By Carol Vaughn —
CCG Note LLC is proposing to build a 142-unit townhouse development on a 24-acre parcel adjacent to and surrounded by the Captains Cove community near Greenbackville.
The company in October applied for a conditional use permit and to rezone the former Hastings/Mariner farm, which fronts on State Line Road, to the Village Development district.
“It is outside the Captains Cove development,” said Deputy County Administrator of Planning and Community Development Rich Morrison.
Plans include blocks of townhouses, private roads, stormwater management features, a clubhouse and pool, and a utility building, among other features.
A farmhouse on the property would be converted to a sales office.
The Accomack County Planning Commission at its Nov. 10 meeting voted to schedule a public hearing on the applications for Dec. 8. However, the planning department later received a Nov. 16 letter from CCG Note LLC asking that the hearing be postponed until the January 2022 planning commission meeting.
“This will allow for all exhibits and supporting materials, including the final traffic study, to be in hand and provide additional time for community input and comment,” the letter said.
All adjacent property owners will be notified about the hearing and it will be advertised in the newspaper.
A crowd of Captains Cove residents attended the Nov. 10 meeting and some expressed concerns about the project.
Resident Linda Reese during the public comment period read into the record a memorandum from Charles Ward about the proposed development.
Ward asked the planning commission to postpone setting a public hearing on rezoning the property.
In his memo, Ward said, “The application as submitted to the county staff is incomplete, fatally flawed, and should not be considered for review at this time.”
“Elements of this proposal stand to impact hundreds of Captains Cove residents and thousands of property owners,” the memo went on to say.
Bill Leslie, another Captain Cove resident, said residents only found out about the applications 24 hours before the meeting.
He received numerous emails after alerting residents about the proposed project, “most of which are, that they never knew it was happening, they’re really concerned about it, they are in opposition of it, they want to know more about it, and they think that it’s all happening too fast with absolutely no input from Captains Cove residents,” he said.
Sue Burriss said she has owned property at Captains Cove since 1985.
She noted some residents, including herself, do not live full time at the Cove and said she drove three hours to attend the meeting.
She said safety, including ambulance response times, “are real concerns for the citizens of Captains Cove.”
She said the impact on county resources of a 142-unit development needs to be studied.
Morrison spoke about the typical process the planning commission follows when considering an application.
The planning commission was seeing the information about the CCG Note LLC applications for the first time at the meeting, he said.
“Then, typically, a public hearing would get scheduled,” he said.
He noted all information about the applications can be viewed on the county BoardDocs website, https://go.boarddocs.com/va/coa/Board.nsf/Public
“The planning commission can take the time it needs once the hearing is held and once, maybe, more of you speak at a public hearing. The purpose for tonight is just to introduce the application to the planning commission. Typically, we’d set the hearing and then the review begins. So this isn’t unusual or out of the chute or anything — this is just process,” Morrison said.
Morrison said it also is not unusual for the county to receive additional required information from applicants “between now and the public hearing.”
Chris McCabe, representing CCG Note LLC, spoke about the project.
“The proposal is to do 142 fee-simple townhouse units that would be rental to begin with,” he said.
Water and sewer service would be provided by Aqua, the same utility as in Captains Cove.
McCabe said the developers have commissioned a traffic study from the highway department and have reached out to the Greenbackville Volunteer Fire Department about the proposal “and have received feedback from them as to some items that they have requested that they would like to see as part of the pubilc safety fire service concerns.”
McCabe said the developers will provide the county additional required information, including a fiscal analysis, an emergency services analysis, and information about impact on schools. A VDOT traffic study will take longer to complete, he said.
“We fully intend on having our civil engineer, our landscape architect, our traffic engineer, principals in the company, (and) myself at the public hearing to answer questions,” he said.
The property is not within the Captains Cove subdivision and will not have to conform to the that community’s covenants and restrictions, he said. Residents also would not be able to use Captains Cove amenities without an arrangement being made with the homeowners’ association.
The developers have been working with Accomack County staff on the project for three to four months, he said.
“There is a disparaging shortage of workforce rentals in Accomack County, especially on the north end,” McCabe said, adding that a feasibility study the property owners commissioned “showed there was a drastic workforce rental housing shortage in the whole county.”