Royal Farms withdraws conditional use permit application for proposed Bridge Rd location

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

While the new Royal Farms at 1200 Portsmouth Blvd celebrates its long-awaited opening, the company withdrew its application for a proposed location on Bridge Road Thursday.
During the Suffolk City Council meeting on Thursday, City Manager Al Moor announced the removal of a public hearing from the consent agenda regarding the company’s application for a conditional use permit (CUP) to operate a convenience store located at 1869 Bridge Road (CUP2023-017). The removal, Moor said, was due to the withdrawal of the application by Royal Farms.

“This afternoon [Nov. 15, 2023], the applicant submitted a request to remove item 17 from tonight’s agenda and from further consideration,” Moor said.
With this withdrawal, the company cannot reapply for this application for at least one year.

Attempts to reach Two Farms, Inc. d/b/a Royal Farms for further comment were unsuccessful.

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The proposal for this location was met with heavy opposition from residents during the Oct. 17 Planning Commission’s public hearing.

During the meeting, the Executive President of the CE & Heritage Civic League, which encompasses the communities of Crittenden, Eclipse and Hobson, Kelly Hengler, called the proposed convenience store “a total disrupt.”

“But this monstrosity is 4,200 square feet and is the biggest building other than churches, all the way from Bridgeport,” Hengler said. “Even the 7-11’s not that big, I don’t know, perhaps it needs a bat sign on it. But, it is a complete and total disrupt when we have — like everybody said — a gas station.”

Hengler said the community residents were shocked to learn that a 24-hour convenience store with twelve gas pumps was looking to be located in the typically quiet section of Suffolk.

“We’re in shock,” she said. “Where else in Suffolk do we go ahead and drop a 4200 square foot building that’s going to sell you coffee, fried chicken, and some gas when I didn’t hear anybody ask for that? Because it’s supposed to be neighborhood-centric … we have no police and fire out there. We have no transit out there. It just is what it is.”

Al Will, Vice President of the Sleepy Lake subdivision’s homeowners association, said the operation of a 24-hour convenience store would heavily impact the community’s quality of life, citing various concerns, including depreciation of property values, traffic, and the potential rise in crime.

“Specifically, the Planning Commission must consider the nuisance to adjacent neighborhoods and the impact on the quality of life of a 24-hour convenience store selling gasoline,” Will said.