Road proffers attract supervisors

Published 8:48 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

By Diana McFarland


A proposed 340-unit housing development off Carrollton Boulevard is appealing to county officials due to proffered road improvements, among other considerations.

The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors went over the proposed South Harbor, an age-restricted development to be located on two tracts of land behind Bojangles in the Eagle Harbor area, during a Thursday work session.

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A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 21.  

“Quite a bit of improvements will help Route 17,” said Board Chairman William McCarty about East West Partners’ offer to add intersection improvements to help ease congestion along that corridor between Brewer’s Neck Boulevard and the James River Bridge. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Traffic is an overriding concern for residents in that area, as backups are common during morning and evening rush hours. 

The Board was also interested in the fact that this development would result in less housing than if the current land use designation remained at suburban estate and suburban residential. 

If those two land uses were to remain, then a total of 430 houses could be built overall, rather than 340 in this proposal, said Isle of Wight Assistant Director of Planning and Zoning Richard Rudnicki. 

“It’s still smaller,” said McCarty of the fewer actual housing units. 

This development will add road improvement, but also reduce the number of houses, said Carrsville District Supervisor Don Rosie. 

While the age-restricted development will not impact the county’s school system, it does raise concerns around public safety. 

Age-restricted units tend to generate nearly two calls to every one call in a general neighborhood, according to Rudnicki. 

With the ongoing growth in the northern end of the county, the Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department is nearing capacity, according to county staff.

At what point will an additional station be needed and, with a growing population, can the county continue to operate a volunteer fire and rescue system, asked Windsor District Supervisor Joel Acree.

If the county has to convert to an entirely paid force, “the cost will be extraordinary,” he said. 

Branch Lawson with East West Partners said his company is trying to address the public safety concerns and noted that the development is likely to generate $18.45 for each dollar the county invests in services, based on the project’s fiscal impact analysis. 

Isle of Wight County Administrator Randy Keaton pointed out that the county generates revenue on EMS calls through ambulance billing, while not charging the patient anymore than their insurance pays for. 

Those revenues do help to offset the costs, said Keaton. 

Housing developments not built “in a week”

By Diana McFarland


Smithfield District Supervisor Dick Grice brought up the perception that the possible addition of 3,500 more houses to the county would be built “next week.”

That’s not how it works, he said. 

In addition to developments approved years ago, such as Benn’s Grant and St. Luke’s Village, there are new ones entering the system, such as South Harbor, as well as 685 units proposed for the former Yeoman farm right outside Smithfield. 

In the case of the proposed 340-unit South Harbor off Carrollton Boulevard, the plan is to sell about 70 units a year, with a timetable of four to five years for total build-out, said Branch Lawson with East West Partners at a Thursday Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors worksession. 

Isle of Wight staff estimated that there are about 200 houses a year being built in the county, so it would take about 20 years for the estimated 3,500 to be built, said Grice. 

Board Chairman William McCarty pointed out that former Boards of Supervisors had created the development service areas to concentrate growth in designated places to allow the remainder of Isle of Wight to retain its rural character. 

The DSDs are located in the Carrollton area, as well as Windsor and Camptown.  

Also, residents want more commercial options, but businesses want to see traffic counts and rooftops before locating here, said McCarty. 

Carrsville District Supervisor Don Rosie said his constituents prefer a rural environment. 

“I hate to disappoint them, but there were five (building) permits pulled in September and three were in Carrsville,” joked Grice.