This week in county government; Developer unveils proposed changes to Zion Town Center; Supes to hold public hearings on redistricting, budget, and retention period for family subdivision parcels
Engage Louisa is a community newsletter aimed at keeping folks informed about Louisa County government. It’s free, non-partisan, and powered by volunteers. We believe our community is stronger and our government serves us better when we increase transparency, accessibility, and engagement.
This week in county government: public meetings, April 4 through April 9
Monday, April 4
The board will hold three public hearings and consider several resolutions. See below for more information.
Tuesday, April 5
Louisa County School Board, Central Office Administration Building, 953 Davis Highway, Mineral, 7 pm. Louisa County School Board meetings are currently unavailable via livestream or archived video. The only way to access the meeting is to attend in person. (agenda)
Wednesday, April 6
Cutalong II Community Development Authority, Cutalong Clubhouse, 978 New Bridge Road, Mineral, 12 pm. (public notice)
Thursday, April 7
Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, Virtual Meeting, 7 pm. A Zoom link is available in the meeting materials. (meeting materials)
Additional information about Louisa County’s upcoming public meetings is available here.
Interested in taking your talents to one of the county’s numerous boards and commissions? Find out more here, including which boards have vacancies and how to apply.
Developer unveils proposed changes to Zion Town Center
A company that plans to build hundreds of single-family homes and apartments at Zion Crossroads unveiled a new proposal Wednesday night that would change the project’s layout and design and increase its density.
Emerson-Roper, a Chesterfield-based developer, has contracted to buy the residential portion of Zion Town Center, a mixed-use Planned Unit Development slated for construction on 113.8 acres (tax map parcel 52 12 4) at the end of Camp Creek Parkway and adjacent to Interstate 64. Stony Point Development, the project’s current owner, won approval from the Louisa County Board of Supervisors in 2019 to build 599 residential units on the property and 274,600 square feet of commercial space. Now, Emerson-Roper wants to put its own spin on the residential portion of the community, increasing the number of units to 723 and concentrating more heavily on townhomes.
The developer detailed its plans during a community meeting at the Zion Crossroads’ Best Western that drew about 70 residents and several county officials. The proposal would require Board of Supervisors’ approval.
Emerson-Roper representative Jeffrey Geiger led the crowd through a series of slides that described the company’s vision for the community, comparing it to the already-approved project. He emphasized that the developer doesn’t want to change the property’s zoning but rather amend the Planned Unit Development’s proffers and master plan.
Specifically, Emerson-Roper, which has developed The Highlands, Chester Village Green, and other communities south of Richmond, wants to decrease the number of single-family detached homes from 162 to 112, increase the number of townhomes from 101 to 275, and maintain the number of apartments at 336. The developer also plans to tweak the community’s layout and design.
The townhomes, which would range from 1,700 and 1,900 square feet, would be taller than originally proposed and feature garages and slightly larger yards. They’d come in a variety of designs along wider streets that allow for both driveway and on-street parking. A section of the community previously dedicated to single-family detached homes would shift to townhomes and townhomes would also occupy space freed up by more compact multi-family housing. As of today, the units would start at $280,000. Geiger said that the developer hasn’t designated any units for affordable housing.
“There’s a lot of single-family detached homes in Louisa already,” Geiger said of Emerson-Roper’s decision to up the number of townhomes. “We’d like to create that middle market housing opportunity. We believe townhouses provide us with that opportunity not only for young people finishing their education and looking to buy their first home but also the opportunity for somebody who is an empty nester and wants to downsize but wants to downsize into something they will own.”
Emerson-Roper also plans to revamp the multi-family section of the development by shifting from a cluster of 14 walk-up apartment buildings to a more compact design that includes two fully enclosed, elevator-serviced buildings. The rental apartments would feature various amenities including gathering spaces and a gym. Sixty percent of the apartments would be two bedrooms, 24 percent would be one bedroom and 16 percent would be three bedrooms.
“We believe this particular design is more attractive to a wider segment of the market: those that are coming out of college or finishing their education and looking for their first opportunity to live in a home but also empty nesters,” Geiger said, noting that the complex would provide amenities not currently available in the area.
