After sitting on the market for five years, a palatial Goochland estate is one step closer to being revitalized.
On Aug.1, the Goochland County Planning Commission signed off on a Blackstone couple’s plan to turn River Run Manor, the opulent 40-room Greek Revival mansion built in the 1980s by coal executive William B. Massie, into a wedding and events venue.
In addition to sweeping views of the James River, the 61-acre property boasts a ballroom with seating for 150, a tennis courts and a pool.
But despite a price cut from the original asking price of $7.9 million to $6.8 million in 2015, the home has remained vacant since first going up for sale shortly after Massie’s death in 2014.
As Kim Moody explained to commission members, she and her husband Andrew now hope to breathe new life into the property, as well as to find a more permanent base of operations for her career as a wedding and events planner.
The Moodys have partnered in the venture with Goochland residents Doug and Tamara Adams, owners of Adams International School on Route 250, and hope to host around 36 weddings a year on the property.
To do that, they will need to obtain a Conditional Use Permit from the county and meet a number of specified requirements, including taking steps to mitigate the impact on neighboring properties.
In addition to limiting most events to no more than 299 guests, noise and light disturbances would be tightly controlled.
While the Planning Commission ultimately voted 4-1 in support of the proposal — with District 2 commissioner Matt Brewer casting the lone vote against it — several residents who live near the River Run Manor site expressed grave concerns about how the project would negatively impact their own quality of life.
Chief among the issues raised was a desire to maintain the quiet, rural charm of the area, which is currently zoned primarily for agricultural use.
Addressing those concerns, Moody noted that the couple’s plans for the property would actually bring less noise and traffic than those of another potential buyer who has also been eyeing the estate for a similar use.
The land could also be subdivided and developed into individual lots, which could potentially bring more noise and traffic with fewer options to regulate it.
“We hope that we can come in and be good neighbors,” Moody said, noting that most of the clients she works with prefer to host their events indoors and would not create noise loud enough to impact nearby property owners.
If ultimately approved by the Board of Supervisors, The Estate at River Run would join a number of already operating events venues of various sizes scattered throughout the county, including Dover Hall in Manakin Sabot, Bandits Ridge near the Louisa-Goochland line, and Running Mare in Maidens.
Adams International School is also approved for use as an events venue, with the ability to host up to 700 people at a time.