Thursday, January 27, 2011

A peak at Countryside property master plan

Unimproved Frontage Road - Airport Property

On September 20, 2010 the Planning Commission was tasked by Roanoke City Council to complete a master plan for the now defunct Countryside Golf Course. It hasn’t been easy.

The Planning Commission first walked the property in October after initially seeing it on paper. Some had never seen the property before.

Roanoke City Planning Administrator Chris Chittum led them along in the first five work sessions. Up to 12 neighbors attended each work session. A YouTube video was sent to the Planning Commission members who were surprised by the jet noise from the adjacent airport runway.

One member sent it to a well-known developer who remarked that at least part of the property would most definitely not be suitable for residential dwellings. (As recounted at the work session.)

Following the joint meeting with the Roanoke Airport Commission the Planning Department learned that basically nothing can go in the RPZ (Runway Protection Zone) that bisects the property. Big snafu as they were expecting recreational activities, trails, gardens and even a solar farm.

As chair “Fuzzy” Minnix said, “The feeling that we get from our initial conversations with the FAA – they would not be willing to let us have those type activities there.” As a former air traffic controller he doesn’t care much for all the development encroaching on the airport. Minnix said he “can understand what their [FAA] reasoning is … if it’s only one [crash] it makes big, big headlines.”

Efren Gonzalez, Deputy Executive Director at Roanoke Regional Airport attended the last work session explaining that even Frontage Road and the golf course were “grandfathered” in when the airport expanded. That makes clear why Frontage Road is improved only up to where the airport property begins. The greenway is planned along the road but with no improvements a biker or runner will be at risk from speeding traffic off of Peters Creek Road.

Airport Noise Contour Nonconforming Use

The best laid $4.1 million (at payoff $6 million) plans of 2005 create quite a complex situation. These are not the final plans – following tonight’s open house there will be two more Planning Commission work sessions and some huddling with developers and realtors before presentation to council in March.

Admittedly it will be a long time (not in most residents lifetime) before development will occur. If past experience with Colonial Green holds true the plan is just an exercise waiting for amendments. The City sold Colonial Green to Joyce Graham for $35 in 2005 and it just received its fourth amendment.

Between airport warnings and developer evasion farmer Linwood Caldwell and son will have hay to bail for the foreseeable future.

Initial peak at Master Plan for Thursday – CLICK HERE IT IS LARGE.

Code of Virginia: § 15.2-2295. Aircraft noise attenuation features in buildings and structures within airport noise zones.

Airport Commission voices concerns with city council

Countryside Property Too Noisy …

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Local Events, Roanoke City Politics

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