a 135-acre golf course in Leesburg that is being transformed into a park, an 87-acres wildlife preserve near Lucketts, the 150-acre JK Community Farm, the now fully renovated Middleburg Training Center, and several thousand acres near Loudoun’s historic villages.
Over the past decade, they said they have placed more than 22,000 acres under conservation easement.