Developer sues Isle of Wight County

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ISLE OF WIGHT—The developers of a Carrollton apartment complex are suing Isle of Wight County, alleging the Board of Supervisors overstepped its authority when it approved an economic development incentive policy last month.

The developers of the second phase of the Eagle Harbor Apartments filed the suit Aug. 13 in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court. The suit asks that the court declare the county’s recently approved economic development incentive policy void.

The suit alleges the board “has acknowledged that the Economic Incentive Policy was specifically created for the Benn’s Grant project and three other private development projects that have stalled (St. Luke’s Village, Bridgeport Commons and The Crossings).”

County officials said the policy would help jumpstart development of mixed-use projects by offering incentives like review fee waivers and proffer flexibility.

“This case involves the Board’s illegal attempt to subsidize private development by manipulating cash proffers and utility connection fees in violation of state law,” according to the suit.

Brett Spain, the Norfolk attorney representing Eagle Harbor Apartments, directed all questions to Kent Little, chief executive of The Breeden Co., which manages the apartments. Little could not be reached.

County Attorney A. Paul Burton declined to comment on the suit Friday.

The 144-unit second phase of the Eagle Harbor Apartment complex on Carrollton Boulevard was approved last year.

During its Thursday night meeting, the board of supervisors tabled a vote on an application from the developers of the complex to reduce their proffer responsibility by $1 million until the litigation is settled.

“They bought suit and I don’t think we should be talking about it until after the case is settled,” said Windsor District Supervisor Thomas Wright.