Sunday, July 24, 2016
Bulldozing, backhoes are moving dirt and toppling trees on what was once Roanoke airport property between Ranch Road and Portland Avenue in Northwest City.
A small parking lot is expected to relieve parking that neighbors now see as a parking problem with the Countryside Park and trails being so popular from visitors outside the neighborhoods.
Roanoke City swapped land with the airport many years ago before Roanoke City Council voted in March of 2010 in a closed session to close the city-owned golf course it purchased in 2005. The shock to the neighborhood occurred just at the time city administration promised them to continue operating the course for at least 5 years.
The golf course would
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.