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Amendments to the City’s Zoning Code are scheduled to be heard by the Roanoke City Planning Commission on October 11th, 2021. More details, including how to participate, can be found on the Planning Commission’s webpage.

The text amendments will complete the following actions of City Plan 2040:

  • Harmony with Nature | Priority One: Sustainable Land Development

    Policy 5: Reduce impervious surface through development requirements

    • Action Item: Remove minimum parking requirements
  • Interwoven Equity | Priority Three: Neighborhood Choice

    Policy 3: Enable a range of housing types in each part of the community to achieve inclusive, livable neighborhoods that prosper over time

    • Action Item: Permit accessory dwelling units in all residential zones
  • City Design | Land Use | Priority: Design for Permanence

    Policy 2: Promote development patterns that contribute to places of enduring value

  • City Design | Land Use | Priority: Purposeful Land Use

    Policy 2: Encourage active, productive uses of land and preclude unproductive uses of land

  • Text amendments will also include electric vehicle charging stations and solar energy facilities as accessory uses. These amendments will take action towards policies within the Harmony with Nature theme.

Priority One: Trust

Trust 7%

Action Items:

  • Review and eliminate City codes and policies based on explicit or implicit biases, and advocate the same approach for state laws and policies

  • Advocate for criminal justice reforms that address systemic and interrelated issues of our time such as mass incarceration, militarization of police, implicit bias, school–to-prison pipeline, the war on drugs, and mandatory sentencing

  • Enable complete neighborhoods to develop within the framework of the zoning code, providing access to affordable housing, services, and employment

  • Ensure the diversity of advisory and decision-making bodies reflects the diversity of Roanoke

Action Items:

  • Create an office or Council-appointed commission that evaluates existing and proposed policies through an equity lens

  • Initiate community dialog on equity and community issues

  • Develop an educational component in schools on the historical experience of African Americans in Roanoke and embrace statewide changes to history curricula that accurately depicts the Civil War and Reconstruction

  • Build capacity (ability and experience) for neighborhood-based organizations to carry out or direct appropriate community improvements and services

  • Complete visible community-identified public facility improvements to demonstrate commitment, especially those that were previously recommended in neighborhood plans

  • Commit to ensuring that the diversity of City staff, commissions, and boards reflects the diversity of Roanoke and require the same of larger community organizations the City supports financially

Action Items:

  • Create a commission that focuses on evaluating policies through an equity lens

  • Create equity measures or requirements for each theme within the Comprehensive Plan and compare with peer cities

  • Develop an equity lens for policy and regulation review at the staff level and research best practices to create accountability within government, for example Government Alliance on Race and Equity

  • Create an office that coordinates government actions and reviews policy and regulation to determine their effect on equity in the community

  • Inventory and report projects completed in CDBG eligible target neighborhoods

Priority Two: Break the Cycle of Poverty

Break the Cycle of Poverty 0%

Action Items:

  • Inventory central area commercial and industrial districts to develop strategies and incentives for redevelopment

  • Create accessible information about starting a business

  • Create programs to facilitate new business startups by local entrepreneurs

  • Provide incentives for new business development in core districts

  • Ensure incentives are conditioned on living wage job creation

Action Items:

  • Support programs that help people deal with multiple issues holistically through referrals to the varied forms of support an individual may need

  • Ensure preventive mechanisms are in place for helping at-risk people to prevent more serious issues (e.g., underemployment, homelessness, health issues, and unsafe housing conditions)

  • Make gateways to services accessible in neighborhoods (such as in libraries and schools)

  • Prioritize employment preparation and workforce development for groups that need more support

  • Ensure convenient access to employment networks (build social capital)

  • Support and improve financial literacy services

  • Connect the Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness with the Police and other City staff to better serve people who are experiencing homelessness

Action Items:

  • Attract and retain highly qualified, diverse teachers who want to teach in an urban environment including recruitment from historically black colleges and universities

  • Provide salary incentives to retain talent in schools with greater need

  • Continue programs that provide focused opportunities to at-risk students

  • Provide high-quality supportive services in schools (e.g., medical services, mental health services, nutrition)

Action Items:

  • Continue our partnerships with institutions of higher learning in our area

  • Expand opportunities for virtual education to help provide a variety of opportunities for children

  • Attract and retain highly qualified administrative leaders and top-notch educators

  • Strengthen joint partnerships with the Roanoke City Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, Roanoke Fire and EMS, Department of Social Services, and mental health agencies to continue to improve safety

  • Identify and cultivate collaborative opportunities with businesses, non-profits, community organizations, and faith-based organizations within each school neighborhood

  • Support the Roanoke City Public Schools Strategic Plan

Priority Three: Neighborhood Choice

Neighborhood Choice 0%

Action Items:

  • Reconsider housing policies rooted in racial segregation efforts such as exclusionary zoning districts that exclude all but single-family houses

  • Work to reduce tenure bias, that is, the favoring of owner-occupants over renter occupants, by reviewing City policy and plans to eliminate such bias

  • Ensure the Fair Housing Board is active in removing barriers by providing community education, paired testing, and assessment of barriers to housing choice

Action Items:

  • Review and reexamine how and where zoning codes permit group care facilities and group homes providing housing and supportive services and support distribution of such housing in neighborhood settings dispersed throughout the City

  • Continue housing first programs and test other innovative housing approaches

  • Improve connections among local service providers for the homeless and those experiencing poverty

  • Expand/extend after care resources for previously homeless individuals

  • Inventory the existing group care/transitional living facilities; disperse such facilities and amend policy as needed to meet the needs of the community

  • Support and improve financial literacy services

  • Better promote and improve literacy action

Action Items:

  • Assemble a package of greenlining resources such as down payment assistance, access to fair credit for mortgages, housing finance counseling, and Live Near Your Work  incentives

Action Items:

  • Develop a housing plan as a component of the comprehensive plan

  • Ensure affordable housing is available in all neighborhoods in the city

  • Promote complete neighborhoods, so all neighborhoods have a broad range of housing types, including multifamily housing

  • Pursue legislative opportunities to increase affordable housing options and opportunities

  • Incentivize housing that is affordable and/or is built with universal design standards

Action Items:

  • Maintain vigilance by monitoring data to identify emerging gentrification patterns

  • Put decision-making about neighborhood improvements at the neighborhood level. Consider intensive public deliberation processes to determine neighborhood improvement priorities

  • Use funds to rehabilitate existing housing stock to help current residents remain in their home

  • Support the development or rehabilitation of affordable rental housing

  • Educate community on the Homestead Exemption law

Priority Four: Inclusive Culture

Inclusive Culture 0%

Action Items:

  • Sponsor opportunities for learning and discussion about the root causes of discrimination and how to address those issues

  • Create opportunities for open dialogue among residents from all neighborhoods

  • Provide educational opportunities to help community leaders become champions in their communities

  • Promote dialogue with nonprofits and businesses on equity, diversity, and inclusion

  • Consider inclusiveness and diversity when programming city-supported events

  • Engage immigrant and refugee populations in community organizations

  • Celebrate community successes

Action Items:

  • Provide training on equity and coalition building

  • Use public deliberation techniques for informed decision making by citizens

  • Facilitate connections among neighborhood leaders

  • Continue grant funding to support neighborhood organizations

  • Develop neighborhood-level capacity to decide and implement neighborhood improvements

  • Ensure neighborhood engagement in civic governance

Priority Five: Service Delivery

Service Delivery 0%

Action Items:

  • Employ best practices to promote available services in order to reach all residents regardless of age and income

  • Consider neighborhood-based service information in civic facilities like libraries

  • Support information and referral programs that help people connect with the resources they need

  • Ensure government meetings are accessible at convenient times and there are accommodations for disabled people, and when appropriate, provide multiple opportunities for engagement by holding multiple meetings in neighborhood settings (such as at libraries), at different times of day

  • Provide programs that help educate residents on City services and processes such as the Mayor’s Starting a Business Summit, Leadership College, and the Roanoke Planning Academy

  • Develop Spanish language versions of informational programs and online content

Action Items:

  • Ensure services are accessible by transit (i.e., on or near a route)

  • Provide services in neighborhoods with mobile units or by rotating services among libraries or other community facilities

  • Convene community walks with residents and government service providers to establish communication and information-sharing (e.g., police, fire and EMS, planning/code enforcement, parks and recreation, teachers/school staff, etc.)

