- Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 June 2009 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 10 June 2009 05:00
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Board of Supervisors to consider request for 60 new townhomes at Tuesday’s meeting
A public hearing on a rezoning request by Fairview Beach, LLC, represented by Bob Moesle, will be held next Tuesday at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The rezoning with proffers is to change 9.33664 acres, from Retail Commercial (C-1) to Multi-Family Dwelling District (R-3). The purpose is to allow the company to construct 60 townhouses on property identified as Tax Map 14 Parcel 1.
~ HALFWAY THROUGH REZONING PROCESS The rezoning request had already made it halfway through the process when the applicant stopped it in its tracks four months ago.
The Planning Commission had held a public hearing last December on the rezoning request, but postponed action until the next month. On January 13, it voted 6-1 to recommend that Supervisors deny the rezoning, with seven of the then nine Commissioners present. Commissioners cited lack of compliance with the county’s Comprehensive Plan as the main reason for denial.
The next month, an advertised public hearing by the Board of Supervisors was canceled on February 17 at the last-minute request by the applicant.
~ REQUEST TO AMEND COMP PLAN NIXED Then, a March 5 letter came from the applicant’s attorney, Richard Stuart, requesting the Board of Supervisors to consider amending the county’s Comprehensive Plan for the 9.33 acres of Tax Map 13 Parcel 1.
Director of Community Development Jack Green provided Stuart’s letter to the Planning Commission on April 14 noting that the applicant’s attorney wanted to meet with the Planning Commission to discuss his rezoning request and “the merit of amending the Comprehensive Plan.”
Planning Commissioners had balked at the request. Concerns were expressed about the precedent a meeting with the applicant’s attorney would set.
The main objection was that the county does not have such a process in place to amend the Comprehensive Plan to suit individual projects.
Supervisors weighed in on the request when Green presented it to the Board on April 21.
The upshot was that the Board took no action to agree to the request for a discussion with the applicant or his attorney to amend the Comprehensive Plan to allow the density requested in the rezoning application.
~ EXISTING USES The staff report recommends denial and notes that the requested density is inconsistent with recommendations of the King George County Comprehensive Plan, which provides guideline for future density to be “low to moderate” with one dwelling unit suggested per each 2 to 10 acres.
The site earmarked for the townhouses currently contains 30 mobile home lots, with most of them located along the southern property line, away from the Potomac River.
The mobile home lots are leased on a month-to-month basis to residents who own their own mobile homes. Those residents had originally been told they would be given six months to relocate if the rezoning went through.
The county case file contains what appears to be a more recent, though undated, letter from Moesle to residents of the trailer park telling them that he is, “prepared to offer the following: No increase in rent for two years (except for water, sewer, and tax increases); a minimum of one year after rezoning occurs (If rezoned today with the economy, probably would take 2-3 years before work could begin.); $1,000.00 towards your relocation expenses, if you are current on rent, and after you have moved your trailer and all other items from the property.”
Speaking of current in payments, it was reported at a May meeting of the Public Service Authority (PSA) that the applicant is late in making a $24K payment it owes the county Public Service Authority. That was due by the end of April.
That money was still due and owing this week as the second payment on a $96K total for several sewer connections for the trailer park that had been made to the county system by persons unknown.
Those previously unknown sewer connections had been discovered last year, and the owner was billed for the connections. The owner had requested a payment plan, which was granted.
According to PSA General Manager Chris Thomas, Moesle will this week receive another notice of payment due on those connection charges, with penalty and interest added.
The property intended for proposed townhouses also contains 60 camp ground sites adjacent to the Potomac River. The camp ground and the mobile home park are both legal nonconforming uses under the existing Retail Commercial (C-1) zoning. Those uses may continue, but neither can be expanded nor enlarged.
Likewise, new residential uses are not permitted to be constructed under the current C-1 zoning.
The requested zoning is for Multi-Family Dwelling District (R-3). The proposed zoning would allow a maximum of 74 townhouses, which is a density of eight units per acre. But the applicant has proffered to build no more than 60 townhouse units.
~ PROFFERS The applicant is proffering to plan, build, pay and give to the county the water and sewer improvements necessary to serve the development, which is customary in King George for new developments seeking utility service.
It’s unclear whether it is understood that connection fees would also be paid to the PSA to hook up to utilities, as it is not mentioned.
The proffers include cash to be provided to the county of $3,382 for each unit, with a restriction that $1,928 of that proffer amount would not be paid toward school capital projects for any dwelling if the community is age-restricted for sale to those 55 years or older.
The cash proffers would dribble in at the time of issuance of individual building permits, starting several years from now, if the rezoning were approved.
As proffers are paid to the county over time, they are subject to an annual adjustment related to the consumer price index.
A December 2006 report provided by the applicant states that it would take 3 years and 3 months following rezoning approval to complete construction and sales of all units. And that was prior to the economy tanking, which has served to push most such projects further and lengthen anticipated timelines.
~ ZONING HISTORY OF THE PROPERTY The staff report indicated that in October 1996 the Board of Supervisors denied a request by Tom DeShazo to rezone the same parcel to R-3.
In addition, in May 2008, the Board of Supervisors approved a request to rezone a nearby parcel by Charles R. Bowie for 8.65 Acres of Tax Map 14, Parcel 6A from Retail Commercial District (C-1) to General Trade District (C-2) and 1.45 Acres of Tax Map 14, Parcel 6A from Rural Agricultural (A-2) to General Trade District (C-2).
Phyllis Cook, Staff Reporter