2013 in review

Friends,

As the year comes to a close, I would once again like to update you about my past 12 months on the Blacksburg Town Council:

Economic development

  • Voted for an IMAX theater at First & Main.
  • Celebrated the completion of the College Avenue Promenade and voted for licenses for open air dining downtown.
  • Finished the 10-year update to the town’s Economic Development Plan. I served on the steering committee for the plan.
  • Voted for an operating agreement with the Alexander Black House and Cultural Foundation. Once the construction is finished, the building will attract more foot traffic downtown.

Regional cooperation

  • Voted for an agreement to allow Montgomery County to join the regional water authority. This will lower water rates in the long term.
  • Advocated for a fair distribution of transit funds in role as a representative to the New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization.
  • Voted for mutual aid agreements with neighboring law enforcement agencies.
  • Participated in Local Government Day at the General Assembly, a joint meeting with the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, and the dedication for the new Blacksburg High School.

Smart growth and environment

  • Continued discussions on a stormwater utility proposal. Stormwater runoff is the No. 1 source of surface water pollution in the United States.
  • Supported temporary solution to zoning issue with the Community Farmers Market. The town is working on an ordinance to address a variety of local food issues.

Housing and neighborhoods

  • Voted for rezoning on Grissom Lane for affordable, energy-efficient housing for active seniors and attended dedication for two new Habitat for Humanity homes on Nellie’s Cave Road. Both of these projects provide housing for low-to-moderate income residents.
  • Continued work on Housing and Community Development Advisory Board on plans for a proposed housing trust fund.

In addition, the town received numerous rezoning requests, including Copper Beech, the Old Blacksburg Middle School, University City Center (Holiday Inn), The Retreat, and Blacksburg Estates. Of these, three were withdrawn by the applicant and two were not approved by the council.

The end of the year also marks the halfway point in my term. I have enjoyed serving Blacksburg over the past two years and look forward to continuing this work. As always, I welcome your questions and comments. Please do not hesitate to contact me at (540) 257-4951 or msutphin@blacksburg.gov.

Happy New Year!

Michael

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