Home to be built near Rosewell ruins in Gloucester

Contact Reporterfhubbard@dailypress.com

The Gloucester Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning Tuesday night that will allow a home to be built near the historic Rosewell ruins.

Steven and Elisabeth Greaves asked the county to rezone just over 5 acres of a 238-acre tract located on Old Rosewell Lane near the end of Rosewell Plantation Road from C-1 Conservation zoning to RC-1 Rural Countryside. The request allows them to build a home on the site that is currently used for farming and is adjacent to the historic Rosewell plantation.

The Rosewell mansion stands in ruins after a fire gutted it in 1916. It is said to be one of the largest and finest in the colonial period and was home to three generations of the Page family, one of the first families of Virginia, and Virginia Gov. John Page, who served from 1802 to 1805. Page was said to have been a schoolmate and friend of Thomas Jefferson, who is believed to have visited the plantation.

The Gloucester Historical Society acquired Rosewell and about 9 acres of surrounding land in 1979 as a gift from the Greaves family, descendants of the Taylor family who owned Rosewell when it burned in 1916.

Rosewell Plantation is listed on the Virginia Landmark Register and the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The site is open to the public.

According to Anne Ducey-Ortiz, the county's planning director, the site for the Greaves proposed home received approval from the historical society, Rosewell Foundation, and Fairfield Foundation. The Planning Commission also recommended approval of the request.

The home, Ortiz said, will not interfere with the ruins or visitors to the plantation site. A wooded area separates the two. One resident spoke during a public hearing on the rezoning, supporting the request.

"It's their property," Supervisor Michael Winebarger said. "I think they've been good stewards of it."

In addition, at Tuesday night's board meeting, County Administrator Brent Fedors told the board the county is drafting an agreement with the Daffodil Festival council that would remove the council from under the county government. Fedors said some have expressed desire to form a nonprofit organization for the council. County officials are working on a plan that would allow the county to continue ownership of the festival and lay out what the county and council's collaboration would entail.

Hubbard can be reached by phone at 757-298-5834.

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