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Martins seek permit for 30-bed property

Robert “Bobby” and Sherry Martin have applied for a Conditional Use Permit for a residential use and are rescinding an earlier rezoning request for their property.

The Martins had requested to rezone the more than an acre of property they own at the intersection of High, Oak and Appomattox streets for a proposed five-story, 95,000-square-foot student apartment complex from R-3 Residential to R-3A Residential.

Their previous request included repealing the density level maximum of 10 units per acre for the R-3A Zone to allow for the proposed 195-bed apartment complex. The R-3A Zone is the same zoning as Longwood University’s main campus. That request saw fervent opposition from property owners in the historic district.

“On behalf of Bobby and Sherry Martin, what we’ve done, obviously we’ve listened to community very closely from last time,” said architect Mike Kelley. ”We spent a lot of time studying the ordinance very carefully to make sure that what we present to you today would be keeping with the ordinance as well as keep with the neighborhood design.”

He said the property would sit on one acre of land.

“What this design shows is 10 doors, three beds per door, and what they are, they’ll be a two-story flat,” Kelley said. “It’s kind of a courtyard effect is really what we try to create. So the two buildings will face one another, and then we build two townhouses because of the number we count to make it balanced.”

He said there will also be a recreational area which at this time has not been defined. Kelley said he was “100 percent open” for comments regarding design.

“We wish this area was still historic,” Sherry Martin said during a Sept. 2017 interview regarding opposition to the original project. “This area wouldn’t be registered as historic if it hadn’t been for Bobby Martin. He and several historians in this area … they documented every single solitary house in this area. And they turned in, and I have it — the information from 1989. They went to the town council, they went to downtown (business owners and merchants), they went to the residents. They begged, they pleaded. Bobby was president of Historic Farmville for 10 years … We tried to keep it historic. It is no longer historic,” she reiterated, displaying a map of an area including Appomattox, High, Grove and Buffalo streets, depicting present student housing locations. “We’ve looked them all up. We’ve got quadruplexes, triplexes, we’ve got aluminum siding, we’ve got vinyl siding … It’s not historic anymore. It’s student housing. And it is student housing to the point of 350-450 students from a reliable source, let’s put it that way.”