Tensions high during Evans Spring council meeting

ROANOKE, Va. – The pressure was on during Tuesday night’s meeting as Roanoke City Council discussed the Evans Spring master plan.

The proposed development of 150 acres of land in Northwest Roanoke was approved with some changes.

Roanoke City neighbors headed to the podium on Tuesday to demand city leaders’ attention.

“You’ll see perhaps 100 signs encouraging you to save Evans Spring,” one person said. “I challenge you to find a single sign that implores you to cut down thousands of trees in order to build the next abandoned Sears.”

[Roanoke City Council votes to approve Evans Spring plan 4-3]

Others spoke for the economic development.

“It is a sound plan,” one speaker said. “Every architect and engineer that looked at this that suggested this plan has signed off on it with their career.”

It didn’t take long for things to get heated, council member Trish White-Boyd spoke over an interruption from members of the audience.

“I gave you all an opportunity to speak, and I sat here in this seat quietly,” White-Boyd said. “I think I deserve the same respect.”

The tension was clear between audience members but also members of the council.

“Are there any more campaign speeches?” Mayor Lea commented after council member Luke Priddy finished speaking at one point.

In the end, the council voted 4 to 3 to approve a revised plan.

A portion of the site must be left as forest and future developers will have to comply with non-negotiables like connecting Interstate 581 to the property.

“If we’re trying to preserve Evans Spring and make sure that it’s able to be flooded appropriately whether that’s now or in the future so that downtown doesn’t get flooded then that’s not an insignificant thing,” council member Peter Volosin said.

“Just doing another plan before rezoning even comes in, all we are doing is prolonging the torment, the heartache, the advocacy that has to go on in this community as they oppose this,” Priddy said.

Next, a developer will come in, and the council will weigh rezoning proposals.

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

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