Isle of Wight County neighbors banding together against massive housing project

Posted at 9:59 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 23:52:09-04

SMITHFIELD, Va. – A wooded area along Battery Park Road could soon all be gone to make way for a massive development project on Mallory Farm and Scott Farm.

Virginia Beach-based developer Napolitano Homes is proposing to build 812 mixed housing units - including single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes - that would span nearly 500 acres of land in the Town of Smithfield.

A group of neighbors, however, are banding together against the proposal.

“Overwhelmingly, the people that we talked to do not want this development at all because it will set off like fire and many more developments like this will be built here in Isle of Wight and the Town of Smithfield,” said Isle of Wight County resident Jennifer Viudez.

A petition opposing the construction project now has more than 1,000 signatures. Signs that read, “No rezoning. Conserve Mallory Farm,” line the front yards of dozens of homes along Battery Park Road.

Neighbors said a project of this size and scope doesn’t belong in the area.

“This development will fundamentally change the character of this area,” said Greg Conover of Isle of Wight County. “It’s a great place. It’s a classic, historical, Virginia town.”

Many neighbors argue the build would take away from the charm and small-town feel of their community.

“It’s supposed to be rural; everything we have says it’s rural,” said Richard Gillerlain, an Isle of Wight County resident.

Amy Tarnowski moved to Smithfield with her husband nearly three years ago. She said the traffic along the two-lane highway is already busy and the housing project will only add more people and more cars.

“With this development we’re just going to experience an increase in this traffic noise, and that’s very concerning because that’s not what we moved out here for,” Tarnowski said.

The developer is expected to present his plan before the Smithfield Planning Commission Tuesday night. It was revised from 1,106 units in October to 812, a 25% reduction.

“Development is fine when it’s done in a planned and rational way,” said Conover. “This breaks the barriers, and it doesn’t make sense.”

News 3 reached out to Napolitano Homes but did not hear back.

Neighbors and others will be voicing their concerns at the public hearing Tuesday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Smithfield Center located downtown at 220 N. Church St.