Board to consider HRSD land acquisition at Carter's Grove, proposed Wawa

Staff writer

The James City County Board of Supervisors will consider a couple of potentially noteworthy changes to the county landscape Tuesday, namely a request by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District to acquire land in Carter’s Grove Agricultural and Forestal District and a proposed Wawa in Lightfoot.

Carter’s Grove

The board could decide to give HRSD the land it wants for new water treatment facilities at HRSD’s James City County plant.

HRSD wants to acquire about 76 acres of land in the Carter’s Grove Agricultural and Forestal District in order to have the space it thinks is necessary to expand an existing facility to treat wastewater to a drinkable standard as part of its Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow project.

The SWIFT project seeks to replenish the Potomac Aquifer, which is the region’s primary groundwater source and has been depleted by overuse.

The district consists mostly of woods and wetlands. The district doesn’t include the Carter’s Grove mansion, according to a staff report.

A utility entity is allowed to acquire interests in a agricultural forestal district with the local governing body’s OK, according to state code.

At issue for James City is whether the land transfer is necessary to provide services to the public in the most economical and practical way, among other considerations.

HRSD expects the plant expansion will only need about 7 acres of the land it is requesting. HRSD argues that having the entire requested parcel will gives it the ability to maintain buffers and operate the plant safety.

“We’re going to develop as little as possible,” Robyn Hansen, an attorney for HRSD, told the county Planning Commission at its Feb. 6 meeting. The commission voted to support HRSD’s request.

Carter’s Grove is resisting the acquisition, noting HRSD’s stated need doesn’t require all the land it is requesting.

The board will vote on whether to approve the land transfer. Its decision doesn’t take the land out of the district. The decision also doesn’t give the go-ahead for construction. Both are separate legislative actions that would have to be addressed in the future.

HRSD has expressed willingness to put a conservation easement on land inside the parcel, county planner Tori Haynes said at the commission’s meeting.

The HRSD plant precedes the district’s creation, which took place in 2002. The district currently has about 316 acres in it, according to the staff report.

No public hearing is scheduled prior to the board’s vote, the meeting agenda states.

Lightfoot Wawa

Also on supervisors’ agenda is a special-use permit that would allow the construction of a Wawa on the site of an existing Exxon at the intersection of Richmond and Lightfoot roads.

Doswell Ventures, the owner of the property, has requested to build a Wawa convenience store with six gasoline pumps.

Since the application’s appearance before the Planning Commission in February, the applicant has tweaked some aspects of the project, including the landscaping and elevation of the canopy.

A motion by the commission to recommend the project failed due to concerns about increased traffic movement at the site. The construction of a Wawa is expected to double the number of trips to the property from about 1,000 trips to 2,000 trips daily.

A public hearing is scheduled to take place prior to the board’s vote, according to the meeting agenda.

Want to go?

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: County government center board room, 101 Mounts Bay Road.

Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, jojacobs@vagazette.com, @jajacobs_

A previous version of this story misstated the name of the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow project. It has been corrected.
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