Decision upcoming on Camp Parkway project

Published 11:23 am Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Southampton County Planning Commission will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting this Thursday, May 12, at which time it is expected that the board will vote on the possible rezoning of a parcel of land on Camp Parkway adjacent to Riverdale Elementary School.

The property is 438.71 acres on the north side of Camp Parkway, which extends from behind Riverdale to the Franklin City limits and to the railroad tracks on both sides of Delaware Road. It is currently zoned A-2 (agriculture) and R-1 (residential), but Hampton Roads Development LLC is seeking for the property to be rezoned to CM-1 (Conditional Limited Industrial) with proffers.

More than 100 people attended a public hearing last month, where they listened to presentations made by deputy director of community development Beth Lewis and Hampton Roads Development’s attorney, Will Holt. Twenty-seven residents used the opportunity to voice their opinion on the project at that time, 12 of which expressed that they are in favor of the development because it gives the county an opportunity to grow.

This included Franklin-Southampton Chamber of Commerce President Jim Strozier, Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc. Present and CEO Amanda Jarratt and Southampton County School Board Chairman Dr. Deborah Goodwyn.

“Our community is at a crossroads,” Jarratt said. “We can either choose to grow the tax base with new investments and try to provide opportunities for our residents, or, we can choose not to.”

Those residents seemingly against the project cite increases in tractor-trailer traffic or the thoroughness of the proffers presented by Hampton Roads Development.

Both explained that the project included a concept plan, proffers and design guidelines to permit distribution and industrial uses in 13 buildings. They said that 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.

Most notably, Lewis said that the proffers the applicant offered would be installed and paid for by the applicant.

Ann Gayle, owner of River Birch Farm Equestrian Center, said the noise from the former will put her out of business.

Kathleen Brown, who lives across the street from Riverdale Elementary was concerned with the latter.

“It almost sounds too good to be true that the county will have to pay nothing,” she said.

After nearly five hours of public discussion, the planning commission ultimately decided to table the vote until its May meeting.

Staff writer Rebecca Chappell contributed to this report.