After a decade of battle over the development of the 175 acre Crystal Spring site, we are on the cusp of a major land use agreement as the developers of The Village at Providence Point (TVPP) have honored all of our terms for withdrawing our objections. City Planning and Zoning is incorporating these terms in their review process as conditions that must be followed.
Under the terms of the agreement we reached with National Lutheran Communities & Services (NLCS), TVPP will now consist of a senior only development with 302 housing units and 48 health care suites. There will be no retail except for internal small scale retail sales to residents and staff. The entire development would be built closest to Forest Drive with an impervious surface footprint of 15.25 acres never to be exceeded on the 52 acres to be owned by NLCS. There would be a 125-foot forested buffer around Forest Drive.
For the 123 acres to be kept in the ownership of Janet Richardson Pearson, no new development would be permitted except for equestrian related farm uses such as new barns, stables, and show rings. These would be kept to no more than 45,000 sq. ft. in total. Also, a new Wellness House for cancer patients and family could be built closest to Spa Road. No trees could be cleared for either the equestrian buildings or Wellness House.
Forest clearing for TVPP is limited to 27 acres and 100% of forest cleared will be replanted on site. This means that the 124 currently forested acres on the 175 acre site will be protected forever including the reforested 27 acres. There will be no net loss of forest cover. A stringent conservation easement on the 123 acres where the equestrian center is located and a restrictive deed covenant on the 52 acres of NLCS land will assure permanent protection of 124 acres of forest and zero further development in perpetuity except as noted above.
This all means that two of our major demands for 100% forest preservation of 124 acres in perpetuity and the extinguishment of all other development rights for the 175 acres, except as noted above, have been met.
The other two demands on stormwater and traffic also have been met. Stormwater management plans fully meet our concerns to handle a 25-year storm event so that there would be no increase in the rate, volume, or pollutant loads and stormwater will not exceed that from a forest in good condition. The developer will use 79 rain gardens and more than an acre of green roofs, restore a polluted stream channel that drains into Crab Creek, and put 364 of the 475 parking spaces underground or under buildings with another 28 spaces using porous surfaces. This far exceeds City and State requirements.
The traffic plans are comprehensive and actually may improve traffic flows. Note that since TVPP will be a senior only residential community, peak a.m. and p.m. traffic trips will increase by only 60. Please click here to see the commitment letter from Larry Bradshaw, CEO of NLCS that will be incorporated in any City approval of the project. This letter details the comprehensive traffic improvements and also the other commitments on forest conservation, stormwater, and the extinguishment of development rights.
And there is a new environmental twist: the developer has committed to 100% compliance with all environmental requirements for stormwater, sediment control, and forest conservation, both during construction and once occupation occurs. This agreement allows for direct citizen contact with the construction manager and, after occupancy, with the director of the senior development. Click here to read this new agreement filed with the City guaranteeing citizen oversight.
We, Concerned Citizens for Proper Land Use, Inc., firmly believe that this is the best deal that could be achieved for this 175 acre property which is zoned for development. There has been no meaningful movement on any plans to acquire the property for a park which likely would cost more than $25 million. This property is not going to sit as is forever. The owners have a right to some development and it likely would be much more extensive than what we have brokered. If TVPP falls through, alternative development plans could, and likely would, include a massive non-age restricted housing project as once proposed.
Click here to see an extensive list of conservation leaders supporting withdrawal of our objections as long as all of these terms are incorporated into any City approval.
The last step in City review and approval is the Planning Commission that must hold a public hearing on the plans, review them, and then vote on whether to approve them. The Planning Commission hearing has been set for Thursday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m. and will be held virtually. We plan to testify and will keep you updated on how you may participate. The Commission plans to hold as many as two more hearings in January that may be in person depending on public health considerations.
Also, there is a newly required public meeting regarding the Preliminary Forest Conservation Plan scheduled for November 10th at 9:00 a.m. We are fully supportive of this plan and have worked hard to gain such an agreement as it minimizes forest clearing, requires 100% reforestation on site, and guarantees all 124 acres of current forest will be permanently protected with the reforestation acreage. How could we do better?
If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Gerald Winegrad, President
Concerned Citizens for Proper Land Use, Inc.