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A PUD For Reedville?«Back to View Articles | Back to All Articles
Responding to a Letter to the Editor
11/4/2011 - dmower


A Reedville resident recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Rappahannock Record “PUD Positive” that in which he makes statements and assertions following the Bluff Point developer’s talking points that are blatantly false.  Quoting from his letter: “I’m tired of listening to the same old mantra from the same “no growth” sooth-sayers.  I’m specifically addressing the small but vocal anti-Bluff Point PUD group that are determined to keep this county firmly stuck in the 19th Century.”


FALSE:  "...Small, but vocal anti-Bluff Point PUD group..."


TRUTH:  Actually, the number of petition signatures is 970 which represents about 9.5% of the voting age population of the county. That is truly a huge and remarkable number of people willingly voicing an opinion on a matter before the board of supervisor in this rural Virginia community.

The county has received about 70+ letters in favor of the Special Exception Permit. Consequently the ratio is about 14:1 against approving the request. The citizens are not against development in the county, but are against development in this specific location for many of the reasons cited in this response to Mr. Haas' letter to the editor and in articles HERE and  HERE 

Obviously the letter writer has not talked to the “vocal anti-Bluff Point PUD group” or he would never have made the accusations cited in his letter.  The citizens are not against development in the county, but are against development in this specific location for many entirely valid and common-sense reasons.



FALSE: If the letter writer had taken even a moment to read the citizen’s petition statement at the top of the document, he would see that the request is only the denial of the special exception permit required to allow the development in the southern parcel Conservation district.


TRUTH:   It actually supports development in the Northern parcels which are in appropriate agricultural/residential zoning districts.


FACT:  A Planned Unit Development is more than just a collection of a few houses; in the case of Bluff Point, it’s a small town complete with a business district, hotel, marina, water and sewer systems, and 10 miles of roads.  At full build out it would be a community of about 1,500. 


A PUD is more appropriately developed adjacent to an existing public water and wastewater/storm sewer system thereby allowing for higher density than would otherwise be allowed in a residential district.  Such areas exist in Northumberland County where public water and sewer systems are located and a PUD development is most appropriate and practical i.e.,

  • Callao,
  • Reedville
  • A geographical area identified on the county comprehensive plan as "North Kilmarnock" on the corner of Bluff Point Road and Route 200. 

The Bluff Point PUD would have its own private water and waste treatment plants, operationally funded by HOA fees.  It is not clear what happens if HOA fees are inadequate to cover operational expenses of these utilities.


PUD FOR REEDVILLE MAKES VERY GOOD SENSE.  A PUD in Reedville would extraordinarily benefit Northumberland County, generally, and Reedville specifically. 

  • FUNDING FOR REEDVILLE WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT UPGRADES.  A PUD connected to the Reedville water and sewer system could provide all the funding necessary to meet the $1.5-3 million dollar price tag the users are currently facing to upgrade or replace the existing wastewater treatment plant to Virginai Department of Enviromental Quality standards.  
  • BUSINESS DISTRICT.  A PUD would establish a business district in a section of the county that is severely lacking in basic community services such as grocery stores, medical facilities, and general merchandis shopping.  A medical care facility that would greatly benefit the Reedville area population.
  • SAVE AN EXISTING MARINA.  The Fairport Marina is for sale.  Rather than carve a new competing marina out of the solid ground of Bluff Point, a Reedville area marina is already available that could serve the PUD residents, save existing jobs and not require dredging of a shallow water creek.  Again the PUD resident HOA fees could be used to help maintain the existing Creek channel.
  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF ROUTE 360 CORRIDOR.  A PUD at the end of Route 360 would economically benefit the entire northern part of the county by providing jobs to local firms and customer traffic to businesses along the corridor.
  • SOLVE THE TRAFFIC CONGESTION PROBLEM.  A Route 360 PUD would have the availability of a 4-lane highway to carry the traffic of an estimated 1,500 PUD residents and workers.  Additionally the roads are much more conductive to carrying the large trucks and traffic required to construct the PUD and later service the commercial businesses.
  • PROVIDES A HIGH END HOTEL.  With a Reedville PUD making Northumberland County a destination location, a high end beach front hotel would certainly be positioned to draw sorely needed tourist traffic to the area..

QUOTE:  “It is indeed sad to realize that the biggest motel in this county has only 20 rooms.  Alas no new facilities have been built in over 30 years.  Yes, we need the Bluff Point PUD with its destination hotel and marina facilities.”


New Hotel Needed:

FALSE:  Northumberland County will economically benefit from a new hotel/motel built at the southern edge of the county. 


