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Board denies lot increase request

by Tom Chillemi

When Phase I of Healy’s Mill Plantation in Hartfield was rezoned to Residential in 2007, applicant Gene Ruark proffered that there would be a maximum of 31 lots on the 40 acres. However, a survey by contract purchaser W. Berkeley Fergusson revealed the parcel has 88 acres. The parcel is located on Stormont Road at Healy’s Mill Pond in Hartfield.

How this discrepancy happened is unclear. The boundary or “footprint” of the parcel is the same as it was in 2007, but the actual acreage is more than double.

On May 14, the Middlesex Planning Commission discussed increasing the proffered number of lots by 7, which would allow 38 lots. However, when it was time to vote, the commission recommended approval for only the original 31 lots.

On Tuesday night, the Middlesex Board of Supervisors agreed with the planners.

From the beginning, commissioner Buck Boyd spoke against increasing the number of lots, noting the initial rezoning was based on inaccurate information. Commissioners Marilyn South and David Johnson agreed with Boyd and also were concerned that the 2007 rezoning was based on inaccurate information.

Two neighbors spoke against increasing the number of lots, while Theresa Anderson said the addition of only 7 lots on 48 acres did not seem like too much.

Fergusson, of Lobo Properties in Richmond, also had proposed increasing lot sizes to over an acre and complying with current open space requirements.

After 90 minutes of debate, the planners recommended approval of just 31 lots, and the removal of a short road that led to an adjacent property.

This 88-acre parcel borders, but is separate from, Ruark’s 379-lot proposed subdivision that is the subject of a pending $14 million lawsuit against Middlesex County.

Ruark has been trying to get the 630-acre parcel rezoned since 2004. He filed suit in Middlesex Circuit Court after rezoning was denied on a split vote by the Middlesex Board of Supervisors in September 2008.

posted 05.20.2009

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