Time to ‘decide where we want to go’

Published 12:53 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I write this regarding a proposal to build a five-story apartment building with a small parking lot on one acre of property at High and Appomattox streets.

The developer proposes to demolish four structures — two of which have some historical significance. The home at 511 High St. was built in 1880 and is currently assessed as a multi-family apartment. It is also one of the signature buildings of Farmville.

The home at 504 High St. was built in 1907. The total area of the land involved is one acre.

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It appears the plan is to squeeze a five-story apartment building of 65 apartments plus some parking onto a one-acre lot at the site of an already busy intersection.

Apartments are permitted in B-3 zones, but limited to 10 units per acre. Zoning rules are made for a purpose. Ten units per acre seem reasonable. Sixty-five units of three bedrooms each do not.

Ostensibly, Longwood University has no association with the proposal.

However, “This project involves student housing” and “there will be a full-time live-in property manager on site at all times,” according to The Herald (“195-bed complex proposed,” July 14). Sounds strangely like a real live apartment building to me rather than student residences. 

Who will guarantee rentals will be solely for university students? Is there a guarantee of all student occupancy and a guarantee of upkeep under private management that would mirror the maintenance of the university’s residence halls? The facade may be in conformance with the other Longwood University buildings, but what you see is not always what you get.

Should this project be approved, it could unleash upwards of 200 pedestrians per day attempting to cross High Street at this intersection, not to mention up to 200 automobiles pouring onto High Street and the surrounding side streets. 

How would this project affect area property values? Do we really want to raze beautiful historic buildings and risk destroying the very character and beauty of our High Street? One wonders what else is planned for this intersection.

I suggest that now is the time for the residents of Farmville to decide where we want to go. Do we want to maintain the quaint, small, rural town atmosphere, or are we headed in the direction of Chesterfield and Richmond, with the attendant congestion, traffic and crime all in the name  of “economic development?

It sounds like this project is in effect, a back-door attempt to sneak large apartment buildings into the town limits of Farmville.

Carol Fauci lives in Farmville. Her email address is horseshoes@aol.com.