Supervisors OK rezoning, permit for massive Onley project

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BY JANET BERNOSKY

The Accomack County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously June 20 to grant a rezoning request, along with a separate conditional-use permit, for the developer of a massive housing community proposed for an area near Onley and Tasley.

The Accomack County Planning Commission had recommended approval of a conditional rezoning, subject to proffers, after it held public hearings on the matter in March and April.

Owner and developer Chris Carbaugh, of Atlantic Group and Associates Inc., and Coastal Square and Residences LLC, requested a zoning change of 95.89 of  approximate 100 acres of land from a business and agricultural district to village development.

Built in several phases, the Coastal Square development, located near Cooperative Way and the Chesapeake Square shopping center in Onley, will consist of multiple residential and commercial options.

Plans include the construction of 312 garden-style apartment units housed in 13 buildings, 55 townhouses, 76 duplexes, and 22 loft apartments created over commercial spaces.

Carbaugh said 20% of the garden apartments would be designated as “workforce housing” for middle-income individuals, couples, and families who typically don’t qualify for most federal housing assistance programs.

The tree-lined community would include amenities such as basketball and tennis courts, walking trails, a pool with clubhouse, a recreational center, a child care facility, sidewalks, and playgrounds.

Water service would come from the town of Onancock.

“I think we have a good project here,” said Carbaugh, adding that it will help to address the county’s housing shortage, while offering options for residents other than single-family dwellings.

In other news, County Administrator Mike Mason expressed an interest to host a roundtable discussion with local business and industry representatives, to address the need for increased child care options in northern Accomack County, including Chincoteague.

His plans would include involving representatives from the Navy, NASA, private contractors, and space companies, plus larger corporations such as Tyson Foods. Local child care providers would also be an integral part of the discussion.

Representatives from the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore presented statistics showing a sharp rise in the number of food insecure individuals in the county, from 3,230 to 4,340 in one year’s time, an increase of 34%.

They suggested an expansion of the Tasley foodbank facility as a potential solution to serve more people, jump-started through funding from a non-matching $100,000 Department of Health and Community Development planning grant.

Mike Mason assured the supervisors that DHCD planning grants aren’t part of that department’s funding cap. Therefore, he said, this would not impact the county’s DHCD funding earmarked for derelict housing demolition and renovation projects scheduled in Horntown.

He suggested that further discussion to develop a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the county and the foodbank regarding specifics of the project occur at the next monthly meeting scheduled for July 17.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a FY 2025 funding request from the Eastern Shore 911 Commission to increase staff compensation from 1% to 3% to match the compensation of county employees.

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