George Washington Village in Stafford County
George Washington Village is the newest housing community under review by the Stafford County Planning Commission. If approved it will be the largest master planned community in Stafford County. George Washington Village would be built on 1,051 acres between Courthouse Road (Route 630) and Ramoth Church Road (Route 628). The scale of this project would create a residential and commercial community from Interstate 95 exits 140 (Stafford) to 136 (Centreport Parkway). If approved, George Washington Village will create a residential neighborhood bordering Colonial Forge at Augustine subdivision to Interstate 95 while connecting Mine Road (Route 684) to Stafford Regional Airport.
The initial (unapproved) plans for George Washington Village have 2,900 homes (1, 907 single-family detached homes, 300 town homes, and 750 apartments), 1.8 million square feet of commercial development featuring a town center complex, and 400 acres of open land. The main entrance to George Washington Village would be directly across from Embrey Mill at Courthouse Road & Mine Road. The initial plans for George Washington Village in Stafford County has positioned most of the commercial space along Interstate 95 near the newly planned Courthouse Road interchange which will connect to the intersection of Jefferson Davis Highway (U. S. Route 1) at Stafford Hospital (Hospital Center Boulevard).
The initial proposal for proffers includes $50 million in infrastructure upgrades and recreational amenities like parks, swimming pools, and athletic fields. A group of project investors have created Augustine South Associates, including local developer Andy Garrett, to develop George Washington Village in Stafford County. The developers first need to submit for rezoning changes to the Washington Village Urban Development Area, changing separate agricultural and residential parcels into a planned traditional neighborhood development. The developers have stated George Washington Village will create a true economic center near Stafford Courthouse, and require more than 20 years to complete. A recent proffer guideline suggested by the Fredericksburg Area Builders Association limits impact fees of $31,141 for single family homes, $17,157 for town homes, and $15,861 for apartments. Developers are also assessed a transportation impact fee of $2,999 for each residential unit to improve existing roads for the increased traffic caused by new housing projects.
This subdivision and accompanying commercial plans can benefit Stafford County. But there isn’t enough public information about George Washington Village to determine if the appropriate amount of developer contributions needs to be more than $50 million for zoning changes and project approval. All of our schools are at student capacity, the road network surrounding the Washington Village Urban Development Area is decades behind current demand, and although Courthouse Road will soon become a 4 lane divided highway to Ramoth Church Road, and work on the Courthouse Road Interstate 95 exchange upgrade will soon begin, there appears to be no future plans to upgrade Ramoth Church Road which will also see increased traffic. Although this is a 20 year project, Stafford County elementary, middle, and high schools will need to service this community. We believe $50 million is a fraction of infrastructure needs for George Washington Village. Once the subdivisions of Colonial Forge at Augustine, Liberty Knolls, Embrey Mill, Shelton Knolls, Shelton Woods, and George Washington Village are complete, Courthouse Road will have traffic volume demands far exceeding 4 lanes.
The other side of the argument supports the plan for a large community with a supporting commercial district near Stafford County Courthouse. The planning and cooperation between the Stafford County Planning Commission and the George Washington Village planning and development team will allow Stafford County to have greater influence over the design and growth of the entire 1,100 acre project which will eventually experience residential growth regardless of the approval of this plan. This is an advantage over different development companies submitting plans requiring many changes to public highways, public utilities connections, and public school attendance and transportation zones.
There will be many changes and public hearings which will influence the initial plans submitted to Stafford County. Stafford County residents should be concerned at the current rate of growth. If too many new homes flood the market at any time it will lower the demand of housing which affects local property values. But developers usually release home sections of developments in stages to avoid this problem among other reasons.
On August 23, 2015, Charlie Payne, Attorney for Augustine South Associates released a statement citing the proffers would total $108 million which includes utility tap fees, the extension of Mine Road to Centreport Parkway, cash for schools, new parks and recreation facilities, a new site for a fire station, and 5 miles of walking trails.
Source: Bill Freehling of the Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg).