Council approves design standards

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 3, 2002

With a noticeable lack of discussion, the Suffolk City Council on Wednesday made Suffolk the first city in Virginia to adopt design standards for cluster-housing developments.

The council quietly and unanimously approved amending its smart growth document – the Unified Development Ordinance – to require builders to meet specific standards designed to ensure quality development and open space preservation.

The issue was carried over from the Sept. 18 meeting, when some council members questioned how the proposed changes would impact Temple Bethel’s Belleharbour project and directed city staff to meet with church representatives.


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Director of Planning Scott Mills said the Belleharbour project, as well as two others that are in the works, would be processed under guidelines in place when their applications filed.

Cluster-housing developments work to maximize space and infrastructure by building homes close together and preserving open space for parks for parks and other community uses.

Construction has recently begun on the city’s first cluster development, Driver Village Estates.

The city’s action comes after the general Assembly passed legislation last year saying that builders no longer no longer have to get conditional use permits for cluster projects. At the same time, state leaders gave localities the right to implement specific restrictions and rules that developers must follow.