Salem City Council approves HopeTree rezoning plan

HopeTree proposed selling over half its property to a developer who would build up to 340 residences and several businesses

SALEM, Va. – After months of conversations, public hearings, and debate, the Salem City Council voted 3-2 to rezone the HopeTree Campus, lending itself to future development.

10 News has followed this story for months, starting back in January when the idea of development for HopeTree’s campus was circulating amongst neighbors.

On Monday, HopeTree cleared one of the final hurdles by getting city council’s approval for the rezoning.

Councilman Randy Foley made the motion to approve the rezoning.

“I still believe the highest and best use for this property is to rezone it to a PUD and that’s my motion,” Foley said.

Following the motion, multiple council members made remarks about their thoughts on the project.

HopeTree has proposed selling about 37 acres of its 62-acre property to a developer who would build up to 340 residences and several businesses, with a coffee shop, grocery, restaurant and hotel mentioned as possibilities.

HopeTree’s application was amended three times, including limiting commercial space and holding the hotel to a maximum 34 rooms. Thirty-five percent of the development is to remain open space.

However, the plan is not set and stone. With several moving parts, Vice-Mayor Jim Wallace voted ‘no’ on the rezoning.

“I thought we were really voting for a vision that was subject to revision and it wasn’t concrete. So I didn’t feel like I could really make a solid decision on something that was so abstract,” Wallace said.

The deciding vote came down to Mayor Renee Turk. She took some time to reflect on all the research and meetings she attended to truly hear as many people out as possible.

In the end, it came down to setting up the city for future success.

“Looking to the future and for the best interest and the growth of the city. If you have a decreasing population, it hasn’t grown, we have more people dying than are moving in. There are no places for them to move into. We have to look the 20 years, 25 years up the road,” Turk said.

The rezoning still has to go through a second reading in a vote in two weeks before officially getting approved.

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.

Recommended Videos