Supervisors OK landscaping exception for Heritage Apartments

Published 3:28 pm Monday, November 7, 2022

Isle of Wight County supervisors voted 4-1 on Oct. 20 to approve a request by developers in Carrollton to plant 10-foot trees instead of 12-foot ones at Heritage Apartments.

Jerry and Lucy Kooiman got Isle of Wight County’s approval in 2018 for urban residential zoning to permit their building of the three-story, 12-unit multifamily building on Sugar Hill Road. Though they’d submitted plans calling for a 34.5-foot-tall building, putting them just under the 35-foot maximum allowed under the county’s zoning, county officials ordered work to stop in January when they discovered the building was in fact 37.25 feet tall.

The landscape buffer of 12-foot trees had been a condition of the supervisors’ after-the-fact approval in March for the building to exceed the height limit. But the Kooimans say they can’t find enough 12-foot trees, and instead are proposing to plant 34 10-foot Thuja “Green Giant” trees instead.

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According to the Kooimans, the tree species they’ve chosen can grow up to 40 feet, nearly double the minimum 25-foot-at-maturity requirement the county had imposed in March.

“I think they’ve gone out and done the best they can do,” said Chairman Rudolph Jefferson.

“If we say ‘no’ now, there’s an entire season that goes by and those folks … have zero screening to look forward to,” added Supervisor William McCarty, referring to the site’s neighbors in the Carrollton Meadows housing development should the Kooimans miss the fall planting season.

Supervisor Dick Grice cast the dissenting vote, stating most of his constituents were opposed, though the project is located within Supervisor Joel Acree’s district.

Steve Turner, president of the Carrollton Meadows Homeowners Association, had spoken on behalf of the 78 homes in the association during the meeting’s public comment period to ask the supervisors to deny the Kooimans’ request. Albert Burckard, however, spoke on behalf of the Carrollton Civic League in support of the request.