Board votes to uphold proffer for road connection
By Sean Tubbs
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has upheld a decision by the deputy zoning administrator that developer Wendell Wood is required to comply with a proffer made by the original developer of Hollymead Town Center.
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When the board approved a section of the Hollymead Town Center in September 2007, developer Octagon Partners agreed to dedicate right of way for a connection to an adjoining subdivision known as Willow Glenn. The dedication was to be made whenever the county made an official request, which the county did in April 2009.
Wood’s Route 29 LLC acquired the Hollymead Town Center property in 2009. Neither he nor Octagon Partners complied with the county’s request.
“We were informed they did not want to do that in the form the proffer calls for,” said Ron Higgins, the county’s deputy zoning administrator.
In an official appeal to Higgins, Woods wrote that the proffer had been “forced” upon the previous owner and had caused many problems with the project’s development.
“As the mortgage holder and subsequent owner, I did not approve the proffer,” Wood wrote in his letter. “This proffer was for the sole benefit of an adjoining property who is not participating in the cost of construction.”
However, the developer of Willow Glen agreed as part of that rezoning to pay for construction of the road. The land was rezoned from industrial to neighborhood model, allowing for the construction of 234 homes.
Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker said Wood was legally bound to comply with the proffer, which is a legal contract between the county and whoever owns the rezoned property.
“If you go down that road, every proffer that’s ever made is subject to people walking away from it,” Rooker said. “We would not have approved this without this kind of connection.”
Before the Board of Supervisors Wednesday, Wood said a stormwater retention pond is located where the right of way is to be dedicated.
“I don’t think Willow Glen wants to build a road over top of [the pond],” Wood said.
Wood claimed the language in the proffer allowed him to suggest another location for the right of way. Last week, he filed an application to do so with county planners. They have not had a chance to review the plan yet.
Valerie Long, an attorney for Willow Glen’s developer, said the project cannot get financing until the right of way is dedicated.
“We are happy to hear that [Wood] is willing to work with us,” Long said. “We just want to be able to build the connection at our expense and enable Willow Glen to move forward.”
The board voted unanimously to uphold Higgins’ decision.
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