Salem residents voice concerns over HopeTree campus proposed development

Salem’s Planning Commission heard hours of comment during a public hearing on Wednesday

SALEM, Va. – A major development proposal for HopeTree Family Services’ campus is getting met with significant concern from neighbors.

Salem’s Planning Commission sat through hours of public comment on Wednesday over the HopeTree campus proposed development.

The proposal calls for up to 340 homes, 60 hotel rooms, 15,000 square feet of office space and 7,500 square feet of restaurant space.

Jon Morris, CEO and President of HopeTree wants the proposal to be a win-win for the non-profit and the community.

“We want to do something our community proud by partnering with our community, city leaders, our team members and our development team to bring something unique and meaningful to the city of Salem,” Morris said.

Morris along with developers spent around an hour and a half discussing the proposal with Salem’s planning commission. Following the presentation, dozens of residents gave their thoughts on the matter.

Nearly the entire room raised their hands after the first speaker asked a question.

“Just give a show of hands, we’ve been sitting here a long time...How many people are opposed to approving this,” Thomas Harvey said.

A lot of concerns regarding the project have to do with traffic and also the fact that the city is continuing to work on its comprehensive plan.

“I agree HopeTree needs to do something but we need a little more planning going into this before you try to make a decision without having a comprehensive plan,” one resident said.

Another concern for people is the impact commercial development will have on the already pre-existing businesses.

“Rezoning this land to commercial usage would become a threat to already struggling local businesses,” Marissa Yi told the commission.

The planning commission and city council will meet on Feb. 21 at 5:30 in a work session to discuss the proposal further. There will be no public comment during the meeting.

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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