Deal clears way for development
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
May 16, 2014, 12:12
BLAKE BELDEN/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT The land on the west side of the southern edge of the Boulevard in Colonial Heights currently sits undeveloped.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — A deal could bring a large development to the southern edge of the Boulevard and make it possible for the city to complete the final phase of the Appomattox River Greenway Trail.
After more than three years of discussion and negotiations, the Colonial Heights City Council has officially approved the conveyance of undeveloped property off of the Boulevard in exchange for funding for park improvements and a trail easement along the Appomattox River.
A unanimous vote by the council on Tuesday night, with John Wood absent, will convey a 0.752-acre city-owned parcel (A) on the south side of Archer Avenue at the intersection of the Boulevard to A+ Properties Inc.
A+ Properties currently owns an adjacent parcel (B) consisting of approximately four acres on the south side of Archer Avenue along the Boulevard, part of which stretches along the Appomattox River toward Appamatuck Park.
In return for the city-owned parcel, A+ Properties must give the city $15,000, all of which must be used exclusively for improvements to Appamatuck Park, and convey a 50-foot permanent trail easement to the city, which will be used for the final phase of the Appomattox River Greenway Trail.
The Greenway Trail is a $1.5 million, two-mile trail project stretching from Roslyn Landing Park to Appamatuck Park along the river that Colonial Heights has been working on for nearly a decade, of which the 50-foot easement comprises a critical part necessary for the completion of the trail.
In addition to the money and easement, Parcel A houses a partially improved stormwater management facility that collects drainage off the Boulevard, and the terms of the conveyance will require A+ Properties to relocate, replace and maintain a new stormwater management facility on the property.
The agreement drawn up by the city ordains that the property cannot be used for a number of purposes including adult uses, flea markets, tattoo or body piercing studios, check cashing or vehicle title lending businesses, junkyards, recycling centers or residential purposes.
This binds not only A+ Properties Inc., but any future purchasers of the land as well to the extensive restrictions on what the property can be used for.
“In essence, it only leaves a small room for a business type development that is zoned for that particular area,” said Mayor C. Scott Davis, emphasizing the amount of caution that the council has exercised prior to executing this agreement.
The council had previously demonstrated concerns about the conveyance of this property, and have gone through a series of renegotiations to make sure that the agreement is suitable for the city. A vote in January by the council proved that they were still unsatisfied with the terms of the agreement, and established that the further, current terms needed to be specified.
The city will be in charge of maintaining the river easement, and A+ Properties will be in charge of maintaining all grounds and facilities on both parcels.
A+ Properties’ preliminary plan had previously called for 58,000-square-foot, four story general office building. The Planning Commission will be working on a preliminary site plan for this project.