Public Presence is Strong at Greene Planning Commission Meeting

Kara L. Reese, Greene County Field Officer

 

 

Action Summary:

Ted Corp, Inc./Oak Hill Development LLC/Wendell W. Gibson, Inc .rezoning application to amend proffers approved on July 13, 2004 for property zoned PUD and  consisting of approximately 32.22 acres located in Ruckersville on Route 33 (Spotswood

Trail/Greenecroft Boulevard) – Disapproval Recommended

Jefferson Area Board for Aging rezoning request from R-1, Residential, to SR, Senior Residential, on approximately 15.16 acres located on Preddy Creek DriveDeferred at Applicant’s Request

 

7: 31 Call to Order

D. Lamb, Chairman was not present due to illness.

 

I.  StreamWatch Report

 

John Murphy, Director of StreamWatch gave a presentation regarding the 2008 StreamWatch Report. The Board asked a few questions after the presentation regarding Greene County’s streams.

 

II. Public Hearing regarding Ted Corp, Inc./Oak Hill Development LLC/Wendell W. Gibson, Inc.’s rezoning application to amend proffers approved on July 13, 2004 for property zoned PUD and  consisting of approximately 32.22 acres located in Ruckersville on Route 33.

 

Staff Report:

 

            This is a request to amend the July 2004 proffers for the Greencroft Development. Greencroft is located along Route 33 and is adjacent to the Four Seasons Senior Development. Applicant is requesting that the proffers be amended to reduce the minimum square footage requirement for homes in the development from 2600 square feet to 1800 square feet. Applicant would add a $2,000 cash proffer for any home that is less than 2600 square feet. Applicant originally gave the County a $200,000 proffer in advance of any development.

 

Applicant:

 

Rob Lynch spoke on behalf of the applicants. He noted that the builders needed to be able to adjust to changes in the market. He state that these are local builders with local connections. He also argued that this would promote a healthy subdivision and encourage economic development.

 

            Wendell W. Gibson, co-applicant and owner of Gibson Homes addressed the Board. He told the Board that the market has changed and that it is difficult for local builders to compete against other larger home builders like Ryan Homes. Homeowners are no longer able to get financing for the larger homes.

 

            Ryan Roman, co-applicant and owner of Roman Homes also spoke to the Board regarding the application. He felt the change would help him stay in business. He noted that many people are now looking for smaller homes.

 

            Kevin Jones, a third co-applicant also spoke about market trends. He said that people are looking to downsize and larger homes are no longer marketable.

 

Public Comment

            Nine members of the public addressed the Board. The majority of the speakers were from the Four Seasons Development. Their concerns fell into two primary categories. Citizens were primarily concerned about the effect the less expensive homes would have on their property values. They also were concerned about the reduced revenue that the homes would provide.

 

 Most citizen who spoke felt that living next to 1800 sq. ft homes which might sell in the $300,000 range would drastically lower their home values. As one homeowner noted “We expect citizens to be protected.” He went on to state that the Board must look out for current residents and not those who may some day move to Greene County.  Other citizens argued that they purchased their homes in Four Seasons because they believed that homes of similar value would be built in the nearby Greencroft.

 

            The second concern that some citizens addressed was that the smaller homes would generate a much lower tax revenue than the larger home. Some felt that this would place an even larger burden on other homeowners.

 

            A third concern that was voiced by some homeowners included the failure of developers to follow through on some of the other proffers that were set forth in the original rezoning. Citizens stated that the developers had not provided required privacy fencing and had created a negative environmental impact on the lake.

 

Comments from the Planning Commission

 

            N. Slezak provided a report from the site visit. He noted that the location is very visible from 33. Currently there are about 10 homes out of the approximately 120 potential homes. Most of those 10 homes are vacant.

 

            A. Herring noted that for purposes of maintaining transparency, he was previously a property manager at Four Seasons and that his parents own property abutting Greencroft. He then asked several questions regarding the development including whether 1800 sq. ft. included basements, prices estimates for the smaller two level homes, and how many houses have currently been sold.  Applicant responded that the 1800 sq. ft included basements, so a home could be 900 sq. ft on each floor. Only 4 homes in the Greencroft development are currently occupied. Applicant did not have a price estimate for a two story home yet; however, given the level of current investment in the land applicant did not believe any home could be priced at less than $300,000.

