Steve Blaine, the attorney representing Biscuit Run developers, was quick to inform the Board of Supervisors about all the meetings that had taken place prior to that evening on July 11: two public hearings at the Planning Commission, 13 information sessions and more than 200 informal meetings, by Blaine’s count. But last Wednesday’s meeting was the supervisors’ first official look at the largest proposed residential development in county history, and they wanted to take their time.
Biscuit Run, city jackpot? Ken Boyd, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, asked as much at a recent work session.
Perhaps because of the magnitude of the 3,100-unit project, supervisors spent a lot of time rehashing policy questions they’ve officially resolved—such as whether Biscuit Run should connect to surrounding neighborhoods (official answer: yes; answer in Biscuit Run discussion: maybe in a few years) or the specifics of their proffer policy.
And how, in an election year for half the board, could the supervisors resist taking a potshot at the neighboring locality whose voters don’t matter?
“Is this going to be a big windfall for the city?” asked Chairman Ken Boyd. Biscuit Run has pledged to give the city $1.55 million for road improvements to Old Lynchburg Road. Boyd wanted to know how much the city might also get from the revenue sharing agreement, whereby the city receives 10 percent of county real estate taxes in exchange for not annexing the area around it. After Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier said the money shouldn’t go to city operating costs, Boyd responded, “In reality, that’s where it goes.”
The city wasn’t there to respond, but a principal investor, Hunter Craig, was when the county questioned the value of the proffers concerning a proposed 402-acre park.
“I think we live in a world where there is a surfeit of obfuscation,” Craig philosophized before getting to the point: County staff came up with the numbers, and he’s got a $9 million offer on the table for the land slated to become a park—hinting that if the supervisors don’t want to give credit for the park, valued in the proffers at $5 million, he can make more money by simply donating $5 million in cash.
Supervisor Sally Thomas admonished Craig, in her own delicate way, and Craig backpedaled: “My comments were not to be in any way confrontational. We want to do what’s best.”
“It must be getting late, because I’m agreeing with [Supervisor] David Slutzky,” said Supervisor David Wyant toward the end of the meeting. The Board, noting the late hour, said they’d need another work session—pushing back the public hearing from August to September.
Past C-VILLE stories on Biscuit Run: