Council turns down apartment proposal

WOODSTOCK – Town Council this week unanimously voted to deny a contractor’s proposal to develop apartments in the Village Commons-Lora Drive subdivision off of Va. 11.

The contractor, Joel Soorenko, who is also a former area real estate agent, presented a proposal to the town in June to vacate the lines of 16 undeveloped lots in Village Commons. For the town to move forward on the proposal, it would have had to amend a special use permit that was awarded in 2005.

Assistant Town Manager Angela Clem said in an interview Wednesday that Soorenko, as represented by Holler Realty, would have to develop the lots in accordance with the originally approved site plan.

Diana Crisman, Soorenko agent with Holler, said, “We are pursuing what it was originally planned for – which was the quadplexes.”

Village Commons has 21 of the original 37 lots constructed and developed as quadplexes. The remaining 16 lots went undeveloped following the housing crisis of 2008, and Soorenko sought approval from the town to repurpose the lots for expanded uses.

This would have included the construction of three or four two-story apartment buildings with around 34 units as affordable one or two-bedroom rental options.

Crisman said that within the next 90 days they are looking to get that original plan approved and OK’d by a purchaser who is considering the site.

Crisman did not reveal who may be purchasing the development, but she said they are close to a deal.

Soorenko’s proposal met stiff opposition as several residents of Lora Drive spoke out against the proposal at a Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 22.

Residents of the development, like Edinburg native Crystal Delawder, voiced concerns about child safety, shaky water and sewage infrastructure and power outages as evidence against the proposal.

Delawder even created a petition on Change.org that garnered 75 signatures of neighbors and Woodstock residents – and another 50-plus physical signatures.

“We’re very appreciative for the fact that Town Council and the Planning Commission were willing to hear us out and give us that forum,” Delawder said on Thursday.

“We absolutely have no issues with the development being finished as it was originally intended. I mean, that was our hope, for most of us who moved in there,” she added.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com