Now that we have welcomed the New Year, I wanted to update you about the Blacksburg Town Council’s work over the past 12 months. With a new mayor, new council members, and a special election behind us, this was a year of change for Blacksburg. But it was also a productive year in many areas:
- Voted in favor of rezoning the Old Blacksburg Middle School property as a newly appointed member of the Blacksburg Planning Commission. The town and developers are working out the details on a development agreement, which governs the business aspects of the project such as the town’s contributions for public parking and infrastructure. Town Council anticipates voting on both the rezoning and development agreement in the coming months.
- Reviewed rezoning requests for Hearthstone, Habitat for Humanity, Airport Acres, Cedar Run Overlook, Uptown, Research Center Drive, and Terrace View with an eye on neighborhood context and Blacksburg’s housing needs. In the case of Airport Acres, I voted against the rezoning. (In my role as a Planning Commissioner, I also voted on other rezoning requests which have not yet come to Town Council.)
- Met with Virginia Tech officials to learn about the campus master plan and its impact on the Town of Blacksburg, especially downtown, and participated in public meetings with Development Strategies to plan for our downtown’s future.
- Continued to support amenities that make Blacksburg a good place to live. For example, Council approved a lease with the new owners of the old Blacksburg High School to allow continued use of the recreation facilities and accepted and appropriated funds for the Mountain Bike Skills Park.
- Supported the launch of the Roam New River Valley bike share—a successful partnership involving Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Montgomery County, and Virginia Tech.
- Voted to expand the town boundary to add the Meadows park following a land donation from Montgomery County.
- Voted to update the town code regarding picketing and demonstrations to clarify the process and add safety provisions.
- Continued to advocate for our regional transportation needs as a representative on the Metropolitan Planning Organization board and SmartWay Advisory Committee.
- Approved resolutions in support of the Equal Rights Amendment and campaign finance limits and transparency.