Planning Commission approves CUP for ready-mix concrete plant

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

The Suffolk Planning Commission voted 6 to 1 to advance the request for a Conditional Use Permit for a ready-mix concrete plant to the city council. 

During its Tuesday, Dec. 19 Planning Commission meeting, Commissioners heard a request submitted by Stephen Render of TCS Materials, LLC on behalf of Vulcan Lands Inc. to establish the plant on the property located at 1273 Portsmouth Blvd with the designated area identified as part of the Cypress Voting Borough.

Senior Planner Amy Mervine provided details of the CUP request during the meeting.

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“The subject property is located in the M-2 heavy industrial zoning district. The surrounding parcels to the south, east, and west are also zoned M-2. To the north of the property is CSX owned railroad tracks and city of Portsmouth property followed by Portsmouth Blvd,” Mervine said. “The property is currently utilized as an aggregate sales yard and an asphalt plant. The traffic memo submitted with the application anticipates to generate approximately 34 trucks per day. The existing Transportation Network appears adequate to accommodate this modest increase.”

Mervine said that staff recommends the approval of the request with Planning and Development’s staff opinion of the site being appropriate for use “given the existing and future infrastructure for the proposed use and its location” as well as its use not negatively impacting the surrounding neighborhood. 

Commissioner Oliver Creekmore expressed confusion over the property being added in the central growth area, noting the commission’s recommendation of denial to the solar energy facility request during their same meeting.

“This is what is really, to me, a little confusing about what we went through with the solar farm. This property also is located in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan in the central growth area. We just talked about the central growth area … Now we’re going to be voting on this,” Creekmore said. “That property has been there for a long time, but it is in the central growth area, which is one of the reasons that we voted against the other one. So I’m a little confused as to how we are supposed to be moving around the plan …”

Director of Planning and Community Development Kevin Wyne commended Creekmore on his point while following that growth comes in a “variety of different ways.”

“From the city’s perspective, you have commercial growth, industrial growth as captured as part of that and residential growth. Here, you do have an existing industrial user in an existing M-2 zoning district within the growth area. That’s not expanding its footprint, but it is expanding its capabilities from an operations perspective. Industrial users are specifically in the inner ring suburban use district, a use that’s appropriate,” Wyne said. “I think to elaborate a little further, with growth you have the ability to grow jobs, as this one does, you have the ability to establish rooftops to sustain jobs or retail and service operations within the growth area and you want to keep those close to keep them from sprawling out.”

Creekmore expressed his point that they would still be “making an exception” for going into marked growth areas.

“ … I feel it’s arbitrary when it was originally determined for the 2035 plan. Now we’re going to have another delineation for the next plan, but … It’s an exception to the established plan,” Creekmore said. “I understand it’s a different use and all that sort of thing, but again, we’re causing things to slide one way or the other. That’s really all that I have to say about it because in my estimation, it’s not that different from what we were talking about on that solar farm [facility].”

Creekmore was ultimately the lone vote of opposition. 

The CUP request will go before the Suffolk City Council with a recommendation of approval during their Jan. 17 City Council meeting.