The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.

RSS feed of this blog

Celebrate North plan may get fast-tracked

Stafford County may speed up the review for a revamped plan in Celebrate Virginia North after the Silver Cos. eliminated a portion that was previously deemed controversial.

The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission could hold a joint public hearing Oct. 1 for the revised plan that calls for a 192-unit secure apartment complex to serve an existing federal law enforcement training facility. It’s been several years since the two county bodies held a combined hearing.

Supervisors approved that request Tuesday evening; planners must also agree to do so at their next meeting, Sept. 11, and then the meeting will be advertised.

Chris Hornung, vice president of planning and engineering for Silver, said that the original project had taken an unusually long time to be reviewed—about two years. He hoped that since one piece had been thoroughly reviewed and found generally acceptable, that it could advance more quickly this time around.

“I don’t always like joint public hearings, but this time it’s unique, whereas we’ve got a project that’s already been through two public hearings,” said Hartwood Supervisor Gary Snellings.

Earlier this summer, the board denied a plan that would bring two sets of apartments to the development off U.S. 17. Of the nearly 700 apartments originally proposed, 192 would have been short-term rentals for trainees at the gated law enforcement site already on Celebrate Virginia Parkway. The government has plans to possibly expand with a 15-year lease already in place, Hornung has said.

But it was the 298-unit complex at the southern end of the development that was questioned. The high-end luxury apartments would have been available to rent on the open market, but members of both boards worried about the impact of that type of growth in the area.

Some supervisors had suggested the project may fare better if the two components were separated.

So that’s what Silver Cos. decided to do.

The new request reduced the area to be rezoned from 91.6 acres to 18.2 acres, from M–2 heavy industrial land to recreational business campus.

Multifamily dwelling units, more commonly known as apartments, would need a conditional-use permit, rather than be a by-right use, under the new proposal.

Typically, applications can’t be resubmitted for 12 months after being denied, but Hornung said this included significant changes.

Supervisor Cord Sterling suggested the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors wait to make a decision until their regularly scheduled meetings after the joint public hearing.

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975