James City County supervisors approve revised plan for new retirement community – Daily Press

JAMES CITY — The James City County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved an amended plan for a retirement community near Ford’s Colony that will allow the long-debated project to move forward.

The new plan reduces the number of units offered for the community, which will be known as Ford’s Village, and offers new traffic improvements.

“The way things are, what’s on the books right now can happen,” supervisor Michael Hipple said. “The contestants came back and said we wanted to build a better community.”

Retirement Unlimited and Norfolk’s Frye Properties, LLC, updated the master plan for the entire project after previously asking council to wait until September 13 for the final vote.

Ford’s Village will be an age-limited continuing care community for ages 55 and older located in the Ford’s Colony area.

In July, the project estimated a total of 516 units, which has been reduced to 470 units in total: 200 in the large complex known as The Morgan, as well as 270 single and multi-family units.

Vernon Geddy, a representative for Frye, said the property will include several different housing options, but each will include features such as elevators and grab bar mounts for a safer experience. Homes ranged from an 800 to 1,000 square foot bungalow to a 2,600 to 2,900 square foot townhouse. It is not certain whether the properties are for sale, for rent or both.

The community will also offer many amenities: fine dining, fitness and wellness center, physiotherapy, college and enrichment classes, housekeeping, access to nurses and hospices, pickleball courts and more.

The courses would be delivered under the program of Retirement Unlimited, RUI University. Classes include subjects such as history, music, wine, cooking and technology.

The plan for a retirement community began in 2007 and was approved by the board in 2008. Since then no projects have been underway and the land is still open.

The 14-year-old master plan authorized 741 units, but the housing estate was never built.

The developer’s updated master plan, which sets the stage for the project to move forward, passed by a 3-2 vote. Supervisors Hipple, Ruth Larson and Sue Sadler voted to approve the plan, with Jim Icenhour and board chairman John McGlennon voting against.

While traffic will increase, Hipple, Larson and Sadler agreed it was worth the extra congestion.

“We hear from citizens and appreciate everyone’s contribution,” Sadler said.

Residents like David Hertzler, who expressed concern about the width of News Road, seemed to disagree.

“The design of the subdivision is magnificent; I have no problem with that. Traffic is already overwhelming on News Road,” Hertzler said. “…They didn’t approach traffic the way they should approach it.”

In 2008, many residents objected to the complex because they were concerned about increased traffic on News Road.

Geddy said the new master plan generates less traffic than the 2008 plan. He also said some traffic improvements were proposed, including turns on Firestone Drive and at Powhatan Secondary and traffic lights at the entrance of the project, if justified.

Icenhour and McGlennon were still unsure of the development.

“Mr. McGlennon and I were two board members in 2008 who voted against this original project,” Icenhour said.

The increase in traffic is too great for the neighborhood, according to Icenhour, and is not in line with the housing density of the whole project.

Paul Holt, director of community development and planning for James City County, insisted at Tuesday’s meeting that traffic will be good.

“News Road looks like a very different road than other two-lane roads in the county. It’s very windy and hilly,” Holt said. “This segment of News Road … together with the proposal and any other existing and future anticipated traffic does not trigger the need for VDOT to add additional lanes.”

‘The proposal as it stands before you today, therefore, passes council’s policy for adequate public facilities for roads,’ he continued.

McGlennon said he was still concerned about traffic as well as the need for additional accommodation that might be needed.

“I think we’ve heard some pretty serious traffic concerns from residents. We do not have answers to our need for additional accommodations for those who are likely to be needed [nurses and in-house staff] to prevent this development from working,” McGlennon said. “At the end of the day, I think we can still do better.”

The development is expected to have a positive fiscal impact on James City County of approximately $1.88 million per year.

In other cases on Tuesday, the board approved wage increases for many first responder workers. Each full-time police officer will receive a 5% salary increase. All officers hired on or after July 1 will also receive a $5,000 signing bonus, with the officer’s contingent signing a three-year contract with the county.

There will also be an increase in salaries for EMS intermediaries and paramedics.

Supervisors said they hope the increases will increase the number of first responders in James City County.

“I don’t think a lot of people in our county know…how few police and firefighters we have,” Icenhour said. “These people have covered a lot of ground and they’re doing a lot of good work for us.”

Supervisors also approved the expansion of the James City County Range on Jolly Pond Road. This is the biggest expansion of the range since its debut in 1985.

The Board of Directors will then meet on September 27 for a business meeting. The next regular meeting will take place on October 11.

Crank Abbey, [email protected]

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