Buckingham supervisors reverse course, shelve Knight Valley plan

Published 5:01 am Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Back in June, Buckingham County supervisors moved forward on a plan for the former Knight Valley property in Dillwyn. They agreed to hire a forester, Gary Cline, of Gary Cline Realty and Timber, and take steps to sell timber on the property. Now, two months later, at least part of that plan is on hold. 

At the end of the group’s Monday, Aug. 14 meeting, supervisors went into closed session. After a 29-minute discussion, they came out and took a vote. Supervisor Jordan Miles made a motion that the board “suspend previous action with regards to the sale and assessment of the timber at the industrial park.” With no discussion in open session, the board unanimously voted to approve that idea, pressing pause on plans for Knight Valley. 

“At the current time, the board felt it not appropriate to move forward,” Supervisor Don Matthews told The Herald

What is the Knight Valley property? 

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In just the last year alone, the property in question here has built up a bit of history. In the summer of 2022, Buckingham County sold the 134-acre piece of land in Dillwyn to the Atlantic Investment Corporation.
It was supposed to be the site of 119 homes, including 67 townhouses, 24 detached row-style homes and 28 single family homes. 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. The group later abandoned plans for a Buckingham County operation, selling the land back to the county.
That left Buckingham County owning a piece of land already rejected once. The Buckingham Board of Supervisors assigned their economic development committee, led by supervisors Miles and Matthews, to put together some recommendations, detailing the best ways to market the property and sell it. It was that economic committee which had originally proposed selling timber on the property before clearing the land and reselling it to another developer. 

The price of the property   

Atlantic’s subdivision proposal hadn’t gone over well with residents. That’s especially true for some neighbors of the property, who came to speak at meetings last summer and last fall. The fear was twofold. First, they were afraid these proposed townhouses and neighborhoods would bring in people from other cities, changing Buckingham’s rural dynamic. Second, they were afraid a subdivision like this would bring in more expensive stores, increasing the cost of goods and services.

But equally upsetting to residents was the price Buckingham officials agreed to pay, in order to buy it back. First, the county agreed to forgive a debt. Last summer, Atlantic promised 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 remaining on that debt. 

In addition to forgiving that $405,840, the county agreed to pay Atlantic $516,749.67 for the property. Part of that, 346,749.67, is what Atlantic paid back in the summer of 2022. An additional $170,000 was given to help cover a portion of Atlantic’s expenses incurred since last year to develop the land. 

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.