Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Countryside property – a neighborhood resigned (slideshow)

A lone daffodil marks Countryside grave

The neighbors adjoining the Countryside Golf Course property miss the golf course and the hum of the early morning golf carts whizzing down the fairway. To some there will never be anything more special and unique that will ever replace it. When it closed a year ago it was the end.

Now they are faced with making the best of the situation. The course has deteriorated beyond repair. Only the layout of the 18-hole championship golf course remains along with the $3 million still owed on the city’s loan. The city paid $4.1 million for it in 2005 and will make principal and interest payments for 15 years at 6.25%.

The boarded up clubhouse and the dejected pavilion remain. The swimming pool was filled in years ago. The tennis building’s salvagability is questionable. The Master Plan will attempt to spare the barn and silo located near I-581. It has become a welcoming icon to drivers heading home off of I-81.

Monday evening city council watched as Chris Chittum, Planning Administrator unveiled the Master Plan for the property. It was a culmination of six months of Planning Commission work sessions where neighbors were allowed to participate. City council in September had charged them and the Planning Department to devise a Master Plan that could then be marketed to developers.

James Riddle who lives on Laurel Ridge sighed as Chittum pointed to a road that would skirt his home near his bedroom. Riddle is hoping to purchase enough of the property to prevent any bedroom peeping.

The other property off of Laurel Ridge at the small deadend street of Sioux Ridge is the only high spot in the flood plane. Though houses or townhouses are planned to the rear of Eddie Wallace’s house he says that on three occasions the water has risen into his backyard.

City Manager Chris Morrill nodded when Valerie Garner, President of Countryside Neighborhood Alliance (me) asked that the $1.5 million slated for Parks and Recreation Projects go toward the “greening” of the Countryside property. Not only will it make the property more esthetically pleasing to developers said Garner, “but it will also go a long way in healing the wounds of the neighborhood.”

When Councilman Sherman Lea asked, “is this what you want?” Garner replied, “yes but the proof is in the pudding.” She explained how since 2005 the property went back and forth from being a golf course with improvements to sudden closure a year ago. All the neighbors want now is certainty and as much natural area as can be spared.

Mayor Bowers commented that the neighbors “should have the same certainty as those in Old Southwest with Highland Park.”

Detriments to development have led the Planning Commission to conclude many of the areas were not suited for residential development either due to flooding, the airport’s runway protection zone, flight path noise and terrain. These areas will make use of the path for Phase III of the Lick Run Greenway. Feeder trails to the greenway will wonder through the undeveloped natural areas.

The next step will be to incorporate some changes and details followed by a public hearing and final Master Plan. It will come back before council for adoption into the city’s comprehensive plan sometime in June.

Note: I used my name for all you journalist type critics. I pay for this website and make no money and do as I please.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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