Stafford: Nature's Home

Article excerpt

Stafford County may be experiencing a building boom in the 1990s, but it remains a sportsman's paradise. Golfers, fishing and boating enthusiasts, tennis players, hikers, and joggers can all find plenty of places to enjoy.

Nature lovers also can find enjoyment in the many parks and rural areas of the county.

The two prime areas for development in Stafford are along the Route 610 corridor, which runs across north Stafford from Interstate 95 to Fauquier County, and a line parallel to I-95 along the Virginia Railway Express (VRE). The most active builders in the county include Stok Homes, Hour Development, Washington Homes, P.C. Homes and Ryan Homes.

Planned communities have been developed in Stafford at Fawn Lake, Aquia Harbor, Augustine, Austin Ridge, Park Ridge, Hampton Oaks and Stone River. Planned communities include several amenities and myriad housing sizes and styles, and buyers can certainly find variety in Stafford. Affordable town houses and single-family homes are the norm, but several builders also offer larger "move-up" homes.

The developers of Fawn Lake, a 5-year-old golf course community on 2,800 acres near Fredericksburg, have allocated 60 percent of their land for open space and amenities. Besides the Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, residents can enjoy the lake, pools, a beach, tennis and a clubhouse with aerobics and a gym. Twenty-four-hour security is an important feature for safety, comfort and privacy.

This planned community eventually will have about 1,200 residents. Most of the homes are primary residences, with about one-third young families, one-third empty-nesters, and one-third nearing or in retirement.

The developers offer a list of 12 approved builders for the custom home sites. Prices for the homes run from $250,000 to $1 million, with golf course lots starting at $75,000 and waterfront lots starting at $150,000. Interior lots start at $50,000.

Lee's Hill, another planned community near Fredericksburg, offers homes from more than 20 builders. The homes are arranged in small villages to encourage a sense of community. There are town houses from Ryan Homes beginning in the $100,000s and single-family homes from the $150,000s. Estate lots sell for $80,000 to $100,000.

Besides a golf course designed by Ault, Clark & Associates, known for the Tournament Players Course at Avenel in Potomac, homeowners have access to more than 650 acres of recreational space. There are tennis courts, jogging and bike paths, a community center, and a swim club with a 25-meter pool. Another recreation center has opened on the south side of the development. A special golf course membership is available for an additional fee to residents of Lee's Hill. Retail centers will be opening soon. Free commuter shuttle service is available to the VRE.

Stafford's newest golf course community, Augustine, offers not only a brand-new golf course, but 68 acres of undisturbed open space, two lakes and plenty of biking and walking trails. In the future, residents will enjoy a private swim-and-tennis club.

Golf course views and lake views are available at the 352 wooded home sites designed into the 456-acre community, 40 percent of which is dedicated to the golf course. Buyers can choose to custom-design their homes or pick a design from one of the six preferred builders at Augustine and customize it with a variety of options. The preferred builders are Augustine Homes, Jaycon Construction, Rylea Homes, WaterFord Homes, Potter Homes and Signature Series Construction.

For buyers who are not interested in living on a golf course, Stafford County has plenty of developments with other amenities.

Park Ridge, a planned community in north Stafford, offers residents swimming, a fitness center, jogging trails, a community center, a library and a new elementary school. …