It’s time to fight overdevelopment
Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
It’s back! In 2015 the controversial ISLE 2040 Plan was rejected by a previous Board of Supervisors due to strong public outcry. It called for extensive, rapid, urban development at the north end of the county.
Two of our present supervisors campaigned against the plan and were duly elected. Now they act as if 2040 were a good idea. The present BOS has approved all but one development brought to them. They have orchestrated the rewriting of the IOW 2019 Comprehensive Plan to backdoor most of the 2040 plan.
One Supervisor said we must build because thousands of new residents are coming. The truth is if we don’t build it they can’t come. Will they pitch tents in the cotton fields if we don’t build? We are not required to change the character of the county to suit developers or would-be residents.
Development of the Scott farm, then located outside Smithfield, was originally part of the rejected 2040 plan. In order to assure this development and make negotiations easier for the developer, the BOS, in 2019, let Smithfield annex the land.
The Mallory Scott Farm project now proposed for Smithfield contains over 1,100 housing units. If approved, this will set a precedent for other mega-developments in the county. The BOS would be thrilled. Would you?
The most recent example of the board’s anti-county partnership with developers occurred last week. East West Partners of Virginia Inc. requested a complete redesign of structures, entrance and exit roads for the Channel Farm project and recreation areas, including locating a pool and clubhouse adjacent to a church. These changes are not mere “procedural” changes as stated by one supervisor. But the BOS approved the changes without the public hearings required by the Code of Virginia.
Now is the time for county and town to join in public outcry. Let’s fight against the overdevelopment that affects us all, eroding our way of life and cultural heritage just to inflate the profit margins of outside developers.
Editor’s note: The Board of Supervisors last week approved changes to the proffered conditions and master plan for the referenced development. The 340-unit maximum to which the developer previously agreed remains unchanged, county officials said, adding that no public hearing was required as a result.