Council makes decision on Lake Kilby Shores rezoning

Published 2:25 am Thursday, August 17, 2023

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Developers passionately cheered Wednesday night, after hearing the decision. By a 5 to 3 vote, the Suffolk City Council approved the Lake Kilby Shores rezoning request. 

With Mayor Michael Duman, plus council members Shelley Butler-Barlow and Timothy Johnson in opposition, the majority agreed to rezone 88.96 acres of property. Located on Lake Cahoon Rd and Lake Kilby Rd, the property changes from a rural estate zoning district to a residential medium density zoning district. This will allow for the development of 204 single family homes. 

Residents and developers alike spoke before the vote in a packed city hall. Comments included everything from accusations that the council was ignoring ordinances to racial issues and some more criticism of council. 

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Duman said the meeting veered off course to a certain extent.

“I’m a little bit more than disheartened by some of the rhetoric and some of the inferences that were made,” said Duman at the meeting. “[This] is a great city, that’s why so many want to move here. We’ve got more people who want to move here [and] we’re not going to have room for them, that’s a pretty enviable position to be [in]. As I’ve stated more times than once, that is not a problem. That’s a challenge. How do we deal with the influx of individuals that want to move to our city because of what we have to offer?”

During final comments, Council Member John Rector expressed his disapproval on how rezoning discussions turned out.

“I’m sorry that at some point, it did take on some of the elements that it did,” Rector said. “I don’t think bringing race into any activity that occurs from this dias is helpful. It’s not helpful to this body, it’s not helpful to the citizens of Suffolk and I hope everybody in the city recognizes that at least from this dias, everybody in the city is entitled to every opportunity that every other citizen is entitled to.”

Likewise, Council Member Timothy Johnson commended both sides for coming out to voice their concerns.

“I want to remind people, people that were here that things didn’t go like they wanted them to go, please don’t stop. You make a difference. You make a difference to our city,” Johnson said. “We’re not going to win all the battles, but we’re going to win enough to make the others things better.”


Editor’s note: Updated first passage at 11:33 a.m., Thursday, August 17 to reflect clarification.