It’s now up to the courts to decide whether developer Wendell Wood owes Albemarle County $150,000 for bus service to the Kohl’s at Hollymead Town Center. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to reject Wood’s zoning violation appeal and affirm that his company, Route 29 LLC, has violated its proffer agreement with the county. “Just pay your bill,” Supervisor Diantha McKeel said.
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Wood bought Area A of Hollymead Town Center in 2009, two years after the previous owner had negotiated a rezoning on the property. The terms of the rezoning included a proffer of $50,000 for 10 years after the county connects transit to the property. JAUNT began to provide that transit service in May 2016. At that time, the county sent Wood a bill for the first $50,000. He then filed a lawsuit for relief from the payment. In May 2018, the county sent Wood a request for the entire three years of back payments. When that had still not been paid by the fall, the county issued a zoning violation. “We’ve already agreed in the rezoning what the agreement was going to be, so I’m rather flabbergasted,” Chairwoman Ann H. Mallek said. Attorney Pete Caramanis argued on behalf of Route 29 LLC that the county should defer its decision to allow the developer to amend the proffer. “All proffers are supposed to be related to impacts that are actually caused by the development. In this case, this bus is intended to address commuting. It’s actually bringing people who live north of town to other places for their job or for whatever other reason they might want to take that bus,” Caramanis said. The Route 29 Express connects the Forest Lakes Food Lion and the Kohl’s to the University of Virginia and the Downtown Mall. Passengers of the Route 29 Express have been concerned in the past about someone stalking the route, which turned out to be Wood counting the number of passengers on the bus and where they got on and off. Prior to the vote, Caramanis said that Route 29 LLC would go to court to dispute the $150,000 in back payments. The developer has scheduled a meeting with county staff to try to amend the proffer, as well.