WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
The James City County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Wednesday to allow for 33 additional single-family homes to be built in the Village at Candle Station.
The addition of the homes to the neighborhood is one of several changes the supervisors accepted after a 90,000-square-foot assisted living home and about 30,000 square feet of commercial and office area called for in the neighborhood’s master plan were deemed unviable by the developer, Pete Henderson.
Instead of those amenities, the neighborhood will feature the new homes and a self-storage area with about 60,000 square feet of space. That construction will join up to 175 other homes approved by the supervisors in 2011.
The neighborhood is located behind Food Lion and Crosswalk Community Church in Norge.
Tim Trant, an attorney for Kaufman & Canoles speaking at the meeting on behalf of Henderson, said his client approached hundreds of purveyors of assisted living homes, but none were interested in developing the property.
The master plan approved by the supervisors in 2011 allows for up to 87 homes to be constructed in the neighborhood until the assisted living home is built.
Furthermore, weak demand in the area made the approximately 30,000 square feet of commercial and office space identified in the master plan a non-starter. He pointed to the nearby Poplar Creek Business Park and the Candle Station Shops along Richmond Road, which have struggled to keep tenants.
“These are the unfortunate circumstances that have led us to propose [the changes to the master plan],” Trant said.
Supervisor Jim Kennedy (Stonehouse) said he has talked to Henderson about the way the project has developed and the developer is “as disappointed as I am.”
“The proposal that came before us failed,” he said. “It didn’t make it. So what do we do about that?”
Kennedy joined three other supervisors in supporting the plan, with John McGlennon (Roberts) representing the lone no vote. McGlennon said he did not support the project in 2011, and he does not support it now.
Supervisor Kevin Onizuk (Jamestown) said he did not find the changes to the project appealing but that it represented a better fate than allowing the project to stall.
“This isn’t someone that’s coming to us to try to cash out and make more money on the project,” he said. “I legitimately believe the applicant is coming forward hat in hand asking for us to bail him out of a tough situation that was caused by economic circumstances outside his control.”
During a public hearing prior to the supervisors’ vote, the owner of a 215-acre parcel of land behind the Village at Candle Station urged the supervisors to require Henderson to grant him right-of-way access through the neighborhood’s land.
Right-of-way access would allow that land’s owner, Dick Ashe, to connect any development on his parcel to the neighborhood, using its streets to connect it to Richmond Road.
The supervisors did not grant the request, citing opinions from Planning Division Director Paul Holt and County Attorney Michele Gowdy that there is no legal requirement for Henderson to provide right-of-way access to Ashe.
The meeting began at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, however the Village at Candle Station project was not voted on by the supervisors until after 12:15 a.m. Wednesday.