A proposal to build a housing development near the boundary to Virginia Beach’s rural southern half received approval Wednesday from the city’s planning commission.
The proposed subdivision, called Princess Anne Meadows, would rise from undeveloped land just north of the city’s Green Line, a boundary that limits development to the south, separating the city’s rural areas from its urban northern half.
The planning commission voted 7-3 in favor of the project with one member abstaining. The action sends the plan to the City Council for a final decision.
The developer of Princess Anne Meadows, Kotarides Developers LLC, had updated its proposal in response to prior concerns from the planning commission, which deferred the project last month. A representative for Kotarides said Wednesday that they had tackled most of the board’s wish list. They reduced the number of proposed single-family houses from 85 to 80, added about a mile-and-a-half of sidewalk and kept more than 12 of the site’s 42 acres as open space.
“To my knowledge we’ve done everything that was asked in terms of the plan itself,” Ann Crenshaw, a lawyer for the developer, said during a public hearing before the vote.
Still, community and planning commission members voiced concerns. Karen Kwasny, a planning commissioner who represents the Princess Anne district, voted against the proposal.
“Two phrases keep coming to mind as I listen to this discussion,” she said. “One is wriggling a square peg into a round hole, over and over again. The second is, ‘Methinks doth protest too much.’ ”
Kwansy said there are three studies in the works that would provide more clarity to traffic and development concerns. She moved to defer the proposal until the board has a chance to review that work, but the motion failed.
Susan Moore, a resident of nearby Christopher Farms, voiced concern over the traffic the new housing development could add to Princess Anne Road. As things stands now, there would be one main road in and out of the neighborhood leading directly to Princess Anne.
“Please don’t make it worse for us,” Moore said about traffic. “This plan will create additional and unnecessary congestion.”
Ric Lowman, a senior traffic engineer for the city, said otherwise.
“Just these 80 houses, you won’t see a great impact,” he said.
Lowman and Stephen White, a city planner, emphasized that an office park or retail store would bring more traffic than the proposed housing development.
The developer’s plan includes room for a possible London Bridge Road extension, but Lowman said there is no funding for that road project now. If the extension were built, residents could access Princess Anne Meadows by that road instead of Princess Anne.