CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — After hearing citizens weigh in for nearly two hours on Tuesday night, city council ultimately struck down a developer’s request to rezone 119 acres of land.
The vote was 6-1, with councilman Robert Ike as the lone dissenter. He had proposed continuing the vote, but that motion was denied.
Mayor Alan Krasnoff and Councilwoman Suzy Kelly abstained due to conflicts of interest.
Breeden Investment Properties, Inc had been requesting that council rezone the land located at the northwest corner of Dominion and Scenic boulevards, near Grassfield Elementary. There, the company hoped to build up to 544 homes, of which, 292 would have been apartments. The request also would have allowed for the development of up to 120,000 square feet of office or commercial space. The development was set to be named “The Confluence at Dominion Park.”
A whopping 71 speakers signed up to weigh in, with the last speaker taking the podium just after 11 p.m.
Some spoke out in support of the development, but many passionately addressed their concerns. Karen Hammerquist told 10 On Your Side that council has approved too much development in recent years. She launched a petition.
“It’s gotten too excessive,” Hammerquist says. “The infrastructure can’t handle it, our schools are overcrowded, we don’t have enough bus drivers to handle the students that we currently have.”
Critics also raised concerns about nearby property values and the environment.
“There’s no commonsense in how things are being developed in this city,” says Jo Anne Gallant, a local real estate agent and licensed appraiser.
Gallant launched a website aimed at stopping the development and posted signs near the property, reminding citizens of the council meeting on Tuesday. She and Hammerquist told 10 On Your Side they were pleased with the decision council made.
Shepelle Watkins-White, the application agent, had been requesting a 90 day continuance. She told council that there is no “reasonable, viable, economic use” for the property under the current zoning.
City staff had recommended that council deny the request, but the Planning Commission had recommended approval.
“Obviously something will be done with that land at some point,” Hammerquist says. “We’ll wait and see.”