Smithfield votes to annex 216-acre Turner Drive tract

Published 4:48 pm Friday, March 8, 2024

Smithfield’s Town Council voted on March 5 to annex 216 acres across Turner Drive from Smithfield High School.

Isle of Wight County supervisors approved the uncontested boundary change on Feb. 15. Both boards passed it unanimously.

Currently, the town-county boundary along Great Spring Road cuts southeast across a manmade lake at Benns Church Boulevard and Turner Drive. The adjustment, which takes effect June 30, will move the entirety of the lake within the town’s limits and extend the Turner Drive boundary just over a quarter-mile down the road.

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The town’s new southern boundary will largely follow a narrow stretch of Cypress Creek.

The 216 acres and an adjacent 133-acre parcel already in the town limits behind Tractor Supply together form the partially reclaimed Bay Sand mining operation or “borrow pit.” The 216 acres are deeded to the Mollie Turner Trust, while the 133 acres are deeded to L&L Land Development LLC, the holding company for a mixed-use development, “The Promontory,” that proposes to add 262 homes and five commercial parcels along Benns Church Boulevard. Henry Layden, who’s owned the sand mine since 1991, told The Smithfield Times in 2023 that Charlottesville-based Greenwood Homes had approached him roughly 2½ years ago about selling the 133 acres. County Attorney Bobby Jones, in February, said he’d personally spoken to representatives of the Mollie Turner Trust who are unopposed to the annexation and want their land to become part of the proposed Promontory.

According to County Administrator Randy Keaton, very little of the 216 acres adjacent to the proposed Promontory site are buildable. Most are either wetlands or water. 

In Virginia, town residents are still deemed residents of the county in which the town is located, and pay taxes to both governing bodies.

The last time Smithfield and Isle of Wight jointly agreed to an annexation was in 2018, three years ahead of the town’s 2021 rezoning of the 812-home Mallory Pointe development off Battery Park Road. At that time, the town and county jointly agreed the town would take in the 212-acre former Scott Farm to place the entire 500-acre development within the town’s limits.  Under a water agreement with the county Smithfield renegotiated in November, the county would have the right to sell water directly to residents and businesses that move into the proposed Promontory and any development that occurs on the adjacent 216 acres.

Greenwood Homes submitted a rezoning application for The Promontory to the town’s planning and zoning staff in August. It has not reached Smithfield’s Planning Commission or Town Council. Under the boundary adjustment, any development that occurs on the adjacent 216 acres would also be reviewed by the town rather than the county.  A term of the 216-acre annexation agreement prohibits the town from attempting to annex any additional land over the next decade.