Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz recommended Feb. 28 that the county move forward with the sale of the historic Reeves farmhouse, and that the county not be a financial partner in the farmhouse’s restoration and reuse.
He will ask the board at its March meeting to direct him to move forward with creation of the separate Reeves farmhouse parcel and the sale of the farmhouse.
“The best way to preserve Reeves farmhouse is to sell it to a private buyer who will be required to maintain its historic integrity,” Schwartz said in a release. “Our efforts to work with the Reeves Farm Conservation Society, Inc. and Reevesland Learning Center have not resulted in a viable community proposal for the farmhouse.”
The county’s goal is to preserve the historic character of Reeves farmhouse and to preserve the site’s two acres of open space, the raised gardens, sledding hill and milk shed.
After determining that the cost of restoring the farmhouse so that it could be used by the public was prohibitive, the board directed the county manager in May 2015 to pursue re-subdivison of the 2.4-acre Reevesland parcel. In September 2015, the board approved a Use Permit for a Unified Residential Development (URD) to create the farmhouse parcel, and a Use Permit for a public park on the remaining two acres of the Reeves site. At that time, the board directed the county manager to hold off on recording the plat to allow the community the opportunity to put forward proposals for restoring the farmhouse.
In 2016 the county explored options with the Reeves Farm Conservation Society, Inc. In June the Conservation Society notified the county that they would not be pursuing reuse of the farmhouse. County staff also met with the Reevesland Learning Center several times over the past six years in the hopes that a viable community proposal could be developed.
The county has been unable to achieve the sort of partnership to restore the Reevesland farmhouse that it has achieved with other nonprofits, including Phoenix Bikes, Arlington Arts Center, Marymount University and George Washington University, who brought significant capital contributions to their projects.
Both the farmhouse parcel and the public park parcel will remain under a county local historic district, so all exterior changes are subject to review by the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board. The farmhouse lot will have an additional historic easement recorded on it before it is put up for sale. The county manager’s March Board Report will lay out the steps necessary to prepare the Reeves farmhouse for sale and the timeline for that to happen.