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Salem Planning Commission votes yes for HopeTree rezoning



Salem, Virginia – The Salem Planning Commission has approved a possible rezoning of the HopeTree site after months of deliberation.

The Planning Commission of Salem has authorized the rezoning of the HopeTree property by a vote of 3 to 2.

At the meeting on Wednesday night, Chairman Vicki Daulton started the conversation by casting a negative vote.

“I appreciate the four hours that we spent going over line by line on all of this. It was very, very enlightening. And even though all that was done, there are still some things that I feel like still need to be tweaked,” said Daulton.

Located just north of Salem’s downtown, HopeTree Family Services was founded over 130 years ago as an orphanage and now occupies an average of 60 acres.

Commissioner Reed Garst was initially concerned about traffic, as were most members of the community.

“I need to look at the character of the project and compare it to what it looked like for the residential single family,” said Garst.

Future residents would profit from the development, according to Commissioner Dee King.

“I found that those citizens under the approximate age of 55 have been in favor of this project. Those older than approximately 55 have been generally against the project, but not all. I find that as a city, we cannot survive living in the past.” said King.

Forty commercial properties were dropped from the list when property managers submitted an updated version of the plan.

Concerning development usage, Commissioner Neil Conner opposed the plan.

“I’ve been on the record in favor of denser housing, and you got to make more roofs over people’s heads, and we’re changing that; it makes sense. I would be honest, 340 units on 37 acres gives me pause in and of itself. I would want to flesh that out even more, all the commercial uses notwithstanding.” said Conner.

The city council will hold a public meeting in the future to talk about the ideas.


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