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Controversial Brandon Avenue apartment project one step closer to reality

The project aims to make 54 apartments and an extra 15 townhomes near Brandon Avenue

To develop or not develop? Nearby residents, the landowner and city officials have been going back-and-forth over that question for years when discussing the Brandon Avenue apartment project.
To develop or not develop? Nearby residents, the landowner and city officials have been going back-and-forth over that question for years when discussing the Brandon Avenue apartment project.

ROANOKE, Va. – To develop or not develop? Nearby residents, the landowner and city officials have been going back-and-forth over that question for years when discussing the Brandon Avenue apartment project.

A plan to make more than 50 apartments along Brandon Avenue stirred up some controversy four years ago. Roanoke City Council ended up striking it down, but the project is now back.

There is a new rezoning application for 54 apartments and an extra 15 townhomes near Brandon Avenue.

“It was not good three years ago and it’s worse now,” said one resident during public comment. “If I didn’t know better, I would have been sold on it myself,” commented another.

Sold on new high-end apartments and townhomes by this developer.

The development company, R.P. Fralin, Inc., says the homes will be affordable – averaging less than $1,000/month and under market value.

This new plan is not too different than the 2017 presentation, but developers say this time the biggest concern was heavily considered – traffic.

“The traffic from this development is less than two percent of the daily traffic on Brandon Avenue. We want to make sure it’s noted that is there an increase in traffic? Absolutely,” said an engineer with the development company.

R.P. Fralin presented two options during Monday’s meeting. One was the townhomes and apartments in question, the other was a dozen or so houses with driveways that back onto Brandon Avenue.

The latter does not need rezoning, but worries commission members even more about safety.

Ultimately, the commission gave positive recommendations to council, who has the final say.

The commission members cited their support heavily on the city’s comprehensive plan, which does calls for more housing in the city by the year 2040.


About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.