After nearly two decades in the works, the Villages of Gloucester, cleared a major regulatory hurdle Tuesday night.
The Gloucester County VA Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a rezoning request for the planned unit development during its April 3rd meeting. The approval revises proffers that had been included when the project was originally approved in 2007.
The amended proffers will reduce the up-front costs of the development and allow flexibility in the timing and phasing of the project so that reasonable adjustments to changing market conditions over the expected 20 to 40-year build-out of the project can be made,” the application stated.
The Villages of Gloucester is a large (908 acre) planned unit development located on Route 17 and Hickory Fork Road, just south of Burleigh and Belroi roads. At completion, it will include 1,142 residences with no more than 800 single-family detached homes and no more than 342 single-family attached homes, including patio homes, townhomes, and condominiums.
The $750 million development will consist of homes, a neighborhood Village Center, with retail, office space and restaurant facilities, and a commercial Business Park.
In total, 23 of the original proffers that were proposed were condensed to 18. Additionally, language changes were made to almost every proposed amendment. These were made in the interests of “marketability,” according to the applicant’s attorney.
Among the proposed proffer changes were the removal of language mandating the building of a golf course, public walking paths, water tower, indoor pool, as well as cash proffers.
In the case of the golf course, the language allows the space to be used for a golf course, though the choice would be left to the homeowners’ association. The removal of the proffer pertaining to a water tower came after local fire and rescue personnel said it was not necessary, citing the adequacy of current infrastructure.
According to the applicant’s attorney the golf course requirement, was removed due to the change of times and residential development over the past decade.
Danny Stuck, the appilcants attorney said the Villages will provide substantial benefits to the county, bringing well over 1,000 new homes spread over a broad area. He said the economic downtown that began in 2008 caused the project to sit idle for 11 years, especially since some very expensive improvements to the land, such as the golf course, were required to be built up-front under the existing proffers at the time. “You’ve got to wait 10-20 years to get lot sales to recoup that revenue,” Stuck said.
Breckenridge Ingles, president of the Villages of Gloucester, Ltd., said, “This has been a 17-year journey for me.” He said the project, which started in 2001, came before the Gloucester Board of Supervisors for the first time in 2003 and was denied. In 2007, it came before the board a second time and was approved.
“A lot has changed since 2007,” Ingles said. “We’ve suffered through a recession as bad as we ever had and the housing industry really suffered.” He also said in 2007, there were 16,000 golf courses across the U.S. Since then, around 1,000 have closed, as the sport has declined in popularity, he said.
“I’m asking for a change for this project to come to life,” Ingles said.
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This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads/ Richmond VA area and his expertise helping buyers and sellers in the local real estate market.
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