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Planners back preserving site
Spotsylvania Planning Commission supports Tricord project, urges saving 140 acres of the Chancellorsville battlefield from traditional development.


Date published: 10/21/2004

By GEORGE WHITEHURST

A piece of "sacred ground" on State Route 3 in Spotsylvania came one step closer last night to escaping the construction boom that's gobbling up land across the region.

The Planning Commission blessed a deal to set aside 140 acres of the Mullins farm--land that saw fierce fighting on the first day of the Battle of Chancellorsville.

The panel rezoned 87 acres that abut the preservation tract to allow Tricord Inc. to build Chancellorsville Hunt, a subdivision of nearly 300 homes for people aged 55 and older. The land, and some additional parcels, also will contain an assisted-living center and a church.

Spotsylvania served as co-applicant for Tricord's rezoning request.

The vote was 5-2, with Commissioners James Struther and Robert Taylor opposed to the rezoning. The Board of Supervisors will have the final say.

Tricord recently paid landowner John Mullins, the founder and owner of Covenant Funeral Service, $12.5 million for 227 acres of Mullins farm. The land stretches from Lick Run to Corter Avenue.

Tricord is selling 140 acres along Route 3 to the Civil War Preservation Trust for $3 million. The trust will create a 1,000-foot buffer between the highway and the new subdivision, a move that will preserve the rolling green hills that greet motorists driving west on Route 3.

Fifty-five acres of the preserved site are zoned for business and commercial uses. Tricord agreed to forego developing that land in order to add it to the preservation zone.

CWPT spokesman Jim Campi praised the deal as a win-win scenario for the county, Tricord, Mullins and all of America.

"This plan has something in it for everyone," he said. "The Civil War preservation community now has the opportunity to save the ground of the opening clash in the Battle of Chancellorsville."

Campi hailed Tricord for "having the foresight to think outside the box," thanked Spotsylvania elected officials who helped broker the deal and lauded Mullins "for helping us make a gift of this property to the American people."

Not all of the speakers at last night's public hearing painted as rosy a picture of the rezoning.


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