Seven planning meetings will be held around Roanoke County in Spring 2022 for citizens to review draft goals and recommendation options based on the feedback received throughout the Fall 2021 community sessions.
The joint meeting for the Vinton/Bonsack/Mount Pleasant area is scheduled for Thursday, April 14, at the Charles Hill Community Center in Vinton from 4 to 6 p.m.
The county notes that approximately 1,000 citizens and community stakeholders have participated in the planning process so far. Draft goals were developed based on input received at the community meetings and online surveys in Fall 2021.
Roanoke County invites citizens this spring to review and provide comments on the new draft goals and recommendations that will shape the community over the next 15 years, impacting future land use, natural and cultural resources, public facilities and services, and transportation infrastructure.
The Roanoke County 200 Plan belongs to and will affect every citizen of Roanoke County. The plan:
- Expresses an overarching community vision as well as unique goals for 11 community planning areas within the County and the Town of Vinton.
- Provides guidance for public policies about land development, public services, and resource protection.
- Allows decision makers to study the long-term consequences of current decisions and recognize that today’s actions will impact the county for many years to come.
Citizens may visit the Roanoke County website for information on the 200 Plan and view enlightening story maps for the Vinton/Bonsack and Mount Pleasant Community Planning Areas (CPA) at https://www.roanokecountyva.gov/2814/Roanoke-County-200-Plan.
The Bonsack/Vinton CPA is home to 10,938 people and spans 19,657 acres, east of the Town of Vinton in Roanoke County. Its population grew 101% from 1983 to 2010 and 4% from 2010 to 2020 to 10,938. Countywide there were fewer babies born from 2010 to 2020, but population grew 4.9% due to people moving here from outside the region.
The majority of land in Bonsack/Vinton (44%) is zoned for single family neighborhoods, with 31% zoned Agricultural/Rural Preserve.
The Bonsack/Vinton CPA is characterized by diverse terrain and a variety of scenic features. Nearly a quarter of the CPA has a steep slope of greater than 33%. It is bisected by Glade Creek to the north and Wolf Creek to the south.
The village of Bonsack includes twenty historic structures: homes, churches and commercial. It was one of the first areas to be settled in the county, quickly becoming an important commercial center. The town prospered with the railroad, which came through in 1852 and established a depot there.
The Bonsack/Vinton CPA is home to several regional attractions and recreational spaces including Read Mountain Preserve, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Vinyard Park, the Wolf Creek Greenway, Goode Park, Stonebridge Park and Bonsack Park. The CPA is served by the #12 Read Mountain Fire and Rescue Station and #2 Vinton Fire and Rescue Station.
Schools serving the Bonsack/Vinton area are under maximum enrollment capacity, consistent with most Roanoke County Public School trends. They include Bonsack, Herman L. Horn, ad W.E. Cundiff Elementary Schools, William Byrd Middle School, and William Byrd High School.
Issues and trends being addressed with the 200 Plan include:
- The county-wide need for “aging in place” options, plus a need for housing that is affordable for a large range of income levels, especially low to moderate income.
- Road network changes to serve properties abutting and in the vicinity of Challenger Avenue between the City of Roanoke and Botetourt County.
- Explore Park continues to expand, bringing more visitors into the area.
- The Bonsack/Vinton CPA has 5.6% of total land located within the 100-year floodplain.
- Approximately 23% of the acreage in this CPA is calculated as having a “steep slope,” greater than 33%. Control of erosion and sedimentation and the management of stormwater runoff due to steep slopes and erodible soils can make land development difficult.
- Phase I of the Restoration of Wolf Creek at Goode Park was completed last summer (2021) to stabilize the stream banks along Wolf Creek in a portion of Goode Park using natural stream methodologies. This will reduce sediment discharge and reduce bank erosion that is endangering portions of the existing greenway trail. A grant application has been submitted to extend the project approximately 1,500 linear feet upstream. If approved by the State, this work could be started in the summer of 2022.
- Out of 11 Community Planning Areas, Bonsack/Vinton is the sixth highest for Fire-EMS calls for service and the fourth highest for Police calls. A new Bonsack/460 Fire Station is proposed for funding in Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023. This station would represent a new and enhanced service as the twelfth station, which would reduce reliance on other locality responses for emergencies.
As for the Mount Pleasant Community Planning Area, it is home to 3,905 people and covers 9,626 acres in southeast Roanoke County. Its population decreased by 4% from 1983 to 2010 but grew 3% from 2010 to 2020 to 3,964. The median age of residents continues to increase as the baby boomer generation ages and is now 48. Countywide, over the last few decades families living in the same house have fewer people, and two-person households are increasing.
The majority of Mount Pleasant is rural and developed at low densities. Much of the region is made up of vacant fields, working farms or is forested. The majority of land in Mount Pleasant (nearly 80%) is zoned agricultural. Approximately 11% is zoned for neighborhoods and 7% for Explore Park on the eastern boundary.
The Explore Park Adventure Plan provides Roanoke County, its residents, and its visitors with a long-term strategy to improve the recreational, environmental, and economic potential of the Park’s 1,100 acres. The county is in the process of implementing the plan to bring new outdoor recreation amenities to the park.
Mount Pleasant has two prominent watercourses: Roanoke River and Back Creek. It is characterized by varied topography and large tracts of undeveloped land. Many of the natural features, such as floodplains and steep slopes, create developmental constraints.
Schools serving the Mount Pleasant area are under enrollment capacity: Mount Pleasant Elementary, William Byrd Middle School, and William Byrd High School.
Of the 11 Roanoke County Community Planning Areas, Mount Pleasant ranks in the lower half for Fire-EMS and Police service calls.
This CPA has a diverse range of outdoor recreation spaces such as Explore Park, Mayflower Hills Park and Disc Golf Course, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Roanoke River Blueway and the Ballyhack Golf Club. The area is served by the #6 Mount Pleasant Fire and Rescue Station and the Mount Pleasant Library.
Issues and Trends in the Mount Pleasant CPA under discussion are:
- The endangered Roanoke logperch is found predominantly in the Roanoke River and its tributaries. It requires clear, cool water and unsilted gravel and rubble to nest and avoid predators. Its habitat has been threatened by agriculture, overdevelopment, and other activities that produce excessive silt runoff.
- Approximately 35% of the acreage in the Mount Pleasant CPA is calculated as having a “steep slope,” greater than 33%. Control of erosion and sedimentation and the management of stormwater runoff due to steep slopes and erodible soils can make land development difficult.
- Back Creek and the Roanoke River are currently listed as impaired streams that do not meet state water quality standards because pollutant levels are too high, mainly from bacteria (E. coli) that comes from discharges including municipal separate storm sewer systems, livestock, pet waste, unspecified domestic waste, and other sources.
The public is invited to come and share their views at the April 14 meeting.
After this round of public meetings, the document will be finalized in the Spring and Summer of 2022 based on public input before it moves to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for public hearings in Fall 2022 with implementation begun in 2023.