Town revisits development plans

Published 5:59 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Smithfield’s Planning Commission will revisit plans to build 1,100 new homes at a meeting next month.

The commission has set a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Smithfield Center to give the seven-member group more time to “review and discuss” amendments to zoning maps, the comprehensive plan, ordinances and waivers for the Mallory Scott Farm project, according to an Oct. 21 announcement from Smithfield community development and planning director John Settle.

As proposed, the residential development would be located near the intersection of Nike Park Road and Battery Park Road. It would include single-family, duplex, four-plex and 10-plex homes. Its amenities and infrastructure would include clubhouses, swimming pools, pedestrian paths, sidewalks and improvements to existing roads.

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All of the homes in the development would be for sale; the community would be overseen by an owners’ association. Virginia Beach-based Napolitano Homes wants to build the new community in which detached, single-family homes would cost about $300,000.

The commission delayed a decision on the project until it could convene a follow-up meeting to discuss the issue in more detail following an Oct. 13 public hearing where many who attended opposed the development.

Most who spoke at the public hearing expressed concern over the development’s size, saying that adding so many homes would adversely affect Smithfield’s small-town character and strain roads, schools and public safety services. Around 2005, local officials had approved a much smaller development in the same area that would have added about 250 homes, but the 2008 recession brought the project to a halt.

John Napolitano, senior vice president of Napolitano Homes, acknowledged the project is large. But speaking at the public hearing, he said he expects the development to grow to its ultimate size over 10 to 15 years.

Ahead of the next public discussion on the matter, residents are organizing against the project. On, more than 700 people had signed an online petition, “Citizens of Isle of Wight against Mallory Scott Farm rezoning” by midday on Oct. 26. Some who signed did so anonymously, providing only their zip code to indicate their place of residence. Others expressed concern about how this project, and other proposed developments, would negatively change Smithfield’s small-town character.

“Our schools and current road situation would not handle rapid growth in such a short period of time,” wrote one person who identified themselves on as Lucy Thomas. “Monetary gain should not be the primary reason behind the growth of a small town, long term outcomes should also be considered amongst several other factors.”

The planning commission has until Dec. 17 to make a decision on the Mallory Scott Farm project. Otherwise, in accordance with town ordinances Settle said, the matter will automatically be presented to town council with a recommendation for approval.