Friday, August 29, 2014
City Attorney Dan Callaghan
NEEDED $5000 to get an answer from city hall. Read on about this continuing saga …
Alcohol had city council members a bit wobbly as they hashed out the pros and cons of adding Preston Park to the list of parks where beer and wine could to be consumed. The parks where alcohol permits can be issued are all downtown except for Mill Mountain.
The council debate pitted teetotalers against the more alcohol tolerant council members – except for Mayor David Bowers who’s known to partake during Irish heritage celebrations. Bowers, an attorney by day has seen the damage alcohol can inflict in DUI cases. Hence the reasoning for his objection.
That was Monda
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.