Petitions oppose apartments

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A petition signed by 261 people opposing a proposed 120-unit apartment complex has been mailed to members of the Farmville Town Council.

According the Mayor David Whitus, the petitions will be on the agenda of the July 13 town council meeting. Organizers asked for the petitions to be placed on the agenda.

“We, the undersigned residents, homeowners and taxpayers of Farmville, strongly oppose the construction of an apartment complex on the land located between the Greens South subdivision and Walmart,” the 14-page petition states. “Any roadway from this project entering onto South Main Street at that location would add unnecessary danger and additional traffic problems in an already congested area. Construction of apartments at this location would devalue the surrounding homeowners’ properties as well as create noise and light pollution among other things.”

Real estate developer Russell Harper, of Farmville Associates LLC, is proposing the project, which has been hotly contested since introduced. Though the property owned by Farmville Associates is zoned for apartments, the firm needs a conditional use permit for the project, which must be approved by the town council.

Last week during a continued council meeting, Harper presented plans to add two entrances to the apartment complex, in addition to donating 10 acres of property behind the complex to the town for community use.

According to a conceptual drawing presented to council members, a new entrance/exit would be located south of the property, connecting to the Walmart parking lot. The second new proposed entrance would be accessible through the existing Tractor Supply parking lot.

The originally planned South Main Street entrance would cross property owned by Harper’s firm. The entrance to the Tractor Supply parking lot would intersect with the original entrance.

The signatures were gathered before introduction of the revised conceptual plan.

The council is set to discuss the project and could vote on it during the July 13 council meeting.

“The developer has stated that he did not want to build at this site if there was public opposition,” the petition states. “At the public hearing to the town council, there was overwhelming opposition to this project from the citizens of Farmville.”

Many of the people who signed the petition live near or in Cabell’s Court and the Greens South subdivision, according to the documents.

“We don’t want the apartments,” said Gilliam Drive resident Jim Fauci, who, along with his wife, Carol, mailed the petitions to the council members. “We don’t think they’re appropriate … for the area. We don’t believe in the marketing studies. I’d like to see (them).”

Fauci, who helped circulate the petitions, said there wasn’t a need for the project.

Lee Butler, who lives on Cabell’s Court, also helped circulate the petitions.

“Basically, the objections I have are, of course, the safety of having the entrance onto (South) Main Street so close to Milnwood.”

“A number of us were kind of against the apartments from way back when,” said Bill Thompson, who also lives on Cabell’s Court and helped circulate petitions. “After the town council met on May 10, 100 people showed up, all of them saying, ‘We don’t want the apartments here,’ you know, and then the planning commission voted to approve this anyway.”

“I will take the time to review them and they will be an agenda item on the July 13 council meeting for council to discuss,” Whitus said. “If (council members) want to comment, they can. If they don’t want to, they don’t have to. It’ll be a council discussion.”

“I have asked Mayor Whitus to include my presentation on the July 13 (agenda,),” Ward A Council Member Greg Cole said of the petitions. “Any comments that I may have about the petition will be made during council’s open session.”