History dug up for 300 new homes from The Virginia Gazette — Centex Homes is planning 313 homes within the Carr's Hill section along Bypass Road. Carr's Hill is part of hundreds of acres owned by Colonial Williamsburg that have been put up in recent years. Colonial Williamsburg has been selling non-essential land while maintaining large buffers to protect the Historic Area. Ironically, Carr's Hill has significant buried history that could slow the project.
According to the site plan, the homes will be built in a project called Powell Plantation that would cover 65 acres. Lot sizes range 0.15 acre to 0.51 acre. Only 286 of 433 acres at Carr's Hill are considered developable, since 147 acres were previously dedicated for a conservation easement. Another 196 acres would be common areas. About 10 acres of that would be for a variety of amenities, such as tennis courts, a pool and a clubhouse. The property has been eyed for new homes for at least two years.
When York updated its 2005 Comprehensive Plan, the Board of Supervisors debated whether to downzone the property from medium-density residential to low-density residential in an attempt to slow growth. Colonial Williamsburg opposed the change and persuaded the supervisors to keep the current zoning by offering to restrict the number of homes.
The foundation agreed to a cap of around 380 and considered age-restricted homes. York real estate records value the land at more than $6.5 million, but Colonial Williamsburg wouldn't comment on a sales price. The biggest hurdle is a series of historical sites on the property. Among 12 identified historical sites, nine are eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Of those, seven are expected to be directly affected by construction. The other two could be partially affected. The tract was mainly owned by the Cobb and Powell families between the mid-1600s and the early 1800s. Landmarks include: * An area thought to be Robert Cobb's Plantation from the 1650s-1680s. * Three sites thought to be the location of Cobb's children's homes, circa 1670, 1690 and 1718. The remnants of a cellar have been identified at one of the sites.
* The sites of several storage houses and slave quarters dating to the 1740s. A brick cellar is on one of the sites. Another site is thought to have been redeveloped in the 1800s into a plantation house by a man named Nathaniel Walker. Al Maddalena, York chief of development & compliance, said because of a series of technical issues and the history factors the project has not been approved. “We need to know how they're going to deal with those sites that are shown to be impacted by the design of the development,” Maddalena said. “They'll need to submit a detailed course of action on how they're going to go about avoiding the resources or doing a Phase 3 archaeological recovery, or at least explaining why those options couldn't be implemented.” The zoning allows “by-right” development and does not require a special use permit or rezoning application. Centex can resubmit another draft of site plans for consideration by the county.