Virginia Beach new-home buyers want larger backyards, outdoor kitchens

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Aerial view of site off West Neck Road (courtesy of the City)
Aerial view of the site off West Neck Road. (Courtesy of the city)

People want bigger backyards — at least prospective new-home buyers in Virginia Beach do.

Feedback from interested home builders has prompted King Farms LLC, the owner of 158 acres off West Neck Road, to seek permission from the city for larger backyards than was previously planned for five neighborhoods. The modifications do not change the size of the 153 planned lots; rather, they reduce the minimum distance the homes must be set back from the front property line to allow bigger backyards.

“All the builders we talked to, they want to have larger backyards,” said Richard Browner, the community planning consultant for King Farms owners Pamela and Steven Gray. “Most are putting (in) pools. One of the big amenities right now is outdoor kitchens.”

Roadside view of the site off West Neck Road, owned by King Farms, LLC (courtesy of the City)
Roadside view of the site off West Neck Road owned by King Farms LLC. (Courtesy of the city)

The request would reduce the front setbacks to 30 feet from 50 feet in the largest of the five planned neighborhoods, and to 25 feet from 30 feet in the four smaller neighborhoods. That would add 800 square feet to some backyards and as much as 1,000 square feet in some cases, Browner said.

The modifications would mean “no change in density, no change in open space,” staff planner Carolyn Smith said in a phone interview.

The landowners have not chosen the builders for the neighborhoods, Browner said. Home prices are expected to be in the range of $550,000 to $600,000.

The project’s potential builders have said the location has a high demand, according to Browner.

“They all want to live down there in that zip code with all the big houses,” Browner said. “A lot of people are calling about them all the time. It’s one of the few areas that’s left in that census tract that you can build on.”

The Planning Commission approved the modification request Wednesday. The City Council will hear it June 7.

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