Thursday, July 17, 2008

Planning Commission Rezones Countryside Acre Today

I just returned from the Planning Commission meeting that was held today to rezone the acre for the TRANE expansion at the 2nd and 3rd fairway to light industrial from Recreational Open Space (ROS). It was a unanimous vote. I spoke concerning the proffers being removed. Most had already been considered in the city wide zoning restructure back in 2005. The General Assembly has disallowed a time frame attachment as a proffer to begin construction so that proffer is now illegal. For example, the previous proffer (condition) stated that they must begin construction in 3 years or the property would revert back to the owner as previously zoned.
Using like material for the TRANE expansion was addressed before I spoke.
My concern about the proffers regarding outside signage, outside storage, and usage of the building were explained that these conditions were now included in the new zoning structure for light industrial. The Newbern, LLC, representative from Craighead and Associates advised that the trees planted adjacent to the 2nd fairway would not be disturbed but if they were damaged during construction they would be replaced. Landscaping in front where the new building addition will primarily be built will have new landscaping. I presented color prints of pictures of the TRANE building both from GIS and the front of the building. You have seen them posted here previously.
Of course I did not expect the rezoning to be rejected by the Planning Commission. When you look at it this way – Roanoke City owns it – City Council voted to sell it – City Council appoints the Planning Commission members – Meadowbrook nor any golfer objected … so best I can say is that my presence or lack thereof made no difference as I expected. However, it was more of a “feel good” and “we listened to you” and “we addressed” the impact on golf play and course aesthetics.
Don’t get me wrong I was listened to intently and treated with respect and each item was addressed. It was just my feeling of futility that elicits some frustration on my part.
Guess who I ran into on my way out of Council Chambers? Bev Fitzpatrick and we rode the elevator together. He asked what was going on and I told him why I was there – to insure the proffers were maintained. Bev then said with some discontent – “proffers” and that “that he had never seen any proffers attached to a rezoning adhered to or enforced”. That sure instilled and even greater sense of futility at this public hearing. Another note worth mentioning – the Planning Commission holds workshops where all “Requests For Comments” are discussed and by the time the public hearing comes around they have more than likely decided their vote unless they have a few questions.
On the lighter side, I finally got my peaches on the Market along with some ripe tomatoes. I also went to the store and bought some Snickers Ice Cream and chocolate syrup. Ahhhh…. nothing like food to feed futility depression!

Posted By Valerie Garner

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