MILFORD – Caroline County officials have moved closer toward allowing the county’s first community development authority, which could kick start a major development in Carmel Church.
The Board of Supervisors voted on Nov. 15 to conduct a public hearing on Dec. 4 on a proposal to allow creation of an authority, which could help initiate development of Carmel Church Station. Under state law, landowners can petition a board of supervisors, which creates an ordinance enacting the CDA specific to a site.
Carmel Church Station is a proposed mixed use development that would include a train station, open space, housing, and sites for industry, big-box stores, an elementary school and library.
The project would be located along a four-mile tract bordering Interstate 95 from Carmel Church to the North Anna River. The town core of the station would consist of a cluster of eight-story buildings for multi-family housing that would taper to five-story buildings at the edges. The core would be about a half-mile in diameter so residents would have no more than a quarter-mile walk to the train station.
A community development authority would have the power to finance, fund, establish, acquire, construct, equip, operate and maintain infrastructure improvements. The improvements could include roads, bridges, parks, storm water management systems, gas and electrical lines, street lights, fire prevention systems and rescue vehicles, schools, and more.
The supervisors would have authority to approve all projects before they can be initiated by a community development authority. The county would not be liable for a project’s debt; the developer would be liable for all debt, and the land and improvements would be considered collateral.
The issue came before the Board of Supervisors at its Aug. 14. The supervisors directed Wilson and John Markowitz of Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, a bond consulting firm, to provide the board with written answers to questions they raised at a June meeting. Wilson and County Administrator Charles Culley provided the supervisors with six pages of information at the Nov. 15 meeting in response to the board’s questions.
A community development authority could not create a debt obligation to the county. Instead, a developer would be responsible for the repayment of money borrowed through a bond issue.
A community development authority is considered a way to jump-start a major project. In a briefing memo to the supervisors, Wilson noted that an authority could help initiate development of the Carmel Church Station project.
Another benefit of a community development authority is that, while it would give the county another economic tool to attract business and industry, at the same time it would give the supervisors more power to prevent ill-advised projects.
“The county, if it goes this route, would not be the instigator of a project but would be in a position to approve or deny a project,” Wilson has said.
In other action, the board adopted a resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown triumph. The horse was born March 30, 1970 on a farm that is now the location of Meadow Event Park and the State Fair of Virginia.
As it did on the 30th anniversary of the racehorse’s triumph, Caroline County will offer a resolution for the Virginia General Assembly to pass to honor the milestone in equine sports. The resolution was written by Sports Illustrated writer Bill Nack for the 30th anniversary and was updated for the 40th anniversary.
The resolution reads, in part, “Secretariat, as a three-year-old in 1973, became the first thoroughbred in 25 years to win racing’s coveted Triple Crown—the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes in New York—in the brief span of five weeks.” The race times in two of the races have not been beaten to this day.
“Secretariat’s astonishing 31-length victory in the Belmont Stakes is widely perceived as the single greatest performance in the history” of horse racing, the resolution also reads.
In 2010, Walt Disney Pictures produced and distributed a biographical sports drama movie about the horse titled, “Secretariat,” which was based on Nack’s book by the same title.
In other action, the board awarded a $58,007 bid to Williams Contracting Inc. of Ladysmith, to renovate and convert a historic doctor’s office in Port Royal into a visitor center and museum. The center will include a medical museum with historic implements. Funds for the project will come from the state Department of Transportation. Williams was the low bidder out of five companies; the bids went as high as $78,900.
In other action, the board:
• Approved a lease agreement with G.H. Watts to continue storing county public works and public utilities equipment and for use of office space for $14,400 per year.
• Adopted a resolution declaring Dec. 6 as ‘Senior Citizen’s Day in Caroline County’ to coincide with the Caroline Rotary Club’s 13th annual Christmas gala for senior citizens, which will be held at Caroline High School and feature dancing, gifts, and a gourmet meal prepared by the school’s culinary arts department.
• Voted to continue discussion of a proposal for citizen outreach efforts at the Dec. 4 meeting. The proposal calls for separate meetings from regular board meetings – additional meetings at which citizens could provide input on issues that concern them.
• Tabled a request to add the Ladysmith Village Homeowners Association User’s Group to the Caroline Alert System.