What is the Brownfield Redevelopment Program?
Roanoke’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program is a component of the City’s efforts to encourage investment in and rejuvenation of its core neighborhoods. Brownfields are properties that have actual or perceived environmental impacts which complicate their future use or development. The Brownfield Program is a strategic economic development initiative that promotes redevelopment of underused industrial and commercial properties as part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
Why reuse Brownfield sites?
Recycling land is critical for sustained growth as readily developable land in the City is limited. The City experienced explosive growth in the first half of the 20th Century as a hub for railroad and other industrial activities. Unfortunately, as market dynamics, economic conditions and technologies changed, many traditional manufacturing operations have scaled back or ceased production in the City. This has left our industrial corridors with underused and abandoned properties that do not contribute to the community. This approach allows the City to increase opportunity for business while improving the quality of its environment for all.
Recycling land allows for:
- Creation of amenities such as the Roanoke River Greenway.
- Residential and commercial infill.
- Strengthening existing industrial corridors.
In order to make the City an attractive community and improve quality of life for our residents, the sustainable reuse of brownfields involves the following basic elements:
- Convert underused industrial property along the Roanoke River to a green corridor with a supporting mix of commercial and residential uses.
- Revitalize brownfield sites near residential neighborhoods to support neighborhood scale commercial, technology, and entrepreneurial business that reinforce Village Centers and create opportunities for housing clusters and other mixed development.
- Reinforce industrial corridors by reusing property for new operations to better utilize land and strengthen the industrial base of the City.
How can the City help?
The City of Roanoke Brownfield Redevelopment Program can help to identify brownfield sites and provide financing and development assistance for brownfield projects. The City’s role is outline in the City-wide Brownfield Redevelopment Plan.
The City will identify prospective development opportunities and market them to prospective developers through continued outreach and data collection. The City will also promote land use and administrative policies that encourage reuse of brownfield sites and makes such reuse competitive with development of greenfield sites.
The City will work with property owners and developers to identify available programs and facilitate projects that conform to long-term development goals. This assistance may include:
- Concept development to meet goals of the Comprehensive Plan
- Due diligence/environmental investigations
- Coordination with DEQ for comfort letters, regulatory support
- Coordination of cleanup plans (engineering controls) for consistency with site development (zoning) requirements
- Developing land use restrictions that are consistent with current zoning and future land uses to offer maximum flexibility in site use
The City-Wide Brownfield Redevelopment Plan
The City-Wide Brownfield Redevelopment Plan was created to address public desire for a formal City Brownfield Plan. Almost 95% of the property within the City is developed. Redevelopment and recycling of brownfields offers the City a chance for sustainable growth.
Inviting Roanoke Back to its River: The Mountain View / Norwich Corridor Plan
The Mountain View/Norwich Corridor Plan was developed in response to policy recommendations in the City-Wide Brownfield Redevelopment Plan. The Mountain View/Norwich area was identified as one of two initial focus areas in the Brownfields initiative. Inviting Roanoke Back to its River aims to transform the corridor into a vibrant district through environmental cleanup and revitalization.
The South Jefferson Redevelopment Area
The South Jefferson Redevelopment Area was created by the City of Roanoke in May 2000. The area contains 110 acres located south of downtown Roanoke that have been targeted for economic and physical revitalization.
Rail Corridor Revitalization Plan
The City hired CWS Consulting Group to work in partnership to develop a well balanced and sustainable plan for the corridor. In addition to basic land use, the CWS team provided expertise in evaluating economic conditions, determining best uses based on current and expected market conditions, developing strategies for transitioning uses and other specialties. The result is a model plan that can be adapted for other parts of the City.
Several projects have been initiated as part of Roanoke City’s Brownfield Redevelopment Program. Click on a project below to see how land reuse is improving the City.
If you’d like more information, please contact:
Wayne Leftwich, Senior City Planner
City of Roanoke, VA