‘Elections have consequences’: New Kent board rejects Liberty Landing mixed-use development

new kent board supervisors

The New Kent Board of Supervisors recently voted to reject a zoning request tied to Liberty Landing, a proposed mixed-use development. (Screenshot)

A Virginia Beach-based firm’s proposal for a sizable mixed-use development was rejected this week by the New Kent County Board of Supervisors.

The board last week voted against a rezoning request for Boyd Homes’ plans for Liberty Landing, which would have featured 60,000 square feet of commercial space as well as 290 homes.

The project was proposed for a 118-acre site situated on Route 60 and across from the Five Lakes subdivision in the western part of the county.

The majority of the board members didn’t publicly explain their opposition to what was the latest iteration of the project at the meeting, where they voted unanimously to reject the proposal.

But newly elected Supervisor John Moyer provided some justification for his vote. Citing community opposition to the proposal, Moyer, who in his previous post as a planning commissioner supported the project, attributed his about-face to the tight race for his seat on the board.

“Elections have consequences. I won by 20 votes. My opponent (Donald Westbrock) was very much against this project and all I’ve heard since my election is the agreement that this is not the project we should have,” Moyer said.

Boyd Homes didn’t respond to phone messages seeking comment.

New Kent’s five-member board has mostly new faces in the wake of last November’s elections. Incumbents Thomas Evelyn and Ron Stiers remain on the board and serve among newcomers Moyer, Jordan Stewart and Amy Pearson.

Pearson is an interim appointee who took over the seat held by Patricia Paige. Paige won reelection in November but died later that month. Pearson is also a former planning commissioner and was a dissenter when the commission voted in the spring to recommend final approval of Liberty Landing.

The lone community member who took to the podium during the public hearing before the board’s vote spoke against the project.

Boyd Homes had requested a rezoning to planned unit development (PUD) from a mix of business and agricultural to set the stage for Liberty Landing.

new kent liberty landing plan

Liberty Landing was planned to feature single-family homes, condos and 60,000 square feet of commercial space. The project’s rezoning request was rejected last Monday by the New Kent Board of Supervisors. (BizSense file)

The project’s commercial development would have taken shape on a 16-acre section of the overall site. The parcels that make up the project area are owned by Bridgewater Crossing Inc., an entity tied to Boyd Homes. The assemblage is near VCU Health’s New Kent-based emergency center at 2495 Pocahontas Trail.

Boyd Homes acquired the 10-parcel project site for a total of $3 million in transactions between 2006 and 2011, according to online New Kent land records. A decade ago, the company had a similar project in mind for the same site that featured rental units.  

For Liberty Landing, its residential section was to be split between 145 units of for-sale townhomes and 145 lots for single-family detached homes, according to a staff memo.

The proposal featured a phasing requirement that within four years of site plan approval at least 10,000 square feet of commercial construction would be completed.

Proffered conditions included payments to the county of $4,000 per townhome and $8,000 per single-family house built at the development. Boyd Homes had proffered $250,000 for site acquisition for a fire station as well as $500,000 for a traffic signal, according to meeting materials.

A transportation analysis recommended new turn lanes on Route 60 to accommodate the traffic created by the project.

new kent board supervisors

The New Kent Board of Supervisors recently voted to reject a zoning request tied to Liberty Landing, a proposed mixed-use development. (Screenshot)

A Virginia Beach-based firm’s proposal for a sizable mixed-use development was rejected this week by the New Kent County Board of Supervisors.

The board last week voted against a rezoning request for Boyd Homes’ plans for Liberty Landing, which would have featured 60,000 square feet of commercial space as well as 290 homes.

The project was proposed for a 118-acre site situated on Route 60 and across from the Five Lakes subdivision in the western part of the county.

The majority of the board members didn’t publicly explain their opposition to what was the latest iteration of the project at the meeting, where they voted unanimously to reject the proposal.

But newly elected Supervisor John Moyer provided some justification for his vote. Citing community opposition to the proposal, Moyer, who in his previous post as a planning commissioner supported the project, attributed his about-face to the tight race for his seat on the board.

“Elections have consequences. I won by 20 votes. My opponent (Donald Westbrock) was very much against this project and all I’ve heard since my election is the agreement that this is not the project we should have,” Moyer said.

Boyd Homes didn’t respond to phone messages seeking comment.

New Kent’s five-member board has mostly new faces in the wake of last November’s elections. Incumbents Thomas Evelyn and Ron Stiers remain on the board and serve among newcomers Moyer, Jordan Stewart and Amy Pearson.

Pearson is an interim appointee who took over the seat held by Patricia Paige. Paige won reelection in November but died later that month. Pearson is also a former planning commissioner and was a dissenter when the commission voted in the spring to recommend final approval of Liberty Landing.

The lone community member who took to the podium during the public hearing before the board’s vote spoke against the project.

Boyd Homes had requested a rezoning to planned unit development (PUD) from a mix of business and agricultural to set the stage for Liberty Landing.

new kent liberty landing plan

Liberty Landing was planned to feature single-family homes, condos and 60,000 square feet of commercial space. The project’s rezoning request was rejected last Monday by the New Kent Board of Supervisors. (BizSense file)

The project’s commercial development would have taken shape on a 16-acre section of the overall site. The parcels that make up the project area are owned by Bridgewater Crossing Inc., an entity tied to Boyd Homes. The assemblage is near VCU Health’s New Kent-based emergency center at 2495 Pocahontas Trail.

