Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Planning director Chris Chittum explains traffic flow improvement.
This evening from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Roanoke City planners held a drop in meet and greet to hear from concerned businesses on changing one-way streets to two-way streets. Planning director, Chris Chittum said that comments were mixed.
“If it ain’t broke why fix it” said some. Others just questioned parking and access that business customers are now accustomed to. Changes they fear will deter customers without easy parking and access.
That was the same fear when Campbell Avenue was made a two-way street many years ago. That fear of that change subsided quickly.
Access to the Church Avenue parking garage
A revision to the application to rezone the 5.3-acre vacant Huff Lane Elementary School property has been submitted by the developer, NDRA II, LLC. By leveling the site to be even with Valley View Boulevard and slightly limiting the total height it reduces the total height from 60 feet (original application) to about 50 feet.
Parker Design Group of Salem in a letter with the application states that the hotels will be no more than 19.5 feet higher than the existing Huff Lane Elementary School. The school height is estimated at 30 feet.
Patrick Corp, President of the Dorchester Court Neighborhood Watch Assoc.
The height of the school was one major complaint of the neighborhood. The prior application failed to pass muster with the Planning Commission – they voted it down unanimously. The height of the hotels was not the only opposition. Changing the zoning from Institutional (In) and Recreational Open Space (ROS) to Commercial Large Scale (CLS) was not consistent with the Williamson Road Neighborhood Plan.
Skeptical enforcement of the 19 proffers didn’t enamor the Planning Commission members either.
Patrick Corp, President of the Dorchester Court Neighborhood Watch Association said in an email response to the revised application, “at this point, given the planning commission ruling, any development not in line with the current zoning is unacceptable. If city wants to start the process over again with the thought of investing in the neighborhood, we are more than willing to sit down and be a fully engaged party.”
Huff Lane Elementary was closed in 2010 and the property was marketed for sale with the city agreeing that the proceeds would revert back to the school system. RCPS will put the $1.7 million from NDRA toward expansion of Round Hill Elementary school. The anticipated total cost of that expansion is $8 million.
The revised application goes before Roanoke City Council with a public hearing on February 19. Whether City Council will approve it or send it back to the Planning Commission is not clear.