Henrico Supervisor says approving Arcadia residential housing was ‘tough decision’

The plan received major pushback from residents who opposed the development
The plan is receiving pushback from those who say they don’t want to develop the area while others show strong support.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 5:56 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2023 at 5:53 AM EST
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Hundreds of new homes coming to Varina in Henrico County are leaving many current residents with mixed emotions.

The plan is receiving pushback from those who say they don’t want to develop the area while others show strong support.

After several hours of discussion, Henrico supervisors signed off on the massive housing development at Pocahontas Parkway and Route 5, along Willson Road, Tuesday evening.

“Please deny this Arcadia subdivision,” a resident said during Tuesday’s public hearing.

Developers originally proposed one thousand new homes, but plans were amended to include 500 townhouses and condominiums and around 300 single-family homes.

It was a decision that Varina Supervisor Tyrone Nelson says was tough to make.

“It was probably the most difficult thing I’ve had to vote on in 12 years, serving on the board of supervisors,” Nelson said.

Many argue the county should preserve the farmland.

“It’s an asset for the economy, it’s an asset for tourism, and it must be protected,” one resident shared his concerns during Tuesday’s public hearing.

Residents also shared concerns that Varina will turn into Short Pump with the increase in traffic.

“We’re not trying to develop Route 5. We’re not trying to kill the scenic bi-ways, we’re not trying to kill the view shed,” Nelson said.

Nelson says the development will include affordable housing, with some homes slated to sell for around $200,000.

He says they’re also focusing on workforce housing.

Nelson says nearly 30 county employees, such as teachers and first responders, could receive up to a $20,000 forgiveness loan if they work for Henrico County for five years. That money would go towards purchasing one of these homes.

Nelson adds in the meantime, county leaders will work with local organizations to create a 20-acre farm for Varina citizens to come and farm at little to no cost.

“I love Varina, and I’m hoping that we can continue to be a community and this particular case won’t destroy us,” Nelson said.

Nelson says they won’t break ground on the project for another eighteen months, which could take up to 10-12 years to complete.