Housing pipeline gets deep

Published 7:56 pm Friday, February 20, 2015

The Suffolk Planning Commission meeting that has been moved to March 3 because of the weather includes the possible approval of more than 210 new housing units.

Most of those — 114 new single-family homes and 47 townhouses — are included in a rezoning request for land off of Nansemond Parkway and Portsmouth Boulevard.

Coastal Virginia Developers LLC hopes to increase the residential density to allow the project, which it is calling Moore’s Point after the Moore family farm that has been there.

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“I think it’s going to be a successful project,” said Bob Arnette of Coastal Virginia Developers. “It’s good for that corridor, too.”

The 36-acre project has earned a recommendation for approval by city staff. It is located between the Route 58 bypass and the Beamon’s Mill Trail area.

The land currently includes a single-family home, an auto salvage yard and an agricultural field. The neighborhood will have frontage along Portsmouth Boulevard and Nansemond Parkway.

Arnette said nearby residents he’s spoken with are in favor of the project, in part because it will get rid of the salvage yard.

“I think it’s definitely going to help the property values of the adjacent communities,” he said.

According to a city staff report, about 18 more school-age students are expected to live at the increased-density development than in what the developer could do under its current zoning. The developer plans to pay nearly $220,000 toward the construction of a middle school and high school to alleviate the effects on school overcrowding.

Arnette said the project would help accommodate an improving housing market.

“I think the market’s really expanding now,” he said.

Over on Kings Fork Road, another project in the March 3 meeting also would accommodate a changing market, said Gary Hammond of Landbridge Development.

The developer, which is taking over the project from another developer, has asked to reduce the number of age-restricted units in the project, called Epps Senior Residences, and to lower the age of seniors who could live there.

The project was originally approved in 2005. It would have included two three-story buildings with a total of 120 units.

But Hammond said fewer units and a younger age restriction — at least 55, instead of at least 62 — “allows for a deeper market and better support for the overall project.”

“The market’s different, at least from my interpretation,” Hammond said. “We’re more or less using up the available demand that currently exists.”

The development will include 50 single-story apartment units, 10 with one bedroom and 40 with two bedrooms, according to the staff report. Hammond also said it would include an on-site office, a community room for the residents, walking trails, gazebos, raised gardens and other outdoor activities.

Located at 401 Kings Fork Road, the 11-acre parcel is almost directly across from King’s Fork Middle School.

Also on the agenda for the 2 p.m. meeting is consideration of a church on C Street, a new shelter for the Suffolk Humane Society at 412 Kings Fork Road, and the expansion of a power substation on Davenport Court.