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Spotsy board vote brings cheers
Supervisors approve rezoning that protects 74 acres of the Chancellorsville battlefield.

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Date published: 11/15/2006

Preservationists rejoiced last night after the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a developer's rezoning request that will protect a 74-acre battlefield on Mullins Farm off State Route 3.

Toll Brothers requested a rezoning for 224 acres west of Lick Run, formerly the Ashley Farm, to allow 33 additional homes to the 89 homes allowed by right. The development is called Chancellorsville Crossing.

In exchange for the rezoning, Toll Brothers agreed to sell 74 acres of the world-renowned First Day at Chancellorsville Battlefield to the Civil War Preservation Trust for $1 million--more than $1.3 million below market value. The land is west of 140 acres that CWPT purchased from Tricord last year for $3 million.

Supervisors reserved comment, with only Chairman Hap Connors saying it has been a long journey to get to this point. Without approval of the rezoning, the battlefield would be destroyed and the county wouldn't get any proffer money, he said.

The board room was at near capacity for the public hearing at which a majority of speakers favored preserving the battlefield. Five people expressed concern that the new development, which clusters 122 single-family homes, wouldn't conform to their current subdivision, where their homes have two-acre lots.

Prior to the vote, former Supervisor Bob Hagan, who now is director of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the board could preserve a critical part of history, provide a view shed, and make Route 3 safer by eliminating one more access point by approving the rezoning.

He also warned supervisors that voters will be asking them during next year's election how they voted on this rezoning.

"I hope that each and every one of you will be able to answer yes," Hagan said.

Before the public hearing, there was some discussion about the proffers Toll Brothers is paying for the rezoning. County supervisors changed proffer guidelines this past June. Toll Brothers used the older guidelines, and Clark Leming, an attorney representing the developer, said those guidelines were in effect when the deal with CWPT was made.

Under the proffer rules Toll Brothers used, it will pay $722,000 to offset the cost to the public of the development. Under the current guidelines, the proffer money would increase by about $422,000.


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