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Supervisors reject change to Embrey Mill development

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Concerns about overcrowding at schools helped drive a vote by the Stafford County Board of Supervisors to reject proposed changes to a portion of the Embrey Mill development.

Embrey Mill will be one of the largest developments in the Fredericksburg area and will include residential, commercial and civic sites. Construction is already underway on the first two sections of the development.

North Stafford Associates LC, which owns a 93-acre portion of Embrey Mill, had applied to eliminate requirements for a certain number of senior-housing units in a section of 252 apartments. The original proffer required that 152 of the 252 apartments be senior-housing units. The changes would have eliminated that requirement, but would not have changed the total number of dwelling units.

The amendments would have also allowed the applicant to develop freestanding multifamily units. The current proffers require that many of the multifamily units be located in a mixed-use building with ground floor retail or office space, according to a county memo.

Under the proposed changes, at least 50 of the apartments would be one-bedroom apartments, with no apartment allowed to have more than two bedrooms.

North Stafford Associates had offered to pay $7,250 per residential unit in proffers for those 100 units that would no longer be senior units. Proffers are voluntary contributions developers give to the county to offset impacts the development makes to county services. North Stafford Associates designated their proffers for public safety or schools. The developers would pay $2,135 per residential unit for the remaining units in the parcel.

The applicants also agreed to phase in the building of the commercial with the residential.

The changes could not alleviate concerns by some supervisors that the reduction in senior-housing units would bring in too many students.

“I’m concerned on the impact on the schools,” Supervisor Cord Sterling said of the reduction of the senior units.

He added that the schools that would be affected by the change were already crowded.

“I have trouble seeing the value of this to the county,” Chairman Jack Cavalier said.

Supervisor Laura Sellers was the only supervisor that voted against denying the changes. She said that the developer should not be punished for redistricting issues with the schools.

“I do think this community could use some higher-end apartments. I think the neighborhood is right, the location is right,” Sellers said.

A motion to deny the changes passed by a 6–1 vote.

Vanessa Remmers: 540/735-1975