During an upcoming joint meeting with the King George Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission—which is unusual in itself—county officials will gather information about an equally unusual request for the rural locality.

Darell Hertenstein of Hertenstein Investment Group is proposing a development with 450 housing units on 82 acres, along with restaurants, businesses and an urgent care clinic operated by Mary Washington Healthcare.

Called Villages at King George Crossroads, the development covers a total of 110 acres that stretch past the King George Sheriff’s Office on State Route 3 to the intersection of U.S. 301.

The second-largest rezoning after Hopyard Farm and certainly the densest, the development would bring 108 townhouses, 102 villa-style units for ages 55 and older and 240 apartments to the Courthouse area. Under its current zoning of agricultural, only 41 single-family, 2-acre lots are allowed on the land, according to the county.

Hertenstein points out the revenue the project would bring, not necessarily the people and traffic.

“The project is phased over 10 years and provides almost $10 million [through connections and fees] to the Service Authority, which is in need of a new wastewater treatment plant at Purkin’s Corner,” Hertenstein said. “It also provides over a million dollars a year in taxes to King George County.

“Along with a major medical provider, we feel this project is a win for the county,” he stated in an email.

Hertenstein and the landowners he has contracts with—Beverley Coates, David Clare and Alyce Jeter Jones—will see the county’s reaction to the proposal during the joint meeting between supervisors and planners Oct. 8. It starts at 7 p.m. in the board room of the Revercomb Administration Center.

County officials are still working out details of the joint meeting, but the agenda most likely will include a presentation by the county’s Community Development Department, then information by the applicant.

Members of the public will be able to offer their opinions. Then the Planning Commission, which serves as an advisory group to the Board of Supervisors, can have its own discussion and vote, followed by the supervisors doing the same.

Or, neither board may vote that night, said County Administrator Neiman Young.

The planners won’t meet again in October, but the supervisors have their second regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 15.

When the joint public hearing was discussed Sept. 17, a spokesperson for Hertenstein said time is of the essence. The land the development company has acquired is under contract until Oct. 30, the spokesperson said, and going past that date would be detrimental to the project.

At least one supervisor didn’t care for the rushed process. Supervisor Cathy Binder said the notion of dealing with this project differently was “one heartburn I have.”

Usually, a rezoning is presented to the Planning Commission, which reviews the proposal, holds a public hearing, then forwards its recommendation for approval or disapproval to the Board of Supervisors.

Even though both boards are hearing the plan at the same time, Supervisor Ruby Brabo said she preferred separate discussions and separate votes.

The Villages at King George Crossroads includes a mixture of homes and restaurants, offices and the MWH clinic, but Herteinstein is not seeking rezoning under the mixed-use ordinance King George adopted last year.

Instead, he wants agricultural land to be rezoned for various levels of residential and commercial space.

The Planning Commission spent two years working with a consultant to fashion a mixed-used ordinance that would allow a pedestrian-friendly, village-type area in the Courthouse. But concerns mounted over having too many homes on too little acreage or buildings that were too tall and didn’t fit the county’s rural nature, and planners voted 6–2 against such development.

Supervisors, however, approved the idea because they liked the idea of a downtown area that would bring an identity to the Courthouse area—the only place where such dense development would be allowed—and provide more commercial activities.

As part of the plan, Hertenstein’s company is providing about $1 million in incentives to MWH in hopes the health-care titan eventually will build a stand-alone emergency room in the county. Hertenstein has agreed to provide 8.45 acres and place $500,000 into escrow for the facility within 60 days of the rezoning approval.

MWH currently is spending $1 million to renovate space in the former Community Care Clinic at 11127 Journal Parkway for an urgent-care clinic. It plans to stay there about three years, then hopefully move to a more modern facility in Hertenstein’s development, said MWH Senior Vice President Eric Fletcher.

Hertenstein’s ultimate hope is that King George could have a stand-alone emergency room, a facility where residents could be transported, treated and stay overnight. The county would have to almost double its population to support such an operation, Fletcher said in the past.

The Centers for Disease Control suggests a community needs to generate about 60 patients per day to warrant the expense of such a facility. At its current population of less than 27,000 residents, King George would produce about 32 visits per day, Fletcher said.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425

cdyson@freelancestar.com

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