2nd Route 58 project moves ahead

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2008

As if Route 58 hadn’t been talked about enough at Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting, another development brought it back into the limelight.

Right after the commission voted to table the discussion on the CenterPoint development in order to find more funding for Route 58 improvements, members heard a rezoning request from McDonald Ventures, which seeks to put 151,500 square feet of retail/commercial space along 58.

“You’ve been thinking big, it’s time to think small,” Whitney Saunders, of Saunders, Barlow, Riddick & Babineau, PC said.

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The proposed project would take about nine years to build out completely, but it would ultimately bring two restaurants, a drive-in bank, pharmacy, a convenience store and general office space and retail space to the area west of Manning Bridge Road.

At first, the hesitation to put anything else on Route 58 was evident.

“The traffic problem needs to be fixed,” Commissioner Alvin Copeland said.

“This is a wonderful project,” Commissioner Ross Boone said, “So was the first one, but we’re still talking about Route 58. We’re faced with the same dilemma.”

The difference for many on the commission, however, was that executives at McDonald offered to pay the full cost of widening the portion of Route 58 adjacent to their property whenever the city is ready to move forward with the project.

A motion to recommend denying the rezoning request failed on a 5-8 vote. A subsequent motion was made to recommend that the City Council approve the request and passed by a margin of 7-6.

The matter will now go to City Council for its approval.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

4Planners tabled a rezoning request from Coastal Virginia Developers regarding a development on Shoulder’s Hill and Bridge Road, because the information requested by the Planning Commission at the October meeting was not yet ready.

The rezoning request for a change in proffered conditions at Belleharbour apartments was tabled for 30 days in order for more information to be received.