Explaining that parents had voiced safety concerns for the center’s proximity to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Mayapple School, a Newport-based daycare center, applied on behalf of Blacksburg Friends Meeting House for a conditional permit allowing the daycare center to lease space in the Friends’ Mt. Tabor Road building at Tuesday’s Blacksburg Town Council Meeting.
The Mayapple School currently serves sixteen 2.5 to six year olds at the Newport Recreational Center.
The staff report noted that religious assembly buildings follow standards much like daycare centers.
Town Planner Kinsey O’Shea fluently presented the staff report.
“The civic use of the church… was found to be compatible with the comprehensive plan designation,” she said citing a number of Community Character Principals that stressed the importance and support this proposed use.
The staff report listed a number of Comprehensive Plan goals and objectives including “Schools are anchors in the community” and that a school would “Support Blacksburg’s workforce by recruiting and facilitated needed services…such as child…daycare programs.”
Melissa West with the Mayapple School showed pictures of the sunny, airy daycare center and students playing in puddles and then a picture of what appeared to be a man in a high-visibility vest and camouflage in a winter forest felling a tree.
“We do want to move because our current site is near the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and there are concerns by parents that it is not a safe location so we want to be sensitive to those concerns and to the health of our business as well,” she said.
The council approved the application unanimously.
Next, on approximately seven acres of land adjoining the VT Corporate Research Center, the airport and the Rainbow Riders day school, a developer proposed three buildings with 452 bedrooms with one, two, three, but no four-bedroom units and space for yoga, courtyards, bicycle parking and a tot lot.
The amenities are thought to appeal to a variety of people especially people working at the CRC and neighboring College of Osteopathic Medicine.
A crosswalk will be installed to access the bus stop at Sheliah Drive and a bike path.
In Citizen Comments, two citizens rose to speak on the safety of the new design of the turn onto N. Main Street from Rt. 460.
Although he had come to speak to the council about Rt. 460 construction, Joel Herbein of Farmingdale Lane rose impromptu to support the development too.
Identifying himself as VP of Scientific Affairs at TECHLAB, which is going to be a near neighbor of the project, Herbein explained the importance of developing housing with contemporary amenities near the CRC.
“I would like to 100 percent support what they’re trying to do,” Herbein said.
“We have 36 people in our TECHLAB, and I think that a lot of the scientists we have, the young people we recruit from Virginia Tech and Radford…those people provide us with a great service at TECHLAB and allow us to do what do. They would love this, he said. “Plus, the Osteopathic School. I think you should support this project.”
They did. Voting unanimously to approve the development.
Councilperson Michael Sutphin thanked the applicant for adding the tot lot, aligning the street with Sheliah and listened to advice from the planning commission.
Clarifying town code regarding hunting regulation in the town especially rules about hunting groundhogs, clarifying air rifles based on state code.
“You can’t hunt more or less with these changes,” Town Attorney Larry Spencer said reiterating that these are just clarifications to the code.
Then, Joel Herbein rose again to give a citizen’s perspective update on the new R-cut construction on N. Main Street at Rt. 460.
We have a long history of trying to come to a resolution we ended up with the R cut something that a lot of us did not want
There are going to be positives and we warned early on that there would be negatives from it. We’re already seeing some of those negatives come true.
Once they open Main Street back up again, we’re going to be seeing even more of those.
Highlighting the U-turn issue he listed two problems: illegal U-turns at Coal Bank Hollow.
Herbein said that the legal U-turns are deficient part of their original argument with VDOT That’s going to be a bigger issue on one to watch out for is the one on Brush Mountain a short cue area and hard turn to make. We’re going to start seeing some dangerous issues as bad weather comes and students come back. So what I want to do is prepare for this situation.
N. Main Street and the median is closed people are going too fast.
Chris Lawrence and Chief Wilson was very responsive as well and they’re trying to mitigate what ‘s going setup a collaboration with the sheriff’s office
“I just want to bring to your attention that
we’re going to get into a situation we’re going to start seeing the negative ramification of this project.
Herbein asked for help getting the
Increase signage and support for his staff to go out there and patrol.
Julie Rosenberger spoke too restating Herbein’s message.
Pointing out that the town was not notified that VDOT were going to close N. Main Street, she asked the council to be proactive with VDOT.
“I feel you need to pay close attention to what VDOT is doing, not just go on the data they say. Those of us who live on that end of town, a lot of us know what it’s like driving it and data doesn’t always tell the true story,” she said.
She said she had been in communication with the VDOT District Construction Engineer who was “very responsive,” she said.
“He said that if we start tot see problems they’d really address them.”
But she also warned the council that citizens using that intersection anticipated trouble.
“When students come back and winter comes and traffic’s bad. It’s going to get really bad on Brush Mountain and N. Main,” she concluded.
Thanking everyone for their comments, Vice Mayor Susan Anderson called for announcements. Susan Mattingly reminded everyone of the town’s street dance festival planned for College Avenue on July 14 with the movie, Grease, to follow.
Both Mayor Leslie Hager-Smith and Susan Colliver were absent.