Roanoke City taps new consultant to create plan for Evans Spring area

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City has tapped a new consultant to create a plan to develop the Evans Spring area.

The City has selected a land planning consultant, LPDA Landscape Architecture Land Planning of Charlottesville, to engage community stakeholders in the planning process. Starting in January, the company will spend at least nine months doing community outreach and creating a plan for the 150 acre-plot of land just off I-581.

The goal of the project is to create a plan that is both economically feasible and has a positive relationship with three adjacent neighborhoods known as Melrose-Rugby, Fairland, and Villa Heights.

The Evans Spring area is the city’s only large, vacant site available for new development.

As the project to complete the I-581 Valley View interchange was mobilizing in 2013, city planning staff created a general plan with recommendations to guide future development. That plan, intended to create a framework for a future development proposal, called for a mix of commercial and residential development that would connect with the surrounding communities.

This current effort will take that general framework and add greater clarity and specificity to future development options.

The planning initiative could result in a rezoning application for consideration by the Planning Commission and City Council. The properties would need to be rezoned by City Council before development could start.

The City says false rumors on social media claim the development is imminent and that the City will take people’s property by eminent domain, but city leaders say that is not true.

“These stories are unfortunate and seem to be an attempt to mislead and frighten the community unnecessarily. While activism of that sort doesn’t get in the way of bulldozers, it does get in the way of meaningful community engagement and it’s a disservice to the community,” said Chris Chittum, Assistant City Manager. “Going back to 2011, our work on Evans Spring has been well-documented, open, and inclusive of community voices. We are committed to continuing that approach going forward.”

Chittum added that there is a standing offer to anyone in the community or any community group to meet to discuss the past, present, and future of Evans Spring.

The City’s Economic Development Authority, the property owners, and the City are each contributing a third of the cost of the study.

Current information and background about the project can be found here.

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