Brandon Avenue Apartments closer to a reality despite pushback from community

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Roanoke's Planning Commission voted unanimously to move forward with a controversial apartment complex on Monday afternoon.

Despite the vote, many neighbors spoke out against the possible Brandon Avenue Apartments development, saying it doesn't belong. The area in question is Brandon Avenue and Main Street in the Wasena neighborhood.

Before the meeting, more than 100 emails were sent to the commission from residents expressing their concern about the rezoning of the area from residential to mixed use. For more than two hours, several people told the planning commission the apartments, if created, could create increased traffic to an already congested area and the loss of nature and green space.

The developer says he expects the apartments to rent for about $850 a month and will market them towards young professionals.

"I think there needs to be a diversity in housing. And I also think that this project is very well located near quite frankly the largest employer west of Richmond. We are going to put a sidewalk at Towers Mall," said Robert Fralin, owner of R. Fralin companies.

"The neighborhood is voting unanimously against us because of the traffic, but overall for a number reasons. The apartments are garden-style apartments and not what urban professionals or young professionals are looking for. They don't have any security or breezeways. Dian Tapscott-Vice President of the Wasena Neighborhood association.

The Raleigh Court Neighborhood Association has also voted against the apartments. The proposal will now go the Roanoke City Council with the planning commission recommendation.