Harvest Farms request for rezoning deferred; developer working with city to submit stormwater revisions

Ed. — This story ran in print on Nov. 23, 2018.


COURTHOUSE – A proposal to build housing and commercial space in Pungo was deferred indefinitely before the Virginia Beach Planning Commission made a recommendation, and it is unlikely the Harvest Farms “agrihood” will return for consideration this year.

Pungo Property, LLC, a development partnership that includes Bill DeSteph, a state senator, faced a city staff report recommending the project be denied because its stormwater plan wasn’t in. DeSteph told The Independent News this month developers awaited city data and might postpone a rezoning request needed for the project.

The commission voted for deferral, though there was discussion of denying the project outright and citizens spoke out against a plan that would change the gateway to rural communities in southern Virginia Beach.

Harvest Farms had been significantly reduced following public outcry and criticism that it did not meet standards for the city transition area between the suburban north of Virginia Beach and rural areas south of Indian River Road. Jimmy McNamara, a city planner, said during an interview that it was unlikely the project would go before the Planning Commission again in December.

“We are continuing to work with them on their stormwater strategy,” McNamara, reached by phone, said Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Concern remains among residents who have seen significant flooding in the area.  Initially, 164 homes and 16 acres of commercial property were proposed for 122 acres in two areas on either side of Princess Anne Road, Back Bay Farms to the west and the old Pungo airport property to the east.

Now the plan is for 116 homes and 7 acres of commercial, which is within guidelines, according to a city staff report.

© 2018 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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