Shopping center next to DMV approved

Published 5:15 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Smithfield’s Planning Commission has approved illustrations of a shopping center a developer plans to build next to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles office under construction South Church Street.

Six months ago, the commissioners rejected developer Warren Sachs’ original drawings of the shopping center and DMV as too modern for the town’s entrance corridor overlay district, which mandates developers use brick or other historic-looking materials “appropriate to town character.”

The commissioners in late March approved a redesign of the DMV, which is presently under construction, and approved new drawings for the shopping center on Sept. 12.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The 4,800-square-foot DMV and the adjacent 7,200-square-foot shopping center are now both shown with brick exteriors and architectural accents – faux gables on the DMV and a parapet roof on the shopping center.

Brad Martin, a civil engineer working for Sachs, said the redesigned shopping center was one of nine concepts shared with the Planning Commission by email, and the one each of those who responded had indicated was most acceptable to them. The commissioners voted unanimously, with three members absent, to grant Sachs the requested entrance corridor overlay approval.

According to Martin, there are ongoing negotiations but no confirmed tenants yet for the shopping center. The building will be designed to house two to four tenants, with the original concept calling for a restaurant spanning the two center tenant spaces and retailers on each end.

Town Council approval of the illustration is unneeded, as entrance corridor overlay approvals are solely within the purview of the Planning Commission, according to Tammie Clary, the town’s director of community development and planning.

The DMV and shopping center will be located between Dollar General and True Value Hardware on South Church Street.