Supervisors clear way for Countryside Landing development around middle school site

The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors cleared the way Monday night for development of Countryside Landing on 352 acres of farmland where the new middle school will be built.

Owned by David Hagan’s Pulaski Farm Property, LLC, Countryside Landing is a Planned Unit Development that will consist of a mixture of high density residential, low density residential, civic, open space and commercial uses.

Monday night’s action by the supervisors consisted of approving – on a 4-1 vote – a requested modification of the county’s Future Land Use map within its Comprehensive Plan.

Prior to Monday night, the map showed the future use of the 352 acres to be commercial. With the board’s approval Monday night, the land is now designated as Planned Unit Development.

Following that decision, the supervisors – again on a 4-1 vote – approved a requested rezoning of the five parcels that make up the 352-acre site.

Before Monday night, the zoning for the five parcels included a mixture of commercial, high density residential and residential designations. With the board’s action, zoning for all five parcels is now Planned Unit Development.

Only Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp voted against both measures.  He offered no explanation for either vote.

The county’s Planning Commission had earlier unanimously recommended approval of both requests.

According to a narrative prepared by Gay and Neel, Inc. describing the Countryside Landing project, the site along Route 11 between Pulaski and Dublin is ideal.

“Residents will have access to existing local commercial areas as well as local school facilities within only a few miles. The mixed use development will offer opportunities for mid-range high quality housing that will provide new opportunities for economic growth for new businesses. In addition, the mixed use provides new opportunities for commercial adjacent to and within the housing development. The proposed development will attract new residents to the area and provide a central location to schools, businesses and recreational areas throughout the county,” the narrative states.

A look at the master plan shows the parcel where Pulaski County Middle School will be built located at the front of the site along Route 11.

Two areas now designated commercial will be located at both ends of the school site.

Behind the school and commercial areas are areas designated for high, medium and low density residential areas.

In the area located behind the athletic fields planned for PCMS is a mixed-use residential and commercial area.

Tom Rutledge, with SHAH Development – the construction arm of the Shelor Group – said hopes are for this area to be developed into unique areas of multi-story buildings with lower level commercial units such as a restaurant and shops, and residential apartments on the upper level.

Open spaces are planned for several areas within the project, which will be provided as an amenity to the community.  They may also include public civic areas, stormwater management facilities, parks, trails and conservation areas throughout the site.

According to Gay and Neel, due to the size of the project the master plan will be developed in phases.  The middle school site and the two commercial areas fronting Route 11 will be developed first.

Additional phases include the mixed use and residential sections that will be developed as needed based on future market conditions.

Each residential phase incorporates roadways, utilities and stormwater facilities.

All main connector streets within the project will be public and constructed to VDOT standards so they may be brought into the VDOT road system upon completion.

Townhomes, apartments and other dense development may have private road connections.

Roadways will provide connections to Hatcher Road near Route 11, Hatcher Road near the South end of the property and to Route 11 near the west end of the site near Thornspring Country Club.

A possible connection to Country Club Drive has also been proposed.

Sidewalks and walking trails will be constructed with each phase of the project, and street lights are planned for commercial, mixed use and high density residential areas.

A 50-foot perimeter buffer will extend around the property site, except along Route 11 in front of the middle school and commercial sites.

Along the buffer fronting Hatcher Road, Pulaski Farm Property will dedicate 10 feet of Right of Way to allow for improvements to Hatcher Road.

Danny Wilson, Planning and Zoning Administrator for the county said 176 acres of the 352-acre site would be open areas. Pulaski County Middle School is included in the 176 acres.

Rutledge told supervisors the project is designed with the least dense residential areas on the perimeter of the project, transitioning to the more concentrated density housing in the interior.

He noted that the area designated as Phase 4 on the master plan map – a single-family residential area fronting Hatcher Road – would likely be the first residential area developed.

Rutledge commended county staff for their “excellent job” of working with developers to formulate a plan for the site.

Michael Gay of Gay and Neel addressed the issue of a traffic impact analysis for the project.

Gay called Countryside a “30- to 50-year project for Pulaski County.”

“We don’t know where the market will go,” Gay noted.

He explained that, as developers decide what each phase will be – what the density will be and where the road network will be – it’s at that point traffic analysis will be conducted.

Public hearings on both requests saw only two citizens speak on the project.

E.W. Harless asked what would become of the remains of the Revolutionary War soldier buried on the site.

“He’s already been moved once to make way for the highway,” Harless told the board.

Beckie Cox, a member of the School Board, said the issue of the soldier’s burial site had come up during the School Board’s planning for the middle school.

Cox said the burial site is near the front of the school property, and that “thinking now is he won’t have to be moved” due to construction of the school.