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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Spotsylvania supervisors reject Lakeside rezoning; Rappahannock Goodwill Industries to buy Gallahan’s building?

Spotsylvania County’s Board of Supervisors last night rejected a rezoning request from Hazel Land Cos. that would have allowed the 105-unit Lakeside townhouse community between the former Gallahan’s Furniture building and stormwater ponds in the Lee’s Hill area. The land is now zoned commercial.

(Thanks to Amy Umble for providing notes from the meeting. Click here for her blog on Spotsylvania.)

Hirschler Fleischer attorney John McManus, speaking for Hazel, said that the Lee’s Hill area is struggling to fill vacancies in office and medical buildings. So he said an employment center there wouldn’t be the best use of the land, and that this was a good chance to transform it into a mixed-use area.

Chairman Benny Pitts said that area is a good place for an employment center and that the county shouldn’t give up on its plans “just because the economy isn’t what we would like it to be.” When the economy improves, the county will need a place to put commercial properties, he said.

Jerry Logan called it “a prime location for commercial” and noted that his own business is not so far away. He said it would be “premature” to fill in the land designated commercial simply because of the economic situation, which is slowly recovering.

Gary Skinner, who supervises the district the proposed project is in, supported the rezoning and said it could reduce problems in that currently vacant area with drugs and vandalism.

Supervisors Gary Jackson, T.C. Waddy, Pitts and Logan voted against the rezoning. 

Hazel CEO Steve Norair said it’s too early to tell what the new plan will be, but he said the employment center use has not been successful after 20 years of efforts.

Supervisors who want to see commercial use in that area could get some of what they’re looking for soon. Rappahannock Goodwill Industries is under contract to buy the 82,000-square-foot Gallahan’s building, which has been vacant since late 2008. RGI would put a retail store on the first floor, and its corporate offices on the second floor (the corporate offices would move from downtown Fredericksburg but the laundry operation would remain where it is in the city). There would also be space for RGI’s partners and workforce training on the second floor. RGI expects to decide early next month whether to proceed. It may need to buy an adjacent lot to ensure there’s sufficient parking.

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  • Mondo McDonkioski

    BOPPATI BOOPY! I needa the townhouse for the place of residencio! How dare you reject it!

  • RD

    Zoning is the bane of America. The world has proven that central planning at best is sub-optimal, and at worst complete failure. It does nothing but slow down progress (visa vi the velocity of money). Slowed progress and economic growth means you’ll wait longer for that cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s.

    After decades of separating retail and residential zoning geniuses discovered they did it wrong, and are pressing for \mixed use\ development.

    Let the market run. Nobody pays $20-40 for a factory or warehouse in a residential area.

    Take note of Houston the fourth largest city that functions much better than any comparable size city (Chicago, New York, LA) without zoning. Traffic is better, quality of life is better.

    Even socialistic Paris and London don’t have zoning.

    Come on Comrades, start getting rid of the central planning that is zoning.

  • Lee Hill Henry

    Gary Skinner said what?

    Gary Skinner so far in his tenure has not voted against any rezoning, even if the community backlash was large. That is newsworthy. Four supervisors had the forward-thinking to realize that homes is the last thing the Lees Hill area needs right now. If that land is sucked up for homes the county would have lost prime commercial real estate.

    His reasoning that the area now is full of drugs and vandalism was disgusting. If the area is filled with drugs and vandalism, somehow he thinks that’s a great place for a housing project? Apparently, he wants to give the vandals and drug dealers home to live in. This is exactly what he is saying with his reasoning.

    Gary Skinner one night will say how important commercial is if there is a rezoning for a commercial property and then he will say how important residential is for a residential rezoning.

    He’s dangerous.

    Hap Connors and Gary Skinner have been voting a lot together. Connors, too, has double talked.

    They both dangerously voted to build more homes, which we know COSTS the county, over waiting for the right commercial project proposal to come along that would bring revenue in.

    That’s a very dangerous duo and residents need to WATCH these two supervisors and track their votes.

    This was a BAD project.