Reduce scope of development

Published 7:05 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2020

We commend Smithfield’s Planning Commission for sending a Virginia Beach developer back to the drawing board on a major housing development at Battery Park and Nike Park roads.

Virginia Beach-based Napolitano Homes had proposed to develop more than 1,100 single-family, duplex, fourplex and 10-plex homes in a community that would also include clubhouses, swimming pools, pedestrian paths, sidewalks and improvements to existing roads and infrastructure.

Opponents have rallied in force against the project, citing concerns about traffic congestion, school overcrowding and harm to the environment. We’re not ready to dismiss the project out of hand, but we agree with the Planning Commission that Napolitano should scale back its proposal.

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In addition to reducing the total number of homes, the commission wants the developer to reduce the number of multi-story 10-plexes in the project, as well as consider reducing the total number of homes it intends to build each year all while maintaining affordable housing options.

The commission’s consensus on changes also includes asking the builder to adjust the arrangement of home types within the development by replacing some townhomes with single-family dwellings “to ensure cohesion between the proposed development and the existing residential subdivision,” Wellington Estates, which is on the opposite side of Battery Park Road.

The commission also wants changes and more information on how the developers will handle road improvements. The road-related changes sought include “a written explanation to the Planning Commission detailing which traffic count and dwelling unit volumes trigger the assortment of intersection improvements” the developer presented at a Nov. 4 Planning Commission meeting.

Commission members also want to see dedication of sufficient right of way on the side of Nike Park Road the developer owns, which will avoid the need to acquire additional right of way on the opposite side of the road.

It’s a credit to Smithfield and our community’s quality of life that more people want to live here. As the economy rebounds from COVID-19 in the years ahead, more such proposals will be on the table. We believe that residential development can be managed in such a way to protect our quality of life while accommodating some growth.

The Planning Commission is on the right track with its recommendations for the Mallory Scott Farm project.