110 Townhouses Proposed Across from Fredericksburg National Cemetery
Update September 15, 2016
Developer Pulls Townhouse Plan from Public Hearing
A developer wants to build 110 townhouses across Lafayette Boulevard from Marye’s Heights, Sunken Road and the Fredericksburg National Cemetery, all of which are part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
Carl Braun, doing business as the Highlander Companies, has applied for an amendment to the 2003 proffers governing development of the 12.44-acre property. The land had been approved for a 78,000 square foot fitness center and 24,000 square foot office complex, with associated outdoor recreational areas.
The city’s Comprehensive Plan calls for commercial downtown land use on the property, and mixed use development in the Lafayette Boulevard Corridor. This request for Highlander Park at Hazel Run townhouses would change the land use to entirely residential, according to Zoning Administrator Mike Craig.
Braun said it’s not a rezoning request. “The agreement approved in 2003 allows us by right to build townhomes,” Braun said. “It’s a proffer amendment, but there’s nothing in the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that allows for a proffers amendment, so we had to use a rezoning application.” He said the 2003 agreement disallowed commercial development like fast food and gas stations, but not residential.
Fredericksburg’s Planning Commission is holding a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in City Council Chambers, 715 Princess Anne St.
Craig is recommending denial of the request.
“The property has sensitive environmental and historical features and characteristics,” Craig wrote in his memo to the Planning Commission. “The application of 110 townhomes onto these sensitive lands can only be achieved by degrading existing historical, environmental, and recreational facilities on and adjacent to the site.”
According to Craig, The National Park Service is concerned about the proposal’s impact on the National Park across the street.
The Pathways Steering Committee said the proposal’s realignment of the existing Virginia Central Railway Trail “would degrade the facility.”
Friends of the Rappahannock and the city’s Environmental Planning Section are concerned about the impacts on the Hazel Run. “The city finds it unlikely that the applicant will be able to adequately treat the storm water runoff created by the proposed development in accordance with state and local ordinance,” Craig wrote.
Craig said the project also “has impacts on public facilities that are not mitigated,” including public safety services.
The complete memo and application are available from the Planning Commission September 14 agenda.
Citizens are encouraged to sign-up to speak prior to the meeting by calling the Planning Department at 540-372-1179, but they don’t have to. Those wishing to speak may tell the clerk when they arrive at the meeting that they would like to speak. Speakers have five minutes to comment.