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Alton development gets thumbs down

SoVaNow.com / October 07, 2021
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors voted Monday night to reject plans by Babbs Engineering Consultants to build a mixed-use community in the Alton area after the company failed to respond to staff requests for more information on the project.

The 7-0 vote to reject the Reflective Gateway Co-op Development came after ED-6 supervisor Stanley Brandon, in whose district the project would lie, said the county had waited long enough for more information, five months after the idea for the project first surfaced.

“I think this board has been very fair to all involved,” said Brandon. “I think the citizens have been consistent and steadfast [in their opposition.] I wish I could say the same for BEC.”

Two members of the audience at Monday night’s board meeting also spoke out against the planned development, Mitzi Thompson and Joel Overly. Thompson is running as a write-in candidate for the board in ED-6.

“None of them wants this, not a single one,” said Thompson, referring to the sentiment of residents near the Henry Brandon Road site where Babbs Engineeing has proposed building the community.

Babbs company officials have described the Reflective Gateway Co-op Development as an environmentally self-sustaining community that would contain a mix of housing and commercial space. The company applied for a planned use development permit which the board had tabled twice before Monday’s vote.

Overly questioned what Halifax County expect to gain from the project.

“My concern mostly is what’s the need of this? Who is this for,” he said.

With Brandon making the motion to reject the permit application, all board members voted no other than ED-2 supervisor Jeff Francisco, who abstained. He said he did so because his wife, local lawyer Lisa Francisco, has worked with the developers in the past.

In other business at Monday’s board meeting, supervisors approved conditional use permits for two 5 MW community solar projects, on Knollwood Lane west of South Boston and on Martin Trail in the Clover area. The projects had previously been recommended for approval by the county planning commission.

Members also set a Nov. 16 public hearing on increased setback requirements for solar facilities, a topic supervisors will consider at a joint meeting with the Halifax County Planning Commission.

The board also granted a request for $10,775 in already-budgeted funds to go to the Halifax Soccer Club to establish a countywide youth soccer program.



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