A proposed new residential subdivision in the Hardy area of Smith Mountain Lake was given the go ahead by the Franklin County Board of Supervisors last week following months of delays.
A debate over the use of private roads in the 195 acre development with 112 lots just off Mooreman Road in Hardy was stalled by supervisors since October due to the use of private roads. SML Partners LLC has requested a special use permit to build private roads in the subdivision when they were unable to get approval to have the roads turned over to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Usually, when developments are constructed the roads within them are also built according to VDOT standards and become state maintained roads once the development is complete. In this case, an adjacent property owner was unwilling to turn over his road easement.
Due to the developer not having all private easements signed over, VDOT is unable to take over the roads.
Several supervisors voiced their apprehension with allowing private roads in the county in October while discussing the proposal by the developer. Boone District representative Ronnie Thompson was one of the most vocal against the proposal for fear roads would one day become impassible due to a lack of upkeep.
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At last week’s meeting, Franklin County Attorney Jim Guynn said he had worked with the developers to create a plan to assure the roads would be maintained for the next 20 years by the developers.
“We’ve tried to put together a plan so, at least for 20 years, their will be a fund put in place to maintain roads in the subdivision,” Guynn said.
The developers agreed to provide funding for road maintenance for the next 20 years. Developers also agreed that in the closing of each home sold in the development, $1,000 would go to the subdivision’s homeowners association, HOA, for road maintenance cost.
Guynn said in 20 years, if homes are built on all the lots, that would be $112,000 for the HOA to use for road repairs for the next 20 years. The HOA could also continue to ask for an annual fee to continue to fund road maintenance.
The developer, SML Partners LLC, agreed to multiple conditions that are unique to this development to guarantee the roads are maintained. “I don’t know if we can expect any developer to do any more that what this one has done,” Guynn said.
Following an explanation by Guynn of the new conditions, most supervisors seemed willing to move forward with the project. Blackwater District representative Ronald Mitchell said more housing is needed in the county and the development will provide that. “I for one am ready to move forward with this project,” he said.
Thompson continued to express some hesitation with the development at last week’s meeting. While he said housing was needed, he said he continues to have “heartburn” over the use of private roads for the project.
“I think this is probably as good as it’s going to get without it being in VDOT,” Thompson said.
Despite some apprehension, Thompson joined other supervisors in voting unanimously to approve the project last week.