Supervisors nix parts of Villages plan

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2008

COURTLAND—After discussing the matter for about an hour on Monday, Southampton County supervisors voted 4-2 against the commercial and multi-family components of a development slated for land along Camp Parkway near Franklin.

The vote capped months of hearings and confusion amongst members of the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission regarding the controversial Villages of Southampton development.

During a May meeting, the board was unable to agree to anything except to postpone a decision for six months, and supervisors found themselves in a legal predicament when they learned last week that state law required them to act on the matter within 90 days of the Planning Commission’s original recommendation.

That deadline would have expired July 10, so the board scheduled a special meeting to make the decision Monday.

In the end, there was no confusion about supervisors’ position on the matter.

Southampton is just not ready for the type of mixed-use development the company sought to bring the county, said supervisors opposed to the request for a comprehensive plan change.

“Let us get the sewer plant going; let us get some other things going, and then come back” and submit the request again, Chairman Dallas O. Jones said.

Jones wondered why Newport News-based Hampton Roads Development had such a strong commitment to the plan in the midst of such a weak housing market.

“I think you’ve got a beautiful plan,” he said. “But I don’t think you are going to do a thing for 10 years.”

The company had sought to change Southampton’s future land use map to reflect its desire to build 256 quad-plexes for senior citizens on a portion of the 432-acre property, along with a convalescent home and commercial, retail and office space.

The applicant, Newport News-based Hampton Roads Development, already has the legal right to build about 475 single-family homes on the 432-acre site.

Newsoms District Supervisor Walt Brown and Boykins District Supervisor Carl Faison both voted to approve the developer’s request. Voting to deny the request were Jones, Jerusalem District Supervisor Anita Felts, Berlin-Ivor District Supervisor Ronald West and Franklin District Supervisor Walter Young. Capron District Supervisor Moses Wyche was absent from the meeting for a medical procedure.