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Spotsy rejects bid to reduce proffers
Summerfield owner will have to wait until March to ask for lower proffers

Date published: 9/27/2012


The owner of the planned Summerfield subdivision in Spotsylvania County won't be able to request lower proffers again until March.

Landowner Marion E. Hicks submitted an application in July asking the county Board of Supervisors to decrease his proffers--voluntary contributions to offset the development's impact on county services--by $1.4 million, from $3.5 million to $2.1 million.

But on Tuesday night, supervisors voted 6-1 to declare that application substantially the same as Hicks' previous request for lower proffers, which was denied earlier this year. Supervisor Gary Skinner cast the lone dissenting vote.

The board's decision means Hicks will have to wait until March--a year after his original application for reduced proffers was killed--to make another proposal.

Hicks' first request cited economic conditions in asking for a $1.9 million proffer reduction.

The planned development is off U.S. 1 near Kingswood, just south of Fredericksburg.

Supervisors on Tuesday also approved criteria for determining whether revised rezoning applications are the same or different. Guidelines include changes to a development's density, layout and unit types.

Supervisor Benjamin Pitts said he doesn't think failed applications should be reconsidered just because a developer offers the county more money. "It just leaves a dirty taste in my mouth," he said.

Hicks' revised request would have moved forward in the public hearing process--first with the Planning Commission, then with supervisors--if supervisors had declared it substantially different from the denied proposal.

Supervisors approved the 127-home Summerfield rezoning--along with the original proffers--in 2009, but construction has not yet started.

Stafford County land-use attorney Clark Leming, who is representing Hicks, had said he hoped the board would act quickly on the request for lower proffers because of the landowner's age. Hicks, a former Spotsylvania supervisor, is 90.

Leming filed a lawsuit against Spotsylvania earlier this year over its refusal to reduce Summerfield's proffers, but asked that the suit not be served at that time.

He could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402
Email: jbranscome@freelancestar.com