Letter – More Grange info needed

Published 4:10 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

There was an excellent article (“Disclose proposed Grange subsidies”) in the Our Forum section of last week’s edition of this paper. It addressed the fact that Mr. Joseph Luter IV has requested approval of his zoning change without having submitted most of the really important information needed by the Smithfield Planning Commission and the Town Council.  

Missing from the developer’s submittal/rezoning application is all of the information regarding how much money we taxpayers will have to shell out to help Mr. Luter build his project. Folks, there is no reasonable excuse for that. Architects, engineers, consultants and staff have been working on that development for at least the past 18 months. 

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Mr. Luter, way back in December 2021, sold the 2021-22 Town Council and county supervisors  with the pitch that his project would provide a great increase in tax revenue for both the town and county. But the numbers did not include any deduction for tax subsidy to pay for infrastructure cost, nor any further reduction for his planned economic incentive, nor for the $2.8 tax contribution the town and county made about a year ago to a new farmers market building.  They still don’t.

Why is that?  Would revealing the cost now, before the public hearing, sour the decision-making process?     

Development infrastructure includes streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, domestic water supply, fire main, hydrants, sanitary sewer system, storm sewer and so forth, plus traffic control improvements, which are all very expensive and which are furnished and installed by the developer as a part of real estate development. Mallory Point’s infrastructure is not being subsidized with public tax money. 

Also missing are required proffers to pay the cost of highway and off-site street improvement, as well as to pay the downstream impacts this development causes on our already stressed-out public facilities. Yet the Planning Commission is being pushed into a hasty decision. How can they decide if they don’t know what their decision includes? Is this the proverbial pig-in-a-poke?   Folks, the next Town Council meeting is Monday, May 8. The next day the Planning Commission begins the “public hearing.” Come out and have a say in the decision-making process. Please.


Chris Torre