Supervisors schedule Camp Parkway public hearing

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 5, at the Southampton High School auditorium — pending school board approval of the facility’s use. At that time, the supervisors will solicit comments 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 the planning commission’s public hearing last month. On May 12, the commissioners voted 8-1 to recommend that the board of supervisors deny the request, citing location — not the project itself — as for why they’d like the supervisors to follow suit.

“I’ve added up the positives and negatives, and, unfortunately, I’ve come up with a lot more negatives and a lot more questions than I have positives,” commissioner Dr. Alan Edwards said. “I’ve been on the board here since 1987, and the one thing I don’t believe in is destroying a community unless it’s absolutely necessary and is going to save the rest of the county. I don’t see that in this. I feel that this would destroy that community. These people came here and built here with the knowledge that this was residential.

“Of course,” he continued, “from being on the board of supervisors, I would like the income, too. But I’m not even sure what’s going in here. There’s so many different things [that have been thrown around], but I don’t see anything solid here. Certainly, the county does need economic development, but it is my humble opinion that this is economic development in the wrong place.”

The only commissioner who voted to recommend the approval of the rezoning application was Robert White, though he mentioned that he only did so because the other eight commissioners voted against it.

“We’ve got a problem. We’re in dire straits,” he said. “If we don’t bring commerce and industry to Southampton County, we’re going to have the largest tax increases in the history of the county within the next few years. Land use will probably go away for the farmers, so anybody with agriculture or woodland, your taxes are going to go up five times. If we run away economic development in Southampton County, we’re going to be facing all these problems.”

If the school board does not approve the use of the auditorium, the hearing will be held at the Southampton County Administration Building.