Accomack Planning Commission continues Public Hearing on Fairgrounds Road Development until April

March 15, 2024
Onley Onancock Apartments

The Accomack County Planning Commission discussed the proposed Coastal Square and Residences at their regular meeting Wednesday night.  Public hearings were conducted for an application for rezoning of 95.89 acres of land on Fairgrounds Road near Onancock from Business and Agriculture district to a Village Development District.  The second public hearing was an application for a Mixed Use Development containing 465 dwelling units and commercial sites.

Zoning Administrator Lee Pambid told the Commission that Coastal Square and Residences plans to construct a combination of 55 townhouses, 76 duplexes and rental apartments.  He said that the company plans to complete the development in 4 phases.

The village is expected to include various common areas including a rectangular pond with a kayak launch  sidewalks, tennis courts, a community square featuring trees.

It will be a mixed use development with small businesses to serve the needs of the residents of the development and would possibly include a restaurant.

Pambid told the Commission that schools serving the area have the capacity for a total of 600 additional students. Public Safety Director C. Ray Pruitt told Building and Zoning that current emergency services capacity does exist with the numbers necessitated in this development.

The applicant has requested two transportation related waivers, both of which will be generally described here but will be handled through the conditional use permit process as required by the zoning ordinance.

  1. While the concept plan features two points of access ultimately, the applicant has requested a temporary waiver of this requirement. They propose approval of a conditional use permit to construct the second access road when the community reaches 205 units sold.
  1. The applicant has requested a waiver to reduce the commercial parking requirement from 1 space per 200 square feet of gross area to 1 space per 300 square feet of gross area. This will apply only to the commercial aspect of the development.
  1. A third waiver was requested to allow the boundary of the development to encroach into the 200 ft. buffer with agricultural zoned property.

During the public hearing several interested parties spoke. Some residents stated that they feared that the development would stretch the resources of local fire departments and that the school system is still short of teachers and crime may be an issue.  They also cited a shortage of doctors in the community.  One resident of Onancock complained that no one in town knew of Onancock’s plans to provide water to the new residences. The family that owns the mini storage facility on Fairgrounds Road expressed concerns that the increased traffic would cause safety issues on the road.

However, Lance Fisher, President of the Eastern Shore Association of Realtors stated that that group endorses the planned development.  He said “we need additional housing. This proposed project is well laid out and well located.”

A resident of Chincoteague whose job it is to recruit workers for available jobs at Wallops said that one of the main obstacles to recruiting qualified individuals to Wallops is the lack of local housing.  He said that some live as far away as Salisbury and commute to their jobs at Wallops.

The Planning and Zoning Staff recommended that the commission approve the project but also asked the commission to continue the public hearing to the April meeting because the report from VDOT wasn’t received in time to study its recommendations.

The Commission voted to continue the public hearing during their April meeting.

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