Request for workforce housing on Rte. 33 Greenecroft property withdrawn

By Susan Gibbs

 

Workforce housing won't be built on Greenecroft commercial property

On Tuesday, September 11, Ted Corp, LLC won the tentative support of a majority of Greene County supervisors to place a workforce apartment development on a portion of the Greenecroft property zoned for commercial development on US33 East, just west of that road’s intersection with US 29.

On Monday, October 22 the developer withdrew its request for the Board’s general support of the project – which was given with the understanding that the Board was not obligating the county to approval of the development.

“Please be advised that Ted Corp is formally withdrawing our re-zoning application and will not be pursuing workforce housing at Greenecroft,” Rob Lynch, manager of Greenecroft and of Ted Corp, wrote in an e-mail sent to Greene County Zoning Administrator Bart Svoboda Oct. 22. “I appreciate your and your staff’s assistance thus far and look forward to working with you on future projects.”

No explanation for the withdrawal was given.

The Greenecroft site, which fronts the Four Seasons Active Adult community, was originally approved for a residential development calling for homes with a minimum of 2,600 square feet for ranch homes and a minimum of 2,800 square feet for two story homes.

Twenty-four of the project’s 75 acres were to be reserved for commercial development, with a maximum of 21 one-acre parcels.

In 2009, in response to the recession that struck the year before, Greenecroft developers requested that the original proffers be amended to allow for smaller single-family homes. They stated at the time that reducing the square footage of the homes would provide “a more affordable selection of housing options.”

The Board approved the request, lowering the minimum for both ranch homes and two-story homes to 1,800 square feet. Residences continued to be built, but the 24 acres set aside for commercial development remained vacant.

Since then, residences have continued to be built, but the 24 acres set aside for commercial development have remained vacant.

On December 21, 2011 Greenecroft brought a proposal to reduce those 24 acres to seven so to enable the construction of townhomes or multi-family dwellings on the site before the Greene County Planning Commission.

Ted Corp, LLC has withdrawn request to put workforce housing on the outlined portion of its US33 East commercial property

County planning commissioners recommended approval and sent the request on to the Board for action.

When he appeared before supervisors February 14 Lynch made it clear that there was no guarantee that any townhouses at all would be constructed on the portion of the site Greenecroft would have rezoned.

“We would really like to make it all commercial (but) we’re looking for flexibility now,” he told the Board. “There is so much in the Ruckersville area now that is not being developed. (That lack) is driving us to toward trying to find a more market-based solution.”

At that time, Board Chairman Buggs Peyton said “approval of this request reduces commercial property (at the Greenecroft location) by 70 percent. It adds 133 additional units … We need commercial growth. We need to provide for employment in Greene County. Doing away with commercial development is a deterrent to what the county should be.”

Along with Peyton, Board Vice-chairman Davis Lamb voted for denial of the request on Feb. 14, as did Supervisor David Cox.  Supervisors Eddie Deane and Jim Frydl voted against denial.

But Cox reversed his stance on September 11 – voting with Supervisors Eddie Deane and Jim Frydl to allow an evaluation of the property for workforce housing  — when Lynch came back before the Board, requesting “general” support from supervisors to put between 40 and 60 apartment units on 5 acres of the commercial site.

Lynch assured the Board at that time that the units were not to be subsidized.

“(Tenants) have to have good credit, and they will pay 100 percent of their rent,” he said Sept. 11.

Workforce housing is a federally-funded program, administered by the Virginia Housing Development Authority, for communities lacking below market rental rates for workforce employees.

Jen Surber Of Gem Management Inc., who accompanied Lynch to the September 11 meeting, explained that the program provides tax credits to the developer to encourage the supply of such residential units. Ted Corp. was to compete with other developers in other localities for the credits, and would have been scored based on several criteria deemed critical by the state agency.

Once awarded, the credits would then have been sold to private investors or insurance companies through a syndication process.  Ted Corp. would have used the value of the credits, on the front end, to offset development costs, and be so enabled to offer the units to working families at up to 30 percent below market rental rates.

Surber also explained on Sept. 11 that the maximum income limit for tenants is currently 60 percent of the area median income. According to the 2010 census, the median income for a household in the county is $54,307 and median family income is $60,414. Based on those numbers, the income limit for a household would be $32,584, and for a family, 36,428.

She pointed out that though the rental rates are reduced, the product was not compromised.

“We build very attractive, highly desirable (units) with amenities that you might find in market-rate communities,” Surber said Sept. 11. “We build all brick, highly energy-efficient units.”

But she also said, “We’re certainly interested in Greene County. If the Board would like to make a recommendation for a property that might be more suitable we certainly would be open to that.”

Planning officials say that though there are other areas in the county already appropriately zoned for such a development, Gem Management has not yet contacted them regarding an alternative site.

For more information on VHDA’s workforce housing program, visit http://www.gcva.us/dpts/admn/EBP/TedCorp.pdf.

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