Huge Development To Include Homes, Golf Course and Retail
Cutalong is a name that residents around Lake Anna and in Louisa County have come to associate with a large planned development – not with a farm by the same name in the vicinity. However, there is a connection. Named for developer Paul Larner’s family farm, the Cutalong development involves more than 1,000 acres at the intersection of Route 208 (New Bridge Road) and Route 652 (Kentucky Springs Road). The project is the brainchild of Paul Larner and Matt Benes of Maryland-based Larner Investments. When completed, it is expected to be the largest and only "amenitized" community on Lake Anna. It will include the only golf venue on the lake.
The golf course is perfectly suited due to the Virginia rolling piedmont terrain. Ron Whitten, architectural editor from Golf Digest Magazine has teamed with Tom Clark of Ault-Clark & Associates to design the course. Ron is a renowned authority on British Isle golf courses and has implemented many of their features into Cutalong' s design. One interesting hole, the fourteenth, mimicking the “Road Hole” at St. Andrews, will undoubtedly become a classic for Cutalong. It is called the "Railroad Hole" because at the site, the developers discovered an abandoned railroad bed from one of the many early mining operations. Numerous mines for gold, silver, pyrite and other minerals, were operational from the late 1800s into the 1930s and Contrary Creek is still one of the pre-eminent gold-panning streams on the East Coast.
While golfers can't wait for the links to open, the Cutalong project is far more than just a golf course. It will offer the largest housing community on the lake, with permits for 659 single-family homes, 187 condo / town homes and 45 affordable housing units. Plans include a 125-room hotel facility and (hallelujah!) 200,000 square feet of retail space.
In addition, developers intend to build a 165-slip marina and a boatel that can store up to 300 watercraft. Day slips will be available so visitors by boat can take in a round of golf and even have a great lunch. Other amenities are expected to include a waterfront clubhouse with pools, fitness center and dining. There will be tennis courts, community gardens, water activity and more than eight miles of walking and jogging trails. Cutalong has a 1.5-mile frontage on Contrary Creek -- a beautiful natural area for hiking and bird watching.
Lake Anna Connections recently invited Cutalong developer Matt Benes to the house to chat about the project. Q: Matt, tell us a little about yourself and your family. A: My wife, Judy, and I have been married for twenty years and we have three kids: Ed, sixteen, Jane, fourteen, and Luke, twelve. We are all life-long Clevelanders and moved down to Virginia last year to develop Cutalong. I have been designing and building custom homes for the last eighteen years and Judy is a nurse anesthetist. She is now working at the UVA Medical Center. Moving an entrenched family of five is not fun but I'm happy to say everyone has adjusted really well. It helps that Virginia is such a beautiful state . . . also, we don't miss those Ohio winters! Q: How is progress going? A: Slow but steady. Basically, our entire first year was spent working on our development plan and rezoning the property. The fact that our project has been so well received by the people of Louisa County is fantastic. Currently we are moving forward with our engineering, platting and permitting. Q: What is the "long pole in the tent" that is holding you up? A: I would have to say the permitting for the sanitary sewer permit. Williamsburg Environmental has spent months compiling the data necessary just to simply fill out the permit application. We will be building a "zero discharge" treatment facility, which means our tertiary treated effluent will be recycled and used to irrigate the golf course. Extensive soils testing have been completed and I'm happy to say our application has been submitted to DEQ. We hope to have our permit in about five months. Q: How about the wells that have been drilled? A: We are extremely pleased with how the well drilling has worked out. We drilled twenty wells and performed the state required forty-eight-hour draw down testing on our top ten producing wells. Fortunately we found many fantastic aquifers and these ten wells will service at least ninety-five percent of the entire community at full build out. More than likely, we won't need to drill anymore wells. Q: Reading the local papers over the last year we were aware that considerable "proffers" were offered to, and accepted, by the county. A: Yes, we spent a lot of time talking to people around the lake to try and figure out a list of proffers that would really have a positive and lasting impact on the community. I especially like our proffer to realign the route 652 / 208 intersection. I can't tell you how many people we spoke with who said they have had to hit the brakes hard because someone pulled out in front of them on Route 208. Q: When you begin building homes will we be seeing lots of "McMansions" as part of the golf course community? A: I sure hope not! We expect that many of our buyers will want to downsize from their "McMansions." We hope that people will want to spend their time enjoying Cutalong’ s amenities instead of maintaining a big old house. In fact, we are seriously considering having a "maximum-square-footage" requirement. We want our architecture to blend in with Cutalong’s fantastic rolling terrain. Q: Given the number of homes you anticipate building or having built, will Cutalong provide for any parkland settings. A: More than sixty percent of the community will be green space. More than eight miles of walking trails will wind through the community and up along Contrary Creek. We will also have several community gardens and parks disbursed around the community. We want to stress an eco-friendly environment and a "green theme." Q: One of the all-important questions for land and homeowners around the lake is commercial businesses. Can you talk about your plans? A: Well, what I can say is that we have sixty-three acres zoned commercial and are looking for businesses to be part of the Cutalong project. We would love to attract a small, top-quality grocery store that could bring fresh produce, meats, staples, etc. out to the lake. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in our retail component to give me a call. Q: It seems like it is taking forever to get things going. How frustrating is it for you and how do you feel about the progress? A: I wouldn't necessarily say I'm frustrated. Anxious is more like it. As a builder, I'm dying to see some action. When I was a carpenter it was always "measure twice, cut once." The same principle applies to land development. Careful planning is everything. The amount of planning and brainstorming involved in a project of this scale is staggering. I'm proud of the amount of progress we have made. It's just not dirt-moving progress. It will be worth the wait. Q: Given we have many builders, contractors and trades-people around the lake do you intend to open up the housing projects to local businesses? A: Absolutely! We are always interested in talking with local businesses to determine a fit. I have already spoken to one local builder who I fully expect to be a member of our preferred builders’ team. I encourage experienced builders, who are interested in potentially becoming one of our preferred builders, to give me a call. Q: Can you give us an idea when you will start pushing dirt? A. Boy, I wish I could. We still have a lot of work to get done. Engineering, planning, permitting, bidding, etc. One thing I will say, people who are interested in being part of what will be a very special community should give me a call. I am compiling a "priority reservation" list. When we are ready, I will be giving personal pre-market-phase one-home-site tours to priority reservation members only. They can reach me at (440) 773-0668. Q: Matt: Thank you for visiting with us and talking about the Cutalong project. One thing I think would be helpful is to have some signage at the 652 / 208 intersection letting everyone know that Cutalong is coming. For too many years all we have seen is the undeveloped land. A: Great idea! I will look into getting signage done. Thanks for having me!