New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | May 30, 2023

New Kent leaders hit pause button on possible mixed-development in Bottoms Bridge area

By Robb Johnson | May 10, 2023 1:02 am

As the growth of New Kent continues to expand, the Bottoms Bridge area in the western portion of the county continues to be one of the more attractive areas for suitors to construct homes and businesses. One such entity’s request for an ordinance to create a mixed-used development has county leaders contemplating on what to do.

Bridgewater Crossing Inc. Liberty Landing’s presented a plan to develop 118 acres of land into a mixed-used development as part of a public hearing for an ordinance that will create the Liberty Landing Planned Unit Development.

Representative Jefferey Geiger addressed board members on the plan that is looking to develop 60,000 square spaces for commercial use on the property along Pocahontas Trail (Route 60) near the VCU Emergency Center. The plan calls for the development of 140 town homes and 45 single family residences. Among amenities include club houses and walking trails.

The concept of Liberty Landing centers around a village theme, characterized by a mixed development made up of residential, commercial, and institutional property. As part of the proposal, Geiger indicated that the plan provides more affordable housing options and areas for retail stores and general offices to be created, emphasizing the advantages that small businesses could have using these spaces.

The development also proposes needs that New Kent would need due to its growth. Among Liberty Landing’s plans include general merchandise stores, restaurants, clothing outlets, daycares, medical offices, and middle market housing.

In addition, a plan for a 60,000-foot business district area is being proposed. This area would have the capability to house areas that include a commercial winery, lumberyard, a plant nursery, a distillery, and a shopping center. Some things that wouldn’t be allowed as part of the agreement include agricultural equipment sales, an animal hospital with outside areas, and auto and boat sales.

The residential area of the proposal would have a minimum of 145 single-family detached homes and a maximum of 145 homes. These homes would have amenities that include a pool, playground, dog park, and picnic area.

While the proposal did pass with a 6-4 favorable recommendation by New Kent’s Planning Commission, several concerns remained with the plan. Many of these concerns centered around zoning ordinances that dictate conditions of the property. Issues of lighting, drainage, parking, landscaping, and signage were some of the things that caused concern. Other things that needed and would be required include public water and sewer, light fixtures, and a 25-foot-wide buffer between landscaping areas and residential/commercial areas.

Geiger said benefits of the development include cash proffers for the land. According to the representative, each single-family home could bring in $8,000, while each town home would account for $4,000. If all the homes are in use, the equivalent would be $1.74 million in cash proffers that would come to the county, with an annual tax rate contribution of $1.2 million a year from that area according to the developer.

While the project is hoping to get a launch for a 2034 completion date, county leaders indicated they did not have enough information on the project to approve the ordinance. County leaders voted unanimously to defer any decision on the ordinance, indicating that they have approximately one year to make a decision.