Community divided over Talbot Hall property

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Rezoning issues have a Norfolk neighborhood waged in a fight over a piece of local history.

In the Talbot Park community, a residential development is planned for an expensive plot of waterfront property near DePaul Hospital. That’s where Talbot Hall was built in the late 1700s and where the manor house still stands with it’s original trees and sweeping view of the Lafayette River.

Photos: Talbot Hall preservation debate

The neighborhood is divided — some have joined factions for and against the new development, while others still hope for a compromise as the issue heads to a public hearing Tuesday night.

“Ideally, it would have been wonderful if the neighborhood could have kept the property as one lot,” said Talbot Park resident Mary Louise O’Brien. “We have big hopes for a compromise solution for it, so that everyone will be happy.”

Current plans call for 14 homes to be built on the six-acre property, which was given by the Talbot family, many years ago, to the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. The diocese is now selling the waterfront property.

“At least the house will be preserved, and at some point, maybe people can visit it,” said Pam Hunt, another Talbot Park resident. “It’s one of the few plantation houses left, and it would be terrible to have that torn down.”

Talbot Park homeowner Joanne Blandford said she’s all for new homes in the community, but admits the current plan for the new development isn’t without its flaws.

“If you’re going to preserve this house, this 200-year-old house, you need to give it the view of the river that it needs and not be putting two houses in front of it,” Blandford said.

Norfolk City Council passed the Talbot Hall rezoning with one dissenting vote from Theresa Whibley of Ward 2.

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