State statutes should be changed
Published 10:57 pm Friday, September 21, 2018
To the editor:
After examining all of the possible avenues of challenging development of the Chuckatuck Cove subdivision in Eclipse, we realize that we don’t have a legal means of stopping the work.
We have appealed to the city of Suffolk, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. There is nothing any of them can do.
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We have no legal redress because of the state legislature’s extension of the subdivision plan or plat, which was approved in 2008 and extended until 2020. The subdivision will be developed using outdated water quality and retention standards resulting in significant pollution of our waterways.
We also have no right to challenge the development of a cluster subdivision in our community, because of a state statute that gives developers the right to develop subdivisions using greater density than is required under the existing zoning requirements. The rationale is that there will be more green space in the cluster subdivision. In some cases, this rationale is correct. In the case of Chuckatuck Cove, it is not correct because part of the RPA is used in calculating green space required in the cluster subdivision. Using any of the RPA as green space in a cluster subdivision doesn’t lead to more green space in that type of development.
The state of Virginia should give local authority to approve permit or plat extensions and the authorization of cluster subdivisions. In a by-right development, any permit extension or cluster subdivision authorization should be subjected to a public hearing and approved by a vote of the local governmental body.
I urge Delegate Chris Jones to sponsor legislation that changes the existing statutes to give his constituents a local voice in determining further development of our unique communities.