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Council to take up housing development

It has been denied by the Suffolk Planning Commission, and now a proposed rezoning request to bring more than 400 apartments and four-plex housing off of Pruden Boulevard will get a hearing before City Council this week.

The commission tabled the request following an April public hearing on a proposed rezoning of 48 of the Hallstead Reserve property’s 57 acres for the proposed 414-unit development on property at 2575 and 2665 Pruden Blvd., near Murphys Mill Road. The property is currently zoned general commercial.

It then voted 6-2 in May to deny the request after Director of Planning and Community Development David Hainley said it would be unlikely that the developer of the Hallstead Reserve project would be agreeable to increasing the proffer amount for elementary schools.

According to a staff report, the developer did submit a revised proffer statement May 29, which states that “102 of the total number of units shall be built with master bedrooms on the first floor and shall serve an age-targeted population.”

The staff report raises two objections with the new proffer — that it does not define the age range for the individuals who would occupy those units and that the developer would not be obligated to keep those units age-restricted.

The new proffer “does not impact staff’s recommendation of the denial.”

Melissa Venable, an agent for Land Planning Solutions on behalf of John Napolitano of Napolitano Homes in Virginia Beach, submitted the rezoning request. The city’s staff report noted that there will be 312 apartments and another 102 four-plex units on the property.

The staff report also noted that the developer’s elementary school proffer does not go far enough, as it is only offering $20,000 per generated student versus the $33,125 that would “satisfactorily advance capacity” at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School.

According to Suffolk Public Schools, Elephant’s Fork is at 111 percent of its capacity and has 567 students, with 13 trailers in use. With 82 students generated by committed development assigned to the school, it would be overpopulated by 151 students.

Though the adopted 2020-2029 Capital Improvements Program and Plan proposes a new downtown area elementary school that would help alleviate overcrowding, it is not slated to be funded until sometime between 2025 to 2029. The staff report notes that the developer is projecting occupancy by 2021, with a complete buildout in 2024.

The development would use two access points from Pruden Boulevard, and another on Murphys Mill Road, but would still have to add a full access entrance at the primary entrance off of Pruden Boulevard to include both right and left turn lanes. Right turn lanes would also have to be built at the commercial entrance at Pruden Boulevard, as well as the Murphys Mill Road entrance.

The developer would also have to build an alternative intersection design at the Pruden Boulevard/Route 58 westbound off ramp no later than five years after the first unit is occupied.

Also on Wednesday, during its work session, the council will get an update on the Historic Overlay District guidelines, and there are four additional public hearings scheduled, two of those concerning in-home day care facilities, and another on the proposed expansion of the Montessori Academy on Harbour View Boulevard.

The work session begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday, and the regular meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at 442 W. Washington St.