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Community meeting set to discuss proposed Norge apartments

jojacobs@vagazette.com

A group looking to build an apartment complex in Norge wants to provide additional information and gather feedback on the project with a community meeting April 19.

The application for the up-to-126-unit apartment complex, which would be located near Route 60’s intersection with Oakland Drive, has been a fixture of the James City Planning Commission’s agenda in recent months.

The commission continued a public hearing and delayed decision on the application Feb. 7 and again March 7. Unexpected Virginia Department of Transportation recommendations to alter the crossover at Route 60 and Oakland Drive prompted the first delay request, while a desire for continued study of the recommendations and a chance to gather additional public feedback prompted the second.

“The exchange of information that occurs in these forums almost always results in better understandings and better projects,” Tim Trant wrote in an email. Trant, an attorney, represents the applicant Connolly Builders LLC.

Connolly Builders and its design team intends to give an overview of the project and then answer questions posed by meeting attendees.

At the planning commission’s March meeting, a commission member voted to delay the application until May 2.

The applicant expects to request another delay on the application to allow time to study public feedback acquired at the meeting, Trant wrote.

“It is hard to assess, at this point, how much more time the applicant will need but we will make that information publicly known as soon as possible,” Trant wrote.

When the commission finally weighs in on the application, it will vote whether to recommend or not recommend it. The Board of Supervisors would then consider the application for final approval at a later date.

The apartment complex, which would be built with brick and cement siding and include recreational amenities, would provide an affordable housing option in the county. The complex’s units would range in rental price from $495 for a 2-bedroom unit with one-and-a-half baths to $940 for a 3-bedroom unit with two baths, with additional price points in between based on the area’s median income, Lisa Marston wrote in a letter to the planning commission March 7. Marston owns the property were the apartments would be built.

In 2016, a county study found not enough housing options exist for low- to moderate-income residents. The study found 29 percent of James City workers earn $7.81 per hour, which is $1,354 per month or $16,248 per year if they work full time. The median gross rent, which is rent plus utilities, was estimated to be $1,148 per month in James City that year.

The proposed apartments would be built on a 14.5-acre area between Oakland Estates and Route 60 at 7581 Richmond Road near Crosswalk Church. The land, which is zoned general agricultural, would be rezoned to multi-family residential. The complex would consist of five buildings, which would be up to 40 feet tall.

The property has been designated moderate density residential in the county’s comprehensive plan. The property sits within the county’s primary service area, a portion of the county with accessible utilities where development is intended to occur, according to county documents.

Want to go?

When: 6 p.m. April 19.

Where: Women’s Club of Toano, 7965 Richmond Road.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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