The community’s remaining detached single-family section would retain much of its original design. Geiger said that single-family homes would average about 2,300 square feet and, as of today, start at $375,000.
While the developer seeks to add units, Geiger said that the community would maintain the 30 percent green space, roughly 34 acres, included in the original proposal. He said that’s accomplished by compact design that uses land more efficiently, noting that Emerson-Roper’s goal is to build a walkable residential community with ample green space that’s in proximity to restaurants and other service-oriented businesses. He emphasized that the thousands of new residents the community would draw to Zion would help attract high-quality services while sustaining offerings currently available.
Geiger branded Zion Town Center as a throwback community that draws on design concepts prevalent before sprawling suburbs came to dominate the landscape. He contended that compact development in Louisa’s designated growth areas protects the county’s rural character and conforms with the vision laid out in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
During his presentation, Geiger touched on two issues that have fueled heated battles over residential and commercial growth at Zion: water and traffic. The area’s water supply was a key point of contention during Stony Point’s 2019 rezoning. In the face of mounting development pressure, supervisors crafted a policy that year to cap withdrawals from the county-owned wells that feed Zion at 75 percent of their capacity.
Geiger said that Emerson-Roper contracted Dewberry Engineering to perform an analysis of the available water supply and the firm determined that there’s adequate water for the additional units and continued economic development. He mentioned that the county is considering bringing two additional wells online, but Community Development Director Josh Gillespie declined to provide details about water-related infrastructure at the meeting. County officials have, in the past, discussed tapping a pair of back-up wells, which draw from the same water source as those currently in operation.
The county is banking on a pipeline from the James River as the long-term solution to its water woes. Geiger noted that the James River Water Authority, the entity overseeing the project, made a significant breakthrough in its efforts to channel water to Zion, voting last month to move its proposed pump station and intake from a historically contentious site to a new parcel two miles upstream. According to JRWA’s latest timeline, a pipeline from the river could deliver water to the area between 2025 and 2027. Emerson-Roper estimates that Zion Town Center would reach full-build out by 2028.
With respect to traffic, Geiger said that during Stony Point’s rezoning of the property, the developer agreed to make several transportation upgrades. He said that Emerson-Roper plans to implement the same improvements, which include extending the right turn lane on Route 15 at its intersection with Camp Creek Parkway, re-striping to add a left turn/through lane on Camp Creek Parkway at its intersection with Route 15 while modifying the signal from eight-phase to split phase, and changing a right turn lane at Camp Creek Parkway and Market Street to allow both right turns and through traffic toward Route 15.
During a question-and-answer period following the presentation, several community members asked how Emerson-Roper’s plans would mesh with the Virginia Department of Transportation’s vision for the Route 15 and Camp Creek/Spring Creek Parkway intersection.
VDOT and its consulting engineers, Kittelson and Associates, recently proposed an innovative bow tie configuration for the intersection that would eliminate left turns on and off Route 15 by routing traffic to a pair of roundabouts at Camp Creek Parkway and Market Street and Spring Creek Parkway and Wood Ridge Terrace. The county could seek state funding for the project through VDOT’s Smart Scale program though supervisors are still discussing the proposal with VDOT officials and haven’t approved a final application. A community meeting with VDOT and Kittelson is tentatively scheduled for April 19, according to Green Springs District Supervisor Rachel Jones.
Geiger said that VDOT green-lighted several years ago the improvements he presented, and he sees no reason for the department to back away from those plans. VDOT would have that option, however, as Emerson-Roper’s new proposal moves through the approval process.
“We don’t feel that VDOT will have any concern with what we are doing because we will be making those improvements to Camp Creek—either they are intermediate improvements or they are forever improvements—in order to mitigate our impact on that intersection. What VDOT does down the road? I can’t answer that,” Geiger said.
Other community members asked how Emerson-Roper’s plan to increase the number of residential units would impact traffic, schools, and other county services.
Geiger said that changing the community’s design, including decreasing the number of single-family detached homes, would limit the traffic impact of additional units. He said that residents in single-family detached homes tend to have more children than townhome dwellers, meaning more car trips to take them to school, sports, and other engagements.
