By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
Back in 2008, Kinvara Properties, LLC received approval of their Greene County rezoning on the west side of US29 near its intersection with Cedar Grove Road (Route 607). As a part of the rezoning, a series of voluntary proffers were offered by the developer and accepted by Greene County. On Wednesday, May 15th Kinerva returned to the Greene County Planning Commission to request to amendment of the proffers including interconnectivity and removal of the cash proffers
Attorney Butch Davies spoke on behalf of the request and indicated that Kinvara has a party, Jeana Server, interested in purchasing the property if it included passage from Deer Lake Estates to the Food Lion shopping center and the elimination of cash proffers. Mr. Davies indicated that the buyer would not make the purchase without these conditions.
After hearing from the applicant, the commission opened the public hearing. Chad Womack, a resident in Deer Lake Estates, stated that the residents did not want connectivity to the Food Lion shopping center. Ed Mahoney echoed Mr. Womack’s concern and suggested that a traffic light be installed on Route 29 at the Deer Lake entrance.
Jenna Server, the prospective buyer, said that the $9,000 cash proffer that was a part of the 2008 rezoning, was not economically feasible given the market study she recently had performed.
Matt Straus, a resident of the Willow Creek subdivision, urged the Planning Commission not to bail out the developer by waiving the cash proffer at the expense of having the residents in Greene County bear this cost. Brian Higgins from the Piedmont Environmental Council asked that the Planning Commission not start a trend of waiving cash proffers. One speaker did speak in favor of the amendment stating it would be good for business in a down economy.
The final speaker was Carl Schmitt, former Greene County supervisor, who helped develop the Cash Proffer policy. He asked the commission not to allow the amendment and to keep the Cash Proffer policy in effect.
The Planning Commission then closed the public hearing and opened their discussion of the request. Vice Chairman Jay Willer indicated he had some concerns about the proffer policy itself, but as for this specific request, he felt there should not be a modification to the proffer policy. Chairman Anthony Herring Joel Snow stated that while he is a businessman and had sympathy with the request he did not support waiving the Cash Proffer. The remaining three commissioners were all in agreement and the vote was unanimous 5 – 0 to deny the rezoning application.
Earlier this Spring, the Free Enterprise Forum issued a white paper ‘Contradictory Consequences‘ regarding the impacts of cash proffers on development projects. While we do not take a position on any project, the Free Enterprise Forum believes the testimony supports that cash proffers are one (not the only) factor in the market viability of this specific project.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you. To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org