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A plan for fallow land along Interstate 581 will ensure neighbors can live with its development.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
There will always be those who would wish for land along Interstate 581 near Valley View Boulevard to stay exactly as is: 130 acres of fields and wetlands, an oasis of nature cut off from the prime shopping and hotel mecca of western Virginia.
The moment VDOT completes the I-581 interchange, though, the undeveloped privately owned acreage will no longer be severed from the concrete acres of commerce. But it won’t become Valley View: The Sequel.
A land use plan adopted Monday by Roanoke City Council seeks to control the growth for what is now known as Evans Spring so that eventually the area grows into a mix of residential and commercial buildings compatible with green spaces and wetlands. The plan provides for an extension of the Lick Run Greenway and calls for restoring Fairview Lake.
Without guidance, growth would still come, but it might not be compatible with what city leaders seek to encourage or what nearby residents consider neighborly.
With the plan, each project will be scrutinized during rezoning hearings to determine if it is in keeping with the expressed vision adopted by council. The land use plan offers assurance both to neighbors that their desires will be honored, and to landowners and developers that they will gain clearance as long as their proposals are in keeping with the plan.
Given the keen and robust interest by members of the Fairland Civic Organization, the Melrose-Rugby Neighborhood Forum and the Washington Park Alliance for Neighborhoods, developers would be wise to build relationships with these groups early on.
Much trepidation accompanied this land use plan by those who initially misunderstood, thinking it better to do nothing so that nothing would occur. Though the plan is now complete, neighbors are still anxious that development will be an unwelcome intrusion; they won’t be rolling out the welcome mat to developers. They will, though, make sure the plan is followed so that they can live beside the development the interchange brings.
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