Planning Commission recommends “Park”

Published 8:55 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2019

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer

The Smithfield Planning Commission recommended approval of a 150-unit condominium development to Town Council on Dec. 10.   

The project is set to go before Town Council in January, according to Planning Commission Chairman Randy Pack. 

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If approved, the development — named The Park at Battery and also known as The Seasons — would be built on Battery Park Road near the South Church Street intersection.

More traffic in that area has been a top concern of residents about the condominium project. 

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The Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the project “with a good bit of reluctance,” according to Pack. He added that members prefer a residential property versus a commercial one for that location, but would have rather seen single-family homes developed there instead of grouped units. 

While increased traffic has been an overarching concern for Commission members and the public as the project has come along, multiple reports, including one from VDOT, have concluded that the development will have minimal impact on traffic, according to Pack. 

The plan is to have the 15 proposed multiplexes containing 10 units each, with units having up to three bedrooms and set in the mid to low $200,000s range. 

The developers, Waterford at Battery Park LLC, are seeking a rezoning to multi-family/residential, as well as an amendment to the town’s comprehensive plan for the 18-acre property located next to the Villas. 

Attorney Kelley Holland, representing the condominium Homeowners Association of The Villas at Smithfield said at the Nov. 12 public hearing that the association didn’t oppose the potential rezoning of the property to allow the condominium development to be built. 

Holland did, however, state that her clients had concerns about increased traffic near the proposed site and about use and maintenance of the stormwater maintenance facilities, including several BMP ponds, that would be shared with the new development. 

Waterford at Battery Park, LLC. stated that they plan to establish and record an updated stormwater management agreement with The Villas and neighboring businesses along Battery Park Road for the joint use and maintenance responsibility for the stormwater facilities and to pay their share of maintenance costs. 

Beverly Walkup, a planning consultant representing the developers, said at the public hearing that usually people tend to think that when a new residential development is placed in a locality, it comes with a lot of additional traffic, but added that commercial properties generate more traffic than residential. 

Walkup’s development narrative states that the development would generate 1,098 trips a day. Battery Park Road currently averages 10,000 vehicles a day, and South Church Street currently averages 13,000, according to VDOT. 

Walkup stated that — based on a student yield and subdivision analysis from Isle of Wight County Schools — the development would add another 58 students to the county, collectively to Hardy and Westside elementary schools and Smithfield Middle and High schools.  

Information from Isle of Wight County Schools states that the development in and of itself “should not have a significant impact on schools.” 

Walkup said that the development would act as a $40,000,000 investment to the town of Smithfield that would generate significant tax revenue, including real and personal property, business license and other fees. 

In addition to the 150 units, the project also would also place a clubhouse and pool at the site.  

“I would much rather see a residential community here, than a commercial community,” said Planning Commissioner Thomas Pope during the public hearing.