Developers now have a little more leeway when they build apartment projects in the local Route 1 corridor.
A recently approved zoning code amendment tweaked Chesterfield County’s existing Route 1 Residential Overlay to allow apartment developments to be built further back from Jefferson Davis Highway, in addition to decreased balcony requirements and adjusted common area and architectural design guidelines.
The Route 1 Residential Overlay, which runs along the Route 1 corridor from Osborne Road in Chester up to the Richmond city line, is within the Northern Jefferson Highway Design District.
“The goal of the overlay was to increase investment opportunities in the corridor and meet the goals of the Northern Jefferson Davis Special Area Plan. This amendment we hope expands the attractiveness of, and expands opportunities, for that investment in the design district and overlay,” Chesterfield zoning administrator Ray Cash said in an email.
The Northern Jefferson Davis Special Area Plan was adopted in 2018 to spur development and investment in the area. The zone covers 13.5 square miles centered on Route 1.
A previous requirement that 50 percent of units in a given apartment complex inside the overlay have balconies has been reduced to no less than 30 percent of units. The amended code permits development within 800 feet of the road, whereas previously projects had only 500 feet of space to work with. However, among other limitations, no more than half of total units are permitted to be more than 500 feet away from the street.
To take advantage of the changes, some of these areas that now fall within that expanded development footprint would need to be rezoned to permit apartment or townhome projects.
“To be eligible for multifamily use the property would have to be C-3 or C-5, so it is likely several properties within the overlay may need zoning to be eligible (for) future use. With only a few exceptions this would likely be needed if seeking to go beyond the 500 feet previous depth limitation,” Cash said.
The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the changes last week after it deferred the proposal in November. The Planning Commission voted to recommend the proposal at its meeting on Sept. 15.
In October, Chesterfield County tweaked its requirements for parking spaces in apartment developments.