Developer asks to withdraw apartment proposal

Published 8:44 pm Thursday, January 13, 2022

A developer who proposed to build more than 200 apartments off of Nansemond Parkway near Northgate Commerce Park has asked to withdraw his rezoning request.

A public hearing has been scheduled on the request to rezone 11.36 acres of property at 5100 Nansemond Parkway from residential low medium density to residential urban-18 zoning to allow for a 204-unit apartment complex to be built.

However, a note in the meeting packet states that “the applicant has requested to withdraw the project.”

In a brief Jan. 13 letter addressed to Interim Planning and Community Development Director Kevin Wyne, the project developer, C. Burton Cutright of HBKC II, formally made the request.

“The applicant does hereby withdraw the request for rezoning on the above-referenced property,” the letter states. “Thank you in advance for your assistance.”

The apparent withdrawal of the rezoning requests comes just days after residents of the nearby Suffolk Meadows community gave vehement and unanimous opposition to the project during a public meeting at Zion Crossroads Church, located next to the proposed complex.

Residents said the proposed apartments would only add to traffic troubles and safety issues in an area that is short of the infrastructure to deal with it.

City staff had recommended denying the rezoning application, citing traffic and capacity concerns at Nansemond River High School. The Planning Commission voted 6-1 Oct. 19 to recommend against the proposed zoning changes.

A public hearing for the proposed rezoning had previously been scheduled for council’s Nov. 17 meeting, but at Cutright’s request at that time, the application was put on hold.

Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett and Councilman Roger Fawcett both attended the meeting and, at that time, did not indicate how they would vote on the rezoning request, though Fawcett told residents he had some concerns about it.

Suffolk Meadows resident Tom Rein said in an email that he is pleased that the developer has asked to withdraw his rezoning request. He thanked Mayor Mike Duman and other members of council for listening to residents’ concerns, the Planning Commission and the media.

“A sincere thank you to every one of the local residents who came out last Friday and spoke out, their voices were heard,” Rein said, adding that, “it shows that when we work together for the right reasons, we can get things done.”

The apartments were to range from $1,271 to $1,892 per month for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, which Cutright had noted would help with increasing affordable workforce housing available in the area, according to the staff report.