Salem Planning Commission gives approval recommendation for HopeTree rezoning proposal

The vote was a split with three commissioners in favor and two denying the recommendation

SALEM, Va. – After months of debate, the Salem Planning Commission is recommending approval for rezoning at the HopeTree campus.

With a vote of three to two, the rezoning proposal has cleared its first hurdle. However, development will not be able to start until City Council approves the proposal as well.

Chairman Vicki Daulton opened the discussion by voting no at Wednesday night’s meeting.

“I appreciate the four hours that we spent going over line by line on all of this. It was very, very enlightening. And even though all that was done, there are still some things that I feel like still need to be tweaked,” Daulton said.

The other vote against came from Commissioner Neil Conner.

“I’ve listened to your very forthcoming presentations and even with all the modifications. I just think the uses that are asked for in this application are completely incongruent with the area,” Conner said.

Jackson Beamer told the audience he has friends he knows will be mad with his decision, but he voted yes.

“I really think this is the best, instead of just a residential area where it’s willy nilly...there’s some control to this,” Beamer said.

The proposal has changed over the past few months with ongoing discussions over the matter.

After property managers submitted a revised draft of the plan 40 commercial properties were eliminated along with several other things.

“The elimination of over 40 commercial business uses. We reduced the number of boutique hotel rooms. We included accessory dwelling units in the overall housing numbers. We placed maximum square footage on any allowable commercial use,” HopeTree President Jon Morris said.

Multiple residents, including Michael Bentley, were disappointed with the decision.

“My wife and I probably will be moving out of our home and selling it before this gets too far along the way,” Bentley said.

There will be a future public hearing before the city council to discuss plans, however, the public hearing has yet to be scheduled.

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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