HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton City Council voted Wednesday in favor of a rezoning proposal that approves a 63-acre development at the site of a former school for the disabled.

The Hampton City Council voted 6-1 in favor of rezoning the land that is located at 700 and 750 Shell Road. Councilman Steven Brown was the sole councilman to vote no against the proposal.

Prior to the vote, Mayor Donnie Tuck stressed to residents that city council would never do anything to diminish their quality of life.

The city owns part of the land that used to be the home of the Virginia School for the Deaf, Blind and Multi-Disabled. The facility was open for nearly 100 years before it closed in 2008.

The city planning commission previously voted 4-3 to recommend denying the rezoning proposal during its October meeting after listening to residents’ opposition.

Some are against the project because they don’t want to see warehouses in their neighborhood and would prefer to see the space converted into an area that preserves the historical significance of the former school.

“As a pastor whose church is in this neighborhood, this warehouse itself is going to be unsightly and I say no to this proposal,” said Rev. John Kenney of Third Baptist Church.

The project proposed by NorthPoint Development creates a 540,000-square-foot and 300,000-square-foot warehouse, which would be known as the Phenix Commerce Center.

The center will house four to six tenants between both facilities. The rezoning change designates the plot of land from residential to light manufacturing.

Representatives from NorthPoint say the space will bring in $800,000 in tax revenue, provide 250 jobs and a workforce training center that the company will lease to the city of Hampton for $0 a month. The project blueprint also creates a 10-acre park/buffer between the site and surrounding homes.

During Wednesday night’s council meeting, NorthPoint promised council to be an active part of the community. The Virginia Port Authority, Hampton Roads Alliance, Hampton Chamber of Commerce, Hampton Roads Workforce Council and the United Way endorsed the project.

NorthPoint representatives tell us they’ve conducted air, light and sound quality studies which they say have ruled out pollutants, bright lights and excessive noise. Warehouse traffic will be limited to Aberdeen Road with an entrance to the site created off of Aberdeen.

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