Geiger cited a recent traffic analysis paid for by the developer that concluded the revised plan would add 30 trips during peak morning travel times and 10 trips during peak evening travel times over projections for the original 599-unit development. He did not provide figures for the total traffic impact from all 723 units. One attendee suggested that a previous traffic study showed the original proposal would add some 13,000 car trips a day across the Route 15 and Camp Creek Parkway intersection.
In a similar vein, Geiger said that Emerson-Roper’s changes wouldn’t significantly impact Louisa County Public Schools. He said that both townhomes and fully enclosed, elevator serviced apartment buildings are less likely to attract families with children when compared to single-family detached homes. Emerson-Roper estimates that the additional 124 units would add only 9 school-aged residents. According to Stony Point’s 2019 land use application, the 599-unit development is expected to add 189 school-aged children.
Geiger acknowledged that the development would have impacts on county services but contended that revenue from its 23-acre commercial component, under development by Stony Point, would help offset that. He said that currently Emerson-Roper’s proposal doesn’t include cash proffers to mitigate its impact. He added that the developer will complete a new fiscal impact study as part of the approval process.
Wednesday night’s meeting was just the first step in Emerson-Roper’s engagement with the community, Geiger said, noting that the company plans to hold another community meeting prior to filing its land use application with the county. Once the developer formally files, the project requires public hearings in front of both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
BOS preview: supes to hold public hearings on redistricting, budget, and retention period for family subdivision parcels
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors will gather for a busy meeting Monday night, considering an agenda that includes three public hearings, four main action items, and one discussion item. Check out the agenda highlights below.
Supervisors to hold public hearing, vote on redistricting map: Supervisors will hear public comment and consider approval of a map that reshapes the county’s seven voting districts as part of the decennial redistricting process. Localities are required to redraw voting districts every 10 years using data from the latest census.
The board’s redistricting committee, comprised of Patrick Henry District Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes and Jackson District Supervisor Toni Williams, presented a draft map in mid-February. The proposed map under consideration Monday night is the same as the committee’s draft.
County Attorney Helen Phillips provided a brief overview of the local redistricting process at the February meeting, explaining that the county’s voting districts must comply with provisions in the US and Virginia Constitutions as well as state and federal law. Specifically, the districts must be compact and contiguous with boundaries that align with observable geographic features like roads and creeks. They must be drawn to comply with the Voting Right Act of 1965, which protects the rights of minority communities, and they’re required to have populations that are substantially the same, meaning they can’t deviate more than +/- five percent from the ideal district population.
Louisa County has 37,596 residents, according to the 2020 census, so each district has an ideal population of roughly 5,371. The proposed districts range in population from 5,600 residents in Green Springs to 5,116 residents in Jackson.
Because of significant population growth in the western end of the county and slower growth on the eastern end, the proposed map pushes several districts westward and shrinks the Green Springs District, where the population grew more than 17 percent over the last decade.
When presented in February, the draft map faced pushback from two board members: Green Springs District Supervisor Rachel Jones and Cuckoo District Supervisor Willie Gentry.
While she didn’t cite specific concerns about her proposed district, Jones signaled that she wasn’t ready to support the draft, telling her colleagues that she’d like to see a second version.
Gentry suggested that his district could be reconfigured by moving more populous areas around Lake Anna into neighboring districts. He said that would allow him to retain more of the southern end of his current district.
The committee agreed to reconsider the map and present a second version at another meeting. But supervisors haven’t publicly discussed the redistricting process since the draft was initially presented.
“County staff has been working incredibly hard trying to determine alternatives to meet the various criteria for redistricting, but the work group recommended option presented at the February 14th BOS meeting appears to be the only viable option for the districts,” Louisa County Public Relations Coordinator Cindy King said in an email to Engage Louisa.
The Board of Supervisors is also tasked with approving the county’s voting precincts, which make up the larger districts, and assigning each a polling place. But King said that component wouldn’t be considered Monday night. Instead, the board will adopt precincts and polling places after a second public hearing at its April 18 meeting. At publication time, a draft map including precinct lines and identifying polling places wasn’t publicly available.
