ROANOKE, Va. – Monday night marked a huge win for those in favor of relocating Roanoke’s Valley Metro bus station to the space in front of the Virginia Museum of Transportation.
Roanoke’s new bus station will end up in the Brandon Lot after all. City council voted 7-0 Monday night to change downtown zoning code to allow the relocation and construction of the bus station by right, rather than through a special exemption.
It’s a historic vote that some on council feel will be their legacy to the city, writing the next chapter of the region’s history.
“We’re committed to getting a bus station that all of our citizens can utilize and deserve," Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea said.
As 10 News has previously reported, plans for the bus station hit a roadblock back in August after the Roanoke City Board of Zoning Appeals, a citizen-board, denied a special exception permit for the project.
In response, council changed the zoning code to allow the station by right in the downtown district so it no longer needs a permit.
“The importance of permitting transit facilities by right rather than by special exception because it’s an essential public service that is fundamental to the operation of the city’s transportation system," city planning director Chris Chittum said.
A special exception permit would have been needed for the project to be located anywhere in the downtown district, not just at the controversial parking lot site. The current bus station, Campbell Court, pre-dated current zoning code and was grandfathered in.