Decision delayed on Mallory Scott Farm project

Published 6:15 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Smithfield’s Planning Commission is delaying a decision on the Mallory Scott Farm project.

At the group’s Nov. 4 meeting, commission members asked the developer, Virginia Beach-based Napolitano Homes, for several substantial changes. The most significant is reducing the number of homes from the currently proposed 1,106 they plan to build on land near the intersection of Nike Park Road and Battery Park Road.

In response to feedback from the commission and the public, the developer has submitted a waiver to the planning commission asking for additional time to revise the plans. “The developer submitting the waiver request is sufficient to formally delay a decision,” commission chairman and town council member Randy Pack said.

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In accordance with town ordinances, the commission would have had 100 days to make a decision or the issue would have been automatically presented to town council with a recommendation for approval. That deadline expired Dec. 8.

“Planning Commission action is not needed on the waiver, as both parties’ (the town and the applicant) legal counsel concur that the applicant’s request for additional time for Planning Commission review and decision serves to harm no other party than that of the applicant,” John Settle, the town’s community development and planning director, said.

In the signed and notarized waiver, which is included in the commission’s Dec. 8 meeting agenda package, Vincent Napolitano, president of Napolitano Homes, formally asks the commission to delay action on the application beyond the 100-day deadline. The developer also agrees to waive any recourse they might have for not receiving a decision within the specified timeframe.

Settle confirmed that “the waiver does not specify a specific amount of time that the applicant has to resubmit their application — it is assumed that it is in the applicant’s best interest to resubmit sooner rather than later.”

A public hearing on the proposed residential community was held Oct. 13. Settle said another public hearing is not required. Many who spoke publicly before the planning commission at recent public meetings have opposed the development based on its size and its potential negative impact on the town’s quality of life.

The waiver further asks the commission not to approve or deny the pending application until a new one is submitted and requests that the commission allow 60 days to review the updated plan before issuing a decision. If this timeline is followed, that would mean no decision is expected before February.

“At this time, we really do not have any updates to give,” John Napolitano, the senior vice president of Napolitano Homes, said in an email. “Obviously, we have heard the commissioners and the public and are working to adjust our plan the best we can.”

Napolitano Homes seeks to build single-family, duplex, fourplex and 10-plex homes on the property. The community would include clubhouses, swimming pools, pedestrian paths, sidewalks and improvements to existing roads and infrastructure.

Price ranges would start at $160,000 for a home in a 10-plex unit. A townhome would be $225,000, a duplex would be $260,000 and single-family homes would start at $300,000. Approximately 105 acres of open space would remain.

In addition to reducing the overall number of homes, the commission also 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 they intend to build each year, all while maintaining affordable housing options.

The commission also wants the developer to adjust the arrangement of home types on site by replacing some townhomes with single-family homes to facilitate better cohesion between the new community and an existing subdivision across Battery Park Road. Finally, the commission also wants a plan in writing detailing how the developer will handle road improvements.