A proposed change for the Stonehouse planned community’s zoning and master plan would eliminate almost 1,200 residential units and 2 million square feet of commercial space.
The changes in the new master plan would allow up to 2,392 residential units and up to 740,000 square feet of non-residential development instead of the previously approved plan that allowed maximum of 3,646 units and 2.9 million square feet of commercial space.
Stonehouse is a sprawling development composed of both residential and commercial developments located Toano adjacent to the border of New Kent County. The development was originally approved in November 1991. Sales of homes started around 2000.
The existing development in Stonehouse, including the golf course and
neighborhoods on Mill Pond Run and the Stonehouse Glen (Ryan Homes) neighborhood on Fieldstone Parkway occurred over the years by several corporations including Stonehouse Development Corporation and Stonehouse at Williamsburg. In 2006, the majority of the undeveloped land was sold to GS Stonehouse Greenland Sub, LLC (“GS Stonehouse”). In 2008, GS Stonehouse received approval for comprehensive changes for this remaining land, thoroughly revising both the Master Plan and proffers. The 2008 case was the last major legislative case to be approved. The area that was not owned by GS Stonehouse in 2008 has continued forward under the 1999 Master Plan and proffers, while the land owned by GS Stonehouse has continued forward under the 2008 Master Plan and proffers.
SilverCap Partners and JTL Capital, companies that jointly own the land under review, would split the land included in the project proposal into the Stonehouse and Riverfront preserves and put restrictive conservation easements in place. The proposed changes would eliminate numerous road improvements due to the anticipated decrease in demand created by the removal of housing units, and also eliminate recreational amenities.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to weigh approval of the proposed changes at its Nov. 12 meeting. The Planning Commission voted to recommend the changes at its Oct 2nd meeting.
The project would rezone about 2,600 acres of land from planned unit development residential to general agricultural. (A-1) That land would be placed into proposed Stonehouse and Riverfront preserve areas with a maximum of 19 homes allowed between them.
Future usage of the land could include public ownership, multiple estate properties, clustered homes and agri-tourism ventures like a winery, or some combination of uses.
Through easements and the proposed master plan, there would be up to 15 residential units in the Stonehouse preserve alongside a maximum of 130,000 square feet for commercial buildings for uses allowed on property zoned general agricultural. Currently, the area permits construction of more than 2,500 homes. In the Riverfront preserve, the landowners propose no more than four homes where once the plan was for up to 400 apartments and a marina on the York River.
With the sizable decrease in proposed residential development, the landowners accordingly want to revisit proffered transportation mitigations. The project proposes a slew of improvements be eliminated, including a four-lane road connecting the property to Route 30, a widening project on Route 30 from two to four lanes between the new road and the Rochambeau Drive and Croaker Road intersection, and elimination of new turn-lanes and signals on the area’s roads. A marina and other amenities are also on the chopping block, again using the logic of fewer potential residents requiring fewer facilities. Tennis courts and pools proposed in the 2008 proffers would also be eliminated.
The proposal was pitched as a positive, eliminating development and the municipal costs that would come with it and putting in place measures to preserve the county’s rural lands.
Under the new plan, Interstate 64 would become a border between light industrial uses and residential uses in Stonehouse, and traffic patterns get cleaned up with fewer potential homes in play.
The proposal also clears the way to more substantive talks with potential buyers of the land. At this stage, there have been some discussions with the state, as well as national conservation groups and private entities Trant didn’t identify. However, the true work of figuring out the land’s future can’t move forward until the county approves the requested changes.
The proposal, with its easements and vision for agricultural-based commercial development, will help preserve rural lands in a more effective manner than hoping private citizens will step in and shoulder the burden of managing such spaces, Trant said.
The easements would transfer with the preserves if they were sold, so there would be compliance with the stated conservation goals regardless of the end-user. The easements would be binding if the state were to buy the Stonehouse preserve, Trant said.
Stonehouse Location Map
A photo gallery of Stonehouse
Still Looking? If Stonehouse doesn’t appeal you might want to explore Brickshire, Patriots Landing or Vinniterra in New Kent. In Williamsburg/ James City / York County Fords Colony, Greensprings West/ Plantation, Kingsmill, Governors Land, Creekside Landing are a few alternatives. You can read more about them here
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