By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer
On Tuesday (3/26), the Greene County Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning and a special use permit that will allow a new townhome community near the Albemarle County line to move forward. Benchmark Builders’ Lake Saponi project was rezoned from R-1 to R-2 (both residential) and a Special Use Permit for townhouses. The Planning Commission had recommended against the project.
After hearing the concerns at the Planning Commission, the applicant engaged the Lake Saponi community and learned the resident’s’ issues on their project and incorporated their feedback into their revised request to the Supervisors.
Planning Director Jim Frydl presented the request to rezone 3.26 acres in Lake Saponi to R-2 Residential. Currently the R-1 zoning would allow 13 homes to be built and is projected to have 7 students for the schools in Greene County. The rezoning to R-2 would allow up to 19 townhouses but it is projected that only six students would be expected even though there would be more units than homes in R-1.
The main change to the proposal from what the Planning Commission was the funneling of all the traffic to one access road to the development from Flintstone Drive instead of multiple points of entry. In addition, the development would generate $380,000 of EDU (Equivalent Dwelling Unit) hookup fees of which about $100,000 would be used to retrofit the lines to have all one size instead of the mismatch of a variety of sizes that currently exist.
Three residents of Lake Saponi addressed the supervisors and all had concerns about increased traffic generated by the development. Supervisor Marie Durrer (Midway) expressed concern over changing the character of the development by adding townhomes to what now has only single family homes.
Supervisor Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) said that she liked the cluster of townhomes set back from the roadway with one entrance/exit instead of multiple homes accessing Flintstone Drive. Frydl provided a photo of three lots completely cleared waiting to be built upon vs. the tree surrounded cluster of townhouses offset from Flintstone Drive.
Chairman Bill Martin (Stanardsville) liked the wooded area that the townhouses would be built in and believed that not completely clearing the lot would aid in minimizing erosion into the lake. While he realized that the Planning Commission did not recommend this project, he felt that the changes made by the applicant made this project worth going forward.
Supervisor David Cox (Monroe) expressed his concern about the roadway not being adequate for increased traffic. He also mentioned concern about the vehicles parking on the road when he toured the neighborhood. This concern had Martin ask the applicant how many parking spaces per townhome are planned. The applicant indicated they are planning on two spaces per unit plus five visitor spaces.
The Supervisors approved the rezone on a 3-2 vote with Durrer and Cox voting against the rezone request. With the approval, the Supervisors then considered a Special Use Permit for townhomes on the property. The SUP would limit the number of townhomes to no more than 19 based on the requirements of the lot with the setbacks and parking. The SUP passed by the same 3-2 vote that the rezone had.
In other news in Greene County last month, the county experienced the classic “addition by subtraction” when the northeast corner of Routes 29 and 33 where Mr. B’s convenience store (photo above) had been located was razed and the lot cleared. This shell of a building had been a concern for a number of years. Here is hoping that a new business can spring from this vacant lot in conjunction with some of the new business planned for the adjoining properties.
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 http://www.freeenterpriseforum.org
Photo Credit: Google Maps