Goochland supervisors adopted a budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins on July 1; set tax and utility rates for calendar year 2018; and voted to approve the last of the deferred rezoning applications at a special meeting on April 17. The total budget is $89,779, 074. (For details see the budget tab on the homepage of the county website http://goochlandva.us )
The actions followed the appointment of John L. Lumpkins, Jr. to serve as District 3 supervisor until a November 6 special election. Lumpkins will be sworn in at the beginning of the Tuesday, May 1 Board meeting.
Jonathan Lyle, Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District Director, reported that his agency as recently audited and received a clean fiscal bill of health. He thanked the Board for its fiscal support of MSWCD. He noted that in March, MSWCD received 10 request for technical assistance, nine of which came from Goochland, the other from Powhatan. He said that the 2018-19 plan has been approved and its emphasis is on agriculture. He also thanked the Board for putting MSWCD on the radar for space at the Central High School Cultural Center.
There were no surprises in the approved budget or tax rates. Real estate tax rates will remain at 53 cents per $100 of valuation, Tuckahoe Creek Service District ad valorem tax will remain at 32 cents per $100, personal property tax rates remain unchanged. There will be a modest increase in water and sewer rates for those properties served by public utilities.
Board Chair Ken Peterson, District 5 said that the budget end product represents an awful lot of work by an awful lot of people and citizen input.
County Administrator John Budesky explained that the budget is an ongoing process that beings internally in October. He thanked every member of county and school division staffs as well as Constitutional Officers for their hard work collaborating with Director of Finance Barbara Horlacher.
The budget process, said Budesky, represents an alignment of priorities with goals set by the supervisors. “We take the responsibility of managing tax dollars very seriously, The citizen feedback gathered from public hearings and town Hall meetings is invaluable,” he said.
The Board then turned its attention to public hearings.
A conditional use permit for a second dwelling on Manakin Road north of Broad Street Road for elderly relatives was unanimous approved. Neighbors expressed support for the CUP.
A rezoning application for 153 acres on the east side of Hockett Road, called Readers Branch, deferred late last year pending adoption of the county’s capital impact model (CIM) was up next.
The application would combine two existing subdivisions into one community zoned residential planned unit development (RPUD) with an average density of approximately two units per acre.
As currently zoned, the two subdivisions—Readers Branch zoned in 2007 and Swanson’s Ridge, zoned in 2013—could build, by right, 306 single family homes. Combined into a more cohesive plan, the new Readers Branch will have no more than 303 lots, one fewer access point on Hockett Road, and provide at build out, a sewer stub to Hickory Haven subdivision, which lies north of the subject property.
Previous zoning for Readers Branch included duplex units. The conceptual plan, as presented, has three sections arranged around the flood plain. An amenity package includes outdoor recreational spaces, a community clubhouse, and birding stations. Cash proffers of $12,592 per home, calculated according to the CIM formula, were part of the application
Build out of Readers Branch his estimated to take eight years, or about 39 homes per year, depending on market conditions, according to Natalie Croft, of Eagle Homes. The original Readers Branch never materialized due to the economic downturn and no demand for attached housing. She contended that the final product is much better than the initial proposal, thanks to suggestion from the planning staff.
Bob Minnick, District 4, which includes Readers Branch, asked about the expected order of construction. Cole said that all Hockett Road improvements will be made with the first phase. A tree lined boulevard will be built with the second section, required when the number of homes exceeds 50. The portion at the rear will be built last, timing determined by market demand.
Cole said that Eagle hopes to begin home construction in early 2019 with first residents taking occupancy later that year.
Readers Branch will add more traffic to the Hockett Road corridor, whose intersections with Rt. 6, Tuckahoe Creek Parkway, and Broad Street Road, are already failing rush hour chokepoints. It will also exacerbate the challenge of left turns from the Parke at Centerville, located opposite Readers Branch, onto Hockett Road.
Minnick declared that the county must be proactive about finding a way to “fix” the Hockett Broad issue and signalize the Hockett/Tuckahoe Creek Parkway intersection to deal with significant residential growth. “We have to look at creative ways to handle these specific traffic related issues in less costly ways than VDOT would recommend,” he said.
The more than 800 homes recently approved for the Hockett Road corridor in addition to the final phase of Kinloch, which is nearing completion, will change the face of eastern Goochland. Given the complexity of the new communities, they will not materialize overnight. Hopefully, the county can find ways to ease the traffic chokepoints before these subdivisions are built out.
Going forward, the challenge will be to balance residential development pressure to rezone even more land in the Hockett Road corridor and avoiding gridlock.
The supervisors have designated the eastern part of the county as the focus of growth, whatever than means. So far, we’ve got a hospital, hotel, and Audi dealership on the horizon. It is hoped that more commercial enterprises will follow. Stay tuned to see where we go from here.