Developer, business upset with IDA rezoning proposal

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 14, 2002

A rezoning proposal that would restrict distributors from locating in northern Suffolk has upset a developer and an existing Bridgeway Commerce Park occupant.

Jerry Moore, president of Dominion Lands Inc., told the Industrial Development Authority on Wednesday that he does not approve of the organization’s recent endorsement of a proposal to rezone approximately 350 acres in and around Bridgeway Commerce Park from light manufacturing to office/institution. The proposal is expected to go before the Suffolk City Council early next year.

Moore, whose company is handling property sales, said he was never notified of any proposed zoning changes. He said he only found out after a business prospect was advised of it during a meeting with the city’s planning department.

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The action, which capitalizes on the area’s easy access to Interstate 664 and U.S. Route 17, will help the city draw more office space users – and thus better jobs – to the area, said Tom O’Grady, the city’s director of economic development.

&uot;The city is trying to maximize its economic vitality and we are looking toward major transportation routes to help increase that vitality,&uot; said O’Grady. &uot;Right now, we have an abundance of light manufacturing in the city and a lack of office space.&uot;

IDA member Dennis Gartman agreed.

&uot;I don’t think we want to make it a trucking depot up there,&uot; said Gartman. &uot;Northern Suffolk is shaping up as a place of business offices to locate.&uot;

In a letter to Mayor E. Dana Dickens III, John Hall, president of SYSCO Foods, said he was &uot;shocked and dismayed&uot; to learn of the proposed zoning change.

He said SYSCO invested more than $34 million in Bridgeway Commerce Park with the &uot;thought that we would be the anchor in a light industrial community. Had we known the City of Suffolk was to change the complexion and atmosphere, we surely would not have located here and quite possibly not in Suffolk.&uot;