Four Farms vote postponed

Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Suffolk Planning Commission again put off a vote on the proposed Four Farms subdivision to give the developers time to submit a revised traffic plan, but a majority indicated they would have voted against the plan if a vote had been held Tuesday.

Discussion on the development is scheduled to occur again Dec. 21. It has been ongoing since September, when a public hearing first was held on the project.

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, with a northernmost boundary near Seminole Drive.

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Five people spoke against the project at Tuesday’s meeting. As in past forums, traffic emerged as a major concern. The main reason for postponing the decision was to allow the developers time to complete a revised traffic study.

Some of the residents who would be most affected by the project, though, had a traffic update of their own at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I am giving you the traffic report straight out,” said David Tatum, a White Marsh Road resident. “The road ain’t gonna handle it.”

The development 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.

Single-family detached houses would cost between $175,000 to $350,000, depending on the market when they are completed.

“It would be a terrible burden on the people that live there,” said Lory Lagoyda, who is helping collect signatures on a petition against the project. She estimated about 300 people had signed on as of Tuesday.

Another speaker at the meeting, Kimberlee Spiers, lives on Hosier Road but said she knew nothing about the project until Election Day, when she talked with a neighbor at the polls. She is still finding people who don’t know about it until the moment she tells them, she said.

“I moved here because I wanted to live in the country,” Spiers said. “This wasn’t the reason I moved to Suffolk. I request that you say no to this.”

Whitney Saunders, attorney for the developers, had little to say at the meeting other than his request for planners to table the project.

Commissioner Ronnie Rountree made the motion to table the decision, but some of his colleagues seemed reluctant to postpone a denial vote any longer.

“I’ve heard no positive comments from anyone endorsing this other than the proponents,” Arthur Singleton said. “From my perspective, we’re going around in circles.”

William Goodman was cynical about the possibility of seeing information that would change his mind.

“I’m just wondering just how much positive information is going to come out of this,” Goodman said. “It doesn’t look very good.”

Chairman Howard Benton reiterated Singleton’s observation that nobody other than the developers is in favor of the project.

Singleton, Goodman and Benton cast the dissenting votes in the 5-3 roll call to postpone the decision.

A group of citizens opposing the project, Suffolk Citizens for Responsible Growth, has started a website,, to disseminate information about the project.