VIRGINIA BEACH — A controversial apartment project near the courthouse will be built despite objections from a slew of residents from the southern part of the city.
In a 7-2 vote, the City Council greenlighted developer Franklin Johnston Group’s application for a conditional rezoning permit of agricultural land for an apartment project dubbed Silos at Southern Pines. The company plans to build 176 units, including 53 that will be “workforce housing” offered at 25% below market rate. The first phase, with 240 apartments, has been built.
District 2 Councilwoman Barbara Henley, who represents where the land is located, voted against it — as did Councilman Chris Taylor. Councilwoman Jennifer Rouse was absent; the District 1 seat is vacant.
Of the 37 people who spoke at the meeting, the majority opposed the development. Some cited concerns about the density of the residences, which will be built on about 3 acres of the 6-acre property.
The western portion of the site, which will be a parking lot, lies in between Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress in Chesapeake. All of the apartments would be on the east side of the property as the western side is in a designated high jet noise area, where residential is incompatible. The land also sits south of the Green Line, a transition between the urbanized portion of the city and the rural area to the south.
Other speakers who want to protect southern Virginia Beach’s agricultural industry shared concerns about the project setting a precedent for redevelopment in that area.
But those in favor of the rezoning, including council members, said the Silos will help increase the city’s workforce housing stock, which is one of the city’s priorities.
Councilman Joash Schulman and Councilwoman Sabrina Wooten said they support it because they’ve been reassured that the Navy doesn’t have concerns about the location and wants more housing options for military personnel.