98 waterfront adult condos planned for Burbage Drive in North Suffolk

Published 7:01 pm Thursday, March 24, 2022

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Nearly 100 waterfront condominiums for older adults on a 9.5-acre property along Burbage Drive in North Suffolk have received City Council approval.

Following a public hearing at its March 16 meeting, council voted unanimously in favor of the proposed rezoning of 9.5 acres of waterfront property from office-industrial zoning to residential urban-18 zoning to allow for the condos for those ages 55 and up. The property at 7521 Burbage Drive is next to the Virginia Department of Transportation district office and Col. Fred Cherry Middle School, and it has 1.5 acres of wetlands.

The property is also surrounded by vacant land and commercial businesses, townhomes, single-family homes and the Lakeview Commerce Park. The rear of the property where the proposed development would be located is along Mathews Lake.

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Jerry Bowman of Eastern Virginia Law Group LLC on behalf of the property owner, LVTC Two, LLC, applied for the rezoning and has proffered a maximum of 98 condos and a density of 10.3 dwelling units per acre, less than the maximum density allowed by the residential urban-18 zoning district.

A conceptual plan for the condos shows 50 condos to be built as 10-plexes, and 48 units to be built as 6-plexes.

A narrative provided by the applicant for the rezoning says “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, civic spaces, etc. (and) it is also appropriate for development to occur in a predictable, orderly manner.”

Planning staff recommended the rezoning request, stating that it is consistent with current land use patterns and aligns with the goals and objectives established in the city’s comprehensive plan and unified development ordinance. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended the rezoning at its Feb. 15 meeting.

Representing the applicant, Melissa Venable, owner of Land Planning Solutions, said in a letter outlining the rezoning request that “adding a high-density active adult community will begin to transform Burbage Drive into its own mixed-use community.”

Venable said during council’s public hearing that the property had been on the market “for years,” similar to the land VDOT now occupies next to it.

“The proposal is filling a tremendous need for homeownership in our market for the baby boomers ages 58 through 76,” Venable said.

It also is in an area with a nearby bus stop and has easy access to restaurants, shopping and entertainment, she said, and walkways for adequate pedestrian access.

At the recent Old Dominion University market review, the Hampton Roads region has a great need for housing, “and it seems crazy because we keep building and we keep building, but we have a tremendous need specifically for this market type for the baby boomers who are looking for an amenitized neighborhood, move-down type of unit, or home, I should say. So this helps to fulfill that need.”

Councilman Roger Fawcett said the location is ideal for the project.

“This site I’m very familiar with and this project I’m very familiar with,” Fawcett said, “and I can tell you it’s going to be a beautiful setting for this project and the 55 and above folks are just out there looking for this type of environment.”