SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Motion approved. This decision resulted in the sound of boos from people against a proposed construction plan in Suffolk and the increased traffic that would go with it. Now, the plan will go to Suffolk City Council.
The plan involves developing a plot of land near Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. It would create a 5-million square foot business park just steps away from the private school, which sits along already busy Route 460.
Hundreds of people showed up to the Planning Commission Meeting Tuesday to share their concerns. There were so many people in attendance, they extended the time of the meeting by more than an hour to allow for more public comment.
Those against the Port 460 Project are worried it would bring more trucks driving by the school.
“My main concern centers around the safety and well-being of our students and families as well as our faculty and staff we have well over 900 people that come to this campus every day,” said Debbie Russell, head of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.
Russell asked Suffolk’s Planning Commission to wait before making any decisions about a rezoning request that would allow the construction of the massive business park, but they went forward with the motion late Tuesday. It now goes to City Council.
“The number one reason parents choose a school like NSA is for safety,” said Russell. She said the students driving in and out of school each day are young, inexperienced drivers that would have to face an onslaught of tractor-trailers and traffic as they leave school.
Developers of the project touted that it will bring 2,600 jobs to Suffolk during construction, and 9,000 long-term jobs with regular business operations.
“The proposed project will enhance economic vitality for the city and region and advance the city’s goals,” said Karl Morris, Director of Development for Matan Companies.
Still, lifelong residents say the extra people on the road aren’t worth it.
“I already know the traffic concerns that exist currently and that’s without the tractor trailers they’re proposing. But on [Route 58] there are daily accidents. There are also backups and fatalities, and it’s just gonna get worse,” said Amy Hardy.
10 On Your Side will continue to follow plans for the proposed project. Stay with WAVY for updates.