Monday’s city council meeting has another “closed session” on the 12-acre parcel in northwest city incorporated in the Countryside Master Plan. The parcel lies between two neighborhoods and is designated for agriculture.
The Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op proposes 400 free range chickens, hoop houses and small packing house and store. The chickens have drawn the ire of many of the neighbors in Miller Court and in the Countryside Neighborhood. It has created tension between neighbors some of which are OK with the chickens.
The “no chickens in NW” will be at Monday’s council meeting. “No chicken” signs dot the Northwest area.
The Planning Commission Work Sessions should have addressed farm animals and/or fowl during the planning stage. They are not mentioned in the final Master Plan.
This oversight has torn apart a neighborhood that may not recover. The only chance is a November meeting where Bob Clements of Neighborhood Services who will try to put “humpty-dumpty” back together again.
The closed sessions are reminiscent of the past when the “Foti Fantasy” development lasted for a year behind closed doors. It also brings back a time when the president of the Countryside neighborhood gave a presentation to city council on February 21, 2006.
A letter had already been received by the Chris Chittum of the Planning Department stamped as received February 17, 2006. The short Toll Brothers letter basically said they withdrew their interest. City Manager, Darlene Burcham sat listening to the presentation to council and was mum to council and this presenter.
Later the fifth day of a subsequent FOIA request had Burcham call neighbors to a conference room. There she handed out the brief Toll Brothers letter. The Roanoke Times reporter was prohibited from attending.
Monday city council should share the results of the closed session held before the 2:00 p.m. meeting. If there is a decision (let us hope for everyone’s sake) then the Mayor should announce if it was unanimous. If not unanimous then each member should reveal their reasoning for their “vote.”
There is no reason to discuss it in closed session where no citizen sees what city administration presents or hear council member’s response. The “financing” can be discussed in closed session though even that is somewhat known already.
We will see if what was said “on the side” by some council members that the farm or at least the chickens “isn’t going to happen.”
On another note at the Planning Commission work session at noon today (Friday) Countryside is on the agenda. These agenda’s are not publicized though it is a public meeting. Thanks to one member who believes in transparency and alerted us.
Another closed session seems senseless on the Buena Vista Recreation Center. The same buyers are back though the price offered has been reduced from $75,000 to $30,000.
Roanoke City Council Meeting April 16th
BREAKING NEWS!!! Council Rejects Developer
NEWT’s blog – HE STARTED SAVECOUNTRYSIDE BLOG
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Commentary, Community, Politics, Roanoke City Politics
Tags: city_council, Countryside, open_government