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Power plant plan getting review

The Fredericksburg Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Wednesday on plans to transform an abandoned power plant along the Rappahannock River into a restaurant with condominiums alongside it.

The commission will weigh in on a request from Dreamland LLC to rezone 9.2 acres in the Princess Anne corridor that includes 10 parcels.

Former Planning Commissioner Ed Whelan III is the registered agent for Dreamland LLC. Whelan has said the limited liability company is owned by his relatives.

The properties are in the 1700, 1800 and 1900 blocks of Princess Anne Street and the same blocks of Caroline Street. Additional parcels are in the 200 block of Ford Street.

Dreamland seeks a rezoning from commercial highway to planned development-mixed use for the project in the city’s Mill District.

In April, Dreamland bought the 3.93-acre riverfront property near the intersection of Caroline and Ford streets. The Virginia Electric and Power Co. shut down its hydroelectric plant there in the 1960s.

Dreamland purchased the property from Hugh Cosner, a former Spotsylvania County supervisor, who had owned the site—at least in part—since 1979. He long envisioned a restaurant in the plant known as the Embrey Power Station.

Whelan operates The Inn at the Olde Silk Mill, located across Caroline Street from the property.

Dreamland plans to turn the former plant into a multi-level restaurant overlooking the river.

The plan also includes building a warehouse-style building that would have condominiums and a parking garage that could serve the condo residents and restaurant patrons.

On Wednesday, the commission also will hold a public hearing on a proposal to make three amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance in the R–4 and R–8 residential zoning districts.

The proposal would reduce the maximum height allowed for single family houses from 35 feet to 30 feet; require new buildings on lots recorded before April 25, 1984, to have the same front yard setback as other buildings on the same block; and allow new buildings on lots recorded before 1984 to have reduced side yard setbacks that are consistent with other buildings on the same block.

The 1984 date is when the city’s last ordinance went into effect. The two changes would allow any new development to fit into the old pattern, said Planning Director Chuck Johnston.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972


The Fredericksburg Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Council Chambers of City Hall, 715 Princess Anne St.