Cambria Cove to add pavilion, ‘splash pad’
Cambria Cove residents won’t get the pool and clubhouse they were promised when they bought their homes nearly 10 years ago, but the waterfront community’s new developers will give them access to the Swift Creek Reservoir as part of a neighborhood amenity package.
Don Balzer and Alex Massie received approval from the Board of Supervisors last month for a conditional-use permit they need to construct recreational facilities on a 4.9-acre parcel in Cambria Cove.
The developers plan to build an open-air pavilion with enclosed restrooms and an adjacent concrete splash pad, a playground and a playing field. They will also add multi-use trails between the pavilion and the waterfront, where a common area will give residents access to fish or launch small boats in the reservoir.
“Water has always been an amenity, even if just to look at,” Balzer said during an interview last week.
The new amenities are part of a planned 179-home expansion of Cambria Cove, an upscale single-family community in Midlothian that was left unfinished because of the recession.
The new amenities will be constructed as Balzer and Massie open additional sections of home sites near the intersection of Genito and Otterdale roads.
“We don’t want to wait too long,” Balzer said, “but we want to get some revenue coming in.”
The developers held two community meetings last year as part of the zoning process. At the first meeting in September, some Cambria Cove homeowners expressed concern about noise and asked that the pavilion not be used after dark. Others sought assurance the facility wouldn’t be used for weddings or similar events.
When the Planning Commission heard the case in December, Matoaca district commissioner Edgar Wallin noted that the new amenities would enhance the neighborhood and that any remaining concerns had been addressed at the second community meeting.
The lack of amenities has long been a sore subject for Cambria Cove residents, several of whom were interviewed for a story published in the Observer’s Dec. 1, 2010, edition.
Ben D’Arrigo recalled that when he and his wife, Carol, bought a lot in Cambria Cove from Centex Homes in 2007, company officials showed them where a pool and clubhouse were to be built.
“They told us, ‘Just imagine yourself enjoying your clubhouse here,’” Carol D’Arrigo said in the 2010 story.
Centex Homes allegedly sold a similar vision to many other prospective buyers.
By fall 2008, the nation’s real estate market was on the verge of collapse and new home building slowed to a crawl. Centex Homes not only hadn’t constructed the Cambria Cove amenities, it hadn’t acquired the land on which to build.
Centex Corporation was bought by Pulte Homes the following year. The pool and clubhouse never materialized.
Balzer said it doesn’t make sense from a financial perspective for the new developers to build a pool and clubhouse – both of which would be costly for Cambria Cove homeowners to maintain – but residents have been “very supportive” of the proposed amenities.
“We’re trying to make this low maintenance, something that can be sustained,” he added. “We think it’s going to be a nice project.” ¦