Salem City Council approves controversial requests to build subdivision on old farm land

Subdivision slated for largest remaining undeveloped piece of land in Salem

SALEM, Va. – On Monday night, Salem City Council decided it will allow new homes to be built on the largest remaining piece of undeveloped land in the city. The approval of requests on the Simms Farm land will allow R. Fralin Companies to build more than 125 new single-family homes on the property.

Council hosted its meeting at the Salem Civic Center to make room for a large crowd, and more than a hundred people showed up for the vote. The issue was tabled in October after an overflow crowd listed numerous complaints to the council about the proposed project.

In the end, the council voted 3-1 in favor of the project. City staff said they will work on the concerns residents brought before them. Those issues primarily focused on stormwater runoff and traffic in the area.

Despite the backlash, Salem Mayor Randy Foley said it’s the right decision, adding that this type of development is in the city’s long term plan.

“A lot of us don’t like things happening near us or in our backyard that change our lifestyle,” Foley said. “But it’s just the nature of it and it’s going to happen. I mean even most of the opponents acknowledged it was just a matter of time before it happened.”

R. Fralin is not expected to begin construction until 2021, but the city hopes to start work on the upgrades to roadways and sewer systems as soon as it can.

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