Boyd Homes acquired the 10-parcel project site for a total of $3 million in transactions between 2006 and 2011, according to online New Kent land records. A decade ago, the company had a similar project in mind for the same site that featured rental units.  

For Liberty Landing, its residential section was to be split between 145 units of for-sale townhomes and 145 lots for single-family detached homes, according to a staff memo.

The proposal featured a phasing requirement that within four years of site plan approval at least 10,000 square feet of commercial construction would be completed.

Proffered conditions included payments to the county of $4,000 per townhome and $8,000 per single-family house built at the development. Boyd Homes had proffered $250,000 for site acquisition for a fire station as well as $500,000 for a traffic signal, according to meeting materials.

A transportation analysis recommended new turn lanes on Route 60 to accommodate the traffic created by the project.

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Brian Gullette
Brian Gullette
2 months ago

This is a critical root cause of both inflation and sprawl. When our most popular, fast-growing regions reject even the most accommodating development plans that fully reflect the social, economic and environmental values and priorities of our Development Ordinances, then we really shouldn’t be surprised when market forces deliver “something else.”

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
2 months ago

Don’t worry about making that area a bit nicer, just worry about them 20 votes……..

Camille Robinson
Camille Robinson
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

He just said it….

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
2 months ago

It’s too dense. We would rather you eat up 3,000 acres with 10 acre by right lots…

People simply don’t get that if you let a little density in select areas you can save much more land elsewhere. 10 acre lots may kind of look like an ag area but it is not farmed like an ag area. If you really want to save the ag lifestyle and the farms you should allow some density in appropriate areas. Instead, this Board is simply sticking their head in the sand.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

What I find amazing is how much space is being taken up by these really long driveways.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago

500K for a stoplight? Is that the standard cost?

Brad Bonney
Brad Bonney
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

It’s more like a $1MM

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago
Reply to  Brad Bonney

I’m sure the equipment is not cheap and there has to be a study, and the timing of the light must integrate with local traffic, but wow that seems like a lot.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago

This housing shortage and the prices are so is bad that I’m not even going to consider owning a home and all the stuff that comes with it is off the table. I’m really starting to get the impression that the state or the federal government is going to have start to jump in to crack apart the power of these planning commissions by making 15.th acre lots or at least quarter acre lots along all lots that touch public water and sewer. Or the State should require that all counties have at least 200 apartments and 500 15th acre… Read more »

Michael Boyer
Michael Boyer
2 months ago

Sounds like you want a lot of government involvement in all these restrictions you propose,makes me very worried.

Carl Schwendeman
Carl Schwendeman
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael Boyer

The current system of zoning is really a government monster that was created between the 1930’s and 1960’s when people were blinded by the wounder of the automobile age and the auto lobby. And is so one sided that many pre 1940’s pedestrian friendly communities would never be able to exist with modern zoning and parking standards. In fact at a local meetings parking lots get more attention then green space or sidewalks. Also the current system of zoning could get away with housing needs when when there was 161,136,449 people in America in 1955. But it’s 2024 and there… Read more »

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago

uh……. I hear this sort of historical world view a LOT, but people seem to not understand that the STREETCAR companies (which only succeeded as subs or the electric cos) were the Evil Ones first, and that the car has not been a blight, but has been a wonderful thing, on balance and has only been getting better over time — less polluting, safer, more reliable — it is changing the world for the better. As far as the Future goes, well, people are always telling other people that the Apocolypse is coming…. in 1845, no wait — 1910. The… Read more »

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
2 months ago

Applying one solution across the board to every locality does not work in Virginia. While I do not agree with this particular decision, I fully recognize New Kent is not the same as Henrico and Henrico is not even the same as Fairfax. Imagine applying the same zoning district to Craig County is SW Virginia and Fairfax. That is not good for either one.

There are laws against exclusionary zoning practices and some local governments could start running into some lawsuits if they continue down the path they have been.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

Written like a champ!

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago

Well, I think we could agree that such armtwisting should not be directed toward New Kent and Goochland — maybe start further in, right?

Renita Sommers
Renita Sommers
2 months ago

Surprising they turned this town, it was well thought out and the proffers would add nicely to the county’s bottom line. Plus the additional payments for a fire station and lighting. The neighbors can only be so upset about it if they didn’t even attend the meeting….. usually there is a path to make both sides happy.

Shawn Harper
Shawn Harper
1 month ago
Reply to  Renita Sommers

Yeah, I frankly don’t understand why a lot of rural people complain about things that can only make things easier — many seem concerned their property taxes are going to go up — is there any basis for this?

Steven Tyler
Steven Tyler
2 months ago

Brian Gullette defined the consequences well. But here’s the thing I don’t get about how these BOS’s vote: If 1, 2, even 100 angry people show up to oppose a project, how many don’t care or support it? The vocal minority are pushing communities off course and the people elected to make good decisions just listen to them instead of having real vision.