 

            J. Frydl noted that he was concerned about some of the enforcement issues that were raised by citizens with the current development; however, that is a separate issue from this application. He also noted that “it doesn’t benefit home values to have a completely empty lot {next door}.” He also noted that there were some generally false assumptions being made including that all homes built would be the minimum square footage and that every home will have children that will impact the schools.

 

            B. Martin noted that this was a difficult situation. He asked staff how the $2,000 compares to our current proffer policy. Staff responded that this development was approved prior to the creation of the current policy; however, its proffer with the additional $2,000 is still short of the suggested amount by $1,600.  B. Martin was also interested in the energy efficiency of the homes. He was concerned about the discord between the developer and community. He also sympathized with homeowners concerns over their home values. He also stated that in his experience a smaller home doesn’t necessarily equate a lower quality home. He believes that smaller homes will be a trend in the future. However, lowering the square footage of these homes feels like a bailout of the builders.

 

            N. Slezak asked the builders how they got the $2,000 per home under 2600 sq. ft. He was also concerned about the lower tax revenue from these homes. Applicant responded that in addition to the up front proffer of $200,000 cash, they also provided land to allow for the entrance of Four Seasons valued about approximately $900,000.

 

Vote:

J. Frydl moved to approve the application with amended proffers submitted on 8/27/2008.B. Martin provided a second. A. Herring and J. Frydl voted in favor of the amended proffers. N. Slezak and B. Martin opposed the motion.

 

II. Jefferson Area Board for Aging rezoning request from R-1, Residential to Senior Residential on approximately 15.16 acres located on Preddy Creek Drive

 

Staff Report:

 

            This is a request to rezone approximately 15 acres for use as a 55+ community. The development would include both subsidized and market value homes. Applicant is seeking approval for 225 units. The community requires public water and sewer. At least two possible means of hookup to water and sewer have been identified. This property doesn’t qualify for a traffic study under VDOT’s regulations. The property is located in the growth area. There are no proffers at this time.

 

Applicant:

 

Chris Murray spoke on behalf of JABA. He explained that this type of development is needed in Greene County.  Part of the project would provide low income housing to seniors. He believe that the close proximity of the development to new retail develop will help seniors who need to continue to work. Applicant is aware that traffic is a big concern, but believes the seniors will create less traffic than the 39 houses that are permitted by right on this property. Applicant acknowledged that had not yet made any proffers because they were seeking feedback from this hearing, but that they do intend to make proffers.

 

Public Comment:

 

Lori Gore, Greene’s representative to JABA spoke in favor of the project. She noted that this is something that Greene County really needs. She believes that they will be able to make good proffers that benefit the community.

 

Andrea Wilkinson of Ruckersville Citizens Council stated that she believes that we need more 55+ developments in Greene. However she would like to see this become a full service facility with assisted living.

 

Eight residents who live along Preddy Creek Drive spoke against the project. They were primarily concerned about traffic on Preddy Creek road. They also expressed some concern that the development would negatively affect their property values.

 

Comments from the Planning Commission

 

J. Frydl provided a report from his site visit. He noted that the proposed entrance was very narrow. He also noted that it would be at least 3 city blocks to get to the Rapidan Center and currently there is no walkable access.

 

A. Herring noted that we need senior communities; however, he was concerned about the accuracy of the estimated trips per day. He also wondered if walkability would be possible in this location.

 

J. Frydl reminded the applicant of the items the Planning Commission must consider as required by law.

 

B. Martin indicated that he was worried about traffic and the opposition that residents had to the project. He noted that the proposed entrance seemed like it wouldn’t work. However, he reminded citizens that the alternative to this project is not that nothing will be built on this property. There are 39 houses permitted by right which will also have a negative affect on traffic.

 

N. Slezak did not feel he had enough information to make a judgment about the project at this time. He would like to see the written proffers.

 

Vote:

 

Applicant requested that the application be deferred to the December meeting. A. Herring moved to accept the deferral. The deferral was accepted.

 

III. Other Business

 

A. Bylaws

 

            New bylaws were discussed in the last meeting but not passed. A. Herring moved to accept the new bylaws. The motion passed unanimously.

 

B. Minutes

 

            J. Frydl moved to approve the minutes from the last meeting. The minutes were unanimously approved.

 

Adjournment 10:35 pm.

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