June 8 Planning vote on development ‘likely’

Published 12:36 pm Monday, June 7, 2021

The proposed 812-home Mallory Scott development is back on the agenda for Smithfield’s Planning Commission meeting Tuesday.

A final recommendation by the commission to Smithfield’s Town Council is “likely” to occur that evening, according to Commissioner Randy Pack, who serves as the Council’s liaison to the advisory body.

A draft of the meeting’s agenda had initially claimed that the commission could not produce a recommendation on the project until after July 10. Town Attorney William Riddick III had informed the commissioners at their May 11 meeting that there was a provision in the Town Code that stated if the Planning Commission does not act within 100 days on an application, that application is automatically approved and referred to Town Council. The project’s developer, Napolitano Homes, had reached an agreement with the town last fall to stay that provision of the code for 60 days while the developer worked to reduce the scope of the project from the originally proposed 1,106 homes to 812. But that agreement does not preclude the commission from voting on the revised 812-home proposal before July 10, Riddick had said.

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“I believe we owe it to the people and the developer to come to a decision,” Pack said. “We’ve talked through this thing pretty well already.”

According to Tammie Clary, the town’s interim community development and planning director, representatives of the project’s developer, Napolitano Homes, will give an update on the Bradley property issue, which Commissioner Dr. Thomas Pope called a “deal breaker” at the commission’s May 11 meeting were it to remain unresolved.

The Bradley family owns two parcels of land along Battery Park Road bisected by an easement to allow access to the Mallory farmland. As such, they could find their property divided by an access road to the proposed development, though John Napolitano, senior vice president of Napolitano Homes, told the commissioners that the redesigned entrance to the development across from Wellington Estates should eliminate the need for an additional entrance through the Bradley property.

“The applicant must demonstrate to the Planning Commission that a definitive resolution has been reached on the matter … This resolution must be satisfactory to the current property owners and the Town,” Clary said.

Napolitano Homes will also brief the commissioners on its updated proffers statement, which must include the proposed public improvements noted in the developer’s public utilities and traffic impact analyses.

At the May 11 meeting, the commission held a public hearing on the revised proposal, which drew more than 20 speakers — all in opposition. Many took issue with the development’s potential impact on traffic along Battery Park and Nike Park roads and the number of students it would add to the county’s school system. The buildout is to be gradual, with no more than 100 homes allowed to be occupied by 2022 and no more than 125 per year in subsequent years, per the developer’s agreed-upon proffers.