Easton Porter Group Abandons Blackthorne Plans
After approximately four years of effort, the Easton Porter Group (EPG) has decided to abandon plans to expand dramatically the operation at the Blackthorne Inn in Upperville.
In early May, EPG put the property on the market. EPG’s decision was based on strong resistance by the community to its plans to expand the Blackthorne well beyond what had existed before, and what the county approved for the previous owner in 2014. The plans included an expansion of the historic restaurant and pub, the construction of a 16,000 square-foot event facility, and the addition of overnight accommodations for up to 78 guests. Early this year, EPG had a discussion with Mary Leigh McDaniel, the county supervisor in whose district the proposed facility is located, and she advised them that she did not see a path forward for the project given its excessive scale and community sentiment.
CFFC would like to thank Mary Leigh for her commitment to preservation and conservation and dedication to being responsive to the community. We’d also like to acknowledge Goose Creek Association, Piedmont Environmental Council, and Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association who joined CFFC in opposing this commercial project in an area zoned rural/agricultural. And thanks to the many citizens who expressed their concerns about the proposed project and for helping avoid a large-scale restaurant, lodging and event operation on the outskirts of Upperville.
EPG the developer, who bought the property in 2016, had planned to add a major event operation, more overnight accommodations, a spa and other resort amenities. It would have been essentially a commercial operation in an area zoned rural/agricultural at least 2-3 times the scale of what the Fauquier Board of Supervisors approved for the previous owner. Specific concerns included potential impacts on water supply, traffic and noise, an expansion of Route 50 to accommodate the operation, and the bad precedent of having a commercial operation in a rural area.
CFFC spent considerable time analyzing the current zoning and special exception provisions and met with county officials to discuss its analysis. The organization also provided counsel to the community group opposing the development and publicly advocated against the project. Two applications were prepared by the developer and neither were approved.