Board to hold public hearing on FY23 budget, tax rates: Supervisors will hold a public hearing on Louisa County’s FY 2023 budget and tax rates though adoption of a final budget won’t take place until the board’s April 18 meeting.
Finance Director Wanda Colvin provided an overview of the preliminary budget at the board’s March 21 meeting, cautioning that final numbers are still subject to change as the county awaits a final state budget and supervisors and staff work through last minute tweaks
The county’s draft budget, including $10.9 million in capital projects, totals $146.1 million. Colvin said the budget is based on the same tax rates as FY22 including a real estate tax rate of 72 cents per $100 of assessed value and a personal property tax rate of $2.43 per $100 of assessed value.
Even though the county proposes a level real estate tax rate, many residents will see their tax bills rise thanks to a 12.2 percent increase in assessments excluding new construction and improvements.
Of the county’s roughly $141.7 million in revenues, about 53 percent come from general property taxes with about 33 percent drawn from state and federal sources, Colvin said. She noted that revenue from general property taxes is up 11.2 percent, or $7.6 million, and revenue from other local taxes, including sales tax, is up 15 percent or $1.3 million.
Colvin said that Louisa County Public Schools’ roughly $81.7 million budget accounts for 56 percent of county expenses and public safety accounts for 13 percent, about $19.45 million. She cited several proposed changes that are driving operating expenses upward including a more than 12 percent hike in health insurance costs, a five percent raise for employees in accord with proposed increases at the state level, and 12 additional staffers, including 6 new positions for the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office.
The county’s $10.9 million capital budget, which includes long-lasting and high-value tangible assets for purchase or construction, includes nearly $3 million for Firefly’s Regional Internet Service Expansion Project, $2.3 million for buses, technology upgrades, career and technical center design, and other Louisa County Public Schools projects, and $1.3 million for fire apparatus replacement, among other expenses. The county will dip into its general fund and capital reserves to pay for some of those projects.
Supervisors to hold public hearing on retention period for family subdivision parcels: Supervisors will hold a public hearing and consider whether to adopt an amendment to county code that would shorten the retention period for family subdivision parcels to a period less than 10 years.
State code requires that localities provide reasonable provisions for the creation of family subdivisions. According to Louisa County’s land development regulations, landowners are permitted to subdivide properties in the agricultural (A-1), agricultural (A-2), residential limited (R-1), or residential general (R-2) zoning districts into two or more parts for the purpose of sale or gift to a member of their immediate family. The person to whom the property is sold or gifted must retain it for at least 10 years before it can be sold unless it’s subject to “an involuntary transfer such as foreclosure, death, divorce, judicial sale, condemnation or bankruptcy.”
Family divisions aren’t required to adhere to the same road frontage requirements as other divisions and gifting or selling a parcel to a family member doesn’t require a road maintenance agreement, according to Deputy Zoning Administrator Linda Buckler, though parcels do require a platted right of way. In addition, family divisions don’t count against the total number of lots allowed on a particular parcel. Per state law, an individual is only permitted to receive one family subdivision parcel per locality during their lifetime.
At the request of a constituent, Mineral District Supervisor Duane Adams asked the Planning Commission earlier this year to take a look at the retention period to “see if (10 years) is still an appropriate length of time.”
Planners held a public hearing on the matter in March and, in a 4-3 vote, recommended that supervisors shorten the retention period to five years. A majority of the commission agreed that the 10-year period, as Patrick Henry District Commissioner Ellis Quarles put it, allows for “some overreach by the county.”
Several commissioners were moved by a letter from Mineral District resident Michael Ralvus, who worried that his aging parents would be locked into a parcel he provided to them under the family subdivision ordinance even if they faced medical hardship and needed to move.
Three commissioners took a different view, arguing that the county’s current retention period is working fine.
Supervisors set the retention period at one year in 1990, raised it to five years in 1997, and to 10 years in 2010. Louisa has the longest retention period among surrounding localities.
Buckler told planners that the county raised the retention period to five years to combat circumvention as property owners divided parcels under the more generous family divisions rules then sold them after one year. She said that she could find little information on why the retention period shifted to 10 years. She noted that the county handles family subdivisions regularly and there doesn’t seem to be any significant issues with the current criteria.
