STRASBURG – The Planning Commission approved a new housing development during a Tuesday night meeting following much discussion and contention. The committee will forward the project to Town Council for a decision.
Having postponed the vote from last month’s meeting, Planning Commission members on Tuesday asked questions of project manager David Frank, representing construction company Pennoni Associates Inc., of Philadelphia.
The commission held two votes to approve three proffer amendments to the 11 Summit Crossing project.
The first vote approved proffer amendments to increase the maximum number of building permits in any 12-month period from 50 to 100, and to allow for a 10-foot-wide asphalt trail instead of a 5-foot-wide concrete sidewalk, which Frank explained was requested by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Chairperson Robert Flanagan made a motion to approve the proffer amendments, and James Massey seconded the motion. The motion passed 5 to 1, with Vince Poling dissenting. John Rhodes was absent.
The second vote occurred more than 30 minutes later after lengthy discussion and consideration, approving a proffer amendment requiring completion of the east-west collector between Colley Block Road and U.S. 11 to base pavement prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the 10th residential unit in Phase 2 of the three-phase project.
The town previously expressed wanting assurance that once started, the project would be completed, Frank explained at the meeting. Planners wanted to know what would happen to a half-completed road if the project isn’t completed – such as in the case of a market downturn.
“None of the road is going to be built unless the development moves forward,” Frank assured planners.
Furthermore, he said, all bonding will be in place to build the road before any houses are built.
Poling expressed concerns over approving proffers for a project the planners haven’t seen plans for yet.
“This project has approved plans,” Frank said. “This proffer amendment ... it’s not even required. It’s something that’s been verbally spoken to the town. It’s sincere, honest and honorable to now change the proffers to permanently commit these verbal statements to the carryover of the land.”
However, he added, “none of these proffers are necessary for the project to move forward.”
Once the lots are created and sold to a builder, he said houses and townhouses can be built. The sub-development plans recommend uniformity in design for the houses.
Asked what happens if the developer moves from phase one to phase three without completing the road to allow for phase two, Frank said that’s exactly the sort of question that leads to a discussion of greater understanding for all parties.
“We fully intend to modify these proffers by the time it gets to council,” he said. “A recommendation by the commission to say, ‘It shouldn’t say phase two. It should say [by completion of] the 10th occupancy unit in either phase two or three, this road has to be built.’
“That’s the kind of feedback we would like to have,” Frank said, later adding, “That is a very friendly amendment that we would be very willing to add to the proffers.”
A motion made by Councilman Scott Terndrup and seconded by Massey was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission.
Council’s next work session is at 7 p.m. June 3. The next regular meeting is at 7 p.m. June 11.
Attending Tuesday’s meeting were Robert Flanagan, Hank Dean, James Massey, Steve Nicholson, Vince Poling, Scott Terndrup and Planning & Zoning Administrator Lee Pambid. John Rhodes was absent.