The Greene County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at its regular meeting Wednesday, April 21, for a rezoning of 65 acres near Terrace Greene Apartments that used to be referred to as Rapidan Center.
The property—now called the Villages at Terrace Greene—is located south of Matthew Mill on U.S. Route 29 North. In 2000, the property underwent the original R-1 residential to B-3 business rezoning, along with R-1 to R-2 residential rezoning to allow for the building of Terrace Greene Apartments.
Developers are requesting to rezone the property to a mixed-use development with proffers that will take the property from commercial to about 46% commercial, 37% residential and 17% for amenities, such as open space. The development would include 282 townhomes and 278,000 square feet of retail and commercial use, including two commercial pad sites at the intersection of U.S. Route 29 and the planned Route 670 Connector Road.
With sidewalks and connecting streets, the project does include some of the integration that residents said they wanted during the development of the Ruckersville Area Plan in 2018. Jim Frydl, director of planning and zoning administrator, said the residential and commercial portions are isolated from each other except for about 30 townhomes that will be designed for a “live-work” use that can have commercial on lower floors and residential on the upper floors.
According to the development’s new proffer statement, no more than 130 of the total townhomes will have three or more bedrooms.
“The areas fronting Route 29 and the connector road would be retail and commercial,” Frydl said. “In essence, it’s a project that meets a lot of the components of the comprehensive plan being mixed-use, such as walkability between businesses and residences. It’s got affordable housing, but it doesn’t fully meet everything. It’s a higher ratio of residential to business than the comprehensive plan recommends; it’s not a requirement in the plan but a recommendation.”
The comprehensive plan recommends an 80% non-residential to 20% residential split.
Frydl said the Rapidan Service Authority has indicated there is enough water for the project as it is planned.
Kristie Spencer, director of financial and human resources with Greene County Public Schools, said the biggest concern for the division is that Ruckersville Elementary School is already over capacity, which means it would likely shorten the timeline for needing to build another elementary school in Ruckersville.
The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service has said the average for attached family homes is .30 children per household, which could result in approximately 84 school-age children. The report from the planning department notes there are no proffers to mitigate possible school impacts from the new project.
The Virginia Department of Transportation noted in its response to the project that while the developer is proffering $600,000 for signalization, the cost is estimated to be closer to $1 million and is not part of the 670 Connector Road project, so the remaining amount would need to be found somewhere else.
In its presentation, the applicant notes the project would offer a net fiscal benefit for the county of nearly $2.4 million; however staff noted that the applicant estimated 35 less children then the Weldon Cooper Center does. The applicant also stated a benefit associated with an assisted-living facility, but that is not included in the proffers or concept plan, staff noted. Considering the changes, planning staff said the fiscal benefit to the county is almost $2 million.
“It is our sincere desire and intent to create a mixed-use project with a sense of place that affords employment, retail and housing opportunities—allowing residents of The Villages to live, work and shop in a well-designed destination center that also attracts the larger community to increase the local economy, tax base and sense of community in Greene County,” the applicant said in its planning objectives within its report to the county.
“As with any application (commissioners ask) is this the right parcel at the right time,” Frydl said. “The Planning Commission will look at it and decide whether there are impacts that they feel haven’t been addressed.”
Frydl said it’s a different project than what’s come before Greene County previously.
“It’s a project that meets the goal of an interconnected community better than any project that we’ve had,” he said. “It’s going to fall down to whether the (supervisors) think this should change from all commercial to a mixed use.”
The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Visit https://bit.ly/3fXnHYw for the login and for the full packet for the Planning Commission meeting.