The Salem City Council gave its final approval Monday to the redevelopment of the Simms Farm property into a 139-home neighborhood.

The council conducted its second reading of the ordinance, and the motion passed 3-2.

R. Fralin Companies Inc. has a contract on the nearly 67 acres of land off Upland Drive. Robert Fralin, the company’s owner, plans to build 139 new homes on the property, which was formerly zoned as agricultural land.

The neighborhood will feature a mix of one- and two-story unattached houses, including patio homes for older buyers, ranging between $275,000 and $500,000.

City council’s decision was postponed multiple times after it asked staff to address resident concerns brought up at the public hearing in October.

Hundreds of residents attended the planning commission and city council public hearings, and dozens spoke against the new neighborhood.

Major concerns included traffic, stormwater drainage, home density and potential costs to the city.

The project went through four different revisions to accommodate requests from neighbors and officials.

Developers reduced the number of homes from 150 to 139, eliminated a cluster of attached housing and amended setbacks and buffers. They also added restrictions on construction activity and architectural styles.

City council voted 3-1 to approve the development last month. Councilman James Martin was away on business and unable to attend the meeting.

On Monday, he joined councilman John Saunders in voting against the development in its second reading. Martin said he believed there were still unanswered questions about infrastructure issues, and he was concerned about the density.

He said he has heard from neighbors who still have concerns that could have been addressed.

“I know the five of us are elected to represent and do what we think, but I also think we’re elected to represent the people,” he said.

“It’s not just what we think is best. We are elected to represent everybody in the city, including those three or four hundred people that came to speak.”

Alison Graham covers Roanoke County and Salem news. She’s originally from Indianapolis and a graduate of Indiana University.

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