City Council notebook: Council approves brewery, defers Port 460
Published 7:35 pm Thursday, August 18, 2022
If you couldn’t tell by the red stickers people were wearing inside the council chamber and in the City Hall corridor, many are opposed to the rezoning of 540 acres of property along U.S. Routes 460 and 58, and Pitchkettle, Murphys Mill and Kings Fork roads, for the proposed Port 460 Logistics Center.
City Council held a public hearing on it, as city staff gave a nearly 30-minute presentation on the proposed rezoning — a longer-than-normal introduction — and council extended the time for it from 30 minutes to an hour.
After project officials, opponents and council members had their say, council ultimately voted to table the rezoning request for 30 days. They are expected to take up the matter again at its Sept. 21 meeting.
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The key votes
- Council tables rezoning of the proposed Port 460 property (7-1, Tim Johnson voted no) (Link: .https://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2022/08/17/council-votes-7-1-to-table-port-460-rezoning-for-30-days-2/)
- New Realm Brewery conditional use permit approved (8-0).
- Rezoning for 170-unit development off White Marsh Road approved (8-0).
- Turlington Road development allowed to increase the number of homes (8-0).
The key briefings
Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts restoration — Executive Director Lorelei Costa Morrow briefed council on its upcoming programming along with restoration efforts to the building, which began in July. She provided a timeline for upcoming renovations extending into the end of 2023, and noted the center had, so far, raised $3.6 million of its $4.5 million goal.
See previous coverage: Arts Center approved for facelift
Broadband — Eric Collins of Charter-Spectrum told council that some rural residents in the city could begin getting broadband service in the city in about three weeks. The project has started in the city, and once complete in the city, will move to Isle of Wight and Southampton counties. Construction is underway and is moving on schedule, Collins said. It will be releasing two nodes, and once testing on those is done, residents who live on the following roads — Deer Forest, Adams Swamp, Cherry Grove, Greenway, Carolina, Gates Run, Desert, Clay Hill and White Marsh — will be able to get broadband from Spectrum.
See previous coverage: Broadband expansion welcomed for rural communities
Hurricane and natural disaster preparations — Suffolk Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Brian Spicer and Public Works Director Robert Lewis updated council on hurricane and natural disaster preparations, and city programs to help during those times.
The key discussion
Port 460 Logistics Center project, again — Outside of project developers and the Port of Virginia, there has been little public support expressed for the rezoning of more than 500 acres along U.S. Routes 460 and 58, and Pitchkettle, Kings Fork and Murphys Mill roads for Matan Companies to put in 10 warehouses and about 24,000 square feet at the front of the property off of U.S. 460 for a mix of service retail — a restaurant, gas station and convenience store.
Opponents, who have been vocal on social media, in emails to council and in letters to the editor, filled the council chamber and corridor inside City Hall, with the ones who were able to speak once again outlining numerous concerns, many of them centered on the increase in traffic and road safety issues that would come as a result of the project.
Council voted 7-1 to table the rezoning for 30 days, with Tim Johnson, who does not support the rezoning for the project, voting no.
See previous coverage: Traffic study shows potential increases with Port 460 project
Port 460 project developer submits application for federal, state environmental review
Port 460 opponents deliver an earful to council developers
Public opposition to Port 460 project mounting
Despite opposition, Planning Commission recommends rezoning for Port 460 Logistics Park project
Port 460 project would provide ample warehouse space but raises traffic, stormwater concerns
On ‘borrow’-ed time?
Developers asked for, and received, more time on their proposal to put a borrow pit along the Suffolk-Isle of Wight County line, known as the Shady Pine Borrow Pit. It’s the second time a scheduled public hearing on the proposal has been delayed — it was initially on the agenda for a May council meeting.
This time, according to Mayor Mike Duman, the delay was so that developers could provide council an alternative route into and out of the site. Council is now expected to hold a public hearing on the matter in November.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend denying a conditional use permit to allow for it.
See previous coverage: Safety concerns from IW, Suffolk residents prompt city commissioners recommendation against borrow pit; opportunity narrows for pit proponents
Sister Cities contest, fall events update, unified development ordinance
Rory Rockwood, a recent graduate of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, won the grand prize in the Sister Cities International’s Young Artists and Authors Showcase, earning a $1,000 award. Her work was named best in show at the local showcase, held at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts in February.
Council also received an update on fall events, including the Taste of Suffolk (Sept. 10), Movie in the Park (Sept. 24 at the Holland Ball Park), Carpool Cinema at Bennett’s Creek Park (Oct. 15), Homework Help Fair (Sept. 28 at the Morgan Memorial Library), Peanut Fest (Oct. 6-9), Haunting at Chuckatuck (Oct. 22 at the Chuckatuck Library), Vamos a Bailar at the Planter’s Club (Oct. 28), Fright Night at the recreation centers (Oct. 29), Tiny Library Concert at the Morgan Memorial Library (Nov. 4), Black Panther Mini Fancon at the Morgan Memorial Library (Nov. 5), Suffolk Art Gallery’s exhibits (beginning Nov. 5) and the Home of the Brave 5K and Freedom 10K (Nov. 12).
Council voted unanimously to amend language in the city’s unified development ordinance to include fences in the development criteria, and to allow fences in resource protection areas to be reviewed administratively.
See previous coverage: Student artists focus on sustainable water https://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2022/02/11/student-artists-focus-on-sustainable-water/
By consent: Bonds for Lake Prince Woods expansion, renovations
Council, by unanimous consent, authorized the city’s Economic Development Authority to issue up to $15 million of its retirement facilities first mortgage revenue bonds. The bond money will go toward adding a wellness center and making renovations at the site.
See previous coverage: Lake Prince Woods to expand, to use up to $15 million bond money to pay for it. https://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2022/08/11/lake-prince-woods-to-expand-to-use-up-to-15-million-bond-money-to-pay-for-it/
Rezoning approved for 170 unit development off White Marsh Road
Council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning of nearly 35 acres of property at 1355 White Marsh Road from agricultural and rural residential to residential urban zoning to allow for the construction of a 170-unit development.
The Planning Commission had voted unanimously to approve it at its July 19 meeting.
The property is about one mile south of the intersection of White Marsh Road and East Washington Street, south of the central downtown area.
Though the developer had considered building a combination of 30 single-family homes and 140 townhomes, it did not proffer that, and the units could end up as both those types, or as other multi-family living units.
Subdivision proffers amended
Council unanimously voted to amend previously approved proffers for the Millstone Subdivision to increase the number of single-family homes by 42, from 105 homes to 147 homes, on a property off of Turlington Road near its intersection with Carolina Road. The proposed development will now be known as Linwood. There will be no change to the existing residential low-medium density zoning.
New Realm Brewing Co. conditional use permit approved
Council unanimously approved a conditional use permit to allow for live music at the new, New Realm Brewing Co. in the Harbour View area of North Suffolk after project developers made adjustments to the buffer for the site with the adjoining neighborhood and provided the results of a sound test.
Officially, the ordinance grants the conditional use permit to establish a bar and nightclub at the site — a nightclub designation in the city’s unified development ordinance is defined as a “bar, restaurant, or similar establishment where a dance floor or live entertainment is provided.”
See previous coverage: Brew Blues: Live music plans at new New Realm location in Harbour View delayed