Lake rezoning

A proposed rezoning would allow new homes near Elk Creek and Lake Anna.

A trio of landowners proposed rezoning 87 acres near Lake Anna for residential use, drawing criticism from neighbors who say it will create too much boat traffic.

The Louisa County Planning Commission deferred action July 11 on the rezoning. Members asked the property owners to analyze the fiscal impact on the county of the development’s 92 new residential lots.

The land to be rezoned is outside the Lake Anna designated growth area. The only road access is via Buckners Lane, a narrow lane that links the property to Johnson Road (Rt. 700).

Torrey Williams, an attorney for the owners, said he didn’t think they could be required to do a fiscal impact study. Chairman Holly Reynolds (Green Springs district) agreed that they couldn’t, but the commission could certainly ask for one. The hearing followed on the heels of three rezoning proposals in Zion Crossroads. All three developers presented fiscal impact reports on how their projects would affect public schools, public safety services and the tax base.

“The times they are-a-changing. Somebody’s going to have to pay to upgrade Buckners Lane” to [Virginia Department of Transportation] standards, Reynolds said in calling for the study.

The owners include W.W. Whitlock Agency Inc.; W.A. Cooke Inc.; and Hawkwood Timberlands LLC, which is managed by John Purcell.

The three landowners are willing to proffer that even with the rezoning, the residential lots will be at least 1.5 acres in size. That’s the minimum lot size in the agricultural (A-2) zoning district. The reason to rezone the property is to allow 43 new lots, while the property is likely to have as few as seven division rights with the current zoning.

“This portion of the lake has access issues,” Williams said. “We’re trying to turn it into a decent, useable property. It’s currently locked in land use and is not valuable to the county. We want to put it on the tax rolls.”

Residents of Seclusion Shores, a subdivision on the upper part of Elk Creek, say their cove is too small to handle the impact of 92 new residential lots, including the 43 in the area to be rezoned and 49 that are already zoned R-2. Their neighborhood is directly across the cove from the proposed development. The Waters and Elk Creek Landing, two much larger subdivisions that generate their own boat traffic, are downstream.

Earl Eck, a Seclusion Shores landowner, said he estimates the new housing would add 50 more boats in the upper end of the cove.

“That puts my swimming area in the kill zone,” Eck said. “I spent 13 years in defense intelligence and I’ve done a lot of risk analysis. This is not hard to figure out—it’s extremely dangerous.”

Tom Egeland, a Louisa County planner, said county staff regulate the distances between boat docks and the width of travel ways to try to ensure boaters’ and swimmers’ safety. But he emphasized that county rules are based on guidelines developed by Dominion Energy, which owns the lake.

“The buck stops with Dominion,” he said. “They’re not going to approve something that’s too close together or too long or will interfere with navigating the cove.”

While several residents were upset about the potential impact of the new development on the water, others questioned the fairness of the rezoning.

“If you do this, I want the right to do it on my land,” Judith Chisholm-Stone, who owns a large agricultural tract next to the property, said.