I am a bit late in posting this update from May of 2018.
The owners of the undeveloped acreage in the Stonehouse Planned Unit Development have begun discussions with the James City County Development Review Committee about changes to the existing Stonehouse Master Plan and proffers which will require legislative approvals.
The developer has provided a conceptual amended Master Plan and a land use narrative which describe the proposed changes.
In broad terms, the proposed changes include items such as the following:
- Maximum number and location of housing units including a reduction in over 1,100 residential units
- Maximum square footage and location of non-residential development
- Size and location of the public use (school) site
- Infrastructure changes, including the planned road network
The applicant has requested that this item be placed on the Development Review Committee agenda for May of 2018 in order to discuss the project and seek input and questions from the DRC members.
SCP-JTL Stonehouse Owner 1, LLC and SCP-JTL Stonehouse Owner 2, LLC are the owners of the remaining undeveloped acreage located within the Stonehouse Planned Unit Development (approximately 4,500 acres). These entities constitute a joint venture between SilverCap Partners based in Charlotte, NC and JTL
Capital based in Dallas, TX. They acquired the Property from the previous developer in 2016 and have been working diligently since that time to create a new vision and vibrancy for Stonehouse.
Not long after acquiring the Property, they were approached by a public body with an interest in acquiring 2,500+ acres of the Property to be used as a wildlife management area. The public body saw the additional 2,500 acres as a very desirable complement to the approximately 2,700 acres in New Kent County on the opposite side
of the Ware Creek from Stonehouse purchased by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2016.
The ownership was initially skeptical of such a large scale change in use and preservation of open space. However, they carefully reviewed the concept against their long-term vision and objectives for the Stonehouse project. As a result, they determined that such a large scale preservation concept could be feasible.
It was quickly determined that in order to implement such a concept, a master plan amendment or other zoning changes would be required. While a public body is the preferred buyer, given the peculiarities of how public entities buy property as well as evolving politics, priorities, and budgets, it would be a poor business strategy to embark
on a process to change the master plan for the Property solely in reliance on a public body as the prospective purchaser. Accordingly, the ownership performed market analyses to determine whether, as an alternative, the preservation area would be marketable to private buyers (in whole or in multiple, large estate properties). Based on
these analyses, the ownership concluded that a private disposition strategy was a feasible alternative, and committed to moving forward with the master plan amendment process.
The proposed amended master plan would establish approximately 2,700 acres of the Stonehouse PUD along Ware Creek and the York River as a preservation area and limit the total number of homes that can be located on the property to 19. The ownership would, obviously, like to preserve the maximum amount of flexibility possible to facilitate the sale of the preservation areas. The more flexibility in the potential use of the property, the larger the pool of potential buyers. That said, we understand and appreciate that we need to strike a balance between the flexibility we seek and the interests of the County and the community.
Uses of the property, as we envision it, could range from (i) a single owner (e.g., a public body, a single private buyer, or a group of private buyers) for recreational purposes, to (ii) 19 estate properties (e.g., single family homes on 100 +/- acre parcels), to (iii) clustered homes on more traditionally sized lots with extensive open space areas, to (iv) some combination of the foregoing. The preservation area is divided into 2 sub-areas: Stonehouse Preserve (2,314 acres – 15 homes) and Riverfront Preserve (361 acres – 4 homes).
Remaining Development Areas
With a reduction in over 1,100 residential units within the Stonehouse PUD, it was determined that it was no longer appropriate to have a school site located within the inner core of Stonehouse. Accordingly, the school site has been relocated to Tract 9 located on Rt. 30 south of I-64 in a more regionally oriented location.
It was also determined that I-64 is an appropriate demarcation point for the light industrial uses in the Stonehouse Commerce Park and the predominantly residential uses north of I-64, understanding that such uses would conflict with the residential character of the area. Additionally, it was determined that, except for neighborhood commercial uses, there is extremely limited viability for non-residential uses, particularly light industrial uses, north of I-64 due to the poor access and remote nature of the location.
Such uses are more viable and better oriented along Rt. 30 near the I-64 interchange in such areas as the Hazelwood Economic Opportunity Area. Accordingly, Tract 11 is now shown to contain residential uses consistent with the character of the surrounding area.
Lastly, in an effort to create a second “front door” to Stonehouse and establish a vibrant community focal point, Tract 10B is envisioned to be a Town Square concept with a mix of neighborhood commercial uses, public open space, and high-density residential uses.
The concept for this master plan amendment is still a work in progress. There are many details to be worked through and a community engagement process that we need to implement, but we felt the vision for the changes have reached a level of clarity worthy of conceptual review by the DRC.
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