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Smithfield council says no to townhouses

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SMITHFIELD — The Town Council last week said no to a rezoning request that would have paved the way for a townhouse complex on the south side of Smithfield.

Plans for Oakfield Towns called for 17 attached townhouses on 1.72 acres on U.S. 301 South near its intersection with Galilee Road.

During a public hearing, no one spoke in opposition to the proposed development, and the town’s planning staff said the request raised no red flags.

“The Comprehensive Gowth Management Plan guides the property for medium-density residential, which includes multifamily,” the staff noted in materials outlining the project.

But Councilman Travis Scott was uneasy with the request to rezone the land, two parcels in all, from residential and agricultural to highway business entrance, a classification that allows multifamily housing. “We’ve been down this road before,” he said. “This is potentially spot rezoning.”

Fellow Councilman David Barbour agreed, saying a townhouse complex would be out of place along a stretch of U.S. 301 that has mostly single-family homes. “I’d rather see more of a consistent approach,” he said. “That’s why we have planning; that’s why we have all of these zones.”

“And because you have a two-lane road, unless the DOT comes in and widens the road, traffic becomes an issue,” he added.

The planning staff noted that the tract has housing on one side and a business on the other. “The proposed rezoning will not have negative impacts on adjacent land uses, and the proposed residential use of the properties are compatible with the adjacent land uses,” the staff said.

Still, Barbour made the motion to deny the rezoning request, which passed the council unanimously.