Letter – Port 460 untold truths on traffic woes

Published 7:32 pm Friday, August 12, 2022

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To the Editor:

The Port 460 Logistics Center developer has presented a rosy picture, less traffic than what it could be, 9,000-plus jobs, and increased tax revenues. Increased traffic is coming either way because the port of Norfolk is expanding.

I have looked at these claims and found them to be biased at the very least.

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The claim of less traffic than what could be, is based on a worst-case scenario for the B2 zoned commercial portion of the property. Commercial development in the B2 portion could generate 58,000 vehicle trips a day as opposed to the projected 22,000 for the proposed development.

What is not mentioned is the worst case scenario for the proposed M2 zoning could be 110,000 vehicle trips a day. The developer would have us believe that the majority of these vehicles will be passenger vehicles. It seems improbable that a warehouse complex built to support the trucks coming into and out of the Port of Norfolk will not have a significant portion of truck traffic.

According to government and industry sites the developer’s estimate of 9,000-plus jobs is three times the average for warehouse facilities. The number of jobs is more likely to be 3,000 and possibly even less depending on how much automation is included in the warehouses.

The project’s financial impact analysis projects total tax revenues after 15 years will be $29 million, and $3 million annually after that. The developer estimates the cost of improvements to existing roads to support the complex to be $100 million. Combining the proffered $5.5 million for road improvements with the projected revenues, the net total cost after 15 years will be a $65.5 million deficit.

Many will not be aware that a warehouse complex is already being built just north of the airport on land zoned for warehouses. There is about 500 acres of unused land just west of the dump with direct access to U.S. 58 that is zoned for warehouses. There is unused land behind the CenterPoint warehouses zoned for warehouses. How many warehouses does Suffolk need?

The developer wants Suffolk to rezone the city’s last commercially zoned parcels to heavy industrial, putting the city $65.5 million in debt and ending the possibility of any future commercial development near the city center. Call, write, talk to your council member and tell them “no.”

Chrostopher Dove