A rezoning that could bring more than 300 additional single-family homes to Varina remains in the works.
Virginia Beach-based builder and developer Boyd Homes has its eye on 140 acres for an expansion of its existing Castleton community.
The land is located in eastern Henrico between Dorey Park and Interstate 295, south of Darbytown Road and between Doran Road and Macallan Parkway. Boyd Homes is proposing the expansion through its Ross Run LLC.
The project has appeared several times on Henrico’s Planning Commission agenda in recent months and been deferred at the developer’s request. County Planning Director Joe Emerson said those deferrals have allowed time for the developer to address planning staff concerns, as well as those of nearby residents.
“They’ve met with the community numerous times,” Emerson said.
Boyd President David Rudiger said such efforts are intended to produce a development that is both appealing to homebuyers and agreeable to the community.
“We’ve been working with the planning staff and the planning commissioner, as well as the homeowners in Castleton, to come up with an acceptable set of conditions that would make everyone comfortable with the proposed rezoning,” he said. “And we are still working on tweaking those proffers.”
The Ross Run is scheduled to be addressed at the Planning Commission’s April 9 meeting. Emerson said the most recent concerns had to do with square footage of homes and building materials to be used.
Ross Run LLC is seeking to rezone the tract from single-family and agricultural use to a general residence district, which Emerson said would allow for more variety in home styles and sizes. The district allows a maximum density of six units per acre, but the county’s comprehensive plan recommends a density of 2.4 units or less per acre and environmental protection in that area.
While the project would expand on an existing development, Emerson said it is larger than most proposals in Varina.
“It is a large project, even for that section of the county,” he said. “But it’s a section of a larger project. The first section of Castleton is about the same size. This section was always anticipated to have homes in it.”
Emerson said the developer – and the market – has called for a wider variety of homes in the area.
“The recession’s changed the market quite a bit. As we come out of it, we’ve found – and the development community’s finding – that people’s tastes have changed,” Emerson said. “They’re looking for different designs, different features, in their homes. And in some cases, the desire for certain levels of square footage has changed, and lot size.”
Rudiger has said the homes would range in size from smaller three-bedroom floorplans, coming in at about 1,550 square feet, to five-bedroom designs with about 3,350 square feet. The latest proposal calls for no more than 335 residential units.
Homes in Castleton initially went for about $350,000 but were dropped to about $240,000. Boyd’s website states homes there currently start at just below $190,000.
The expansion involves part of a 181-acre parcel that Ross Run LLC purchased in February. County records show the parcel was purchased for $2.9 million.
An adjacent, smaller parcel totaling just more than 7 acres was purchased in 2011 for $130,000.
Should the request get approval from the Planning Commission next month, it would need final approval from county supervisors.
“I think we already have the nicest set of amenities of any development in Varina, and if this rezoning is approved, then we’ll be adding to those amenities and will really have a premiere community,” Rudiger said.
Boyd Homes’ other projects in the Richmond area have included Cascade Creek in Chesterfield County, Cypress Woods and Ramblewood Forest in Chester, and several multifamily developments, including a 600-unit apartment complex at the site of the former Cloverleaf Mall.