Christiansburg Town Council considers change to boarding house ordinance

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Christiansburg's town council is taking a look at its boarding house ordinance as a boarding house on Roanoke Street takes shape.

Marie March and her husband said they felt called to buy the property and help local drug court graduates.

"This will be used to house some of the drug court folks that need low-income housing," said March. 

But the new property owners are feeling pushback from the community -- some expressing concerns the house could bring problems to the neighborhood.

With the help of the planning commission, the town is looking to better control where boarding houses can be located and how many people they serve. If changed, the ordinance would require conditional use permits for future boarding houses. But March and her husband are defending their property and plans, saying they will have strict rules and guidelines for the tenants.  

"They just need a second chance. They need an opportunity. Many times they need a job and a support system," said March. 

March and her husband have already secured a building permit under the current ordinance. When completed, it will have four units. The property will also include a coffee shop and bakery run by a local ministry. 

"If we can even just be a small piece by providing housing, employment and spiritual guidance, that's going to make this an explosion in Christiansburg," said Lenny Hall, with Sons of Thunder Ministries. 

The council is expected to vote on a final ordinance change Sept. 11. 

To read a draft of the proposed ordinance change, click here.