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Dec. 2, 2016 - Hampton’s Planning Commission Thursday unanimously approved changing the land use designation of more than 74 acres of land that was once home to the Virginia School for the Deaf, Blind and Multi-Disabled.
While the school was open, the property was designated for public-semi-public use, which can include cemeteries and schools. But the property has sat unused since 2010, when the school was closed by the state and the donated land reverted to the city and private owners.
The Commission approved changing the land use designation to business/industrial for 62 acres owned by the city and low density residential for about 14 acres in the hands of private owners. The designation is a key part of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which is use to determine appropriate land use and zoning throughout Hampton.
Mark Hayes, chief planner with the city, told Commission members that the change in land use designation is meant to create job opportunities and to protect the character of the surrounding neighborhood.
City Manager Mary Bunting said that a “historical tribute” to the property’s past would be included in any final plans that are developed. Bunting is also a member of the Planning Commission.
The Virginia School for the Deaf, Blind and Multi-Disabled opened in 1909 as the Virginia School for Colored Deaf and Blind Children. It had different names over the years but remained dedicated to educating the deaf, blind and disabled until it was closed and those services were consolidated at another facility.
Hampton City Council must still approve the Planning Commission’s actions.