A special exception to place 286 acres at Winton Farm into a planned unit development area recently received a unanimous endorsement from the Amherst County Board of Supervisors.
The board authorized the PUD request on May 21 after holding a public hearing that drew no comments from residents. Petersburg-based Waukeshaw Development, Inc. in early February finalized its $800,000 purchase of the site from Amherst County, which owned the Winton Country Club and Golf Course on site since 1967 through a land donation.
The company is operating the club and 18-hole golf course as Winton Farm LLC. The PUD designates the property’s land use as a retail/business expansion area, a residential area, a golf/open agricultural area and space for a future county fairground where the county could potentially relocate the Amherst County Fair.
“What we’re essentially doing is designating land use categories,” Jeremy Bryant, director of community development, told supervisors.
Dave McCormack, president of Waukeshaw Development, has said the intent with Winton redevelopment is to use and restore current facilities and keep as much of the scenic open space intact as possible. In an application before the county he didn’t state specifics of what Winton Farm’s redevelopment plans are for the site at 599 Patrick Henry Highway in northern Amherst County but wrote the three envisioned uses are to maintain the golf course, have an area for residential that may include a retirement community and have an area for retail and business.
He has said publicly he is aware of the site’s limitations for development with lack of public water and sewer and the company intends to be a good neighbor to adjoining landowners.
“There should be no net affect on adjacent property, as there is a significant buffer between all proposed uses and neighboring properties,” Winton Farm’s application reads. “New buildings related to the commercial endeavors would be clustered around the existing buildings.”
The company deeded about 70 acres back to the county for a fairgrounds venue that could potentially house the county’s fair, which launched last year on property near Stage Road across from the entrance of Sweet Briar College and will return to that same site for a four-day stretch this summer. It also placed much of the site into a conservation easement to preserve open space.
Some nearby residents during an April 18 meeting of the Amherst County Planning Commission expressed concern with the fair operating near their properties. McCormack said at the commission’s meeting he expects the fair, if located at Winton, wouldn’t negatively affect the golf course.
In Winton Farm’s application states the fairgrounds area would have minimal infrastructure and the planned redevelopment would generate jobs. New buildings related to a retirement community would be close to Virginia 151 and the site’s overall character would be maintained and enhanced, according to McCormack.
“The development will provide for increases amenities in the county, promote tourism, and offer a safe, competitively priced retirement option for Amherst citizens,” the application reads.
A site plan attached shows 235 acres, or roughly 84% of the property, would remain open space while 28.2 acres would be targeted for business use and 18.1 acres slated for residential. McCormack has agreed to exclude uses such as automobile service stations, marinas, docks and boating facilities of a commercial or club type, churches, manses, parish houses, schools, day cares, emergency services, an indoor theater, a library and timeshare projects.
“Converting the property to PUD zoning fulfills the vision contemplated in the purchase agreement, and establishes a foundation for the future of Winton,” McCormack said after the meeting in an emailed statement. “We are excited about the potential there, and look forward to developing our plans over the coming years.”
Waukeshaw Development also is restoring a former mill on Union Hill Road in Amherst into a new brewery and restaurant and plans this summer to break ground on converting a former Madison Heights school on Phelps Road into 40 apartments.