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Bedford council denies permit for development; OKs revitalization project grant
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Bedford council denies permit for development; OKs revitalization project grant

After tabling a decision in June on a conditional use permit application from developers planning new by-right construction in the Governor’s Hill neighborhood in Bedford, Bedford Town Council on Tuesday voted 4-3 to deny the permit.

Councilmen Darren Shoen, Stacey Hailey, C. G. Stanley and Bruce Johannessen voted to deny the permit; Mayor Tim Black, Vice Mayor Steve Rush and Councilman Bruce Hartwick voted in favor of granting it.

After town council previously denied the developer an initial conditional use permit to build 233 patio-style units on about 45 acres of undeveloped land, White Engineering & Design applied for a new permit as part of a revised plan for 143 patio-style homes in addition to 70 detached, single-family homes to be built by-right on the lower portion of the land, totaling 213 dwellings.

The developer still can build single-family detached homes on the land by-right, Jamey White, of White Engineering & Design, said. The density would depend on availability of public water and sewer or whether the developer would opt for wells and private septic systems, said Mary Zirkle, economic development coordinator for the Town of Bedford.

The developer has not yet brought forward a plan for proceeding.

Throughout the Governor’s Hill neighborhood development process, many residents of the existing portion of the neighborhood spoke against proposed plans from the developer at public meetings. Primary concerns were about traffic and safety issues on already congested neighborhood streets, stormwater drainage issues, property value depreciation and the potential loss of a quiet cul-de-sac.

In other town development news, the Town of Bedford was awarded a Community Development Block Grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for the ongoing Hilltop Community revitalization project. Town staff applied for the grant in April.

The $921,983 grant will go toward the rehabilitation or rebuilding of 11 houses in the Hilltop Community area. The improvements are slated to be completed within two years, and no residents will be displaced as a result of the work.

Town staff is working with the Central Virginia Planning District Commission on the project, a process that began in November 2019 with a public meeting to identify the areas of greatest housing rehabilitation needs in the community.

The project focuses on low-to-moderate income houses, or households making less than 80% of the locality’s median income.

Five of the 11 homes selected for the Hilltop Community project will be rehabilitated, and six will be demolished and replaced, said Matt Perkins, of the Central Virginia Planning District Commission. All homes planned for demolition currently are unoccupied, Perkins added, and he said no residents should be displaced during the processes.

The project is anticipated to benefit 26 individuals in 11 houses and mark the first phase of a broader 10-year multi-phase housing improvement undertaking.

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