Thursday, February 29, 2024

Planners vote against proposed Lightfoot development

An overhead look at the proposed layout of “The York” development in Lightfoot. (Courtesy Lightfoot Development LLC)

A proposed new development in Lightfoot does not have the blessing of the York County Planning Commission.

According to a proposal filed with the county commission, Lightfoot Development LLC based in Gainesville, Va., proposed building a residential and commercial development at the intersection of Lightfoot and Old Mooretown Roads.

The applicants took their proposal before the county’s Planning Commission Wednesday evening and said they believed the project will inject life into York County’s economy.

The seven-person commission voted 5-0 against the proposal, with two members absent.

Located across Richmond Road from Lightfoot Marketplace, the development known as “The York” would be home to 276 luxury apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail.

“Within a one-and-a-half mile radius of the Lightfoot project there is a vacancy of 133,690 square feet of retail, and they’ve been vacant for three years, and that’s according to [York County’s] economic development department,” said Denise Lacour, Managing Director at Denstock Management LLC, developer for the project. “276 rooftops will really help to bolster what is a flagging retail economy in the northern part of York County.”

The Planning Commission serves in an advisory role to the county’s Board of Supervisors regarding zoning, permits, ordinance amendments and development.

In order to construct the development, Lightfoot Development, LLC’s proposal required the rezoning the 22.4 acres site from Economic Opportunity to Planned Development Mix Use.

“I agree with the applicant that residential in this area is something that’s missing and is highly-needed, I just think the proposal’s just not ready for prime time,” said District Four Commissioner Michael King before voting not to recommend the proposal to the Board of Supervisors. “You just don’t have the right mix to meet the spirit and intent of the ordinance.”

According to Section 24.1-361.1 of the York County Code, the purpose of the Planned Development Mix Use designation is to allow for “developments containing an integrated, comprehensively planned and designed mix of business, retail, cultural, residential and other appropriate uses.”

Such developments should produce pedestrian-friendly environments, increase density, create a “landmark” space and a main street, and provide a mix of shopping, residential, office and recreational opportunities within walking distance of one another.

County planning staff recommended the commission deny the proposal because there are no “mixed-use” buildings — rather, the commercial and residential buildings are separate.

The commercial buildings would be located at the front of the property with apartments behind, according to the application.

The proposal also lacks a “landmark” area and common village center that integrates commercial and residential, Amy Parker, senior planner with York County, said during the meeting.

The proposal will go before the county’s Board of Supervisors for a final determination, although was not yet listed on online meeting agendas Thursday.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the “The York” development site as being located across Richmond Road from the Lightfoot Crossing shopping center. The proposed development is located across Richmond Road from the Lightfoot Marketplace shopping center, and adjacent to the Lightfoot Crossing on Lightfoot Road.

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