Buckingham committee wants appraisal on Knight Valley property

Published 10:45 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023

DILLWYN – Buckingham County’s economic development committee has some questions about the Knight Valley property. Specifically, they want to see how much the property is worth. And as a result, the group isn’t going to meet its April deadline to submit a marketing report to county supervisors. 

Originally sold by Buckingham County to development group Atlantic Investment Corporation last August, county supervisors agreed to a deal to buy it back last month. After finalizing that deal, the board of supervisors assigned the county’s economic development committee to put together a report, detailing the best ways to market the property correctly and sell it. That report was supposed to be finished no later than April 10. The group won’t meet its deadline, committee co-chair Jordan Miles told his fellow supervisors during their Monday, March 13 meeting. 

“Because of the (ongoing) discussions, which are really good, there is going to be a need to continue to meet for probably another six months,” Miles said. “So just to be clear, the committee won’t be able to meet that April deadline.” 

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The main reason for the delay is that committee members want more data. 

“The majority of the committee did want to see if the county board of supervisors would agree to an appraisal of the land, in terms of knowing the value or lack of value,” Miles said. “They want to know the value of the land, the timber and what’s there.” 

Committee members also want to better understand the property’s access to water and sewer, as well as its potential for flooding. County staff is in charge of providing those final three pieces of information. 

Buckingham County Administrator Karl Carter put a rough estimate of the appraisal’s cost at $20,000. Money for that could come from the county’s economic development fund. Supervisors agreed, signing off on doing the appraisal by a unanimous vote. 

Issues with the Knight Valley sale 

Some residents have not been exactly happy about the deal supervisors made to buy back the property. That $516,749.67 price Buckingham agreed to pay in that deal is split in half. Out of that, $170,000 is meant to help cover a portion of Atlantic’s expenses incurred since last June to develop the property. The remaining $346,749.67 is for the land sale. 

The county also agreed to forgive a debt. Last summer, Atlantic agreed to pay Buckingham County $751,680 in total for 125.28 acres, which had been an industrial park. At the time, Atlantic paid $346,749.67. The remainder of the $751,680 was promised, but had not been paid yet.

As part of this deal, supervisors agreed to forgive the $405,840. So that means the county originally received only $346,749.67 for the land in the first sale, then paid $516,749.67 to get it back. 

The Knight Valley proposal was meant to add 119 single family homes, including 67 townhouses, 24 detached row-style homes and 28 single family homes to the local area. The argument had been that the prices, which were expected to range from $250,000 for a townhouse to $500,000 for a single family home, would attract “first-time homeowners from all demographics, who desire a less congested alternative to city living”, according to the materials given to the county’s planning commission. However, Atlantic withdrew a request for a special use permit in September.

‘Keep an open mind’ 

Miles’ co-chair on the committee, Supervisor Don Matthews Jr., said he was trying to keep an open mind about the project. Matthews added that it was critical to get the appraisal, so the committee could better understand what they’re dealing with. 

“We’ve got some good ideas, but I do think it’s important to find the value of that piece of property, not just for the committee but for our board, to understand what it might be worth,” Matthews said. “We think it’s going to be a good thing. I’m trying to keep an open mind about it, (to) look at all the avenues available to the county and the citizens.” 

Matthews added that a sign will also go up at the property, letting anyone who drives by it know that it’s available.