Tuesday, January 31, 2023

119 Oakland Pointe Apartments approved for Toano

A revised site plan for Oakland Pointe Apartments filed in Tuesday's agenda documents shows the complex with 119 units, compared to the original plan with 126. (WYDaily/Courtesy James City County)
A revised site plan for Oakland Pointe Apartments filed in Tuesday’s agenda documents shows the complex with 119 units, compared to the original plan with 126. (WYDaily/Courtesy James City County)

Oakland Pointe Apartments is coming to Toano.

The James City County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday afternoon at their regular monthly work session to approve the project, bringing 119 apartment units to 7581 Richmond Road.

The vote approves a rezoning request and height limitation waiver for the project. Only Supervisor Sue Sadler, who represents the district where the development will be, voted against the project because of its impact on schools, she said.

“It’s just one other tool in our toolbox to build what we need to build in James City County,” said Supervisor Michael Hipple of affordable housing.

The project is a scaled-down version of the original complex, which was proposed to have 126 units. Supervisors asked Feb. 12 for the developer to create a smaller version of the project after an hours-long public hearing.

Proposed by South Carolina-based Connelly Development LLC, Oakland Pointe has gained both support and opposition since it was first proposed in 2017.

The project fits in with the county’s work on expanding affordable and workforce housing, but some residents have pushed to keep James City County rural.

During public comment sessions, some residents said the project is the wrong fit for the parcel because it will increase traffic at the nearby Croaker-Richmond roads intersection and the number of students in the school division.

Before the vote, several board members mentioned the possible impact on local schools and traffic were issues that made them reconsider the project.

“There are still things about the scale of it that do give me pause,” Supervisor John McGlennon said, mentioning the impact on traffic and schools.

The apartment complex will use low-income tax credits offered by the federal government.

“The project aims to address the deficit in affordable and quality housing,” said Connelly Development’s attorney Tim Trant.

State-run agencies give a limited number of tax credits to eligible developers, then after the developers receive those credits, they sell them to investors, creating a cash equity to build housing, according to the National Housing Law Project.

The tax credit program doesn’t provide housing subsidies, but instead creates tax incentives which encourage developers to build affordable housing.

To mitigate the impacts of the project, Connelly Development has altered their plans and agreed to improve infrastructure, including improving turn lanes on Richmond Road.

“With the development… this is the only development that I have ever had this much improvement in infrastructure that was requested,” said T. Kevin Connelly, the developer. “I think we’ve gone beyond helping the traffic.

Connelly Development has built other projects similar to Oakland Pointe along the lower East Coast.

“I’ve never had a municipality come out to me and say ‘You know, that was a terrible idea to build that there,'” Connelly said.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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