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Spotsy planning commission approves developments

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Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park is a step closer to having several-hundred additional neighbors.

The Spotsylvania County Planning Commission on Wednesday recommended approval of two proposed developments totaling 319 homes near National Park Service land.

The 1,097-acre Legends of Chancellorsville subdivision, which is the largest of the planned developments, is the more controversial of the projects.

Seventeen people spoke during a public hearing on that subdivision, which would have up to 218 detached homes on part of the Chancellorsville Battlefield off State Route 3. The Fredericksburg-based Silver Cos. is proposing the development on the north side of State Route 3, about 1 miles west of the intersection of Route 3 and Elys Ford Road.

Eleven of the evening’s speakers—all nearby property owners—expressed concern or opposition to the project. Several cited the additional traffic the homes would bring to the rural area.

Meanwhile, six speakers—including representatives of the Civil War Trust and the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust—said they supported the development.

Nearby homeowner Robert Foster acknowledged that the proposal was a good deal for the Civil War Trust, which would be given more than 400 acres of nearby land.

“I can’t argue with them wanting to endorse that, but they don’t live here,” he said. “We do. We put up with this every day and will put up with an awful lot of traffic that none of us want.”

Spotsylvania resident Cristine Lynch, a supporter of the project, said the proposal gave the Planning Commission an opportunity “you may never see again.”

“Silver Companies, instead of maximizing their development potential and therefore their profit, has agreed to donate 40-some odd percent of the land they own to preserve in perpetuity,” said Lynch, a former Planning Commission member. More than 20 people rose from their seats when she asked other supporters to stand.

The Planning Commission, which makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, voted 6–0 in favor of the development. Commissioner Gary Bullis was absent.

The Silver Cos. is asking the county to rezone the property from rural to planned rural resident. Currently, just 10 homes can be built on the land.

In exchange for the project’s approval, the Silver Cos. has agreed to give the Civil War Trust at least 420 acres of adjoining property. That land is the site of Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s surprise flank attack during the Civil War.

And the developer plans to sell another 44 acres along State Route 3 to the Civil War Trust, which would convey the property to the National Park Service. That acreage lies within the congressionally designated boundary of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

The only speaker during the public hearing on the other, 25-acre development, which is on Fredericksburg Battlefield land off Benchmark Road, was in favor of the project. The Planning Commission then voted to support it after little discussion.

The development would have 98 town houses, three existing detached homes and up to 23,400 square feet of office space on the west side of Benchmark Road near its intersection with Routes 2 and 17. A National Park Service official recently expressed concern about having such a dense development near NPS land.

Local developer Lee Garrison is asking the county to rezone the property from residential to office and planned development housing. Just 21 homes can currently be built on the land.

Commissioner John Gustafson abstained from voting because he serves on a county committee with the developer. That committee was formed to recommend changes to the county’s cash proffer policy, which some believe overstates the impact of development.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402; jbranscome@freelancestar.com

 

 

 

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2014/08/07/spotsy-planning-commission-approves-developments/