• 66°

October hearing set for new development

Smithfield’s Town Planning Commission has set a public hearing for next month to receive input on the Mallory Scott Farm project, a major proposed residential development. The hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Smithfield Center.

Located at the intersection of Nike Park Road and Battery Park Road, the development could have 1,106 residential units of various types. The prices of the homes would start at $200,000 for a unit in a 10-plex building. Townhomes would be around $225,000 and duplexes would start at $260,000. Four-plex units would be $290,000 each, and single-family homes would be $300,000.

However, even in a strong economic market, John Napolitano, senior vice president of Virginia Beach-based Napolitano Homes, said the company would likely deliver 150 units per year. He acknowledged that “1,100 units is a lot of units, no question. But this is a 10- to 15-year build out.”

Access to the development would be via six entrances on Battery Park Road — three of which currently exist — and one entrance on Nike Park Road. Most of the property fronts Moone Creek and Town Farm Creek, according to planning documents.

In order to move forward, the project will technically require five public hearings, John Settle, the town’s community development and planning director, explained in an email.

Settle said the hearings will be on “the comprehensive plan amendment to alter the future land use map, the conditional official zoning map amendment (rezoning), the Special Use Permit (SUP) for the waiver of parking and loading requirements, the SUP allowing for suburban residential cluster development, and the zoning ordinance text amendment to Smithfield Zoning Ordinance (SZO) Section 3.F.G.3.”

Smithfield and Isle of Wight are growth areas, and “we purchased this (land) looking to the future,” Napolitano said. “Obviously the recession hit in ‘08 and put everything on the back burner. But we feel Smithfield is a great area, a wonderful place to live.”

Members of the planning commission brought up several concerns during a Sept. 8 meeting. The commission’s concerns included parking and regulating traffic flow within the community, along with bringing the price of some of the homes below $200,000.

“I thought their comments and questions were right on and appropriate, and we’ll be able to address all of them,” Napolitano said. “We’re going to address all of them, but we don’t have the answers to them all yet.”

Napolitano said he understands the importance of keeping the new community affordable and appealing to as many people as possible. “We’re looking to design a community with multiple price points in it so that folks who work in Smithfield can live in Smithfield. … It gives people the opportunity to live in a safe, well managed community where their kids can go out and ride their bikes on the streets and things like that.”

Infrastructure and amenities in the community would include onsite parking, pedestrian paths, sidewalks, two clubhouses, two swimming pools, stormwater retention, landscaping, public water and sewer and existing roadway improvements. All of the proposed residential units would be for sale. The development will not be age-restricted, and it will be privately regulated and maintained by an owners’ association.

The development will be 100% residential at this point. “We actually did a market study when we got started to design this and retail was really not feasible for that side of town,” Napolitano.

According to planning documents, the proposed development “will achieve a unique sense of community and place and serves to promote the economic sustainability of adjacent and surrounding businesses within the town.” The project is also expected to add more than $300 million to the town and county’s tax base.

Looking ahead, Napolitano said the company operates from a position of communication with stakeholders. They’ve been talking with residents of existing communities near the new neighborhood as well as planning officials, town staff and local elected leaders.

“We’re trying to reach out to everyone along Battery Park Road,” he said. “They may not agree with us — we get that, we understand that. But we want to show them what we’re doing, what’s happening, be able to answer their questions and if there’s true concerns about something, have the opportunity to address them.”