Rezoning for age-restricted Harbour View development approved
Previous plans for more than 40 acres of property off of Harbour View Boulevard had included an outlet mall and large mixed-use communities.
None, according to Melissa Venable of Land Planning Solutions, were the right fit for property owner Scott Overton of Suffolk Towers LLC or surrounding land owners.
However, Overton believes an age-restricted development is the right fit, and City Council will give him the opportunity to build it after unanimously granting his rezoning request of more than 34 acres of the 41.3 acre property.
“Today, I proudly represent an application that has been a collaboration between all parties,” Venable said during a July 15 public hearing during council’s meeting. “It considers the level of service, most importantly the end user, the current and future market and the adjacent communities.”
The property to be rezoned will change from office-institutional zoning to residential-urban-12 zoning, according to the staff report on the request. About 11.7 of the 34.4 acres to be rezoned will remain conservation wetlands, while the remaining 6.9 acres that fronts Harbour View Boulevard will stay zoned office-institutional.
The property, a part of Bridgeway Commerce Park, is currently forested land.
The rezoning of the property would allow for a 237-unit age restricted community consisting of 71 townhomes, 30 four-plex units and a 136-unit, four-story multi-family building. The planned community would be near the Bickford of Suffolk assisted living and memory care facility.
With the community being age-restricted for those age 55 and up, the staff report notes that it would not impact schools. A traffic impact analysis indicated 384 morning peak trips and 362 afternoon peak trips resulting from the development.
The applicant would build a shared left-through lane and an exclusive right-turn lane along Harbour View Boulevard and the site entrance, according to the traffic analysis, and a northbound right-turn lane, along with a pedestrian area for a future transit stop.
The community would also have what the applicant said would be “an interconnected, walkable network of streets and small blocks in a grid-like pattern. that feed out to the main. connection with Harbour View Boulevard.”
Venable said Overton has successfully developed several age-restricted communities across Hampton Roads over the last 15 years.
“This is important because one of the things that has come up is, ‘Well, what if? What if we move down the road and this isn’t successful, and we want to come back to City Council and ask for the age restriction to be lifted,” Venable said. “That has not happened with this developer. There are several retreat projects you can find within Hampton Roads that have been very successful.”
She said a market study showed a demand for an active adult community along Harbour View Boulevard.
Besides proffering the age restrictions — age 55 and up for the townhome and four-plex units, and age 62 and older for the multi-family building — and the overall number of units to be built, the applicant also proffered the type of building facades that would be used.
The Planning Department had recommended approval of the rezoning, saying it met the intent of the provisions of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and the unified development ordinance. At that same time, it said the proposed development would offer a variety of age-restricted housing at different densities while keeping traffic volumes down.
Overton called it a “well-placed addition to the Harbour View corridor,” and Mayor Linda T. Johnson called the project “a win-win for Harbour View” and the people that will live there.
Councilman Roger Fawcett said he believes the project “would be a wonderful fit,” and though he termed the 237 units as aggressive, “I think the age-restrictive (development) brings a lot to that end of Suffolk where we can go ahead and benefit from that.”