Botetourt County rejects proposal for middle-class home development citing 'wrong' location

Project would have brought 140 single family homes to a 79-acre piece of land


BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – A controversial residential development in lower Botetourt County was struck down at the county board of supervisors meeting Tuesday night. It was slated to be next to one of the most notable communities in the county.

County leaders, however, say this is not an indication that the county housing boom is over, merely that this wasn't an appropriate project. Magnolia Meadows, as it would have been known, is one of the first developer-back projects that the county has rejected since the boom began within the last few years. Supervisors decided the location and the plans were not properly matched.

Many of Botetourt County's Ashley Plantation subdivision residents have spent the summer looking out in wonder over the nearly 70 acres of rolling hills along Greenfield Street. It's flanked by residential housing on three out of the four sides and many in the neighborhood have taken it as their own.

"The homeowners of Ashley Plantation and the neighboring subdivisions, we have been very concerned about this development from the beginning," homeowner Ali Kahn said.

That plan, which originally called for more than 200 higher end homes at its peak was scaled down to just 140 homes in Robert Fralin of R. Fralin Homes' pitch Tuesday night. The proposal marked the first time the project had made it this far despite numerous other versions of it in the works in the months leading up. The county board of supervisors rejected it three to one, saying it's not the right fit.

"It's an accumulation of issues for this particular proposal at this particular location at this time," Amsterdam supervisor Steve Clinton said. "It's as simple as that, where it is, in terms of traffic and where it is in terms of recent approvals."

Clinton represents people in the area and led the vote against the project, citing planned and ongoing construction of 700 other housing units in the immediate area as major factor. He and others felt it was not in the county's long-term interests to approve the project.

"The question comes up, how much can we absorb infrastructure wise and what is fair to the neighbors who are living in the area now that made the investments," Clinton said.

People in Ashley Plantation said they want to maintain low density in the area with large properties. They're OK wondering what the field may one day be, if those plans include creating a project that they say is more "Ashley compatible" and they're thankful to the board for listening.

"I've never seen a board go into that much detail in trying to understand, learn, investigate and research before they made a decision," Kahn said.

R. Fralin Homes could tweak and re-submit the plans after a waiting period, or they could submit immediately if they went after a different type of residential zoning. They tell 10 News however they are lukewarm on that idea.

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