Save Our Community From Overdevelopment
We are sad to announce that last night the Christiansburg Town Council elected to ignore our reasonable request for preservation of our neighborhoods and voted to approve the Weddle Way High-Density Rezoning and Construction Project. After revealing the majority of council members failed to review the previous meeting minutes or educate themselves on the details of the case, and continuing on to explain that reviewing the details to be discussed in each meeting prior to the meeting was important, the council elected to push forward the vote anyway. The Vote passed on a 5 - 1 line, with only Councilwoman Merissa Sachs voting in our favor.
To Ms. Sachs, we are deeply appreciative of your support and understanding of the plight of this community. To Mayor Michael Barber, Councilman Samuel Bishop, Councilwoman Johana Hicks, Councilman Steve Huppert, Councilman Henry Showalter, and Councilman Bradford Stipes: We appreciate your honesty in showing your blatant disdain and disinterest in the well-being of this community and the voices of its members. As each of us is empowered with the ability to vote and select our representatives, we will be sure to reciprocate your affections for us come election time.
After the countless insults; numerous displays of disrespect; and even veiled threats made against members of this community by the realtor, proponents of this project, the planning committee, and the town council, it is our hope this final update illustrates how dangerous corruption can be to the wellbeing of a population. If you are a citizen of Christiansburg, our fight was your fight. This grievous and heinous act of greed-driven, tyrannical abuse cannot be overlooked. To those that fought and supported us: Thank you. Your courage and loyalty will never be forgotten and we wish you all the very best in the difficult times that now lay ahead of us.
A current proposal to rezone 4.306 acres of rural land on Weddle Way from Rural R-1 Single-Family to R-2 Two-Family Residential is set to be discussed (and open for public comment) by the Christiansburg Town Council on December 8th, 2020. The vote for approval or rejection will then occur on January 12th, 2021
This proposal was approved by the Christiansburg Planning Commission on November 30th, 2020 despite concerns and strong opposition from members of the neighborhood and surrounding communities. The proposal will see the development of 4.306 acres of rural land into 14, Two-Family, duplex dwellings as well as a storm water management area.
With the recent approval of the Vinnie Avenue high-density housing development in the adjacent lot less than three months ago, again in the face of strong opposition from the community, we hereby demand the rejection of the Weddle Way development proposal by our Town Council members.
We all recognize the desire to see a healthy community grow. In the November 30th, 2020 Planning Commission minutes, it was noted that development of the area under its current zoning (rural R-1) would allow for 12, individual dwellings on the lot. The argument for why it "must be rezoned to meet the demand for duplex housing" is hollow and baseless. If development must occur in our community, then it must be done in a conservative and responsible manner. The approval of the Vinnie Avenue rezoning and high-density housing development was irresponsible and reckless. To then propose a mirror development in the adjacent lot three months later is wholly unacceptable.
We therefore demand the summary rejection of the rezoning and development proposal at Weddle Way until the development is amended to meet the current zoning status and reasonable expectations of our community.
On December 8th, 2020 the Town Council held their first meeting with public comments for the Weddle Way development proposal. During the meeting, the realtor representing the sellers (the same representative for the sellers of the Vinnie Avenue high-density project that was recently approved) argued that “the majority of the surrounding neighbors are in favor of the development”. He argued that the individuals living on the south side of the proposed development on Vinnie Avenue are all in favor of the project (even after these individuals fervently rejected the Vinnie Avenue development proposal that this realtor actively helped to force through). He then claimed the west side represents area the town has designated for “residential growth.” Residential growth is acceptable. Rezoning for uncharacteristic, high-density, residential growth is not. He went on to explain that “all the surrounding landowners who will profit from the rezoning and development of the land are in favor of the development.” How this realtor believes the opinions of individuals making a profit off the destruction of our neighborhood are valid escapes this community.
He continued by explaining they plan to use Walters Drive as a “connecting outlet for the new development.” The only property that would allow for a Walters Drive connection is lot 150 Almetta Avenue. This lot is owned by the same seller the realtor represented in selling the Vinnie Avenue property for the high-density development already underway there. This suggests that both the Vinnie Avenue high-density rezoning and development, and now the Weddle Way rezoning and high-density development are directly connected, and both represent a larger plan to destroy the entire area in the name of profits. As this realtor has been the seller’s representative in both instances, it is clear why he is “so concerned” over helping these individuals sell their properties. Even after repeatedly saying he has no direct connection to the projects.
This community has voiced its approval of responsible development time and time again. However, we have also shown our displeasure at the rezoning and irresponsible approach to development that these developers and realtors have used to destroy our communities. The signatures on this petition represent a solid and resolute voice of this community’s citizenry. We REJECT the Weddle Way request for rezoning and the over-development of our neighborhoods. We ask that our duly elected representatives hear our voices and reject this proposal as well.
At the January 12th Town Council Meeting, the vote was delayed after councilwoman Sachs expressed her concerns over approval of the rezoning request in the face of the obvious displeasure shown in this petition. Councilman Huppert was also concerned with the lack of limitations on the height of the buildings being developed. As a result, a proffer was introduced.
The vote was delayed for two weeks to seek a response from the community. Letters were sent to as many individuals in the surrounding neighborhoods as possible asking if they accept the proffer and the development plan. The details of the proffer (as well as details about zoning regulations) were included in the letters sent. While many in this community do not want any development, the petition has been very clear in its intent: The members of this community do not agree with rezoning from R1-A straight to R2 when no rezoning or rezoning to R1 and development of single-family homes is far more in character with the surrounding neighborhoods.
This petition is intended to show our elected officials that the majority of our community members AGREE with the council that our town is prepped for growth and we support HEALTHY and APPROPRIATE growth. The primary function of this petition, however, is to show that this community REJECTS unreasonable changes and manipulations to our neighborhoods and communities that would lower our property values and alter the character of these neighborhoods in the name of making a profit. While the proffer is greatly appreciated and in part accepted, this community still has a hard time understanding why the request to rezone was made and, if rezoning was necessary, why was the request not made for R1, single-family style homes? We have repeatedly been told that “if we knew what was good for us, we would just accept R2 and be happy about it because it is less development.” It is not the development we take issue with; it is the density. The simple fact is more houses may be allowed on R1, but they are single-family dwellings. These dwellings will be lived in by single families just like ours whose new homes increase the value of ours and whose presence enriches our community’s character. Rezoning to R2 will likely double the number of actual residents living on the land. The vast majority of these residents will likely be renters and will be in stark contrast to this community’s personality, regardless of what allies to the rezoning and overdevelopment may claim.
Thusly, this community stands resolute in its request for rejection of the rezoning of our community from R1-A to R2 and the subsequent development it will produce. If this land is to be developed, then development in accordance with R1-A or even R1 is acceptable. The attempt to rezone beyond that is explicitly based in monetary interests with total disregard for the well-being of the families and individuals living here.
We deeply appreciate everyone’s courage and dedication to this project. We hope our voices are heard by our elected officials and they recognize that our request to have our community standards be respected is not unreasonable or out of line.