Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Hicks Farm development proposal gets controversial

Residents who live near the Hicks Farm on U.S. 1 are up in arms over a rezoning proposal.  Those who live in Kingswood subdivision never were notified about the rezoning. Several of the residents called me to ask if this was legal. The county required letters be sent to property owners who live near a tract of land under review for a rezoning. For some reason, these notifications were not mailed, which led to the canceling of the Planning Commission meeting last week. I’ve never seen that happen since I’ve worked here. 

The applicant, Marion Hicks, wants to rezone 34 acres on the north side of Hudgins Road that currently can have built 22 single family detached homes in a cluster subdivision without any government approval. The land connects with commercial land in the city. In January 2007 K. Hovnanian Homes tried to get a rezoning for 127 town homes passed in the city; they called it Summerfield. The company withdrew the application when it appeared that the City Council was going to vote against the rezoning.

Now, Hicks has turned his attention to the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors. 

This project is called Summerfield, too, and he is proposing 127 units. Here is what Hicks has proffered so far:

· Conformance with the Generalized Development Plan.

· Develop a mixed-use housing type community for residential uses.

· Home owners association with architectural review board and landscaping standards.

· Right-Of-Way dedication and frontage improvements as provided on the GDP.

· Re-pavement of Hudgins Road.

· Improvements to the intersection of Hudgins Road and Route 1.

· Both active and passive recreation with multi-purpose fields, tot lots, and complete trail system.

· Design and install the required 8” water line on Hudgins Road.

· Proffer contribution consistent with the Board adopted Proffer Policy. The applicant has taken credit for the 22 by-right single family detached units and includes in kind improvements to Hudgins Road and Route 1 valued at $210, 428, and cash proffers of $23,687.24 for each single-family detached home and $30,664 for each attached home payable prior to subdivision plat approval for each section.

Here are more details on the proffers. 


Here is a snippet from the financial impact statement:

"Based on the formulas contained in the worksheet, current estimates are such

that the median price for a single-family detached dwelling must be $458,000.00 to achieve the break-even point for annual governmental services in Spotsylvania County. The currently accepted break-even point for single-family attached dwellings (townhouses) is $368,500.00. Current market conditions do not support a price point at that level, and it is not expected that they will reach that level for at least the next five years. It is anticipated that single-family detached units at 2,000 square-feet associated with the Summerfield project will sell for approximately $310,000.00. Single-family detached units of 3,400 square feet will sell for approximately $425,000.00. Townhouse units (SFA) are expected

to sell from $225,000.00 to $275,000.00. For the purposes of this analysis, we estimate a 60/40 percentage split for the larger vs. smaller unit types. Based on this information, the Summerfield development is not currently projected to reach the break-even point with respect to annual governmental service costs. The total annual impact for the project based on this 60/40 split is projected to be $68,048.00 ($38,501.00 for SFD units and $29,547.00 for SFA units). However, the project’s impact will be offset as mean real estate values begin to increase as economic conditions improve."

 Interestingly enough, public sewer service shall be provided to the project by Fredericksburg.



  • SilentBob


    Very nice to see you out ahead of this story. Keep up the good work.

  • mbickers

    I am extremely concerned with the requested rezoning of the Hicks Farm in anticipation of the summerfield development. This will provide more high density housing in an already saturated market. The proposed neighborhood of 200 homes (primarily townhomes with some single family homes on extremely small lots) will impact the property values of the neighboring properties. There are huge concerns about the impact upon an already crowded school system which has significant budget constraints. Traffic will become much worse along Rt 1 – which already backs up quite a bit during the afternoon. If you add another 200 homes which must use Rt 1 imagine the impact.

    Thanks for giving this some visibility because this development will impact all residents of Fredericksburg and Spotslyvania in some way.

  • blbicker

    Thank you for educating the community about this proposed rezoning. Everyone should be concerned and aware. Thanks for being proactive!

  • dguthiel

    I appreciate your interest in this story. While I respect the property owner’s rights to develop his property in accordance with the law, I don’t think the proposed development is a good fit for the area. The project fails on two key points. First, I don’t think it complies with the County’s Comprehensive Plan, and second, I don’t think it complies, as currently proposed, with the County’s own code. Here are a few key points.

    The County Comprehensive Plan’s Future Land Use identifies the property to be “Mixed Use”. In terms of development, this means a “Traditional Development Neighborhood”. The comprehensive plan describes this as having three use components (commercial retail, office, and residential) with a minimum of 5 acres to commercial retail. The proposed development only has residential (single family attached and detached). These mixed use communities are supposed to be areas where residents can live, work, play, and shop. Also, the comprehensive plan calls for development in the Primary Settlement District to be “self-sufficient”. I don’t see how the proposed development is anything but high density residential as proposed and is simply using the PDH-4 zoning district as a way to do more of what it wants without the restrictions typically associated with a high density residential zoning district (such as transitional landscape screening). In the end, I think the development as proposed misses the mark of what a mixed use development intends to accomplish. The proposed development does not provide a self-sufficient place to live, work, play, and shop. It also does not accomplish another goal of mixed use development which is to transition from low-density residential to commercial uses. With the high-density residential zoning district protections removed by seeking a rezoning to PDH-4, the transition is very abrupt from low-density residential to high-density residential to commercial. This is not a good implemention of a mixed use development.

    Let’s also not lose sight of the fact that the proposed project relies on the City down zoning a significant portion of the project. Does it really make sense to ask the City to down zone property along US Route 1 from Commercial Highway (the most intense commercial zoning district) for a residentail attached use? Not to mention all of the questions about what the proposed development will look like if the City decides not to approve a rezoning? Do the amenities for the project get relocated or do the new residents simply go without?

    Finally, I don’t think the proposed development does anything to protect the neighborhood character established by the existing subdivisions as required by the Comprehensive Plan and County Code. No landscape screening is proposed to provide a buffer between Kingswood Subdivision and Summerfield. The code doesn’t require it according to the PDH zoning district. However, if the property were developed to the same intensity under convential zoning districts, it would have to be rezoned at least R-8 (single family attached). Under the R-8 zoning district, a transitional landscape screening buffer is required. This all leads to one conclusion for me, when given the chance to offer more than the bare minimum, the applicant chose not to make an attempt. The proof positive is that no landscaping was proposed, no berming was proposed, no fence was proposed. Instead, the applicant proposed a multi-use trail to encourage pedestrian traffic adjacent to the neighboring subdivision’s rear yards.

    More to come. Let’s hope tonight’s meeting witht the developer turns some corners. I hope he comes to listen. There are a myriad of development possibilities for the property, this just happens to be the worst one.

  • MAVRICKinc

    Dan/ FLS is not ahead of the wave. They’re just waiting for us to catch up with what goes on behind closed doors. All we have to do is spell it out for public consumption. Let the chips fall where they may.

    I can assure everyone that anger doesn’t cut it. Your homework assignments are the only thing that counts for anything you wish to accomplish, as it relates to your quality of life or your rights of land ownership. This is not rocket science.

    If you wish to delegate your thinking, by proxy, to your elected officials, you have nothing to worry about other than loosing your right to have a DIFFERENT take on someone elses version of your reality. I would remind you that there is nothing wrong with being a “foregone conclusion.”.

    The middle is the largest population we have ever identified in the confines of median, middle or mode.

    What part of a “cattle call” dont you understand?

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