Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Council Meeting – Trane Property – Wasena Park

UPDATE: Listen to message from Roanoke City Planning Department – moving the stake(s) 10 feet:

The RED Line is Where The Three Stakes Converge
The BLUE Line had NO Stakes – Should Follow the Tree Line

It was a very, very long Council Meeting that I attended Monday. I went not only to present the pictures of the Trane Property that was staked off but to also support the Wasena Park group wanting to save the beautiful trees that will be cut down along the banks of the Roanoke River. This is part of the flood project being conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers. I went down to Wasena Park Sunday afternoon. I am SO jealous. The huge trees were showing their colors in all their splendor. The sun shown through them like a kaleidoscope. Take a moment to view the video. How I wish we had a park like that. It made me even more determined to hang onto this golf course. We all saw what the Countryside property means to the City and it did not include a “real” park. It was row upon row of houses, retail, and through traffic.

The “bench cut” to accommodate the flood reduction program at Wasena Park takes out Wiley Drive and will leave a permanent scar. It also prevents the disabled and our older citizens from reaching the Roanoke River picnic area. At least Council promised to revisit the aesthetics and the access when the engineers complete their work.
After 2 hours I finally got to speak. Mayor Harris left so he did not hear the “public comments”. I had pictures printed of the stakes that you see on the blog. I included a picture of the map above because pictures of stakes did not tell you anything unless you could put them together in an overview. Council did look at them and then they ended up with Ms. Burcham.
In short I pointed out that this property line DOES interfere with play according to Meadowbrook management. That is unless Trane opens it’s doors so golfers can play through. This conjures up scenes from the movie “Caddyshack” doesn’t it?
The bottom line is – according to Ms. Burcham, the City Manager, Meadowbrook had blessed the previously measured property lines. However, I explained that the stakes were far from what had been initially measured out according to Steve Smith, the golf course manager and golf pro, and would require the impossible task of reconfiguring number 3 fairway. I say impossible because there is barely anything left of number 3 now. I am very glad I went to the meeting because Ms. Burcham was unaware that the stakes had been planted and had not seen them.
Here comes another “whoa Nellie” as Ms. Burcham was none too pleased that I brought it to the Council’s attention before she became aware of it. I was very forgiving and said that I believed the stakes were just placed last week so it would be understandable that the City Administration may not have seen them yet. However, after the meeting when I approached her to reassure her that the stakes were recent I got the “ice box” and “no lookie in the eyes” shut out demeanor that has defined Ms. Burcham these many years. She gave me the pictures back without looking up .. “here you probably want these back … we’ll go out and take a look”. I just hate that, just really hate that, smile, @:D

SEE WASENA PARK – Turn on your speakers:

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Video



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November 20th, 2007 at 7:38 PM    

I’m very concerned about this. I had originally thought Jess wanted the adjacent areas on the south/west side of the property. That’s obviously not the case.

The way the stakes are laid out, there is no way that the third hole can be navigated. That means that the whole course would have to be adjusted somehow…that means…well…that means that if it is to remain a course, it will have to be neutered and “executivized.”

Why can’t Jess expand on the land between the front of his metal building and to the south west toward the apartments? That would not impact the flow of the course. it would allow him to still be a good neighbor. It would allow him the security of having a unique showcase for his business in the Roanoke Valley. It seems to me, that there are other options for Jess Newbern that would NOT involve destroying a championship golf course and community as well as destroying the good will he’s earned in the local community.


November 20th, 2007 at 8:20 PM    

There is property on the opposite side owned by someone else if Newbern wanted to be a “good neighbor”. You would think they would go that route as it would then be on the corner with Highland Farm Road and create a much more business friendly entrance. Without researching other options it would seem Newbern just wants to inch his way into getting all the Frontage Road property. As the ol’ saying goes – “givem’ an inch and they’ll take a mile”.


November 21st, 2007 at 4:55 AM    

Valerie, this has the distinct sound of a “done deal.”

Am I reading the tea leaves correctly? If so, how did it move to that stage without being heard by the public?


November 21st, 2007 at 5:13 AM    

Oh my, imagine that “a done deal” before the public hearing. Let me put this here:

From Brian Townsend, Asst City Manager Sept. 14th:

3. We continue to have discussions with Mr. Newbern and his tenant as to their interests in expansion. Once the City receives a specific proposal as to amount of land that Trane and Mr. Newbern consider necessary for their anticipated expansion, the City shall solely determine whether to consider further their request based upon a number of factors, the preeminent one being the affect on golf course play. Obviously, if any portion of the Golf Course is considered for disposition, that disposition would require a public hearing by the City Council.

I took “the City shall solely determine” as a “point of order” as in “you got nothin to say about what we do with City-owned land” – of course I disagee since our tax money paid for it … it is OUR property.

Then followup clarification:

Ms. Garner, let me clarify that last point, while it would obviously be the City Council’s decision on disposition on any of the golf course….the administration would review any proposal from Mr. Newbern and would also consult with Meadowbrook Golf and obtain their opinion as to the potential impact on play prior to making a report/ recommendation to City Council as to the merits (or lack thereof) of disposing of any property in that context.

Brian Townsend
Assistant City Manager for Community Development


November 21st, 2007 at 5:18 AM    

I wonder WHO put the stakes there? I’ll call tomorrow and ask Chris Chittum. You know in my mind Meadowbrook really does not care. If I WERE them I’d say no to it all until their Operating Agreement ends.


November 21st, 2007 at 5:44 AM    

Another point – Meadowbrook seems to see benefit in “playing nice” with Roanoke City. Perhaps they will bid on the RFP in the Spring. Steve Smith hinted at it when we spoke last week.

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