Board to consider approval of construction, supplemental appropriation for New Bridge Fire and EMS Station: Supervisors will consider a resolution approving construction of the New Bridge Fire and EMS Station at 1856 New Bridge Road, its current proposed site, and authorizing a roughly $916,000 budget supplement to cover the project’s rising costs.
Supervisors previously allocated $1.5 million for the project in two separate appropriations. They’ll draw the supplemental appropriation from the county’s general fund.
The building’s construction and associated site work will cost just over $2 million, according to the resolution, with another $349,000 required for well and septic design, well construction, alternative drain field construction, landscaping, and other expenses. That total more than doubles the $900,000 earmarked for the project in FY 2021.
BlueScope Construction, a company that specializes in erecting pre-engineered steel buildings, will act as the general contractor for both site work and construction, providing a Butler Building System for the site. Loudin Building Systems, a Louisa-based company, will serve as the primary subcontractor. BlueScope expects to complete the facility by May 2023.
As recently as their March 21 meeting, supervisors were still debating where to build the station, the cost of which has ballooned in recent months. At a March 7 budget work session, County Administrator Christian Goodwin said that site work alone at the 2.4-acre parcel along Route 208 could exceed $500,000. He pointed to the site’s sloping topography as a driver of the high cost. Prior to getting that estimate, county officials received a $1.2 million construction quote, attributing that lofty price tag to “inflation and other factors.”
To save money, the board considered swapping land with Stillwater Equity Partners, developers of the nearby Cutalong community. Stillwater had offered a flatter parcel along Kentucky Springs Road, part of a 45-acre tract the developer owns adjacent to the Lake Anna Food Lion. According to a memo from Deputy County Administrator Chris Coon, Stillwater recently rescinded the land swap offer.
Upon completion, the station will be the first fire and EMS facility constructed almost entirely with county funds. The Foundation for Lake Anna Emergency Services, a citizens group, contributed $100,000 for the project.
Supervisors to talk tax relief for some residents: After a public hearing on rising real estate tax assessments at their March 21 meeting, supervisors discussed raising the eligibility thresholds for a county program that provides tax relief to some elderly and totally disabled residents.
Board Chair Duane Adams appointed Jackson District Supervisor Toni Williams and Mountain Road District Supervisor Tommy Barlow to a working group tasked with considering ways to extend the program’s impact. The board will hear an update from Williams and Barlow Monday night.
Currently, the program provides real estate tax relief to totally disabled residents and residents 65 years old and over whose income falls at or below $40,000 a year and whose net worth, excluding their home and 10 acres, falls at or below $200,000.
Supervisors revamped the program last year, raising the net worth cap from $100,000 to $200,000, doubling from $1,000 to $2,000 the amount of tax relief allowed, and adjusting the sliding scale that determines how much relief residents qualify for. The board decided against raising the income cap.
Board set to refer revised solar ordinance to Planning Commission: Supervisors are set to formally begin a process that could reshape the future of utility-scale solar development in Louisa County.
They’ll consider a resolution that refers an amended solar ordinance to the Planning Commission for its recommendations. The draft amendments, based on a report presented in December by Mineral District Supervisor Duane Adams and Patrick Henry District Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes, would restrict the number and size of large-scale solar facilities in the county, enact specific siting and buffering requirements, and beef up erosion and sediment control regulations, among other provisions.
Since the passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act in 2020, which mandated that Virginia’s largest electric providers produce all their energy from carbon-free sources by 2050, Louisa County has emerged as a hotbed for utility-scale solar development. Thanks to its friendly topography, proximity to high-voltage transmission lines, and availability of large, relatively inexpensive tracts of land, solar developers found fertile ground to plant their panels.
Supervisors have approved seven large-scale solar sites to date, five since VCEA passed. But, they’ve faced pushback from some residents who worry that the facilities detract from the county’s rural character and contribute to the loss of farms and forests, among other concerns.
With utility-scale solar developers actively seeking more opportunities, supervisors appear poised to move quickly to adopt stricter regulations. The Planning Commission has advertised a public hearing on the draft amendments for its April 14 meeting.
