City updating comprehensive plan

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

If you thought Suffolk’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan was controversial, get ready for the sequel.

The 2025 Comprehensive Plan will take a look at how the city will grow over the next two decades. Residents will get the opportunity next week to hear about the planning process and share ideas on issues at series of public meetings.


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Issues such as the rate of residential development, agriculture and open space protection, economic development, affordable housing, transportation and school capacity are topics for discussion at the upcoming meetings, according to a press release from the city.

&uot;Citizen input will play a key role in helping the consultants understand the concerns of residents and businesses regarding the City’s current conditions and future growth,&uot; the release stated.

The 2018 Plan, adopted in 1998, marked a major shift in direction for the City, instituting a policy of smart growth which is generally described as balancing economic vitality and development with the preservation of historic resources and the environment.

Specifically, the plan directs urban and suburban development toward two growth areas: one to the north and the other in the central core (including greater downtown Suffolk), which keeps the balance of the City relatively rural.

Many portions of the 2018 plan have been challenged by the shelter industry and it has come under frequent criticism for infringing on private property rights, opponents of the plan contend.

&uot;This policy has succeeded in many respects: most new residential development is occurring within these growth areas and is well-balanced between the two,&uot; the press release stated. &uot;The City’s commercial tax base has continued to grow, and the balance between jobs and housing has strengthened, with 1.3 jobs per household in 2003. Plans for downtown, village and neighborhood revitalization encourage new development in those areas while retaining their historic character.&uot;

The pace of residential development – at approximately 1,000 new housing units per year – exceeds the Comprehensive Plan’s target of 600-800 units.

URS Corporation of Virginia Beach is working with the city to update the plan.

If you would like to hear about the planning process and share your ideas on issues you think the Comprehensive Plan should address, the City invites you to participate in any one of three public meetings.

The meetings are scheduled for:

nTuesday, May 11

John Yeates Middle School

4901 Bennett’s Pasture Road

nWednesday, May 12

King’s Fork Middle School

350 King’s Fork Road

nThursday, May 13

Robertson Elementary School

132 Robertson Street

Each meeting will begin with an informal open house at 6:30 p.m. followed by a formal meeting at 7 p.m.

The open house provides an opportunity to view maps and displays and chat with consultants and City planning staff.

Each meeting will include:

A review of growth trends since adoption of the current 2018 Comprehensive Plan and the City’s progress toward implementing that plan.

An overview of the plan update process, expected completion date spring 2005

Small group discussions of issues important to residents