58 Grey Dove Lane - to be built, proposed 3 BR, 2 full & 1 half-bath, 4186 sq. ft., .78 acres, asking price: $430,000, Tommy Brannock, BHG Real Estate III, 434-981-1486
Community play structure
Subdivision: Peacock Hill
Price range: $251,000-$600,000
Schools: Murray, Henley, Western Albemarle
Pros: Easy commute to town, affordability, emphasis on nature, school districts
Cons: Subject to power outages, previous history of water supply problems
Wild peacocks roaming in Ivy? Maybe not today, but according to the Peacock Hill Community Association website that’s how the former 350-acre peach and apple orchard got its name. The orchard, now home to over 175 homesites, sold from its original owner to Frank Smith, a developer who planned the community and began constructing homes in the 1970s.
According to Laura Winn Smith, Frank Smith's daughter and the original sales agent for the subdivision, at the time of its development, Peacock Hill was considered a cutting edge development. One of the area’s first eco-communites, it was constructed with an emphasis on clustering homes on smaller lots while maintaining a significant amount of common land. Smith, who has also been involved in the development of a more up-to-date eco-community– Charlottesville’s Riverbluff Circle– chose the Peacock Hill site for its southern facing exposure. The community’s custom homes were built with natural materials and sited with respect for the landscape.
Situated just 12 minutes west of Charlottesville, Peacock Hill offers a convenient alternative to urban life in a rural setting with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to the PHCA, which manages the common grounds, an Environmental Protection Board preserves the character of the subdivision by regulating all designs, exterior buidling materials, and landscaping.
Community amenities include a five-acre lake where residents can enjoy fishing, bird-watching, and canoeing, two tennis courts, a playground, and numerous trails that wind throughout the 100 acres of common land.
Because of the mixture of attached and detached homes, drilling individual wells wasn’t optimal, so a community water system was installed, and Peacock Hill experienced water supply problems around 2000. The issue was mitigated by the addition of two community wells, bringing the subdivision total to eight.
There’ve been eight sales in Peacock Hill over the past two years, and there are currently just two residential listings– one an existing house and one a pre-sale–and two buildable lots on the market.
Kathi Berrang, a realtor with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate III and the listing agent for 40 Gooseneck Lane, is optimistic about the Peacock Hill market and with good reason, given the sales history of the last couple of years.
“Inventory is down,” says Berrang, who holds the listing on the only currently existing home in the community. “The properties that came on the market here last year went quickly.”
Among the pros of living in Peacock Hill, Berrang points out, is its proximity to Charlottesville.
“You’re close in, yet very secluded. You have walking trails, a lake where you can kayak or fish. You feel as if you’ve come back to nature here," says Berrang. "To me, it’s an emotional sanctuary where you can find peace and tranquilty, away from today’s stresses.”
Amy Webb, a realtor with Nest Realty and the listing agent for the two vacant Peacock Hill lots, agrees.
“It’s one of the few affordable subdivisions in the Murray Elementary School District,” she says. “If you look at the statistics, 25-30 percent of the sales in the $200,000-$500,000 range in this school district are in Peacock Hill.”
And with two vacant lots on the market, there’s still an opportunity to build in this neighborhood.
It's not always bright in Peacock Hill, however.
“The power does go out from time to time around here,” Berrang admits. And she's right – Peacock Hill, like many other rural subdivisions, is subject to power outages during storms.
Those purchasers looking for a quick commute and Western Albemarle school districts may find what they’re looking for in Peacock Hill, as long as they aren’t afraid of the dark, or at least the possiblity of a few hours (maybe even days) without cable.