Barnes and Adams, who make up the board’s solar committee, spent several months researching and crafting recommendations that aim to address residents’ concerns. The board adopted regulations governing utility-scale solar development last year as part of a larger rewrite of the zoning code, but the pair was prompted to consider revising those rules, in part, because of fallout from the construction of Dominion’s Belcher Solar Facility off Waldrop Church Road. At the sprawling 1300-acre Belcher site, stormwater runoff has caused significant damage to neighboring farms. (The Belcher project was approved in 2017 before the board adopted its current solar ordinance).
The Belcher project lies in Barnes’ district and emerged as an issue during his bid for re-election last fall. Four utility-scale solar facilities recently approved by the county are in Adams’ district.
The proposed amendments would limit the amount of land that can be used for utility-scale solar generation to three percent of the county’s total acreage, or 9,800 acres, and prohibit the approval of solar facilities that generate less than 151 MW of power. Once constructed, the seven solar facilities already green-lighted by the county will encompass 5,053 acres and none will produce more than 150 MW of power.
During the solar committee’s December report, Adams said that, since the county has some 5,000 acres committed to utility-scale solar production, implementing a cap on acreage and a floor for megawatt production would likely mean only three more facilities could be built in the county.
He added that the committee chose the 151 MW floor for two reasons: to slow the proliferation of smaller-scale sites and to maximize tax revenue from any future projects. Per state law, utility-scale solar facilities subject to a locality’s machinery and tools tax initially receive an 80 percent tax abatement if they produce 150 MW of power or less. Facilities that produce more than 150 MW receive no tax break.
“As we look across the county, if we are going to continue to have solar projects, we should maximize the remaining acreage so the taxpayers get a return on these projects,’ Adams said in December.
The draft amendments would also impose restrictions on where utility scale-solar facilities could be built, limiting their construction to within one mile of existing high-voltage distribution or transmission lines and barring them in residential and industrial zoning in growth area overlay districts. Projects sited over a mile from high-voltage lines could be considered on a case-by-case basis.
In response to residents’ concerns about the viewshed around solar projects, the revised ordinance would beef up buffering requirements. It mandates a 300-foot opaque vegetative buffer, doubling the current 150-foot requirement, and stipulates that any supplemental tree plantings reach at least 20 feet in height within ten years of installation.
In the wake of significant damage from runoff at the Belcher facility, where hundreds of acres were cleared to make way for solar panels, the committee took a hard look at erosion and sediment control measures.
“Right now, in the industry today, when you say ‘Belcher’ a lot of people frown. We went in and tried to fix a lot of that,” Barnes said in December.
The proposed amendments include provisions aimed at preventing the problems at Belcher from happening elsewhere. Several were incorporated in Conditional Use Permits for two recently approved projects, Aura’s 94 MW site near the Town of Mineral, and Energix’s 118 MW facility set for construction at the Cooke Industrial Rail Park.
The draft regulations, for example, require that developers implement a phased approach to site preparation and construction with no more than 100 acres cleared at a time. All sediment control features would require county approval on a phase-by-phase basis and no stormwater holding ponds would be permitted in the property’s vegetative buffers.
In addition, the ordinance requires that developers obtain a written report from either an independent engineer or the zoning administrator determining the stabilization of each phase of construction. Once this determination is made another phase of land disturbance activities can begin.
The proposed amendments compel developers to pay a third-party engineer to check on construction weekly and ensure that it’s proceeding in accordance with the terms of the Conditional Use Permit. It also requires developers to submit “a bond sufficient to ensure compliance with the construction requirements of the CUP as determined by staff.” The bond would be released after the independent engineer or zoning administrator certifies the facility’s compliance.
The county’s current solar ordinance already requires developers to submit a decommissioning plan for their projects, which are typically approved for about 35 years. The draft amendments would add a specific provision that prohibits developers from disposing solar panels in Louisa County’s landfill.
Supervisors to consider resolution referring draft regulations for short-term rentals to Planning Commission: Supervisors could take their first formal step toward adopting regulations that govern the establishment and operation of short-term rentals (STR), a currently unregulated lodging option frequently used by visitors to Lake Anna.
