Council approves Foxfield Meadows rezoning

Published 10:47 pm Friday, February 7, 2020

Despite recommendations against changing the use and density of a nearly 20-acre development off of Pitchkettle Road, City Council approved a rezoning request for the property that would allow for 88 homes.

The Planning Commission had in December recommended denying a request to change previously proffered conditions for the Foxfield Meadows development at 1241 Pitchkettle Road. The staff report for the project also recommended denying it.

However, council approved the change Wednesday 6-2.

Email newsletter signup

The Foxfield Meadows property is divided into two parts, a 53-acre portion to the south which was approved to be developed into a 128-unit single-family detached cluster subdivision, and the 20-acre portion that is currently vacant.

The rezoning request for the applicant, Greg Knapp of NVR Inc., asked for a change in the approved use and density of the development on the smaller portion of the property in order to build 88 single-family, detached units instead of putting up an apartment building with 114 units. Each unit would have at least 1,600 square feet of heated living area.

Whitney Saunders, representing Knapp and NVR Inc., said the request to rezone and amend the proffer is unusual in that it would serve to lower the density of the property and be compatible with the rest of the development to the south.

Saunders said the developer had listened to the commission when it indicated that it did not want a cookie-cutter type of development, adding a proffer to include design standards and limit the new development to a condominium-style ownership.

According to city planners, the proposal would go against adopted city plans and policies, and neither meet recommended densities nor be compatible with the current density, design or layout of the existing housing. It would also not mitigate the projected impact of the development.

The 4.4 dwelling units per acre that is proposed would not be consistent with the recommended density range of 6 to 12 units per acre, or be consistent with the existing density in the single-family detached part of Foxfield Meadows, which is 2.4 units per acre, according to the staff report for the proposed rezoning.

It also stated that the proposed development would reduce the diversity of housing stock in the Inner Ring Suburban Use District where the property is located.

Saunders noted that the property, under the previous proffer, would have most likely ended up as an apartment building.

For the 88 units, Knapp has proffered $3,887 for school capacity for each unit built. The previous proffer was $1,944 per unit.

Councilman Tim Johnson, who along with Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett voted against the rezoning, said the proposal goes against the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and is not something he could support.

“We live in rural Suffolk,” Councilman Johnson said. “This is part of rural Suffolk, and this is not what I viewed the rural Suffolk of the future to look like. … I think people moved to our city because of what we are, and what we look like. And this is not what I want our city to look like.”

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said, however, that the developer’s proposal, in the long run, would be preferable to apartments, and it would bring fewer students to put a burden on the school division.

“I do believe that, at this point in time,” the mayor said, “this is preferable to what we would have if we did not do this.”