winchester — The city’s planning commission submitted three separate proposals on Tuesday for a housing development that could include as many as 83 residences.
“We desperately need these homes,” said committee member Sandra Bloom during the committee’s working session at Ross City Hall.
The first two proposals would be companion developments separated by a small group of existing companies – a subsidiary of First Bank and Trust Co. at 611 W. Jubal Early Drive, Veterans Subs at 621 W. Jubal Early Drive, and Pre-School America. At 631 W. Early Mountains Journey. As introduced, 25 homes will be built on 1.9 acres of vacant land south of corporate at 601 West Mountain Early Drive, and 26 homes will be located on 3.9 acres of open land north of it at 641 West Mountain Early Drive.
Tim Painter of the Winchester-based engineering firm Painter-Lewis PLC, which Stoneridge Cos. Inc. At Winchester Design by Jubal Early Projects, all homes will be three stories high and will include three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, two half baths and one-car garages.
John Willingham, chief executive of Stoneridge, told the committee: “These aren’t going to be rentals, they’re homes for sale.”
According to documents shared on Tuesday, the 51 homes are expected to sell for $375,000 each.
The third residential development proposal would bring 32 apartments on two acres of land at 1811 Roberts Street, just behind the City National Bank at 1830 Valley Ave.
If that address sounds familiar, that’s because the Commercial Highway (B-2) Planned Unit Development (PUD) overlay of land was approved by City Council in 2020 for the construction of 36 two-bedroom apartments in three separate buildings. However, the prospective developer of the apartments, Richard W. Beaver Sr. of Winchester, had not submitted a site plan in two years and the PUD had expired.
The property has changed ownership since the 2020 rezoning was approved. According to Winchester real estate records, Robert S. The two-acre site sold for $620,000 on February 22, 2022, to Dave Holliday Rentals LLC of Winchester.
On Tuesday, Dave Holliday Rentals submitted to the Planning Commission an application for a new PUD for 32 apartments in a pair of four-story buildings containing 16 units each, informing the commission that the site is now expected to encompass 2,700 square feet. He made a commercial building as well. David Stewart, Winchester’s chief planner, said the commercial facility would likely be a “professional office structure”.
Estimates shared with the committee indicate that the condos are expected to enjoy a net city coffers tax benefit of $42,590 per year after covering infrastructure, emergency services, and education expenses. A financial analysis provided by Dave Holliday Rentals predicts that four school-age children will call the apartments their home once they are built.
The required Roberts Street rezoning raised some concerns with the planning committee, but members had mixed reactions to Jubal Early’s proposals. Some said they wanted the project approved because Winchester suffers from a major housing shortage, while others expressed concerns about building designs and the loss of potential development sites for commercial uses.
“I’m not interested in three-story homes,” Commissioner Brandon Beaver said. “And I’m not 100% selling housing there.”
“Since the (Covid-19) pandemic, the demand for commercial space has completely declined,” Bloom replied.
Both early Jubal lot lots are currently designated as commercial plots (PC) because the city had hoped for several years that businesses would be interested in locating them there. Building the townhouses and adding sufficient housing density to the land will require B-2 rezoning with PUD overlays.
If 51 homes were built, documents submitted to the Planning Commission estimate that the residences would generate $60,541 in annual tax revenue for the city coffers after Winchester covers its costs to service the development.
Documents estimate that 15 or 16 school-age children will call the townhomes, but Willingham and members of the planning committee say the city’s school system is currently overstretched and hopes to boost enrolment.
As an incentive for the city to grant rezoning, Stoneridge is offering a series of offerings that will benefit the nearby Green Circle Trail and Abrams Creek Wetlands. These offerings include a $1,000 donation for each occupied property and the gift of two acres of land, to expand the track and wetlands.
Winchester planning director Timothy Yeomans said city staff support the proposed rezoning of the 26 townhouses at 641 W. Jubal Early Drive because that lot is not significantly conducive to commercial development. However, the staff recommends denying the necessary rezoning of the 25 townhouses at 601 W. Mountains Early Drive, because that is prime commercial development property, which generates more taxes and fees than residential properties.
“We want clarification from the applicant” about how Stoneridge will proceed if only one property is rezoned, Yeomans said.
Willingham said: “This is a really difficult question to answer,” but indicated that his company may be willing to develop only one of the sites.
The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold public hearings on the three redistricting proposals at its next meeting on September 19 at Ross City Hall. The committee’s recommendations will then be sent to the City Council, which will cast a final vote.
The Winchester Planning Commission’s Tuesday afternoon working session at Ross City Hall was attended by Chair Lacey Burnett, Vice Chair Lisa Mayfield, and members Brandon Beaver, Maddie Rodriguez, John Fox, Sandra Bloom, and Mark Dick.