Neighbors in 55+ neighborhood upset over developers' new plan

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Some residents of the Downey Knolls Subdivision in Elkton are upset over a request to rezone a portion of the neighborhood.

Downey Knolls is a 55 and older community that sits behind the Food Lion on route 33 in Elkton.

BBWL, the developers of the land, have requested to rezone the expansion property of the neighborhood from A-1 to R-4.

This would allow 53 houses to be built with no age restrictions.

"I feel like it's a lot of broken promises," said Gerry Comer, a resident of Downey Knolls. "I personally look at it as a bad business decision."

Many residents, like Comer, say they purchased homes in Downey Knolls with the understanding that the section would only be for people 55 and older.

Residents believe the rezoning could present safety concerns.

"If this is allowed to happen, then there could be major car traffic, bus traffic, and kids playing on bikes," said Comer. "The incoming road is already partially blocked and busy with Ciros. Cars have to park on both sides of the incoming road due to Ciro’s parking lot not being big enough. The entrance to this new subdivision will be directly next to my house."

According to developers, the Downey Knolls' covenants clearly states their ability to rezone the expansion property.

The covenants reads in part: "Declarant reserves the right to add all or any part of the Expansion property to the Subdivision at any time and from time to time."

Pete Bonavita with Four Star Realty explained the goal for Downey Knolls was to sell eight to ten units per year. They're only averaging two to four.

Bonavita believes limiting more than 50 houses to an older community would not meet the need of the community, because there is a high demand for non-age restricted housing.

According to Bonavita, the new housing would mirror Downey Knolls in house size, construction, and appearance.

The developers have presented their position to the Planning Commission. It will then head to Elkton Town Council for a final decision.