Camp Parkway development hearing set for Thursday

Published 10:40 am Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Southampton County Planning Commission is holding a public hearing on Thursday evening with regard to the change in zoning designation and subsequent development of the land adjacent to Riverdale Elementary School on Camp Parkway near the Franklin city limits. Typically held at the Southampton County Administration Building, the hearing has been moved to the Southampton High School Auditorium in anticipation of a larger-than-normal crowd.

This step of the rezoning process had been on hold while the Virginia Department of Transportation reviewed a traffic study submitted by property owner Ed Fiscella of Hampton Roads Development LLC.

“The planning commission needs to have complete information so as to make their recommendation, and that traffic information is an essential element,” said deputy director of community development Beth Lewis.

Hampton Roads Development submitted an application for a zoning map amendment that includes a concept plan, proffers and design guidelines to permit distribution and industrial uses in 13 buildings. The concept plan provides parking for the buildings, a rail yard along the northern boundary, stormwater management facilities, a trail and landscaped buffers along the Camp Parkway boundary and abutting Riverdale Elementary School.

“This is an opportunity to build the tax base for the county and take that tax burden off of the residents, while also providing new local jobs,” Fiscella said. “After the rezoning process occurs, our intention is to market the site to large tenants, at which point we would expect to offer several ‘build-to-suit’ building pads, which involves submitting additional site development plans for the building pads and the overall site improvements for further County approval through the site-plan approval process once tenants are secured. If, through our marketing of the site, we find that we need to make some initial building pad improvements in order to land tenants, then we would explore that option as well. But, it is not our intention to do a speculative development and let it sit vacant while waiting for a tenant.”

No business has stated its intentions to move to the property if it is modified from A-1 agricultural and R-1 residential to M-1 light industrial, according to county administrator Michael W. Johnson. But the county and the developer want to have the property shovel-ready and avoid going through the months-long rezoning process when a business may want to start building now.

Fiscella has acknowledged concerns raised by both the supervisors and citizens by placing proffers, or voluntary conditions, on the property. As outlined in the Oct. 31 issue of The Tidewater News, “Camp Parkway guidelines set,” these proffers includes, but are not limited to:

• Agricultural or farm implements, manufacture, sale, storage or repair;

• Building materials storage and sales, open or enclosed, but not manufacturing or steel fabricating or junk storage;

• Contractor’s equipment storage yard or plant or rental of equipment commonly used by contractors;

• Electrical appliances or electronic instruments and devices, medical and dental equipment, optical or drafting equipment, toys, novelties, games, stamps, musical instruments, watches and clocks manufacture or assembly;

• Fertilizer storage in bags or bulk storage of liquid or dry fertilizer in tanks or in a completely enclosed building, but not manufacture or processing;

• Greenhouses, commercial, wholesale or retail;

• Industrial vocational training school, including internal combustion engines and including heavy construction equipment, materials handling equipment or similar equipment;

• Retail and service establishments primarily for the use and convenience of employees in the district;

• Sawmill (including cooperage stock mill) stationery and planing mill; etc.

Fiscella in the rezoning application also voluntarily added 11 conditions in addition to the aforementioned zoning ordinances “for the protection of the community and enhancement of the development of the property.” While several of the businesses would have required conditional use permits regardless, this includes the prohibition of:

• Airports and landing fields, heliports and accessory uses;

• Circus or carnival grounds;

• Coal and wood yards;

• Dog kennels, commercial or noncommercial;

• Exposition center or fairgrounds;

• Firewood operation;

• Race track or course, any type, including horses, stock cars or drag strip;

• Rifle or pistol range;

• Sports arena or stadium, commercial athletic field or baseball park;

• Truck stop; and

• Intermodal container storage, except those containers parked on the property temporarily for loading and unloading in connection with other M-1 permitted uses.

“Even if the property were to change owners, the proffers and zoning approval would run with the land so no matter who owns it, they have to abide by the conditions and uses approved when the rezoning occurred,” Fiscella said.

Johnson said that the proffers are very thorough and that the county would not bear any financial costs or burdens as a result of the project, regardless of whether it would be for traffic improvements or offering incentives to attract businesses.

“First of all, Southampton County doesn’t work that roadway. It’s maintained by VDOT. The developer, when warranted, will [contact] VDOT like any other developer would,” he said. “It would ultimately depend [whether we’d offer incentives] if the right project came along, but I would say we wouldn’t even consider it unless it would bring [many] jobs.”

