Letter – Council should deny Port 460 rezoning request

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

To the Editor:

I have lived in Suffolk and Nansemond County all my life. I am writing to voice my concerns against the rezoning of 500 acres of farmland to heavy industrial for the Port 460 Logistics Center.

Recently, Suffolk has been overwhelmed with logistic warehouse projects. The large multi-modal logistics park on U.S. 58 East has caused many traffic accidents and delays on a daily basis. I fear the proposed Port 460 project will escalate traffic congestion and accidents to an intolerable situation for Suffolk residents.

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Suffolk already has a large area of land zoned heavy industrial that will support the Port of Virginia. I question the need for this project in this location. VDOT has previously published data on the high congestion, crash, and fatality rates of U.S. 460 versus other similar roads in Virginia. How much worse will an additional 9,000 vehicle trips per day cause?

If this permeable farmland is replaced with concrete and asphalt, I am concerned that it will result in highway and road flooding due to drainage problems.

I am also concerned about how the Port 460 industrial site and run-off will affect the water of Lake Meade and the water supply and its quality. Many homes in this rural area have wells to supply water to their homes, including mine.

Lastly, I am concerned with how this huge industrial warehouse and distribution center will affect the surrounding rural nature of residential property owners. I believe it will have a negative effect on surrounding home and property values.

There are other uses that fit this site in a more positive ways than another warehouse project. Also, if you rezone this site heavy industrial and things go wrong for the Port 460 project, then many other industrial activities could wind up on the farm. This is just not a good idea.

The citizens of Suffolk elected our city councilmen to represent our citizens best interests, not those of “out of state” developers, the Port of Virginia or their own best interests.

I believe there is the appearance of potential conflict of interest by a councilmen who is with a regional commercial real estate firm in the region. Be assured, the citizens of Suffolk are aware of it and are watching.

City Council has not faced this type of opposition for any other proposed zoning. I request that they deny this rezoning request.

Nancy White

Suffolk