BLACKSBURG – In the Blacksburg Town Council’s May 9 meeting, an ordinance to rezone a tract of land and support the development agreement of mixed-income housing along Glade Spring Road, and along Toms Creek and Shadowlake Roads, were both approved by a 7-0 vote from council members.
Ordinance 2007, a rezoning of 44.85+ acres of land at 1006 Glade Road from rural residential to planned residential, which has been under much public scrutiny over the past several months, will allow for 176 single- and attached-family dwellings. The housing development will also neighbor the area subdivision called Village Way South, to the north.
Robin Jones, a member of the Toms Creek Sustainability Coalition and resident of Village Way South, was the first to address the council during the citizen comments section of the meeting. Jones expressed some of the positive communication she has shared with several council members but also wished to hear more about the reasoning behind the council’s decisions.
“Tonight, my neighbors will share their thoughts,” said Jones. “Some of them will tell you how they think the development will be experienced by future residents. Some will have questions. Some will have more input. If you are able in your comments and deliberations, let us know what you’ve heard and what you’ve considered to help make your decision.”
Residents, wearing green clothing to signify their unification, spoke on issues of concern such as environmental impact, safety, and density.
Jarrod Leland of Blacksburg spoke of his experience as a local resident living near the proposed development, raising his children on Shadowlake Road, riding his bicycle on Glade Road, and walking his dog along Toms Creek. Leland echoed concerns that other citizens shared about contamination and stormwater management that could impact Toms Creek, as well as the density the dwellings would present.
“The impression I have is that it seems like a steep piece of property going right into the headwaters of Toms Creek to have a lot of pavement on,” said Leland. “I wonder if that density could be elsewhere.”
In a different perspective to the rezoning from rural to planned residential, one citizen felt it was a good housing project, much needed by the community.
“It makes sense to me” John Steman said. “How else are you going to get affordable housing than work on density, to be quite honest with ya, and with the value of land? I think this land trust is a win/win situation for the town and for the people who will be moving into some of these houses.”
Representatives of the developer said the density of the housing is necessary to keep the houses affordable, given the cost of infrastructure and related expenses.
In deliberation, prior to the vote, council members expressed their appreciation for citizens’ involvement throughout the planning process, while also showing a deep desire to support housing needs for the workforce and students living in and around Blacksburg.
“I do want to thank everyone for their positive and respectful engagement in this process. Dare I say, your grit and your stick-to-itness,” Council Member Jerry Ford, Jr. said. “I always think it is my job to try to voice your concerns, I think all of us do.”
Ford went on to explain that his prior concerns with the connectivity road, which has now been removed from the project’s plan, allowed him to feel better about the development moving forward.
In other business, Blacksburg Town Council voted 7-0 in approval of Ordinance 2022 to amend the zoning ordinance that would allow updating the Accessory Apartment Permit Program to permit detached accessory apartments.
Public hearings have been scheduled for June 13, 2023, to hear additional ordinances. Ordinance 2018 is to amend Town Code Section 14-107, Civil Penalties for Inoperable Vehicle Violations, and Ordinance 2024, which is to amend Town Code Section 12-606 for Residential Parking Permits. Additionally, a public hearing for a resolution granting a special exception relating to parking at 1284 North Main Street will be held on June 13, 2023.
The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 2023 Annual Action Plan was given a unanimous approval with the exception of council member Michael Sutphin abstaining from the vote due to his employment with the Community Housing Partners, which receives HUD funding.
|In final agenda items during the council meeting, Deputy Town Manager Christopher Lawrence has been reappointed to the Onward New River Valley Executive Committee and Town Manager Marc Verniel has been reappointed to the New River Valley Regional Water Authority.