The Chapter 527 Traffic Impact Study, a copy of which is on file with the planning commission, shows that the owner is responsible for several roadway improvements during the phasing of construction. Hampton Roads Development shall:

• Construct two southbound lanes (a right turn only lane and a left/through lane) on Delaware Road extending the length of the Property’s frontage along Delaware Road;

• Extend the existing Camp Parkway eastbound left turn lane onto Delaware Road to 250 feet with a 200-foot taper;

• Extend the existing U.S. Route 58 eastbound left turn lane onto Camp Parkway to 375 foot with a 200-foot taper;

• Construct W1/E1 Access Road from the Property, including a 200-foot left turn lane with a 200-foot taper onto Delaware Road;

• Submit a formal request to Southampton County and VDOT to reduce the speed limit on Delaware Road to 45 miles per hour or less; and

• Construct signage for trucks exiting the Property from Delaware Road onto Camp Parkway prohibiting left turns onto Camp Parkway.

Prior to requesting a building permit for any building or structure on the Property after the total vehicle trips per day reach 3,882 for the property, Hampton Roads Development shall;

• Extend the Camp Parkway eastbound left turn lane onto Delaware Road to 350 feet with a 200-foot taper;

• On westbound Camp Parkway, construct a 200-foot right turn taper onto Delaware Road;

• Extend the Route 58 eastbound left turn lane onto Camp Parkway to 450 foot with a 200-foot taper;

• Extend the Route 58 westbound right turn ramp onto Camp Parkway by 200 feet.

• Request a signal warrant analysis to be completed by VDOT at the intersection of Camp Parkway and Route 58 and construct a traffic signal at this intersection if warranted;

• Request a signal warrant analysis by VDOT at the intersection of Camp Parkway and Delaware Road and construct a traffic signal at this intersection if warranted;

• Construct a 200 foot northbound right turn taper on the W1/E1 Access Road on the Property;

Upon written request by the Board of Supervisors, Hampton Roads Development shall procure an updated or new traffic study, and shall construct any additional traffic improvements recommended therein upon meeting triggers specified there, inlcuding:

• The replacement or updating of the Traffic Study shall be procured and obtained solely by Owner, at Owner’s expense, unless otherwise agreed;

• After development of the Property has commenced, upon written request by the Board of Supervisors, which may be by consent action, but no more frequently than once per year, Hampton Roads Development shall procure independent traffic counts at the Property determine the then current volume of vehicles trips per day reached in order to determine whether additional traffic improvement triggers have been met as contained in the traffic study and these proffers; and

• At any time, upon the mutual agreement of Hampton Roads Development and the board of supervisors, which may be by consent action, the traffic study and accompanying traffic improvements and triggers referenced herein, may be replaced or amended as recommended by an updated or new traffic study commissioned by Hampton Roads Development and approved by VDOT and the board of supervisors. The replacement or updating of the traffic study shall be procured and obtained solely by owner at the owner’s expense unless otherwise agreed upon.

Several local organizations, including Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc. and the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, have come out in support of the development.

“In this specific instance, Southampton County is able to add more available land to its roster for development without having to foot the bill,” FSEDI President and CEO Amanda Jarratt said.

“This site is also a win for the City of Franklin due to its location in a revenue-sharing area. Any future industrial park or business park, no matter the location, is a part of the bigger picture for Franklin and Southampton. It is a project that will help future generations. It has the potential to increase tax revenue and employment opportunities for our local community allowing us to maintain our quality of life.”

Chamber of commerce executive director Teresa Beale supports the project as long as the proper proffers are in place.

“We encourage controlled growth in the community and support economic development, and we’re all about providing jobs for those in the community,” she said.

The Southampton County Public School Board on Monday evening also took an official position on the development that would sit right next to one of the district’s four elementary schools.

“[It] will not impact the schools,” said school board chairman Dr. Deborah Goodwyn. “There might be some people living in the area who might have a reason to not want to rezone, but in terms of school safety, teaching and learning, the proposed plan would have no negative impact on the function of the school. Actually, the rezoning would actually be beneficial for the school district because that area that is being rezoned [gives] the county 70 percent of the revenue that would be generated there. In terms of the schools and the county, it would be a plus. There is nothing to indicate that rezoning that area would have a negative impact on education at Riverdale.”

Southampton Superintendent Dr. Alvera J. Parrish added, “When we met with the developer concerning that property next to Riverdale, one of the things that was most impressive to me was how they, when they come in, are going to take all of the precautions to ensure that they are not going to impact the learning environment. The developer has shared that he will work with the school system in any way he could to assist us and support us in whatever we need to make it comparable for the school environment.”