Grange back on Planning Commission’s agenda; June 13 vote possible

Published 4:07 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The proposed Grange at 10Main development will be back on the Smithfield Planning Commission’s agenda June 13, but whether there will be a vote on the matter is unknown, according to Planning and Community Development Director Tammie Clary.

Joseph Luter IV is seeking what would be the town’s first use of a new planned mixed-use development, or “PMUD,” zoning on behalf of his father, former Smithfield Foods Chairman Joseph Luter III.

Luter III purchased and razed the former Little’s Supermarket and 1730s-era Pierceville farmhouse in 2020 in hopes of turning the nearly 57 acres at Route 10 and Main Street into a 304-home development that would include a permanent location for the town’s farmers market, a hotel, three- and four-story apartment buildings, single-family and duplex homes and commercial space.

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The Planning Commission began discussing Luter IV’s application in April and continued its deliberations by meeting twice in May.

The commissioners held a required public hearing on the matter on May 9 and have until July 20 to make a formal recommendation to Smithfield’s Town Council. If no vote is taken by that date, the application will go to the council for a final decision with an automatic recommendation for approval.

At past meetings, the commissioners have debated the development’s impact on downtown Smithfield’s traffic, focusing on the development’s proposed Main Street and Grace Street access points, as well as a requested waiver of the town’s 35-foot maximum building height for the hotel and apartment buildings. Commissioner Thomas Pope has also prodded Luter IV for details on a proposed cost-sharing agreement with the town and county on the project’s infrastructure.

Luter IV, in April, said he plans to seek “reimbursement” for costs associated with “public” components of the Grange, but he told The Smithfield Times by email in May that he intends to keep the estimated dollar amount confidential until after the commission votes on the requested rezoning.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in The Smithfield Center, and be livestreamed to the town’s Facebook page.