Camden Plantation project may start in spring


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, December 22, 2018

SOUTH MILLS — The long-awaited Camden Plantation mixed-use development at the northern end of Camden County is finally on the cusp of site development and construction.

Ken Merner of Virginia Beach, Virginia-based Boyd Homes said this week the goal is to start development in the spring, subject to approval by all governing agencies.

In addition to the county’s permitting process the project must also get permits from state agencies such as the Department of Transportation and the Division of Environmental Quality. The project also requires a wetlands permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Once those permits are in place the developer plans to start clearing land for construction of the golf course and infrastructure improvements off U.S. Highway 17.

“Hopefully all that starts in the spring,” Merner said.

Development of the golf course will be a two- to three-year process but the company may begin building homes while the course is under construction, according to Merner.

Camden Plantation is designed as a mixed-use or “smart growth” community that developers say will allow its residents to eat, sleep. entertain and exercise in the community they live in. Commercial development planned at the site includes a chain grocery store, retail shops, restaurants, a hair salon, bank and a gas station.

The residential and commercial development will both be completed in phases. The developer is currently considering a 100-lot residential subdivision to be developed initially along with the golf course.

Of course, that’s only a sliver of the 1,800 homes ultimately envisioned for Camden Plantation, including condominiums, townhomes, manor homes, cottage homes —“different homes for different price points and different lifestyles,” Merner said.

Because the golf course will work its way through a 600-acre site, there will be spaces for “residential pods” at various points along the course, Merner explained. In addition to the golf course, other recreational amenities including tennis courts, walking trails and lakes are planned.

Within two years the development could have homes on the market. In fact, depending on the exact course the development takes the first homes could be ready for sale as early as the spring of 2020.

“I would say that’s realistic,” Merner said.

One possibility is that the first nine holes of the golf course might be finished around the same time as a residential subdivision abutting that part of the course, and those homes might go on the market as the developer finishes the rest of the golf course. Those kinds of details are still being worked out, Merner said.

For county officials, it’s exciting that the developer is talking about clearing land for the project within the next few months.

In a presentation to a joint meeting of the Camden Board of Commissioners and Camden Board of Education earlier this month, County Manager Ken Bowman noted Camden Plantation has “been on the books” since 2002. Bowman said the South Mills Water Association and county water department are working out plans to provide water service to the development as the Camden Planning Department reviews final plans.

Development of Camden Plantation has accelerated over the past six months to the point where the developer is now looking at beginning some land-clearing activities early next year, Bowman said.