New shopping center potentially coming to Windsor

Published 10:03 am Friday, December 15, 2017

A new shopping center and four potential tenant businesses may be coming to fill a vacant lot on Route 460 across the street from the Food Lion in Windsor.

James and Susan Eilberg of Norfolk, the owners of the land, appeared before the town’s Planning Commission on Wednesday to make their case for rezoning the parcel from A1 agriculture to B1 commercial.

A schematic drawing of a proposed shopping center on Windsor Boulevard in the town. — SUBMITTED

Though no one spoke against the request during a public hearing on the matter, the commission voted to table the matter until its January meeting, acting upon the recommendation of the town’s new planning and zoning administrator, Gary Mitchell.

Mitchell highlighted concerns expressed by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Franklin Residency office and other government agencies as his reasons for recommending the delay. According to the report he provided to the commission, VDOT identified significant impacts to traffic in the application during its review on Nov. 9, necessitating that the applicant fund and complete a traffic impact analysis (TIA.)

“It costs several thousand dollars to do, we wanted to get in front of y’all to see if you would support rezoning of the property [before funding the study.]” explained Logan Hixon, a real estate manager with Hutton, the company hoping to purchase the land from the Eilbergs and build the shopping center, as to why it had yet to complete the study.

Isle of Wight County’s department of planning and zoning also requested to be provided with a copy of the TIA once complete, and the City of Norfolk’s department of utilities also expressed concerns regarding the site’s proximity to a city-owned drinking water line from Lake Gaston that crosses the property.

On Dec. 4, David Rosenthal, a reservoir manager with the City of Norfolk, wrote a memorandum to Mitchell claiming that no storm water plan had been provided to the city and also inquiring as to whether Isle of Wight County had reviewed the site for compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. He was also concerned about the potential for water contamination from two of the shopping center’s prospective tenants, one of which is a fast food establishment and the other, a gas station and convenience store with underground gasoline storage tanks.

To address the city’s water quality concerns, the applicant will need to obtain Virginia Department of Environmental Quality permits. The site plan does not, however, include any septic tanks, as all tenants will have access to the county-administered sewer system in town.

In addition to the gas station and fast food establishment, Hixon said that the two other potential tenants would be a retailer and a coffee shop. All four tenants would be national chains, he added, though he could not disclose their names as the company is still in negotiation with each.

When it came time for the commission members to give their opinions on the rezoning application, N. Macon Edwards III said that he felt the area would be a good place for commercial zoning. George Stubbs requested that in January, the applicant present a more updated site plan showing the proposed dedicated turn lanes, and Glyn Willis said that the proposal for the land is in keeping with the town’s comprehensive plan.

In other business, the commission voted unanimously to approve its revised bylaws for 2017, which codify that a Commission member who is absent for three consecutive meetings or four per year may be removed, and that citizens’ time or public hearing speakers are limited to three minutes or five for a group, with more available at the chair’s discretion.

They also authorized the town staff to advertise a public hearing on the proposed “Old Town Windsor” mixed-use district for the commission’s January meeting. The mixed use zoning would allow residents in some of the historic homes on Church Street to open first-floor small businesses.

Mitchell also informed the commission that, per their discussion on nuisance ordinances in October, he was drafting a new, single ordinance, which would address all types of nuisances using language directly from the Code of Virginia, to be discussed and voted on at a later date. He said he is also working on drafting economic development tax incentives for various types of businesses seeking to open in Windsor.

The next Planning Commission meeting will be on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.