Town and developers

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Editor, Smithfield Times

More than 300 residents and business owners of Downtown Smithfield petition Town Council to reject the senseless over-development of the 380 year-old Pierceville Farm, as proposed by Hearndon Construction for its “Cary-and-Main Subdivision” proposal. At the Aug. 11 public hearing, the Planning Commission entertained and rejected both a change to the Future Land Use Map and Developer’s Site Plan/Preliminary Subdivision Plat for “Suburban-Residential” re-zoning. In accordance with the Town’s Rezoning and Subdivision Ordinances, the Planning Commission’s recommendation represented an executive decision for the Town — subject only to formal appeal by the Developer within 15 calendar days.

Instead, Developer’s Liaison appeared before the Public Buildings & Welfare (PB&W) Committee on 25 August to seek guidance for Hearndon’s next steps. Liaison was granted a late-October rehearsal of Hearndon’s revised Site Plan/Subdivision Plat before Council (masquerading as PB&W) before a public hearing on 3 November (Election Night). Edited Minutes of that Committee meeting, and subsequent actions by the Town’s Planning & Zoning Administrator on Sept. 15, confirm that Developer will also be allowed to re-appear before the Board of Historical & Architectural Review in mid-October. Yet, Town Officials continue to insist that the process has nothing to do with subdivision development.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Petitioners have asked several times for the Town’s “process-flow” in this matter — only to be told emphatically that [sic] “This IS the process.”

Now that we have taken it upon ourselves to locate and read the appropriate portions of Town Code and the governing ordinances, we know otherwise. The Subdivision Ordinance is the more current and restrictive process, and takes legal precedence. Had the provisions of that ordinance been implemented from the beginning of Hearndon’s proposal for Cary-and-Main Subdivision, most or all of the petitioners’ concerns would have been addressed competently and comprehensively by experts throughout the local and regional community, and the Town’s rejection of Hearndon’s Preliminary Subdivision Plat would already be on public record.

Mark Gay