I'm George Hankins. This is Marlbrook Farm, our family farm that we've lived on for many generations through 1700s. As kids, we spent our summers up here on the farm with our grandparents trying to help tend the animals. Hot day like today, we'd go down to Marlbrook and we'd play in the nice, cool water and try to catch a crawdad or a salamander.
I'm Doug Cole, Architecture and Design Manager for HH Hunt Communities. For 38 years, I've had the opportunity to do land planning. This is one of the really unique cases where the landowner has an extreme passion for the land. He wants people and children who live here to have as happy life and childhood as he had when he lived here.
We'd ride our horses around, ride into town, Richmond Road, which is the two lane road. It was very rural back then. One day came and they were tearing down a lot of the buildings in Toano on the south side. I asked my grandparents what was going on and they said that there would be folks coming in. The county was going to get more developed and be people moving in.
Toano is going through a rebirth. Years ago, they destroyed the little town when they put the highway through there so they're trying to redevelop it. This is one of the things that actually helps Toano grow in a very positive way.
Reviewing the counties comprehensive plan for 2045, we saw that they had designated our farm here as a area for targeted development, that it was one of the few places inside the PSA, which is the primary service area where development is planned to happen.
This is actually in a growth area. Water, sewer, all the utilities are actually to this site. I forget the exact year but a few years ago they actually did a study and they asked the people of James City County how do you want the county to grow? They had two versions. One was, if you want one acre lots throughout the county or do you want a cluster of some developments? We were actually in one of the three clustered areas so they always knew this was going to be a growth area.
We received quite a few offers from all different kinds of folks, people that just wanted it for investment but didn't have a vision for it. We had offers for more industrial park, strip shop, several different kinds of commercial entities. We knew the county didn't want that and we didn't want it either because we would rather see families grow and thrive here. It's a farm, and it's a cycle of life, and we wanted a cycle of life to continue with families. We spent the next 25 years sifting through lots of different offers on the property until one finally came along that we thought met our expectations for the legacy of our property. It was the HH Hunt folks that brought us a plan that we thought was appropriate and what we wanted to see on property as well as providing what the county needed, and especially Toano. We wanted to see Toano blossom and be revitalized.
The county has a really cool part of the zone ordinance that requires that we do five acres of agricultural land. We couldn't put agricultural anywhere on the site but we had this idea that let's put it against Route 60, so we actually put a farm on Route 60. What makes it really cool is it actually ties into Whitehall, so you were Whitehall you had the fence and the fence was going to continue. Then you had the historic church and then you had the farm. The farm has actually come in and it's going to be a traditional or modern farmhouse, a little skewed probably so it looked like it's always been there. We built this development around the farm. We put in an orchard here. It may be a little different than this, it's just a concept. Put in a farm, some pumpkin patch, blackberries, whatever. And then, we have a little outbuilding that kind of matches the farm architecture for the homeowners to actually farm the area, community farm.
Most of the woodlands are going to be preserved, be a wildlife corridor, and a lot of good things can happen. I hope that anybody watching this will give this a chance to come to fruition.