Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Did He Put the Cart Before The Horse?

A recent rezoning case tabled last week contained an offer that supervisors were not sure how to handle.

Lee Garrison, a developer who lives in Fredericksburg, wants to rezone about 9 acres on Lafayette Boulevard at Hotchkiss Street. His rezoning is for 18 homes, 11,800 square feet of commercial and 27,000 square feet of office. Garrison proposes that a portion of the homes will be affordable, defined right now as 100 percent or less of the median income level (which is about $72,000, or a $200,000-plus home).

Supervisors seemed supportive that the project was helping to redevelop a corridor that is in desperate need of change.


Here is the dilemma: Garrison asked for a 2:1 proffer credit for seven lots he preserved with a conservation easement off Elys Ford Road. (Seven single-family homes could have been built without county approval.) For those of you who do not know, these seven lots are near the Rapidan River, a battlefield and the River Protection and Reservoir Protection Overlay Districts.

The problem supervisors expressed was that Garrison preserved these lots well before he thought of “Lafayette Crossing.” Garrison said he preserved the lots because he thought it was the right thing to do. He said he doesn’t think it matters when he did it; he just wants credit for them.

The 2:1 credit he requested would mean he’d pay $508,000 less in voluntary cash donations to the county, called proffers. He would only be paying proffers on two units.

County staff told supervisors that the county doesn’t have a transfer of development rights  ordinance yet. Not only that, but staff recommended denial of the project because it does not meet the 70/30 ratio of commercial to residential that is targeted in the comprehensive land use plan, a blueprint of the county’s growth. Plus, planners were not sure where he came up with the 2:1 credit ratio.


Supervisor Gary Jackson told Garrison during last week’s public hearing that Garrison should have waited to preserve the seven lots so he could package it with his rezoning. He already preserved them, and those lots have nothing to do with this project, he said. 

Without county approval, Garrison could build most of the office and retail proposed in his project, but only two homes.

Supervisor Benjamin Pitts asked that the proposal be tabled until next month.

You can find more information about the proposal here,  here, here, here and here. Here is a zoning map of the project.