Firm pitches Urban Development Area for Strasburg

STRASBURG – The Strasburg Town Council and Planning Commission held a joint meeting Tuesday to hear from a consulting firm with new ideas for the town’s growth.

The firm, Rhodeside and Harwell, presented a plan for an Urban Development Area in Strasburg. Council can choose to adopt the plan into its comprehensive plan and community plan and apply for state and federal grants for implementation, should it decide.

The plan essentially calls for splitting Strasburg into three sections, all interconnected by a pathway to be developed alongside Town Run. As per the plan, the stalled Cedar Valley development would become the “Golden Triangle,” a bucolic neighborhood intermixed with small boutiques and stalls. The space between the development and downtown would become “Mid-Village.”

In all three sections of town, the plan calls to make Strasburg more walkable by adding sidewalks and crosswalks, and will focus the town around the town park still in development next to Town Hall.

Speaking on behalf of the firm, Deena Rhodeside said the goal of the Urban Development Area is to handle population growth well without infringing on the better qualities of a town.

“Let’s plan ahead and try to strategize how we can make our communities more walkable, more bikable, and a little bit more self contained so we can provide for better roads without having to use our national, conservation and rural areas as roadways,” she said.

Going further into the nuts and bolts, another worker with the firm, Max Pastore, broke the plan down into several key points. Among them, making the Town Run pathway the backbone of the town, extending Mineral Street northbound to Interstate 81 to take vehicular stress off state Route 11, to make the downtown street grid more walkable, and to focus downtown around the town park.

All told, in the Golden Triangle section, the plan calls to add 150 new rooftops to town.

The presentation received positive remarks from all members of the Planning Commission and Town Council with a few exceptions.

For one, Commission Chairman Robert Flanagan said he would like to be sure the town is clear in what it wants and does not want, as ambiguities can cause headaches down the line and lead to projects never coming to fruition.

In similar fashion, Councilman Don Le Vine said he wants to make sure the plan has teeth to it and won’t die by the wayside. He requested the town come up with clear, actionable steps forward to see to it the plan comes together.

“My only concern is that we’ll talk about it and not do anything,” he said.

Looking forward, the town has a long way to go before it takes its new shape. Planning and Zoning Administrator Wyatt Pearson said should the town want, it will need to add the plan into its comprehensive plan. He said the town is scheduled to update its plan in 2017.

Following this adoption, it would need to secure grant monies to begin the first steps, and find interested developers.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com.

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