“I don’t see it as a complimentary thing to Palmyra,” said Dr. Samuel Babbitt (Fork Union District). “I see it as something that takes over Palmyra.”
The development is proposed mixed use of 222.03 acres in the Palmyra planning area. The project breaks down to 1,180 homes with 180,000 square feet of commercial. The property was previously Rivanna Resort and Golf Course.
The agenda item took almost three hours to complete with two hours devoted to the staff report, applicant comments and questions from the commission.
“I have a lot of concerns,” said chairman Barry Bibb (Palmyra District) when he addressed the applicant’s representative.
Bibb asked approximately 13 questions plus follow-ups ranging from stormwater management, water and sewer system, density, interpretation of the comprehensive plan and effects on neighboring properties.
Most of his questions fulfilled questions from other commissioners but still another seven questions plus follow-ups were asked.
Justin Shimp, a representative of the applicant and engineer of the project, fielded the questions and supplied answers. Most answers were to the dissatisfaction of the chairman.
The two disagreed on reading of the required documents and if such documents have been supplied. Bibb also pressed if the fulfillment of guidelines listed in the county’s planning documents.
Bibb concluded his comments by asking if the project complied with the planned unit development ordinance to which Shimp quickly answered, “Yes.”
Eleven county residents spoke against the legislation with an additional emailed response that was included in the record of the meeting. Residents’ concerns ranged from impact on the adjacent Rivanna River to economic impact to effect on neighbors.
Chuck Ackenbom, owner of Camp Friendship, spoke at length about why he started the camp and the impact it has had on the children that attend it.
“My whole life depends on this whole thing,” said Ackenbom.
Al Talley, also an adjacent landowner who has a recorded easement through the property, said, “We have 20 to 30 years of available lots that can be built on [in the county].”
Talley stressed including how already approved vacant lots along with the additional homesites at Walker’s Ridge could financially impact the county. He estimated the current vacant lot total to be over 1,000 and possibly over 2,000.
The commission recommended denying the rezoning on the property and also a special use permit to operate a centralized water and sewer system for the project. The commission did however recommend if the Board of Supervisors were to approve the special use permit, it should have stipulation that it would be limited to Walker’s Ridge and not expand outside of the project.
The recommendations will go to the Board of Supervisors for consideration. A public hearing for the issue has not yet been scheduled.