Monday, July 28, 2014
Senator John Edwards with Laura Kate Bender and Stuart Tousman (right) and Beth O’Connor (left)
Roanoke asthma and allergy suffers may be wondering why they have suffered a little more misery this past year. That’s because the Roanoke Valley sniffed up more pollutants this year – primarily as a result of a warmer summer.
At a press conference Monday morning Laura Kate Bender, Virginia coordinator of the American Lung Association’s Healthy Air Campaign revealed that Roanoke’s pollution grade ticked down a notch from an “A” to a “B” this year.
“Carbon Pollution is the main driver of climate change. Climate change is the greatest health threat
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.