Woodhaven…Shores? Well, I learned something new today. Growing up about a half mile from this neighborhood, it was always just called Woodhaven to me. 15 to 20 years ago it was THElocal place with great amenities and things for kids to do including a lake with an actual beach! This second edition of Living in New Kent dives into one of the oldest and most well established neighborhoods in the county and what it has to offer the new resident.
According to the recorded documents with the Clerk’s Office in New Kent, the Woodhaven property owner’s association was officially founded in 1960. Although in speaking with some members of the county’s Real Estate Office, this does not necessarily depict when the neighborhood was actually established or when houses had begun being built in the vicinity. It was the 60s man. You know, times were a little looser with less bureaucratic systems in place. Gas was $0.25 per gallon. The average price for a new house at that time in the US was $12,700 and mortgage interest rate was at 4.5%, which was super low especially considering that it got to over 10% in 1990. Part of me wishes that I could have lived in that time, a little more disconnected from everything. It seemed simpler from the outside looking in, but I guess the old saying from King Solomon applies: “There is nothing new under the sun.” The 60s has their own set of troubles too.
Woodhaven Shores has served as a niche in tying New Kent together due to its origins, location, and connection with the larger community in the county. As one of the first subdivisions in New Kent, it has become it’s own landmark in the stamp of the county’s history. Harkening back to the time in which this neighborhood formed there was no contracted builder, unlike what we see in many of newer subdivisions that have just seemed to emerge like kudzu around here. (Fun fact: Kudzu can grow around 60 feet per growth season or more or less 1 foot per day. There is this one lightpole in New Kent on 249 that has had Kudzu growing on it since I can remember. During the summer it looks like a giraffe. I affectionately have named it Geoffrey the Giraffe [#RIPToys’R’Us]) Woodhaven Shores housing (still sounds weird when I say it in my head) struggles with conformance; small single story ranchers in the third entrance contrasted with the larger lake-front properties in excess of 2,500 square feet. The lack of congruence between houses most likely points to the building options being left to the lot owner. There are small pockets of consistency, suggesting real estate developers had their hand in influencing the overall housing impression that this neighborhood has today. The result of the available housing in Woodhaven is a diverse population of inhabitants from different socio-economic backgrounds.
Woodhaven Shores is situated on the far side of Quinton with almost direct access from Route 60 and just a 3-5 minute ride (depending on tractors) to Interstate 64. Between Williamsburg and Richmond, Quinton is essentially the first signs of semi-suburban life from the typical interstate traveler. During the summer months when the interstate is heavy with traffic, many hit route 60 to avoid the dreadful congestion that occurs around the weigh station and the intersection of I-295 and I-64 that follows it. For the county resident, whether coming or going, Woodhaven serves the county well as a meeting place because it connects rural with semi-suburban, and it would have performed this even more so in the years when it was the only place to go.
With roughly 490 homes, Woodhaven became one of the first communal gathering places inside the larger rural area. The neighborhood’s amenities have brought many families together in the community for recreation and relaxation. Regulated by the POA, there is beach access provided that you are a guest of someone who lives in the neighborhood and have received a guest pass. The same rules apply to the use of the lake for swimming, boating (no gas motors), and fishing. Woodhaven has a recreational park that the county has used for various rec teams over the years. Many stories my wife has told me begin with, “I was on the way to ball practice in Woodhaven” or “We had a game in Woodhaven that night when…” (Beating a dead horse…but I can’t help but emphasize the truth to this next statement) The neighborhood has always been involved with the larger community as it was one of the few places for people to go and connect for years inside of New Kent. It laid the foundation for what we have in New Kent today and the ongoing development.
MARKET INFORMATION & TRENDS
IMPRESSIONS & FINAL THOUGHTS
In my youth, there was concern about this neighborhood and I remember a negative sentiment when others referred to it. I know I have painted this picture of Woodhaven as this beacon of community and wholesome family fun, but the truth is that the neighborhood, sometimes even referred to as “Hoodhaven,” was in need of help. The dilapidation of the older and poorly cared for homes had begun to become a visible problem for the community in the early 2000s. Many of these homes had been income properties and as a rule of thumb rentals typically are not as well cared for as owner occupied homes. The reputation that preceded Woodhaven was a place of poor housing and general uneasiness.This new market share percentage information has pleasantly surprised me.To see that there is a strong amount of activity here is encouraging. Woodhaven is not a typical subdivision to today’s standards. There are many beautiful homes and irregularly sized properties, but to this point many residents have believed that its not enough to counterbalance the many homes that have aged significantly and are in need of some repair and love. Flippers, renovators, and builders have come in to begin changing the aging tide of this lake-centric neighborhood, and I’m all for it. The topography of Woodhaven is varied and the houses have to be built to accommodate that topography, leading to some atypical designs and floor plans. It’s a unique place to live. I predict that as the older homes in Woodhaven Shores continue to age, more revitalization is headed towards Woodhaven, which will increase the reputation and housing prices of the houses located within.
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