A PUD in Reedville on the Bay with a quality hotel incorporated would likely benefit Northumberland County and the Route 360 corridor businesses, but a new hotel at the extreme southern end of the county will not benefit Reedville, Callao or the Northumberland Highway corridor businesses. 


Truth: There will be no need for Bluff Point PUD residents to drive 15 to 40 miles to the northern part of the county for any reason other than occasional visits to tourist sites.  The PUD concept is to contain all commercial businesses necessary to support the residents; and Kilmarnock businesses and eateries would cover about everything else. 


Even the county’s own consultant’s report states that the economic benefits of the PUD will most likely go to the town of Kilmarnock and Lancaster County.  The proposed hotel would be a “Northumberland hotel” in name only.


Truth:  Despite years of promotion by the Northern Neck tourist industry, Northumberland County is not a highly sought “destination” despite what the developer’s promotional literature may claim.  The existing 72 room motel near Reedville rarely, if ever, flashes its No Vacancy sign.  A new hotel and a new marina in the south end of the county are not going to suddenly make Northumberland County a flash mob-like destination for vacationers and tourist.


New Marina Needed:

FALSE:  There are not enough marinas in the county and the ones currently existing are not quality.


Truth:  There are at least 12 marinas in Northumberland County and another 6 close by in Lancaster County. 


A new Northumberland County marina will not benefit existing local marina businesses that are currently operating well below capacity and most likely struggling to merely breakeven.

  • Coan River Marina
  • Lewisetta Marina
  • Buzzard’s Point Marina
  • Fairport Marina (currently for sale)
  • Reedville Marina
  • Great Wicomico River Marina
  • Chesapeake Bay Campground Resort
  • Cockrell’s Marine Railway
  • Smith Point Marina
  • Olverson’s Lodge Creek Marina
  • Ingram Bay Marina
  • Krantz Marine Railway 

Lancaster County Marinas in close proximity of Bluff Point

  • Carter’s Cove Marina
  • Tides Inn Marina
  • Rappahannock Yachts/Sanders Yacht Yard
  • Chesapeake Boat Basin
  • Yankee Point Sailboat Marina
  • Windmill Point Marina 

QUOTE:  “Its private community sewer and water facilities will not adversely affect our water supply.”


Private Water and Sewer System.  This appears to be the most intriguing aspect of the PUD proposal.  Both Callao and Reedville water and sewer systems would benefit from developer funding available through a PUD connection, saving the county and the users millions of dollars needed to upgrade or replace existing systems. 


The Board of Supervisor should be striving for developments in the Reedville and Callao area that can benefit the Route 360 populations and commercial business of Northumberland county instead of promoting the wrong headed, likely disaterous high density development of isolated and remote Bluff Point conservation lands.


Bluff Point By Right Development.    

There is nothing preventing the developer from putting a quality PUD on the northern parcel.  It is not an “either/or”, mutually exclusive situation.  The rumors being spread that suggest if the PUD special exception permit is denied the developer will be forced to build “Potterville” are a red herring of the worst kind.  I is a blantant attempt to frighten the public into believing that the developer is actually a Doctor Jeckel - Mr. Hyde-type of person who would put a trailer park with all the worst connotations that term conjures up on the northern parcel if he can't get his way in the southern parcel.  Some people would consider this a "greymail" threat, but certainly the developer would travel a higher road than that.


FACT:  The developer cannot create a trailer park in Northumberland County without the Board of Supervisors granting a special exceptions permit, after a public hearing.


FACT:  The developer could build a very nice PUD on the northern parcel, and still develop the southern parcel according its current “by right” density allowance which is about 26+ homes.  


It’s a shame a letter writer of Mr. Haas quality merely parrots the developer’s talking points and, by his characterization of those opposed to the PUD, has not talked to us.  He has apparently even not bothered to research or comprehend any of the actual facts regarding the viability, appropriate placement, economics, risks and destruction associated with the proposed PUD.  The county would benefit from a quality PUD in the appropriate zoning districts, located more centrally to the population and business of the northern corridor of the county. 


A PUD in the northern corridor makes infinitely more sense and would more likely reap many of the benefits that are suggested for Bluff Point.  Additionally, a northern corridor PUD would have many more community, governmental and economic benefits since it would be tens of miles closer to county services such as schools, public water and sewer systems, fire and rescue services, police services and emergency evacuation routes. 



Are we against the Bluff Point PUD Special Exception Permit as currently proposed in this specific location for many entirely valid and common-sense reasons – YES!


Are we against development of Bluff Point – NO!


Are we for common sense development in zoning districts appropriate for high density residential and commercial development – YES!


Are editorial writer and others doing the developer’s bidding wrong about both the Bluff Point PUD and those opposed to it – YES!

Is Bluff Point an environmentally and geographically challenged location for a high density development - YES

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