America’s Model for Smart Growth


Since the original purchase of the 1,100 acre tract, the principals of Carmel Church Station have worked in partnership with Caroline County and the Commonwealth of Virginia to build administrative recognition, political support and numerous partnerships to position Carmel Church Station as a geographically defined urban development worthy of unparalleled investment that will generate exceptional economic impact.

Caroline County and the Commonwealth of Virginia initiated a multi-modal TOD project for Carmel Church, Virginia that will assist in the reduction of automobile traffic on I-95 between Central Virginia and D.C., and reduce local and regional traffic growth.  In addition, zoning approvals have formed the framework for a vibrant, dynamic, mixed-use community based upon the principals of New Urbanism, Smart Growth and responsible development.

The Carmel Church Station development is a culmination of a larger historic planning process that includes a regional approach to meeting the growth and transportation needs of residents in a broad area of impact, as well as a commitment by the Caroline County Board of Supervisors to lead the Community on a dynamic path of defined urban growth to compliment the County’s rural traditions. The following is a list of planning efforts leading to the creation of the Carmel Church Station multi-modal TOD.


National Capital Planning Commission Year 2000 Study—The Study, as quoted here from the NCPC history: “In 1961, NCPC produced the influential “Year 2000” plan, proposing a model for long-term regional growth. M-NCPPC then incorporated and expanded on this recommended model in its own comprehensive plan, titled “On Wedges and Corridors.” The wedges and corridors were major traffic corridors that ran from Washington outward. The corridors envisioned in the plan were to be major development areas at least 70 miles away from the District and would be major transportation hubs including multimodal sites that would tie the region together and allow for growth along a TOD design/model.


Washington, DC/Richmond Rail Corridor Study  Conducted by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Study specifically selected the Carmel Church area for a TOD project.


Land Purchase  Robert Thompson and the Caroline County Economic Development Director, Gary Wilson, held meetings based on the Washington, DC/Richmond Rail Corridor Study. The decision to purchase the property, and the vision to create Carmel Church Station emerged from those discussions.


Parsons-Brinkerhoff Study  Identified the elements required for a successful TOD at the Carmel Church site, Thompson Tract. Carmel Church was identified as the proper site for the TOD and specified Thompson Tract.


Carmel Church Sub-Area Plan  The plan recognized the Carmel Church area, and the Thompson Tract specifically, as a rail location suitable for mixed use development. The sub-area plan has been integrated into the Caroline Master Plan. Even prior to the 2006 effort, Caroline Planning specifically included mixed-use development for Carmel Church (1994).


Caroline County Land Use Plan  Consistent with the Transportation Bill of 2007 linking land use with Transportation plan.  Identified the elements required for a successful TOD at the Carmel Church site, Thompson Tract. Carmel Church was identified as the proper site for the TOD and specified Thompson Tract.

The Federal Alternative Analysis Study  Applied for by Economic Development and ultimately funded by a federal appropriation, Federal Transit Administration, of $490,000.


VDOT TOD Study  Based on a $100,000 grant written by the Director of Economic Development, the project’s feasibility was confirmed. Carmel Church Station was brought to the attention of VDRPT whereupon that agency conducted an independent study.

Virginia Statewide Rail Plan  The VDRPT included the County Project as an official project to be advanced by the State of Virginia.


Carmel Church Station Site Rezoning  Caroline County Department of Planning issued a zoning document that received no negative public comment. The Planning process utilized a sub area planning process prior to the site application resulting in a wide understanding of the goals of the project and broad public support. The resulting form-based code zoning entitled 8,659 dwelling units, 3.16 million commercial square feet and 1,000 hotel rooms.

Pentagon and GSA Engaging in Location TalksCounty representatives have met with Pentagon officials in late 2009 pursuant to attracting Department of Defense investment in Carmel Church Station.  Pentagon staff were highly supportive of the project and interested in establishing further discussions.  Pentagon site visit, February 2011 elicited a very positive response.


Virginia Statewide Rail Plan VDRPT again included the CCS project in the document.


An Economic and Fiscal Impact Study by Chmura Economics and Analytics  Concluded that over a 20 year period of build out, CCS would create over 49,000 jobs, provide in excess of $501.7 million in tax revenues and generate over $22.7 billion in economic impact for the Commonwealth of Virginia.


The Alternative Analysis Study Final Draft  In June, Kimley-Horn completed the $612,000 AA Study.  Caroline County received a federal grant from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) to pay for the Study.  It concluded the best alternative was having a multi-modal, transit-oriented development with passenger rail on the site.  The AA Study is a prerequisite to receiving FTA funding from the New Starts Program.

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