Planning Commission backs apartments in Atlee

Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 10:22 am

The Hanover County Planning Commission endorsed a rezoning request that would allow 172 apartment units on the southwest corner of Atlee Station and Kings Acre roads.

The 21.4-acre property was already rezoned to R-5, Multiple Family Residential District, in 2006 for a 112-unit condominium project. Kings Acre Partners LLC now requests a rezoning to the newer RM, Multi-Family District, to facilitate the apartment project instead.

Hanover’s new transportation cash proffer policy would charge the developer a base rate of $3,054 per unit.

However, the developer has agreed to construct improvements to the intersection, including a right-turn lane from eastbound Kings Acre to southbound Atlee Station, widening a portion of Atlee Station, and the installation of pedestrian signals and crosswalks.

Any intersection improvements would function as credits against the $3,054 cash proffer rate. This does not include entrances into the apartment complex itself.

“That is in keeping with other cases in which improvements to the thoroughfare network are being made,” Planning Director David Maloney told the Commission at its April 18 meeting.

The Board of Supervisors this spring adopted a transportation policy that charges new residential developments of 50 or fewer lots $2,306 per dwelling unit to help offset impacts to the roads system.

The policy prescribes a methodology for calculating cash proffers for larger developments. It takes into account anticipated future transportation improvements, projections of the average number of daily trips the proposed development would generate, and other funding sources for those improvements. Ultimately, the goal is to get each development to pay its proportionate share of the transportation improvements.

That methodology resulted in the $3,054 per unit starting figure for the Kings Acre apartments, to be paid either in cash or as actual constructed improvements—or a combination of both, as is currently proposed.

Mac Chenault, an attorney representing Kings Acre Partners, said, “The applicant is not getting a deal in … getting credit toward the proffer amount. … He’s actually just paying that proffer amount up front by doing the construction.”

Chenault noted that this would be an upscale apartment complex with monthly rents in the range of $1,000 to $1,300, based on today’s market.

Newly elected commission chair, Claiborne Winborne, asked him about the timeline of construction, if the project is approved.

Chenault provided a rough estimate. He said construction could begin 10 months to a year after approval, and another 18 months to two years of work would need to take place before the first unit is occupied.

During the public hearing, six Atlee-area residents came forward with concerns about drainage, potential inconsistency with the surrounding area, and the effects of the additional residents on county services.

Chickahominy Commissioner Harold Padgett said the county’s ordinances would provide protection in matters of stormwater issues, and county departments had already been consulted about the project.

“There will definitely be some traffic impacts here,” Padgett said, mentioning the already-approved Giles Farm development, which will bring 442 new residences further down Atlee Station near Atlee High School.

“What we have to remember is we’re in the Suburban Service Area. The Suburban Service Area is where the density is called for, so we can keep most of the county … rural,” Padgett continued.

“There will be some impacts for sure. This is as accommodated as possible, and I think they’ve got a good plan here for the traffic flow,” he said.

Padgett made a motion to recommend approval of the case, which passed with a 6-0 vote.

Beaverdam Commissioner Edmonia Iverson was absent.

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