May 19, 2023
Commonwealth Senior Living

By Linda Cicoira

     Rezoning that kick started the process for a 40-unit senior housing and patio home project on Hermitage Road near Onancock was unanimously approved Wednesday by the Accomack Board of Supervisors.

     The action changed the 11.5-acre parcel from Agricultural District to Village Development District. It is just across from Commonwealth Senior Living or CSL, formerly known as The Hermitage.

     Several neighbors of the site had reservations about the project. They were told there would be a lot more hurdles for the applicant, Eastern Shore Land LLC, of Charlottesville, which has connections to the existing senior living facility. The zoning change was recommended by the Planning Commission.

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     Tentative plans include a clubhouse and swimming pool. The new senior housing would share some amenities with CSL, including transportation, according to information from the agenda.

     Kevin Daley, who lives nearby, was concerned that units would not just be rented, but would also be sold. “Some don’t take care of property like others,” he told the supervisors. Daly also wanted more information regarding who the principal occupants would be if 80 percent of the units were to be occupied by someone 55 years old or older. “That needs to be clarified,” he said.

     His brother, Bill Daley, had other questions that were left by officials to be answered at a future hearing. “How many gallons of water per year (will be used) when fully occupied? Will they need a DEQ permit for the project?” he asked.

     The plan called for the units to be connected to Onancock’s water and sewage system. Currently six acres are farmland and the rest is wooded. The streets would be private. Most of the units would be duplexes. There would also be a dog park and a walking path.

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     Coni Chandler said she and her husband, Bill, also neighbors, were supportive of the need for housing, but wanted to know if the units that would be sold to the occupants, would revert back to the company upon death. Chandler wanted protection for future uses.

      Deputy County Administrator Lee Pambid said the next step would a conditional use permit, which would also first be reviewed by the planning commission. Pambid said a building permit, a variance for a 200-foot setback from agriculture and a review that would include the highway and health departments would also be required. Environmentally there will be no impact to wetlands and the property is not in a flood plain, the official said. The conditional use process takes four to five months, a variance takes two or three months and each review takes about two weeks, Pambid added.

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