Salem passes new ordinances opening the door to a new housing development coming to the region

Local News

SALEM, Va. (WFXR) – Salem’s City Council passed a new ordinance and special use permit which includes rezoning the properties of R. Fralin Companies, Inc. on Diamond Road and Upland Drive to be rezoned from agriculture to residential.

The plan would be to build dozens of new homes in that area which has residents in the area concerned about increased traffic as well as additional water runoff caused by new residents.

Plans call for a total of 139 new houses to be built on the land which was previously a horse farm.

Monday night’s voting was 3-1 in favor of the amendment to the zoning ordinance.

The Planning Commission also voted 3-1 in favor of the Special Exception Permit for R. Fralin Companies, Inc.’s special exception permit to allow Cluster Housing Overlay with amended proffered conditions on the property at 211 Diamond Road.

“It’s what was intended for that property. And a lot of us don’t like things happening near us or in our backyards, that change our lifestyle but it’s just the nature of it,” said Salem Mayor Randy Foley.

Many people against the development say the infrastructure isn’t ready to support the new homes. Some saying some of the streets aren’t wide enough and that there are already sewer and storm drain issues. So the city took three months to look into the concerns.

“We looked at the concerns the neighbors had and we’re going to address those. They need to be addressed anyway. This just brought some of those issues to light and made it more of a necessity to address them immediately,” said Mayor Foley.

Before the vote, city staff address some of the issues they would fi, like sewer line, stormwater improvements, and widening streets when they can.

“Why didn’t they do that already? Why did they have to wait until somebody wants to come in a do another housing project to fix the things that are already broken?” said Wesley Trent, who has been against the development.

For Trent, that’s not enough.

“My decision was based on their vote tonight and I’m going to sell my house and leave the city of Salem because the city of Salem doesn’t care what the voice of the people have to say,” Trent said.

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