The board will consider a resolution that refers to the Planning Commission a set of draft amendments to the county’s zoning code that establish a registry for short-term rentals, lay out rules for their operation, and specify the zoning districts in which they’re allowed by-right and with a Conditional Use Permit.
About a dozen Lake Anna residents, many from the Overton Fork subdivision, attended the board’s February 14 meeting to share their frustrations about STRs, citing public safety, environmental, and other concerns.
Residents said that the proliferation of short-term rentals is altering the character of their community by drawing in strangers who don’t respect their property and crowd their common area. Speakers also suggested that unregulated rentals are a health and safety concern because they frequently exceed their occupancy limit. They said crowded STRs could lead to overloaded septic systems and fire safety issues.
Those concerns prompted Board Chair and Mineral District Supervisor Duane Adams to appoint himself and Cuckoo District Supervisor Willie Gentry to a working group to study the issue. Adams and Gentry, who represent much of Lake Anna, crafted the draft ordinance after meeting with Dominion Energy, the Louisa County Chamber of Commerce, and the Lake Anna Business Partnership, according to a memo from Deputy County Administrator Chris Coon.
Per state code, STRs include rooms and dwellings that are offered as lodging for less than 30 consecutive days in exchange for payment. They don’t include hotels, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds or accommodations offered by license realtors or rental agencies. STRs are typically offered by homeowners on platforms like Airbnb.
The draft amendments would establish a county-wide short-term rental registry, requiring STR operators to annually register their property, pay a $50 fee, and demonstrate that they’ve paid all associated taxes and fees such as the county’s transient occupancy tax.
The amendments would require that STR operators, before offering their property for rent, provide the county with a property management plan, a copy of at least a $1 million general liability insurance policy covering the rental of the property to visitors, and, if the property’s not served by public water and sewer, proof that the STR’s septic system is adequate for the occupancy either by its design capacity and/or enhanced servicing. In addition, the draft amendments require, if applicable, a statement from the homeowners’ or property owners’ association that governs the community in which the STR is located regarding the operation of short-term rentals.
The amendments would compel STR owners to maintain a list, for no less than two years, of all visitors’ names, addresses, ages, and the dates they rented the property and prohibit operators from renting STRs for events.
The draft amendments stipulate that occupancy would, generally, be limited to two people per bedroom excluding children, that parking should be allowed in the driveway or parking spaces but prohibited on other sections of the property, and that all safety equipment, like smoke detectors, should be maintained in accord with state building code standards. The amendments would authorize Louisa County officials to inspect STRs with at least 48 hours’ notice.
Operators who violate provisions in the ordinance could have their registration revoked. STR operators who fail to register their property and violate the ordinance could be subject to fines and barred from registering until they pay the penalty. STR operators may be prohibited from offering a specific property for short-term rental after multiple violations.
The proposed amendments would define STRs as a commercial use and permit them by-right in most zoning designations while permitting them via Conditional Use Permit in certain commercial and industrial districts.
The Planning Commission will discuss the draft amendments at its April 14 meeting. The adoption of regulation governing STRs would require a public hearing in front of the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
Board to consider increasing tax rebate for Crossing Pointe: The board will consider doubling from $250,000 to up to $500,000 a tax rebate it’s providing to Get Captive, LLC and GW & FW Holdings, LLC, developers of Crossing Pointe, a mixed-use community slated for construction at Zion Crossroads. The Planned Unit Development, approved in 2019, is expected to include 138,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 300 residential units.
According to the proposed resolution, the county initially determined that an abatement was appropriate because “there are direct public purpose benefits to the County from new tax revenues and increased economic activity created by the Capital Investment and Real Estate Improvements.”
The developer agreed to construct a water pump station on the property then transfer its ownership to the Louisa County Water Authority. At the board’s July 6 meeting, Economic Development Director Andy Wade said the facility has an estimated value of $650,000.
The tax rebate would apply only to net new revenue generated from the project, not taxes currently paid, and the developer won’t see any benefit until the pump station is commissioned and under LCWA’s ownership. The developer has five years from that point to cash in on the rebate.
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