Close to 100 neighbors turned out for a community meeting in Blacksburg on Monday night. Neighbors met face to face with the people who co-own their mobile home park.
The meeting was held inside the Blacksburg community center. Years ago, the building was called the recreation center.
Minutes before the meeting began, we were told the media would not be allowed into the gathering. We were informed only residents of Blacksburg Estates would be allowed.
Our camera was ordered out, but we got the story anyway.
This reporter saw a man with an armful of papers, hurrying to get inside, "Hey could I speak with you sir about your plans tonight to speak to the crowd?"
The man turned out to be Don Carter, co-owner of Blacksburg Estates. "No, sir," said Carter, as he rushed into the community room, "I have no comment."
That's how Monday nights meeting at the Blacksburg community center began and continued.
The co-owners of Blacksburg Estates, Frank Bruno and Don Carter, flew in from South Florida.
Both Carter and Bruno wanted WDBJ7 to leave the community room, but they'd rented the taxpayer funded space from 7 to 8:30 and the 7 o'clock hour hadn't hit yet. So this reporter kept asking questions.
"You have no comment about people who could possibly be losing their homes? "No," said Bruno, "but I'd like to ask you to leave please."
"Well, you have rented this room for 7" said this reporter, "It's about ten minutes till. So do you have any sense of concern for these people here sir?"
"Of course I do," said Bruno. "Tell me the plan on remedying this?" Bruno answered "I have no comment."
The owners of Blacksburg Estates want the town to re-zone nearly 34 acres from manufactured to residential, a dream for developers.
Not a single town council member, nor department head, was present at the Monday night meeting.
April Demotts, who is running for town council and was at the meeting, said there are plenty of questions left unanswered.
"I don't think that this ship has sailed. I think there's a lot of issues that need to be worked out and a lot of questions that need to be answered. Based on what I heard tonight," said Demotts. "I actually have more questions than I did going into the meeting."
Generations have lived in Blacksburg Estates. The owners said they could not guarantee that a portion of the property would be restricted from development.
Near the end of the 90 minute meeting, Bruno and Carter agreed to consider the formation of an advisory board to represent the more than 250 people who live at Blacksburg Estates.