Proposed Ashland project hits another snag

A proposed residential plan for Ashland calls for

A proposed residential plan for Ashland calls for nearly 200 single-family houses and townhomes. Images courtesy of Rogers-Chenault.

A 50-acre parcel that’s been eyed for development for more than three decades is at the center of controversy in the “Center of the Universe.”

Land in the town of Ashland that was approved in 1983 for a mixed-use project called Green Acres is now the site of a new, highly scrutinized proposal from developer Rogers-Chenault Inc.

And after more than a year of trying to get the Ashland Neighborhood project through, the developer has once again hit a delay in its proposal after the town council deferred a decision to rezone the property for at least 30 days from its May 5 meeting.

The town has been working with Rogers-Chenault, also known by its building arm R-CI Builders, on a residential development it first presented more than a year ago. That initial proposal called for more than 300 homes, including single-family houses, apartments and townhomes.

Concerns expressed at a community meeting resulted in the developer scaling the project back to 192 homes, consisting of 103 single-family homes and 89 townhomes.

See more elevations for the proposed homes (PDF)

See more elevations for the proposed homes (PDF)

Earlier this month, the proposal was again met with opposition from neighbors and other residents at a town council hearing. In light of those concerns, which dealt with density, traffic and quality of development, council deferred a decision to rezone the property for at least another month.

R-CI is seeking to rezone the land from a variety of uses that were approved for the Green Acres project to residential uses that would allow a density of up to four units per acre. The 52.5-acre tract, which is currently vacant, is located between Chapman and Thompson streets, just west of the central business district.

Opposition has also come from the town planning commission, which recommended that council deny the rezoning request. It contends the proposed density is not in conformity with the town’s comprehensive plan. The commission also cited concerns such as traffic and a lack of variety in housing and suggested several steps the developer could take to remedy them.

Some of those suggestions were addressed to different extents ahead of this month’s council meeting, but a dozen residents still spoke up to oppose the project at the recent hearing.

Todd Rogers, president and co-owner of R-CI Builders and an agent with Hometown Realty, said he is continuing to meet with town representatives to address those concerns. He said he has met with town staff and council members at least 30 times since first presenting the project. He said Rogers-Chenault has spent between $100,000 and $200,000 on the effort so far.

A lawsuit from the developer also hangs over the project. Rogers said his firm filed an appeal in circuit court after the town’s board of zoning appeals failed to affirm or deny the staff’s position that a version of the project did not conform to the zoning that was approved for Green Acres 30 years ago.

Rogers said his firm agreed to put its appeal on hold to give the town time to work on this latest proposal, but he said the lawsuit is considered pending.

Town Attorney Andrea Erard said the town is likewise appealing the decision of the board, which she noted is a separate entity from the town, with members appointed by Hanover Circuit Court.

Rogers said he wasn’t sure why the Green Acres project was never developed. He said his firm became involved a few years ago when it reached out to the current property owner, listed in town records as Green Acres Associates LLC.

“We’re actually much less dense than what’s already approved,” Rogers said. “We really think it’s a nice development.”

Rogers said the Ashland Neighborhood project is being modeled after the Villas at Rose Hill, a Mechanicsville development by StyleCraft Homes. Other residential projects by Rogers-Chenault include the 28-lot Lance & Bridle neighborhood in Ashland and a Mechanicsville subdivision called Cool Well. The firm is also currently developing a 55-and-up townhome development in Mechanicsville.

The latest plans for the Ashland Neighborhood project call for 5,200-square-foot lots for townhomes and 9,000 square feet for the single-family homes. Average home prices would be around $275,000 for town houses and between $300,000 and $350,000 for the single-family homes.

A proposed residential plan for Ashland calls for

A proposed residential plan for Ashland calls for nearly 200 single-family houses and townhomes. Images courtesy of Rogers-Chenault.

A 50-acre parcel that’s been eyed for development for more than three decades is at the center of controversy in the “Center of the Universe.”

Land in the town of Ashland that was approved in 1983 for a mixed-use project called Green Acres is now the site of a new, highly scrutinized proposal from developer Rogers-Chenault Inc.

