Proposed authority would fund Benn’s Grant infrastructure

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 3, 2008

ISLE OF WIGHT—County supervisors were given a rundown Tuesday on the Community Development Authority that a developer has suggested be created to help fund $35 million in infrastructure costs to begin work on Benn’s Grant.

The board had tabled a request to adopt an ordinance to create the authority at its meeting on Jan. 17, and took no action Tuesday. The supervisors plan to meet again on Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. to continue the discussions.

Benn’s Grant is a proposed development that could bring nearly 1,100 homes, an office park, recreation, a retail district and medical offices to an area off Route 10 east of Smithfield.

Mark Williams, representing the law firm of McGuire Woods, and David Rose of the financial firm Davenport & Co. of Richmond explained to board members how the CDA would work.

Williams said the purpose of the CDA is to issue bonds to finance public infrastructure.

&uot;One point I want to make,&uot; he said, &uot;is that while the CDA has the power to issue bonds, it does not have the authority to levy taxes. That will be the responsibility of the county.&uot;

He noted that the county can recover its costs through CDA assessments.

He said the CDA would be guided by a five-member panel chosen by the Board of Supervisors.

The CDA district would include about 585 acres west of Route 258 at its intersection with Route 10.

Approximately 400 acres are owned by one person, with an additional 120 acres under contract.

The proposed development is expected to include about 80 acres of commercial development, 30 acres for the Riverside Medical Center, and 90 acres to be conveyed to the county for future office park space.

The homes proposed would be a mixture of townhomes, condominiums and single-family houses.

Improvements to the area to be financed by the CDA would include upgrading the intersection of routes 258 and 10, realigning and extending Route 258, water and sewer improvements and stormwater management improvements.

Supervisor Phillip Bradshaw raised the issue of abutting property, and whether the CDA District had the authority to annex additional property once it is created.

Rose assured Bradshaw that it did not.

&uot;CDAs have financed improvements that abut the CDA District,&uot; he said, &uot;but it has no authority to annex any of this property.&uot;