By. Brent Wilson Field Officer
Earlier this week (6/11/19) Greene County Board of Supervisors approved a pair of proposals that will allow townhouses to be built along Route 29 North. Brent Hall of Greenstone Development, LLC has been working with Greene County for several months to have 17 acres rezoned from R-1 to R-2 which allows townhouses and then, in part two he further requested a Special Use Permit to allow a more dense development.
Greenstone Development has acquired five parcels that total 17.1 acres between the Holiday Inn shopping center and the Greene Terrace apartments on the east side of Route 29 North. Currently one home and 13 mobile homes exist on the property.
Planning Administrator Jim Frydl presented the staff report to the Board. He explained that R-1 zoning only allows single homes while R-2 zoning allows attached townhomes. Frydl also explained that the county is seeking to have a variety of housing typologies and attached housing product (townhomes) generally serve both the young singles/couples and retiree market.
With the increased density, the connections fees to be paid by the development for water and sewer connections will exceed $3 million.
in the property near Route 29 and then a dip (see photo). Also, the property is basically surrounded by woods which will be retained to “hide” the development from Route 29. Hall also highlighted that he estimates the complex will generate approximately $400,000 annually in property tax revenue to the county.
The hearing was then opened for public comment but no citizens had signed up to speak on the topic. The Supervisors then discussed the pros and cons of the rezone request and the consensus was it was logical to have another housing option near Route 29 rather than using secondary roads.
The only concern was the movement of traffic turning north on Route 29 and then needing a U-turn to head south to Charlottesville in the morning. It was hoped that Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) would address the incremental traffic in their future planning of Route 29. The rezoning application was unanimously approved.
The second part of the process was to hear a request for a Special Use Permit to allow a maximum of 165 townhomes for the 17 acres. The applicant indicated this level of density would be required to make this project financially feasible.
Frydl reviewed the design of the development and that an average of 180 square feet of open space per unit is in the design of the property. Frydl also covered the traffic estimates from VDOT of 90 trips in the morning and 110 trips in the evening. He also reviewed the three conditions that the developer has agreed to 1) limit number of units down from 170 to 165, 2) increase a 25 foot buffer to ensure water quality at Lake Saponi and 3) all units will be connected with Rapidan Service Authority (RSA) for public safety.
Hall envisioned the development as starter homes or transition homes for retirees. He is including 25% green space in the design of the development. The northern entrance/exit to the development aligns with a current crossover of Route 29. He also indicated that VDOT plans of requiring deceleration lanes on both sides of Route 29 for safety.
The amenities that Hall plans for the property include: a pond for fishing, walking trails, a playground in the center of the development with picnic tables and grills. In addition, a soccer field and dog park are also planned.
Again, there were no speakers from the public to comment so the meeting shifted to a discussion among the supervisors.
Supervisor Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) liked the potential connectivity with the shopping at the Holiday Inn complex. Several of the supervisors liked the maintaining of the berm along Route 29 and the maintaining of the tree line to separate the development from the traffic on Route 29.
The only concern brought up by Supervisor David Cox (Monroe) was school bus traffic and whether the buses would travel through the development or just stop at the two entrances to the development. He hoped that the developer and VDOT would consider having the buses go through the development to minimize traffic backing up on Route 29 since it is already a very congested already.
The supervisors unanimously approved the SUP with the three conditions previously mentioned.
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: Microsoft/Bing maps, Shimp Engineering via Greene County