A residential development that would add hundreds of homes in Chesterfield’s fast-growing Winterpock area is finally getting its day in front of the county Planning Commission, three years after it was initially proposed.
Homebuilder Schell Brothers, which in 2018 filed plans with the county for more than 500 homes on 218 acres off Winterpock Road, has since expanded the proposal to nearly 670 homes on 250 acres between the Harpers Mill and Collington communities.
The larger project includes additional parcels and more than $5 million worth of offsite road and infrastructure improvements that were not part of the original plan, which never went before the commission for formal consideration after being deferred from an agenda in mid-2018.
Preston Lloyd, a Williams Mullen attorney representing Schell Brothers on the project, said the time since has been spent addressing concerns from the county that resulted in the proffered improvements, which would include planned extensions and a connection of Harpers Mill Parkway and Ashlake Parkway in the heart of the development.
“It took a little while to figure out how we could solve all those issues,” Lloyd said Monday. “All those things have come together nicely to the point where we’re satisfied that we can move this forward to a public hearing.”
Lloyd said the properties needed to connect the two roads — identified in the county’s Thoroughfare Plan as major arterial roadways — were not under Schell’s control when it filed its previous rezoning application.
“Figuring out how we could provide the connection between those, but also have sufficient density to spread those costs over, led to a lot of back and forth with the county,” he said. “Ultimately, we got to a place where we think, and the county agrees, that we’re satisfying the county’s current cash proffer policy by taking a credit for the off-site improvements that are being provided by the project.”
“It’s the same property, same applicants, same case,” Lloyd said. “It’s just been a circuitous process to get to this stage.”
Now planned to total 669 units, the enlarged development — referred to in county documents as the “Fuqua Site” — would consist of 307 single-family lots, a 288-unit apartment complex and 74 attached cottage-style homes, along with parks and green space, an east-west bike path connector, and a 2,500-square-foot clubhouse, among other amenities.
Home prices would start in the mid- to upper-$300,000s for the attached cottages and mid-$400,000s for the detached houses, which would be similar to homes that Schell has built in Magnolia Green’s Palmilla section. The single-family homes would have a minimum of 1,500 square feet and be grouped in neighborhoods based on lot sizes ranging from 60 to 90 feet in width.
While the houses would vary between 20 different models, each with four to five façade design options and other customizations, the attached homes would be a new product for Schell in the Richmond market, said Tricia Smith, the company’s division president.
Smith, who previously shared that role with former executive Shane Burnette, presented the latest version of the project with Lloyd in a community meeting held over Zoom in December. She said the development would add to 175 homes that Schell has built locally since entering the market in 2016.
Burnette, who was integral in bringing the Delaware-based builder to Richmond, is no longer with the company after parting ways last summer. He said the split was a mutual decision that’s allowing him to focus on apartment developments associated with the company.
While the Winterpock development would extend and connect Harpers Mill and Ashlake parkways, Lloyd said it would not connect with nearby Bethia Road, a smaller road that’s the street address for the parcels involved.
Lloyd said a transportation impact analysis submitted with the plans shows that the development would generate just under 5,000 vehicle trips per day. He also noted that the county is planning a new elementary school in the area, scheduled to open in 2026, that he said would help mitigate impacts on the county school system.
“More so than most projects, this project is going to help unlock the major transportation improvements that are being provided by the development and not by the county, so the taxpayer won’t foot the bill for those,” Lloyd said.
“Yes, it does represent new houses and a new community coming into an area that continues to grow, but the transportation improvements that are going to accompany this community are really quite substantial and of an order of magnitude that makes it a little bit unusual. They’ll benefit not just this specific community but those in the vicinity.”
Should the project receive approval, Lloyd said construction on the first homes could start in two years, with total buildout taking about six and a half years. He said buildout is projected to increase the county’s real estate tax revenue from the properties from about $6,000 annually to nearly $1.9 million.
The rezoning request is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission at its Feb. 16 meeting. It would then go to the Board of Supervisors, which would likewise hold a public hearing before deciding.
The development would add to a wave of growth that continues to flow along the nearby Hull Street Road corridor. Nearby, across from Harpers Mill’s entrance off the corridor, Midlothian-based Main Street Homes is moving forward with Cosby Village Square, a commercial section of its 68-acre Cosby Village development.