Request for rental units on Lakeridge Parkway shot down

A pending development along Lakeridge Parkway will have to stick with its original plan to build condominiums for sale after Hanover’s Board of Supervisors voted 5-2 against a proposed switch to rental apartments March 27.

Mt. Air Partners L.C. applied for several amendments affecting 23.3 acres on the west side of Lakeridge, north of Sliding Hill Road.

A previous board granted approval for 160 condominium units in 2006. No changes to the elevations or density were sought for this section of the project, but the developer now feels apartments would prove more successful.

Mt. Air also applied to rezone 7.37 acres from Light Industrial use to a Multi-Family Residential designation, which would have allowed construction of 70 townhouses.

The board denied this request, too, going along with the recommendation of county economic development staff. This property is located within the Sliding Hill Road Economic Development Zone, making this part of local inventory of available commercial property for future economic development.

This other requests, however, did receive the board’s approval.

The previously approved cash proffers were amended in accordance with the board’s new transportation cash proffers policy.

The developer agreed to either widen Lakeridge to four lanes in front of the residential area and include appropriate transitions, or pay a $2,306 per dwelling unit transportation impact proffer and construct previously proffered turn lanes at the project entrances.

That decision would be made at the time of site plan approval, but Mt. Air is committed to following through with one option or the other.

Additionally, the developer proposed to relocate a recreation area to provide better buffering for the adjacent homes along Old Telegraph Road. The supervisors agreed to this change.

Seventeen county residents, many from Old Telegraph Road, spoke in opposition to the proposed rezoning and switch to apartments. Dozens of others were in attendance. Aside from the applicant’s representative, no one spoke favorably about the proposal.

Speakers expressed a preference for commercial development in that area instead of adding the 70 townhouses.

The Lakeridge area already has apartments, residents observed, and they felt renters do not contribute to the tax base as much as homeowners.

“It impacts and places additional burden on the already stressed county services, and it creates a large concentration of rental units in one location. This proposed rezoning request upsets the balance of ownership versus rental units in the community, and it’s not in keeping with Hanover’s housing patterns,” resident Nancy Young said during the public hearing.

Board chairman Canova Peterson said renters do pay local taxes through their rent checks to their landlords.

“It’s wrong to think that apartment dwellers are freeloaders. They are paying taxes,” he said.

Andy Condlin, an attorney representing Mt. Air Partners, said these would be high-quality apartments with monthly rents in the range of $1,100 to $1,400.

“We are not asking for one more single unit than is approved today. We’re not asking for 160 units. We already have 160 units. The code does not differentiate between condos and apartments,” Condlin said.

He added, “The Board of Supervisors and the County of Hanover have already stated this is an appropriate place because they’ve already zoned it for 160 units.”

South Anna Supervisor Wayne Hazzard made a motion to deny the apartment amendment, deny the rezoning, approve the cash proffers amendment, and approve the relocation of the recreation area.

He said, “I just think this condominium project from its inception was intended to be owner-occupied, not rental units.”

Ashland Supervisor Ed Via saw no reason to deny the switch to apartments.

“Some citizens have made their views known about their dislike for apartments through our public input process. However, our zoning provides for this option, and I cannot find a significant reason other than a dislike for apartments not to support it.

“The welcome mat to living in Hanover County cannot be welcome only if you can afford the median housing value of somewhere around $200,000,” Via said.

Hazzard’s motion passed with a 5-2 vote, with Peterson and Via dissenting on the apartment issue.

Posted on Friday, March 29, 2013 at 10:28 am