Just a few months ago a subtle attack on cash proffers, a fee which Chesterfield County places on each new house, townhome or apartment, began. That subtle attempt is beginning to grow to an organized effort to eliminate cash proffers. Cash proffers are in place to offset the impact, which a new dwelling puts on the county’s infrastructure such as schools, roads, libraries and parks.
During the planning commission meeting last week three cases: New apartments on the Chester Village Green in Chester; Terraforge off of Conifer Road, south of Bellbrook Drive seeking a reversal of its delinquent payment of the transportation proffers and a case at Nash Road/Woodpecker Road, LLC, adjacent to the Highlands subdivision
Silverleaf is a 174 acre project Terraforge is building, which contain single family and townhomes.
“There is a similar case being heard tonight [on cash proffers] that we will consider, and the Board of Supervisors will vote on that case in November. We’ll [have] some idea of where they are positioned on the [cash proffer] issue,“ said William Brown, Dale District Planning Commissioner.”
The case was unanimously deferred for 60 days.
The Nash Road/Woodpecker Road, LLC request, was deferred for 60 days after, according to Matoaca District Planning Commissioner Edger Wallen said, several people at a community meeting expressed concern with the case. Nash Road/Woodpecker Road, LLC was requesting to alter the due date on delinquent transportation cash proffers, offering instead to extend Nash Road from Beach Road to Ironbridge Road, and is requesting that cash proffers be eliminated all together on any other lots on an adjacent 396 acre proposed development.
The Chester Village Green proposed 44-unit apartment project would be built at the location where a multi-use building collapsed in 2008 leaving an abandoned lot, which has been considered unsightly to Village Green residents. Emerson Companies is proposing that the cash proffer of $18,966 per unit be eliminated on the project.
One of the concerns of the commission is parking. Parking is limited in the development, but the representative for the developer said that is not a problem as an additional 35 parking spaces is deeded along with the proposed building property in addition to parking area planned for the Chester Village Green development during site design.
Emerson Companies also proffered an elevation change, adding balconies to the front of the building after consulting with the architectural review board responsible for the commercial section of the Chester Village Green.
“I understand that the applicant has only an option on the property,” Mr. Wallen said. “The option does add to the reservations I have about the [project].” Wallen said he was concerned about another buyer and what he might do with the property if passed with no proffers.
“It comes down to two issues; parking, parking, parking and cash proffers. If you look at the staff report… it’s going to come down to 1,100 spaces [total in the Village Green] and we’re going to come up with 22 spaces short,” Dale Patton, Bermuda Planning Commissioner said.
Patton said he spoke with Jim Daniels and Skip Wallace, who are the architectural board, in addition to planning staff, about the plans for the apartment building and tried to put a value on the additions or upgrades to the building. There is also an issue concerning commercial spaces on the first floor. Patten said that he thought that the market should dictate what those spaces should be since most of the project is built with a working village, mixed use in mind. Patton continued that Emerson Companies has provided for retail or office space, but won’t offer them as such early in the project, but he doesn’t think the Emerson would walk away from that opportunity.
“As to cash proffers, we’re dealing with a site that is a blight on the community and has been vacant for four years,” Patton said. “They have limited the number of bedrooms, so the impact on schools is lessened.”
Patton said there is a balancing act going on with cash proffers. There has been $67,000 paid on the Emerson optioned property previously and the new proffers would amount to $834,000 on the proposed 44 units combined.
“The owner of this property is the one that had the building collapse so that is why this project has not moved forward, nor will it,” Patton said. “Someone has to pick up the ball and get it across the finish line. Based on the consensus here, I don’t think I’m going to get a [approval] motion here. And when it gets up to the Board of Supervisors it’s going to be a pig of a different color.”
“This vote has nothing to do with nothing other than the cash proffer,” said Rubin Waller, planning commissioner for the Midlothian district. Mr. Waller said the cash proffer is not that clear cut and that it was up to the Board of Supervisors to address the policy, not the commission.
Dale District Planning Commissioner, William Brown motioned to deny the case and was followed by the three other commissioners, leaving Patton, the Bermuda District representative, the lone commissioner in favor of approving the case. The case will now head to the Board of Supervisors for final consideration.