Roanoke to develop new master plan for Evans Spring property

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 8:32 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Two years after a developer withdrew plans for a large tract of undeveloped land near Valley View Mall, the city is preparing to hire a consultant to develop a new master plan for the Evans Spring property.

On Monday, members of Roanoke City Council voted to receive funds that will pay for the consultant. And city officials insisted they want residents of the neighborhood to be involved from the start.

“It’s a blank slate,” said city council member Bill Bestpitch. “It’s an opportunity for homeowners and residents that live in that part of the city to be involved from square one.”

Roanoke officials say this time is different.

Instead of a developer presenting a completed proposal for the 130 acres, the process of developing a master plan will include neighbors.

“It would begin with discussions with the neighborhood, some type of community meetings and other types of things,” said City Manager Bob Cowell. “And over a period of time, hopefully what will result from that is a consensus around what could potentially develop on the property.”

Some neighbors and their family members remain skeptical.

“As far as coming into our homes and taking it from us and ripping it out, which is basically what it is, just throwing us some money, no that’s not going to work,” said LaDonna Jordan, whose parents live near the Evans Spring site.

And council members said the involvement of residents is essential.

“While we say up front, neighborhood engagement and perspective is the most important thing, it often is not honored in that way,” said council member Joe Cobb, “so I think that is absolutely critical that we make that an absolute priority in this process.”

City leaders insist there is no plan for the property right now.

They say it will take about 90 days before a consultant is hired and work on the new master plan can begin.

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