More townhomes approved for Moore’s Pointe subdivision

Published 9:12 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Look for nearly a dozen new townhomes in eastern Suffolk’s Meadows at Moore’s Pointe subdivision following unanimous City Council approval for rezoning to remove previously-established maximum density restrictions for the property.

Council’s approval Nov. 17 following a public hearing allows the applicant, Bob Arnette of Moore’s Pointe LLC, which owns the property along with Jason Hughson, to add up to 17 townhomes.

However, attorney Grier Ferguson, representing Arnette, said plans are to add 11 townhomes on the nearly 9.4-acre property at 117, 118 and 119 C St., about one block north of the C Street/Portsmouth Boulevard intersection and near the Raceway gas station and convenience store. At last month’s Planning Commission public hearing on the proposed addition, he had said there were plans for 12 townhomes.

“What we are attempting to do with this property as a part of the Moore’s Pointe project off of C Street,” Ferguson said, “is simply to maximize the efficiency and use of the land, and really make for a better neighborhood.”

Ferguson said the property has been re-engineered to take the newly-acquired property into account. He noted its location near U.S. Route 58, “and so houses in that area are in need and they’re being sold because it’s a good place to build houses.”

Two people who spoke in opposition to adding the additional townhomes expressed concerns with traffic on Portsmouth Boulevard, and Bart Stephens, a resident who lives near C Street, said the groundwork for the townhomes being done has caused flooding on the street, which is not wide enough to handle the increased traffic.

“I think the concerns that we have heard are concerns we often hear about existing residents to any kind of growth coming to their place,” Ferguson said. “Often these residents actually were, maybe the first ones to get into an area which has been developed, then as more development comes, which is natural, they see it as too congested or too much traffic is coming.”

Ferguson noted, however, that traffic engineers do not have an issue with the additional townhomes.

Public Works Director Robert Lewis said he was unaware of flooding on C Street, but “I can postulate that possibly the issue is some of the erosion sediment control measures in place to keep dirt out of the existing drainage could be holding back water, but I’ll have staff review that and make sure that the systems are working correctly.”

The townhomes, by proffer, must each be at least 1,250 square feet, while another proffer stipulates a $28,000 per-student contribution to the projected increase of two students to an overcapacity King’s Fork High School. A 150-foot right turn lane coming off C Street onto Portsmouth Boulevard would also be put in.

Moore’s Pointe LLC and Hughson will also pay $28,378 to the city as their prorated share of increasing capacity at the city pump stations 21 and 22 at Shingle Creek.

Several properties on the left side of C Street were rezoned from general commercial to residential urban zoning in October 2016 to allow for 70 townhomes.

Nearly three years later, in August 2019, after the developer acquired more property, council approved another rezoning of property to allow for 15 more townhomes. That increased the number of allowed townhomes to 85.

Council approved a third, conditional rezoning in 2019 to remove previously-accepted proffers to advance capacity at John F. Kennedy Middle School and King’s Fork High School after enrollments at those schools decreased in the previous three years.

In fall 2020, the city’s Department of Planning and Community Development approved the general layout of the development — a preliminary plat — and the engineering plan which includes the complete construction drawings and specifications of every aspect of the development.

After the developer acquired more C Street property, council earlier this year approved another conditional rezoning to change the zoning of that property from general commercial to residential urban, but with a proffer stipulating the newly acquired properties to be used solely for stormwater management to support the previously-approved development.

The Planning Commission, by a 7-0 vote at its Oct. 19 meeting, recommended approval of the density change. City planning staff also recommended the change.

In related action, council, by a 5-3 vote, also approved the conditional rezoning of 3.23 acres of property Arnette owns on Prospect Road from residential low-medium density to residential urban zoning to build 15 single-family homes. Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett, Tim Johnson and Lue Ward voted against the rezoning.

Arnette has proffered to a right-turn lane on Portsmouth Boulevard from Prospect Road, modify the median on Portsmouth Boulevard to allow vehicles to make a left turn across it to Prospect Road and put forth a revised proffer to make the road at least 20 feet wide between the site and Portsmouth Boulevard, to be finished before the first certificate of occupancy. He has also proffered $1,978.67 per home to advance capacity at King’s Fork High School.

Without the approved rezoning, Arnette could have built, without any additional approvals or proffers, nine homes. Ferguson, representing Arnette on the rezoning, said during a public hearing that the main concern brought up has been traffic, but he said the proffers would improve the street.

Six people spoke against the rezoning, citing concerns about traffic and flooding, along with the width of the road. Ferguson said homes on the road are on low-lying land and have had longstanding flooding issues, noting Arnette’s property would not cause any further issues. As for traffic, he said growth will bring more of it, and it has proffered improvements to the road that would not otherwise happen.
“Everything seems to fit right into the button of what the city is looking for in this inner growth corridor,” Ferguson said, “which is asking for denser growth to encourage growth in these areas rather than people trying to get dense out in the country.”