VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Wednesday night, the city of Virginia Beach will give a presentation to property owners about a plan to develop a new outlet mall near their homes.
Burton Station is a quiet neighborhood of brick homes in Virginia Beach, adjacent to the Lake Wright Golf Course. Trees that run along the city line there are in jeopardy of becoming a parking lot for the proposed Simon Outlet Mall.
“I don’t even want to think about what the traffic would be like because they’ll be coming from the Eastern Shore,” said Burton Station homeowner Shirlee Dunbar. “This is US 13, Route 13, they’ll be coming from the shore, the beach and everywhere else. It’s a concern.”
Dunbar plans to join more than 45 other property owners at the Burton Station Village Community Meeting at 6 p.m. There, Virginia Beach City project team members will talk about the mall proposal.
The project would be built on Lake Wright Golf Course, which is owned by Norfolk, but straddles the Norfolk-Virginia Beach city line. The golf course would close and five acres of Virginia Beach land would be rezoned for a parking lot and an entrance road off Northampton Boulevard.
While many in the area are excited about the prospect of a new shopping destination, some residents on the Virginia Beach side, like Dunbar, fear traffic on nearby Northampton Boulevard could get even busier and the quiet neighborhood noisier. But both cities say they are committed to upholding commitments made to those residents.
“The city of Virginia Beach will be evaluating the proposed outlet mall plan from a traffic and transportation impact perspective, as well as from a land use and development perspective to ensure the overall vision of the adopted SGA plan is preserved,” said SGA Project Manager Daniel Adams in a letter to Burton Station Village property owners.
Norfolk City spokeswoman Lori Crouch had a similar comment: “Norfolk and Simon have from the inception of discussions taken as an absolute, to be sure our plans allowed Virginia Beach the ability to meet the commitments made to Burton Station residents.”
Crouch said the changes could actually be seen as beneficial to the homeowners.
“By re-configuring the golf course, Burton Station residents will have a buffer to their properties and a park to enjoy,” she said. “Norfolk’s commitment to green space includes the park, which will feature jogging, biking, kayaking and other outdoor activities.”
As for the traffic concerns, Crouch said the planned access road will have a lot of benefits, too.
“It addresses the interstate ramp issue, the required turn lanes, and expected traffic increases of the outlet, plus 25 percent additional development on Northampton Blvd,” Crouch told WAVY.com. “The proposed road will be designed to have the access road network into the VBSGA/BS area as developed in accordance with promises made to Burton Station residents, and as further traffic studies indicate, will be capable of handling future, long-range development.”
In addition, the development will allow for major upgrades to the pump station, that will position the entire Burton Station SGA to be developed in a more economical, ecologically friendlier, and geographically sounder way, Crouch said.
The rezoning issue is expected to go before the Planning Commission in April, and possibly City Council in May.