Comp plan update approved

Published 9:03 pm Monday, April 6, 2015

City Council last week unanimously approved a new comprehensive plan for the city that changes the density requirements in two districts.

After a public hearing last month that heard concerns from residents about the density ranges in the inner-ring suburban district, council members asked the city’s planning staff to take another look at the density requirements in the proposal.

Planning Director Scott Mills recommended adjusting the proposal to six to 12 units per acre, down from six to 16.

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As a result, the range of the core support district also had to be adjusted so as to not leave a gap. It now stands at 13 to 24 units per acre.

“I think addressing the density issues that some of the citizens were concerned about has been taken care of with what you’ve done,” Councilman Mike Duman said after hearing a presentation on the changes.

One citizen spoke before the vote, urging the council members to reconsider.

“The citizens surveyed in the plan said, ‘Stay the course,’” Chris Dove said, expressing concern about the capacity of schools and roads to handle the growth. “Do not dig a hole deeper for our schools and roads than the previous council has already created.”

City Council also asked staff members to look at expanding the growth area along U.S. Route 460, but Mills advised against it for a number of reasons.

About 78 percent of the land placed in the growth area during the last comprehensive plan update remains undeveloped, Mills noted. Water service also would need to be extended into the area.

Although a Hampton Roads Sanitation District main runs down the road headed to Windsor, Suffolk currently is not hooked up to it, Mills said.

“If the area was expanded, an agreement with HRSD would need to be entered into for participation so connections could be made to that force main,” Mills said.

Gravity sewer systems also would be needed in the area, he added.

In addition, the question still remains regarding whether a new or improved Route 460 will be constructed and what that new road would look like, Mills said.

If a parallel road is constructed, he said, it would change the character of the current road to more of a local road, and “at that time it may be more appropriate to consider development,” he said.

Duman agreed it is “probably prudent to wait on the 460 project.”

Councilman Roger Fawcett added, “I think that’s going to change the topography a little bit of that area.”

The plan update was approved unanimously.