Board approves re-zone to build more than 400 homes in Prices Fork

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7)— A mixed-use housing development in Montgomery County is one step closer to becoming a reality.

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Monday, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors voted to re-zone farmland in the Prices Fork area to become residential space, to make that development possible.

The homes are not intended for student housing, but for families with young children and empty-nesters.

The properties are on just over 100 acres of land, south of Prices Fork Road near where the Northstar Church is being built. What once was farmland will soon be the spot of more than 400 homes for the community.

“I want to tell you how desperately we need the houses here. We have a perfect storm that created a housing deficit for us,” said realtor Amy Hudson.

Hudson and two others spoke in favor of the project at Monday’s board of supervisors meeting, addressing the housing need.

“We need more housing, especially affordable housing and the future for technology in the county is really expanding rapidly,” said chair Steve Fijalkowski. “It’s something we can’t sleep on, it’s something we need to deal with.”

This current project, known as the Westhill Subdivision, includes a variety of different housing from single family homes to townhomes and villas.

“We have not seen much pushback on this project,” Fijalkowski said. “It certainly is needed. We need the extra housing in the county and maybe that’s why.”

Those who spoke at the meeting said most homes in Blacksburg are about $500,000; this project would make way for places in the $200,000 and $300,000 range.

“It’s close to the schools, it’s close to activities and for people coming into the area, especially physicians and nurses, it’s easy to access in the winter, which is a huge issue from a lot of the houses that are way out in the county,” said Carrie Champine, an area physician and professor.

Champine said it’s her job to recruit local talent.

“If we could bring professionals and educators and healthcare workers into the community, that benefits us as a community, that benefits Virginia Tech, the research so there’s multiple reasons we want to bring those patients here,” she said.

“We need this housing and we need it bad,” said area realtor Brian Juanerena.

Juanerena said he works with tech companies in the area who are trying to recruit top talent to create world-class companies. He said the number one issue with recruiting the talent is the lack of housing.

“I think this project is just a piece of the puzzle, but it’s a very important piece,” Juanerena said.

Only one gentleman spoke in opposition to the project Monday night; he wanted to learn more about storm water retention and how they plan to deal with it—the developers responded directly after he voiced his concern.

The Westhill Subdivision will have walking paths to Prices Fork Elementary and a clubhouse for the residents.

The board voted 7-0 for both the re-zone and to allow the height restriction of the townhomes to go from 35 feet to 42.

The project will be done in phases, starting with roads. This project plans for a roundabout entrance. There will also be an entrance for emergency vehicles only when they are needed.

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