Opposition to Pierceville plan

Published 1:20 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2015

By Alyse Stanley

Staff writer

Smithfield residents continued to express their opposition to the controversial housing development on the historic Pierceville farm at a Town Council meeting Sept 1.

Smithfield resident Dennis Arinello presented the Council with a packet containing multiple petitions against the development. More than 200 residents of Smithfield, and more than 20 downtown businesses, signed the petition.

“These folks deserve to be respected … not circumvented,” he said. 

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One of their arguments was that the developers’ estimated infrastructure costs are too low. Therefore they do not fully address how the community would be affected by the project, said Cherlette Brownheart, Smithfield. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

In July, the developers, Hearndon MC Builders, LLC, offered the town $2,496.13 per house to offset financial impact from the project.

Isle of Wight County considers this proffer “woefully short,” said Richard Rudnicki, assistant director of planning and zoning for the county.

In an email to the Smithfield Planning Commission dated Aug. 10, Rudnicki outlined the county’s concern. He said the total cash proffers should be $7,676.69 per lot — roughly $5,000 more than what Hearndon proposed.

This conflicting estimate results from the developer’s failure to address several areas impacted by the project, he said.

Firstly, Hearndon’s current proffers do not allocate any money for schools.

The project will add 27 elementary school-aged children, Rudnicki said. Westside Elementary and Hardy Elementary, where many of these children would be enrolled, already exceed capacity. Accommodating more students would require $4,504 per lot, said Rudnicki.

The project would also generate several middle and high school-aged students. Smithfield Middle and High Schools are currently at capacity, and additional students would not push them over, so no additional proffers are required for those students.

Other neglected areas of impact include several county services such as libraries, animal control and courts. The combined, estimated infrastructure cost per lot for these elements would be $675.56, he said.

Rudnicki also pointed out that the developers offered the entirety of the proffers to Smithfield. The amount would be divided amongst the town’s recue squad, fire department, police department and recreational facilities. The county provides rescue squad and fire department services, and therefore should receive any money to offset increased use of services, he said.

According to this argument, the town would receive only the amount offered for police services and recreational activities, totaling just over $1,000, said Rudnicki.

The developers would then proffer the remaining $6,565.83 to Isle of Wight for their services, including those neglected in the initial offer. These include animal control, court, fire department, library, school, and rescue squad services according to Rudnicki.


Breakdown of Proffers


Developer’s (Hearndon) Offer


Recreational Facilities:                      $511.94

Smithfield Police Department:           $597.92

Rescue Squad:                               $299.00

Fire Department:                         $1,087.27

Total:                                         $2,496.13

 Isle of Wight County Estimate

Proffers to Town

Recreational Facilities:                     $511.94

Smithfield Police Department:           $597.92

Total:                                          $1,109.86

Proffers to County

Rescue Squad:                               $299.00

Fire Department:                         $1,087.27

Libraries:                                      $285.00

Animal Control:                               $43.09

Courts:                                         $347.48

Schools:                                     $4,504.00

Total:                                         $6,565.83

Combined Total Proffers:            $7,675.69