IW seeks input for Rushmere ‘village plan’

Published 7:12 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Isle of Wight County will begin mailing surveys to Rushmere residents this month in hopes of creating a “village plan” by the end of the year.

The plan is intended to guide future development in the unincorporated community of roughly 1,100 people.

The county’s “Envisioning the Isle” 2020 Comprehensive Plan shows the possible creation of a Rushmere development service district (DSD) with new commercial and residential developments on vacant lands along Route 10 and Fort Huger Drive. Currently, Isle of Wight has three DSDs, which serve as geographic areas where the county hopes to attract developers with available or planned water and sewer infrastructure and road improvements.

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Now, with the imminent completion of the Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s $42 million sewer line, which spans Route 10 from Smithfield to Surry, developers looking to take advantage of the new infrastructure may soon follow.

“During the community meetings that were held relative to the Comprehensive Plan update, the Rushmere community requested that we consider developing a village plan because of the potential for future growth,” said Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson.

The survey asks residents to weigh in on their transportation, recreation, housing and economic development preferences by June.

There is already planned recreational development on the horizon for Rushmere. In 2008, the county created plans for a 50-acre park named for the late Henry H. Bradby, who was the first African American to be elected to Isle of Wight’s Board of Supervisors. Bradby Park was to begin construction in 2014 and be complete by 2024, but to date it hasn’t broken ground. The county is currently updating the 2008 plan based on feedback from residents, Robertson said, and intends to begin construction once that’s complete.

The county had planned to send the village plan surveys out last summer, but a resurgence of COVID-19 fueled by the highly contagious delta variant delayed those plans “in large part because of the impacts of COVID on having in-person meetings,” Robertson said.

Isle of Wight hosted a community meeting on Feb. 24 at First Gravel Hill Baptist Church, where attendees received advance copies of the survey. The county plans to write a draft village plan by October based on the public input it receives and have the plan go before Isle of Wight’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors by November or December.