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Commission recommends rezoning for senior community

A planned, 237-unit age-restricted community off of Harbour View Boulevard in North Suffolk is one step closer to fruition after the Planning Commission approved the rezoning of more than 34 acres of property Tuesday.

The property, a part of Bridgeway Commerce Park, would be rezoned from office-institutional zoning to residential-urban-12 zoning, and is 41.3 acres total, according to the staff report on the rezoning request. Eleven of the 34.4 acres to be rezoned will remain in conservation, while the remaining 6.9 acres of the property would still be zoned office-institutional. The commission, by a 6-0 vote, recommended approval of the rezoning request.

The rezoning would take place on the back end of the property and would consist of 71 townhomes, 30 four-plex units and a 136-unit multi-family building. The remaining part of the property that would not be rezoned fronts Harbour View Boulevard. The planned community would be nearby the Bickford of Suffolk assisted living and memory care facility.

The applicant and property owner, Scott Overton of Suffolk Towers LLC, stated in his rezoning application that the Harbour View Boulevard corridor would be a good location for an active adult housing community and would support further commercial development there and within North Suffolk.

“The narrative provided by the applicant states that it is critical for growth and development in Harbour View to maintain a certain amount of commercial property for research and development, medical offices, retail (and) civic space. … Job creation should be supported by a mix of housing types per the unified development ordinance.

“This rezoning requests a portion of the site to be rezoned to high density residential to establish and enhance economic diversity and vitality, and create a more efficient pattern of development.”

As the community is planned for people age 55 and up, the staff report notes that it would not impact schools. As part of the request, the applicant provided a traffic impact analysis that estimated 384 morning peak trips and 362 afternoon peak trips as a result of the development. According to the analysis, the proposed development “would generate significantly less traffic than the current by-right zoning.” The applicant would construct a shared left-through lane and an exclusive right-turn lane along Harbour View Boulevard and the site entrance, per the traffic analysis, and a northbound right-turn lane, along with a pedestrian area for a future transit stop.

The community would also feature what the applicant said would be “an interconnected, walkable network of streets and small blocks in a grid-like pattern that feed out to the main connection with Harbour View Boulevard.”

Besides proffering the age restrictions — age 55 and up for the townhome and four-plex units, and age 62 and older for the multi-family building — and the overall number of units to be built, the applicant also proffered the type of building facades that would be used.

Planning Department staff recommended approval of the rezoning, saying it meets the intent of the provisions of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and the unified development ordinance, while offering a variety of age-restricted housing at different densities and keeping traffic volumes down.

The proposed rezoning is expected to be taken up at the July 15 City Council meeting.