The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Spotsy approves New Post plan
The Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors approved a 425-home mixed-use development at New Post but tabled a decision on a much larger housing project at its meeting Tuesday.
Supervisors voted 6–1 to approve the 188-acre New Post development near the intersection of State Route 2 and U.S. 17 and the U.S. 17 bypass—nearly eight years after a much larger plan for the site was defeated. Spotsylvania-based Tricord Cos. asked that the land be rezoned to mixed use.
Supervisor Benjamin Pitts cast the dissenting vote.
The proposed Heritage Woods community off U.S. 1 near Cosner’s Corner faced greater skepticism than New Post.
Supervisors unanimously voted to delay action on the 1,060-home project off U.S. 1 near Cosner’s Corner until October. Some said they wanted a clearer picture of the development’s overall impact on the county.
The 12 speakers at a public hearing on New Post were split on the project. Supporters included several nearby property owners, including the owner of Belvedere Plantation.
It’s unclear exactly how Tricord would develop the property, though one scenario envisions 110 large upscale homes, 220 smaller homes, 95 townhouses and up to 160,000 square feet of commercial space.
The upscale homes would be along the Rappahannock River and Ruffins Pond.
County planning staff recommended approval of the project but expressed concern about its estimated $13 million impact on public facilities like schools and roads. Pitts said that cost will fall on Spotsylvania taxpayers.
Tricord is not offering cash proffers, which are voluntary payments to offset the cost of infrastructure needed for new development.
Tricord owner Mike Jones disagreed with the county’s assessment, saying he believes additional tax revenue from New Post will more than pay for the growth.
Also at issue was a letter on Monday from Fort A.P. Hill’s commander, Lt. Col. Peter Dargle, expressing concern about light pollution and noise complaints from the future residents of the development. The Caroline County Army post opposed the 2005 version of New Post—which included plans for 1,500 homes on 418 acres.
Dargle said at the public hearing that he believed “significant effort” had been made to address his concerns, but that he still wanted more time to review the proposal. Tricord on Tuesday revised its proposal in an attempt to allay some of the lighting concerns.
A.P. Hill is worried the additional lighting would hinder its nighttime training operations, but Supervisor Gary Skinner said that won’t happen.
“We’re not going to do anything that’s going to hurt their training over at A.P. Hill,” Skinner said.
Supervisors have approved two other mixed-use developments in recent months with a total of more than 2,000 residential units.
The turnout for the public hearing on Heritage Woods was smaller, with five people expressing concern about traffic congestion and other issues. “This all comes down to making money and not what’s right for the citizens of Spotsylvania County,” county resident David Snyder said.
Walton International Group is asking that the 378-acre property be rezoned from rural and commercial to “planned development housing.”
Plans are for 725 detached homes, 147 townhouses and 188 apartments.
Supervisor Timothy McLaughlin said he wanted to know the impact of Heritage Woods on top of the other nearby developments that have already been approved. “We seem to look at each project individually,” he said.
Supervisor David Ross also said he was concerned about the development’s affect on the area’s infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Gary Skinner said he thought the project would give the county an economic boost.
County planning staff, which recommended denial of the project, says the cost of more teachers, police officers and other public services needed for Heritage Woods would exceed the additional tax revenue from the development.
The developer is offering about $15.7 million in cash proffers, but that’s about $12.3 million short of what the county says it should pay.
A consultant for the developer, however, says the project would add money to the tax rolls.
Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402