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Smothered landowners are owed an explanation

Wednesday night Suffolk City Council, by a 5-2 vote, broke with their long-touted “vision” by approving a plan that will allow for sprawl south of downtown Suffolk and increased traffic on the downtown area’s already overcrowded roads.

The 2026 Comprehensive Plan approved Wednesday allows for the construction of some 3,000 homes south of downtown.

Since 1998, the city has operated under the 2018 Comprehensive Plan, which directed growth along three corridors n downtown, Route 17 and Godwin Boulevard. This has long been touted as “smart growth.”

So what’s happened? Has sprawl suddenly become desirable? Maybe smart growth isn’t as smart as we thought? If so, there are frustrated property owners all over Suffolk who would like to sell their land to a developer and walk away with fat bank accounts. What about them?

The original 2018 plan was a good one, and while every plan needs tweaking from time to time, what Council voted to do last night was less of a tweak than an abandonment.

There was little comment made by officials last night about why the move was necessary. The city’s other UDO-smothered land owners are owed an explanation.