262 homes proposed behind Tractor Supply

Published 5:19 pm Friday, September 29, 2023

A proposed mixed-use development would add 262 homes and five commercial parcels along the Benns Church Boulevard corridor.

Charlottesville-based Greenwood Homes submitted plans on Aug. 31 to Smithfield’s and Isle of Wight County’s respective zoning offices for what’s been dubbed “The Promontory.”

The development would occupy roughly 133 acres behind and adjacent to the Smithfield Tractor Supply at the site of a sand mining operation or “borrow pit.”

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The submitted site plans call for the main entrance into the development’s residential phase to be located on a planned extension of Cypress Run Drive, which currently provides access to the Kroger and Cypress Run Plaza shopping centers and connects to Benns Church Boulevard at a signalized intersection. The existing entrance to Tractor Supply would be extended to facilitate access to the five commercial parcels.

The commercial parcels would each front Benns Church Boulevard from Tractor Supply to the four-lane highway’s intersection with Turner Drive.

Greenwood, according to the submitted plans, intends to seek planned mixed-use development, or “PMUD,” zoning, a new option Smithfield’s Town Council added to its zoning ordinance last year to permit a mix of residential and commercial uses on a single parcel.

Greenwood is also seeking a waiver of setback requirements and a waiver of the town’s requirement that a development’s open space be contiguous.

The application is “incomplete at this time,” according to Tammie Clary, Smithfield’s director of community development and planning.

The entirety of the 133 acres are located within the town’s limits, though because the land is right on the town-county line, Smithfield’s and Isle of Wight’s staff each have the option of providing comments ahead of when the application goes to the town’s Planning Commission for review. Amy Ring, director of community development for the county, briefed Isle of Wight’s Planning Commission on the plans at the body’s Sept. 26 meeting.

The 262 homes, according to the developer’s plans, would include 154 single-family houses, 88 townhouses and 20 “villas,” which appear on the plans as attached residences slightly larger than the townhouses.

The edge of The Promontory’s commercial phase would be less than a quarter-mile from the proposed 615-home Sweetgrass mixed-use development, which is just across the town-county line on Isle of Wight’s side.

Both developers recently wrote letters to the county in support of a possible cost-sharing agreement to fund the 50% match a Virginia Department of Transportation revenue-sharing grant would require. The county is in the process of applying for the grant, which would fund the cost of constructing a roundabout on Turner Drive and left-turn lanes from Benns Church Boulevard onto Turner.

No date has been announced for when The Promontory will go before Smithfield’s Planning Commission.

According to Henry Layden, the borrow pit’s owner, the land has been an active sand mine since before he acquired it in 1991, but is now in what the Virginia Department of Energy calls a reclamation phase, where the pit is gradually returned to nature. Two-thirds of the land has been reclaimed to date and the remainder should be reclaimed within the next year and a half, he said.

Layden said Greenwood approached him about possibly selling the land roughly two years ago.

The submitted site plans refer to Greenwood as the site’s “contract purchaser.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Greenwood Homes as a Williamsburg-based firm. The company is headquartered in Charlottesville, though a Williamsburg address was listed for Greenwood on the submitted plans.