Monday, March 21, 2011

My remarks to city council Monday on Countryside Property

Countrside Barn and Silo in Plan to be Retained

Thanks went out to  the Planning Department Chris Chittum, Tom Carr, Daniel Dart (Parks and Rec). Mr. Chittum came to two of our neighborhood meetings and has been very responsive.

Thank also went to the Planning Commission for their efforts over the last six months. They engage the neighbors who attended every work session.

A special thanks to Rick Williams for coming to one of our meetings and taking a second look around the property on his own – AND for putting up with my YouTube clips and all the other material I inundated him with.

It was a true interactive partnership that if followed five years ago would have save a lot of heartache.

I strongly recommend this inexpensive process for all future projects. The expertise in the Planning Department is underrated.

There are several important items I’d like to bring to your attention and consideration.

The most important is certainty of the plan. The Planning Commission agreed at their Thursday meeting to strike any leasing of the designated green space for lease or future sale. The portion on Portland designated for urban agriculture is an exception.

Page 14 shows a good picture for passive natural area is preferred with the anticipated greenway feeder trails. Page 15 showing vineyards and orchards is not practical in the residential neighborhood.

Though our imaginations did wonder to thoughts of “Countryside Wine.” We had a big chuckle over the vision of us ladies stomping around in a vat of grapes. Sort of like the Lucille Ball episode where once started she was thrilled with the oozing of grapes through her toes.

Our neighborhood strongly requests that you consider the $1.5 million in Parks and Rec be used for the “greening” of the Countryside property. As the Planning Commission agreed it would spruce up/clean up the dilapidated look of the property since the golf course closed. I understand from the March 7 briefing that the City Manager recommends this investment.

Not only will it improve the economic outlook of the property but also it will go a long way in healing the wounds the neighborhood. They have endured quite a lot over the last five years.

In addition we would like to be included on the evaluation team as detailed on page 25. One or two neighbors associated with their particular area. I feel sure something can be worked out to include a member of the neighborhood. We don’t care who the responder is just what they are proposing.

I’m speaking now for the Countryside Drive neighbors. Their property is the most effected. Their backyards are limited by an alleyway/right of way so they have very little usable space in their back yards. Their front yard view of the tenth fairway compensated for that. I am asking for them that you consider leaving the 10th fairway void of development.

As far as the immediate future. Spring is coming and the fairway grass is growing again. We ask that you please consider mowing the center portions of the 10th, 11th 12th fairway. The 50-foot mowing around the homes still leaves the unsightly middle. With the large mowers already there it would take little time and effort to finish up the center portions where residential homes reside.

I also ask that the cement barricades be removed from the cart paths. That would leave only the barricades at the golf course entrance and pavilion. The barricades removed on Mattaponi have not caused a problem. All people do is walk around the cart path barriers anyway.

Yes we miss the golf course and to some there will be nothing that will every replace it. When it was closed we knew it was the end. Again –  it would go a long way if the greenway feeder trails and natural areas would be address sooner rather then later.

Thank you and thanks again to the Planning Dept. and Planning Commission.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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