While its controversial proposal for nearly 200 homes on the western edge of Ashland remains in limbo, a local developer is finding a warmer reception for another project right across the town line.
Mechanicsville-based Rogers-Chenault Inc., which recently withdrew a lawsuit against the town of Ashland over a project called Green Acres, has received support from the Hanover County Planning Commission for a 260-acre project directly west of the Green Acres site.
The plan for this latest development consists of several parcels on both sides of State Route 54, just beyond town limits and just west of the road’s intersection with Chapman Street.
Dubbed Lakeview at Luck Farm, the Hanover development calls for 42 clustered home sites on 1-acre lots across the 260 acres, with the majority of the land reserved for conservation.
The proposal requires approval from county commissioners, who will decide on a rezoning request Dec. 19.
Todd Rogers of Rogers-Chenault said the proposal for the former dairy farm, which features rolling topography and several lakes and ponds, resulted from an initial attempt at a much denser development.
“It had been on the market for several years, and we had looked at it before to try to figure out how to do a pretty major development: 800 or so units on it,” he said. “But in continuing to look at it, it just didn’t make any sense, and the seller understood that and reduced the price to where this type of development could work on it.”
Rogers said his company has had the land under contract for seven months. County records list the property’s current owner as Barnyard Enterprises LLC.
Rogers said another factor that led to the current proposal was the challenge – and expense – of extending sewer lines to the property. The 42 homes would be served by septic systems, while water service has yet to be determined.
“If we would have hung in there and tried to do something more dense, it certainly could have been much more lucrative,” he said, “but a whole lot more risk, too – risk as far as getting approval, and risk as far as construction of the sewer line.”
Houses would range from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet, Rogers said, with the majority of the homes designed with single-story floor plans. Each would have four to six bedrooms and 2½ to 4½ bathrooms, and prices would range between $400,000 and $600,000.
The homes would be built by R-CI Builders, the construction arm of Rogers-Chenault. Rogers, an agent with Hometown Realty, is also president and co-owner of R-CI Builders.
Rogers said he could not project a total development cost because plans have not been finalized. The company is working with engineering firm Balzer & Associates.
Should the county grant the rezoning, Rogers said road construction could start by next summer, with homes being built by this time next year. Site plans show those homes would be clustered in four culs-de-sac, with none of the homes fronting the state route.
“It preserves the rural nature of that part of Route 54,” Rogers said.
Lakeview at Luck Farm was not the only request before the county last month involving a rural conservation district zoning change. Mechanicsville-based The Bay Cos. had sought, on behalf of Godsey Properties Inc., a rezoning to an agricultural residential district with conditions for 425 acres on the north side of Hopewell Road east of Figuly Road.
The company requested a deferral at last month’s commission meeting to resolve issues with its conceptual plan. That request will be heard at the commission’s meeting Dec. 10.
Meanwhile, Rogers-Chenault has non-suited, or withdrawn, its lawsuit against Ashland regarding the Green Acres project. Rogers said the decision was due to technical aspects with the case, as well as a desire to work with the town on a resolution.
The suit, filed earlier this year in Hanover Circuit Court, had sought to require the town to fairly consider the proposed project, which has faced repeated setbacks related to concerns over density, aesthetics and a provision from a 30-year-old zoning plan.
Rogers said the suit was a course of action he preferred not to take.
“We don’t make it a habit of trying to sue localities or anything like that,” he said. “We are non-suiting the case and trying to work again with the town on hopefully something that will be good for everybody.”