Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Patriots Colony Proposes Four Hybrid Apartments

This is the proposed front elevation for a hybrid apartment building at Patriots Colony. (JCC)
This is the proposed front elevation for a hybrid apartment building at Patriots Colony. (JCC)

Patriots Colony is looking to serve more retired servicemen and women by building four hybrid apartment buildings.

Molly Trant, associate corporate counsel at Riverside Health System, the parent organization for the medical practice at Patriots Colony, went before the James City County Planning Commission on Wednesday to advocate for amending the Greensprings Master Plan and rezoning land for the buildings.

She said the four, five-story buildings would add 80 independent living homes to the retirement community. Parking will be located on the first floor of each building to reduce how far residents have to walk and the overall footprint of the project, Trant said.

The apartments could help shorten the community’s wait list, which currently lists 335 people hoping to call Patriots Colony home, Trant said.

Paul Treolo, a member of the Patriots Colony Board of Directors, affirmed the additional units are needed and said building the apartments would benefit the county.

“This project is certainly needed. It’s well designed and it’s well planned,” Treolo said. “It will certainly provide additional jobs in the county during construction and subsequent operation, as well as taxes.”

The community’s proximity to Green Spring Plantation, the site of Governor William Berkeley’s mansion and estate, has required Patriots Colony to take special care when planning the expansion.

A balloon test was performed to ensure the apartment buildings, which are proposed to rise 70 feet above grade, would not disturb the viewshed of the historic site.

The test involved tying a balloon to the top of a crane at the location of the buildings; Trant said the balloon could be seen from the entrance to Patriots Colony but could not be seen above the trees, which were bare during the January test.

Additionally, an agreement with the National Park Service is in place to stop any land clearing or construction at the site in the event of a previously undiscovered archaeological resource is found.

Commissioner Danny Schmidt (Roberts), an archaeologist by trade, said he was pleased to hear that NPS has been involved with the project from the early stages.

“That makes it sit a lot better with me,” Schmidt said of the proposal.

Commissioner Rich Krapf (Powhatan) said the proposal “fits a need” for more senior housing and has a positive fiscal impact for the county.

“The applicant has taken some good measure to make sure it’s environmentally friendly and it reduced the existing density for the zoning on that parcel,” Krapf said. “For all of those reasons I would also be supportive of that application.”

The commission unanimously recommended approval of the applications and acceptance of the amended proffers. The proposal will go to the JCC Board of Supervisors next for approval.

The second phase of the expansion would add a memory care and skilled nursing facility, which could serve Patriots Colony residents and non-residents. Land would not be cleared for this project until after the four apartments are completed, Trant said.

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