IW grants after-the-fact height exception for apartments

Published 3:29 pm Friday, March 4, 2022

Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on March 3 to allow an in-progress Carrollton apartment complex to exceed the maximum height allowed under its zoning.

Developers Jerry and Lucy Kooiman had received the board’s approval in December 2018 for urban residential zoning to permit construction of a three-story, 12-unit multifamily building on Sugar Hill Road. According to county officials, the Kooimans received approval for plans listing the building’s height at 34.5 feet, just under the 35-foot maximum allowed. But they’ve since built a 37.25-foot building, putting the roof 2.25 feet over the limit.

The Kooimans, however, contended in February that the county had signed off on subsequent, more detailed plans estimating the building’s height at 36.4 feet when issuing the project’s building permits.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The board is requiring, as a condition of its granting the requested height exception, that the Kooimans install privacy screens on the balconies of units facing adjacent single-family homes, plant a row of trees at the property line at least 12 feet tall at the time of their planting to create a landscape buffer, and install no windows on the east side of the apartment building.

The conditions are the result of privacy complaints a number of nearby residents made at a public hearing on the matter in February and during a March 2 meeting with county staff and the Kooimans.

Initially, the proposed landscaping condition had required only that the trees reach heights of at least 20 feet at maturity. District 2 Supervisor William McCarty, however, insisted on the 12-foot minimum height at planting, stating he would not approve the requested exception without that provision.

The dissenting votes came from District 4 Supervisor Joel Acree and District 5 Supervisor Don Rosie.

“I just feel like we need to support the conclusions of the Planning Commission,” Rosie said.

The Planning Commission had voted unanimously at its Jan. 25 meeting to recommend the Kooimans’ request for an exception be denied.