October 12, 2008

Developer Asks State to Defer Building Permit


By Deirdre Fernandes

The Virginian-Pilot

Virginia beach

L.M. Sandler & Sons Inc., the residential developer, has asked state officials to hold off reviewing one of the company's more controversial projects.

The Water Control Board was scheduled to vote Oct. 16 whether to grant a permit allowing Sandler to build a 1,063-home development near the Chesapeake Bay, which has sparked environmental concerns. The state's Department of Environmental Quality already issued a draft permit for the project, called Indigo Dunes.

This week, Sandler representatives asked regulators to remove the item from the agenda, said Sheri Kattan, a project manager with DEQ's water protection permit program. No reason was provided for the deferral and another date was not offered, Kattan said.

Representatives from Sandler were unavailable for comment Saturday.

Ken Dierks, with Kimley-Horn and Associates, the engineering firm that did the environmental work for Indigo Dunes, said he does not know the status of the project. He said he hasn't spoken to Sandler officials in several months.

Todd Solomon, president of the Shore Drive Community Coalition, which has fought Indigo Dunes because of concerns about wetlands, traffic and water quality , said he is pleased with the deferral. It will give residents more time to consult legal experts about the state approval process, he said.

The project also is subject to approval from city boards.

"It helped us out," Solomon said. "We're not by any means saying it's over."

Sandler, owned by brothers Steve and Art Sandler, has slowed , suspended or sold several of its projects throughout the East Coast since summer. Contractors and builders have filed millions of dollars of liens against the company in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.

Deirdre Fernandes, (757) 222-5121, [email protected]

Originally published by BY DEIRDRE FERNANDES.

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