Planners to discuss Four Farms

Published 12:07 am Sunday, November 14, 2010

Signs such as this one publicizing a rezoning request for land south of downtown dot the roadway along White Marsh Road. The area is proposed for a massive residential and commercial development.

The city’s Planning Commission once again will consider a massive proposed development south of downtown during its monthly meeting.

The commission meets at 2 p.m. Tuesday in City Council chambers, 441 Market St. Discussion on the Four Farms project highlights the meeting.

Opponents of the project say they have only grown more opposed to it during the 60 days they’ve been given to discuss it with the developers.

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“I think the more and more we learn about the project, the more questions it spurs along as to what the long-term effect is going to be,” said attorney Fred Taylor with Stallings and Bischoff, who is representing a group of nearby property owners who have organized a group called Suffolk Citizens for Responsible Growth.

South Suffolk Properties, LLC, hopes to put about 2,000 single- and multi-family housing units and 164,000 square feet of commercial space on 462 acres south of downtown. The development would be situated between Hosier and White Marsh roads.

It would include space for office, grocery and retail establishments, a variety of parks, lakes and open spaces, and a 19-acre site for an elementary school. The development could attract more than 5,000 residents when completed in 2018.

The developers say they will construct a road that connects to major thoroughfares nearby. However, opponents of the project say they have questions about when that and other proffers would come along.

“There are concerns about when any kind of additional road would come along,” Taylor said. “I think, really, our clients would really like to see them go to the drawing board on it.”

The city has yet to approve a traffic study for the project. Traffic is one of the main concerns surrounding the project. Despite the connector road the developers say they will build, the project also will put a tremendous amount of pressure on the already-overworked East Washington Street.

“We don’t think it’s the type of plan that’s good for the neighborhood or the city, for that matter,” Taylor said.

The Planning Commission also will consider a rezoning request for a medical office building in Harbour View.