Supervisors to review Forest Glen housing proposal

tjefferson@vagazette.com

The county board of supervisors is scheduled to vote on a request to build affordable housing in Forest Glen at its Tuesday meeting.

The proposal to build the homes on 45 lots — spanning 16 acres — split the planning commission in May, giving supervisors no clear direction toward the project.

“I’ll have to weigh the fact that the county is looking for affordable housing, but I have to make sure the current neighborhood won’t suffer negatively,” said Supervisor Michael Hipple.

Each home in the development would sit on 6,100-square-foot lots along Walker and Forest Glen drives, county Planning Director Paul Holt said.

During the board’s May 3 meeting, planning commissioners Tim O'Connor, Richard Krapf and Danny Schmidt voted for the proposal, while Jack Haldeman, John Wright III and Robin Bledsoe voted against it.

"I think the community would benefit," said Krapf during the May 3 meeting. "This is probably the best use for the acreage."

Commissioners who voted against the proposal said the cost to provide services would outpace the direct revenue created by each home.

Supervisor Ruth Larson said the board must decide how to create homes for the workforce.

“We haven’t answered that question yet, and that’s not on the developer, that’s on us,” Larson said. “I have to see if this is really affordable housing and the impact it will have on the county.”

The proposed homes would be sold in the low $200,000 range, and each would be about 1,500 square feet of living space, applicant Elliot York said.

During the May 3 meeting, Bledsoe said she considers the price range too expensive for affordable housing.

“We have to figure out what’s an affordable baseline for housing. We have a diverse community, but we can’t just say affordable housing and say that’s for the middle income bracket. What’s affordable to the median income bracket might not be affordable to those that work in the service industry, for example,” Larson said.

In James City County, the median household income is $75,710, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The median home sale price is $307,500, according to the Williamsburg Area Association of Realtors.

The county anticipates $317,429 in annual expenses and $110,802 in revenue from taxes if the homes are built and sold, according to a county memo. It was unclear whether those figures included the amount homeowners would contribute to the county for sales, meals and personal property taxes.

“We keep digging a deeper hole, eventually we will have to raise taxes or something to cover the costs of developments,” said Wright during the May 3 meeting. “I’m in favor of the concept, but I find it difficult to vote yes.”

Supervisor Sue Sadler said Wednesday she needed to study the application and wait until the meeting before she commented.

Supervisors John McGlennon and Kevin Onizuk could not be reached for comment.

York said construction on the homes could take a 12-18 months, if the project is approved.

Want to go to the supervisors meeting?

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday

Where: 101 Mounts Bay Road

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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