And after more than a year of trying to get the Ashland Neighborhood project through, the developer has once again hit a delay in its proposal after the town council deferred a decision to rezone the property for at least 30 days from its May 5 meeting.

The town has been working with Rogers-Chenault, also known by its building arm R-CI Builders, on a residential development it first presented more than a year ago. That initial proposal called for more than 300 homes, including single-family houses, apartments and townhomes.

Concerns expressed at a community meeting resulted in the developer scaling the project back to 192 homes, consisting of 103 single-family homes and 89 townhomes.

See more elevations for the proposed homes (PDF)

See more elevations for the proposed homes (PDF)

Earlier this month, the proposal was again met with opposition from neighbors and other residents at a town council hearing. In light of those concerns, which dealt with density, traffic and quality of development, council deferred a decision to rezone the property for at least another month.

R-CI is seeking to rezone the land from a variety of uses that were approved for the Green Acres project to residential uses that would allow a density of up to four units per acre. The 52.5-acre tract, which is currently vacant, is located between Chapman and Thompson streets, just west of the central business district.

Opposition has also come from the town planning commission, which recommended that council deny the rezoning request. It contends the proposed density is not in conformity with the town’s comprehensive plan. The commission also cited concerns such as traffic and a lack of variety in housing and suggested several steps the developer could take to remedy them.

Some of those suggestions were addressed to different extents ahead of this month’s council meeting, but a dozen residents still spoke up to oppose the project at the recent hearing.

Todd Rogers, president and co-owner of R-CI Builders and an agent with Hometown Realty, said he is continuing to meet with town representatives to address those concerns. He said he has met with town staff and council members at least 30 times since first presenting the project. He said Rogers-Chenault has spent between $100,000 and $200,000 on the effort so far.

A lawsuit from the developer also hangs over the project. Rogers said his firm filed an appeal in circuit court after the town’s board of zoning appeals failed to affirm or deny the staff’s position that a version of the project did not conform to the zoning that was approved for Green Acres 30 years ago.

Rogers said his firm agreed to put its appeal on hold to give the town time to work on this latest proposal, but he said the lawsuit is considered pending.

Town Attorney Andrea Erard said the town is likewise appealing the decision of the board, which she noted is a separate entity from the town, with members appointed by Hanover Circuit Court.

Rogers said he wasn’t sure why the Green Acres project was never developed. He said his firm became involved a few years ago when it reached out to the current property owner, listed in town records as Green Acres Associates LLC.

“We’re actually much less dense than what’s already approved,” Rogers said. “We really think it’s a nice development.”

Rogers said the Ashland Neighborhood project is being modeled after the Villas at Rose Hill, a Mechanicsville development by StyleCraft Homes. Other residential projects by Rogers-Chenault include the 28-lot Lance & Bridle neighborhood in Ashland and a Mechanicsville subdivision called Cool Well. The firm is also currently developing a 55-and-up townhome development in Mechanicsville.

The latest plans for the Ashland Neighborhood project call for 5,200-square-foot lots for townhomes and 9,000 square feet for the single-family homes. Average home prices would be around $275,000 for town houses and between $300,000 and $350,000 for the single-family homes.

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Coach Tom Fleming
Coach Tom Fleming
9 years ago

I find the fact that Ashland’s Planning Commission can approve certain things, but not others mind boggling. I feel that had this developer been Habitat for Humanity based, then no problems would have existed. Ashland is suffering in the ‘quality development’ department and the true proof can be seen in our school system. Hanover Public Schools in Ashland are suffering immeasurably. While it may good for the children of parents on the Planning Commision meaning less competition; events occurring like this run people away from Ashland unfortunately. Some on the commission might need to obstain from voting as well due… Read more »

Patsy Taylor
Patsy Taylor
9 years ago

The need of the developers to enlarge their pocketbooks should not trump the wishes of hundreds of current residents to continue enjoying their way of life. The bottom line is that Route 54 does not need, nor can it accommodate, 200-plus more cars. If we had wanted to live in a high-traffic, overpriced, cookie-cutter subdivision area, we would have moved to the West End where, sad to say, the schools are better and their are more amenities. If the parcel must be developed, make it fit the town’s style and make sure the housing is affordable. As it stands with… Read more »