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The panel amended the plan to reduce the effects of traffic.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
The Roanoke Planning Commission is recommending a conceptual plan for the Evans Spring area in the northwest quadrant of the city that calls for a mix of residential and commercial buildings, with green space along Fairland Lake and Lick Run.
The commission approved the plan Tuesday, after adopting an amendment aimed at limiting traffic incursion from an expansion of the Valley View Boulevard interchange on Interstate 581.
The Virginia Department of Transportation’s plan to expand the interchange had prompted city officials to propose a conceptual land use plan for the area, one of the largest chunks of privately owned, undeveloped land in the city.
The amended conceptual plan now says that neighboring streets around the tract would get sidewalks, curbs and gutters if a developer connects any new streets to them. The plan now also says that traffic on those streets should move no faster than 25 mph.
Traffic had been one of the top concerns that neighbors had about the plan.
At the commission’s Tuesday session, Melrose Rugby neighborhood resident Andre Perry asked the commission to make sure any development take careful account of the changes to drainage.
Brenda Hale, president of the Roanoke chapter of the NAACP, called on the commission to make sure any development created good jobs, not just minimum-wage retailing ones.
Cheryl Hilton, president of the Fairland Civic Association, said she was concerned that development might conflict with her neighborhood’s land use plan.
Planning commission Chairwoman Lora Katz said any concrete proposals to build at Evans Spring would require another public airing at the commission and the city council. Neighbors would have a chance to review and comment and urge changes to anything developers might propose at that time, she added. So far, owners of the site say they have no active plans to develop it.
The commission also approved an amendment suggesting developers conduct a cultural resources survey before doing any building in parts of the tract that might have historic or cultural artifacts.
The commission’s recommendation of the Evans Spring plan now goes to the city council for its consideration.
Also Tuesday, the commission recommended amending a 2006 rezoning for an 11-acre site off Pheasant Ridge Road in southern Roanoke to allow the developer to build apartments, instead of the condominiums it originally proposed.
The developer, an affiliate of Roanoke-based Smith/Packett, wants to build six buildings with 210 apartments, as well as a clubhouse and pool on the 11-acre site off Pheasant Ridge Road on the ridge above U.S. 220.
The company had won the city council’s approval in 2006 for a six-building condominium complex on the site, but never built it.
Its application said the market for condominiums had faltered since then, but that the still-soft economy and the challenges home buyers face getting financing have boosted demand for apartments.
The developer’s attorney, Cooper Youell, said there’s no firm timeline yet for any construction work.
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