Action Items:

  • Consider CDBG target neighborhoods as priorities for infrastructure improvements (e.g., sidewalks, curbs, streets, storm drainage, bike lanes, greenways, and street trees)

  • Consider CDBG target neighborhoods as priorities for improvements to public facilities (e.g., fire stations, libraries, schools, parks, recreation centers, and other community services)

Priority One: Wellness

Wellness 0%

Action Items:

  • Adopt a Health in all Policies approach where community health is considered in all significant policy decisions

  • Establish an advisory body to guide and assess the City’s policies as they relate to community health

  • Develop a community health plan with specific priorities, policies, actions, and data measurement related to health in the City

  • Consider representation from health professions on boards and commissions

  • Partner with Healthy Roanoke Valley and the organizational partners to focus on improving social determinants of health

Action Items:

  • Create a central resource hub that provides access to health information, tools, and resources

  • Initiate community education programs on food preparation, exercise, tobacco cessation, obesity, diabetes, etc.

  • Push health services and information out to neighborhoods through mobile events, in libraries, and at other community facilities

Action Items:

  • Address age, condition, and equitable distribution of current recreation centers

  • Facilitate shared use of schools and other institutional facilities for recreational activities

  • Provide a comprehensive network of greenways, trails, blueways, and parks

Action Items:

  • Improve opportunities for social connection by providing public gathering spaces

  • Encourage and enable integration of senior-oriented housing and other group care or living arrangements in neighborhood settings including co-housing

  • Partner with local groups and nonprofits to improve social connections and networks for older adults and disabled populations. Create and support intergenerational social connection through volunteer programs and events

  • Support and strengthen neighborhood associations and their efforts for community engagement

Priority Two: Safety

Safety 0%

Action Items:

  • Engage communities in developing policing strategies

  • Improve education for patrol officers through third party training sessions that address sensitive neighborhood concerns

  • Use updated data and research to predict problems and incorporate Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to reduce crime

  • Continue to use the RCPD RESET Coordinator as a liaison between the police department and the community

  • Improve neighborhood contact with the RPD Crime Prevention Unit and encourage stronger neighborhood watch programs

  • Institute community walks that include area citizens and an interdisciplinary group of City service representatives, including city planners, code enforcement, police, fire/ems, and schools

Action Items:

  • Ensure Fire-EMS plans provide for services to meet desired response times and level of service across the City and address specific needs for vulnerable populations

  • Update disaster recovery and preparedness plans to consider effects of climate change

  • Assess current disaster recovery and preparedness plans for adequate coverage of vulnerable populations including preparation for emergencies, contingencies for public facility shutdowns, and communication methods during emergencies

  • Create a strong communication system with hospitals and health care providers in preparation for pandemics and other public health emergencies

  • Continue collaboration between neighboring localities for delivery of Fire and EMS services

Action Items:

  • Review, update, and readopt the Complete Streets Policy and the Street Design Guidelines

  • Consider general reductions in speed limits throughout the City, particularly in neighborhood settings

  • Redesign and retrofit streets to encourage slower and more appropriate vehicle speeds for the context

  • Improve street lighting as needed to increase the sense of safety and encourage pedestrian activity

  • Identify areas with high pedestrian activity in community plans and recommend appropriate infrastructure such as sidewalks, paths, lighting, and crosswalks to provide pedestrian safety and comfort

Action Items:

  • Administer building maintenance codes as a remedial strategy for improving building conditions, and as a preventative strategy to halt further decline of Roanoke’s well-designed but aging residential buildings

  • Continue and enhance rehabilitation programs to improve existing housing conditions and construction programs to provide safe new housing in core neighborhoods (such as the various programs provided by the members of the Roanoke Housing Partnership in CDBG target areas)

  • Consider new strategies for improving the safety of the City’s residential housing & institutional buildings as health sciences progress

  • Raise awareness of household risks through public outreach

  • Provide funding and incentives for household upgrades that reduce health risks

  • Consider ways to incorporate energy and environmental quality audits within the development review process

  • Assess and improve environmental quality of public and institutional buildings

Priority Three: Access to Health and Support Services

Access to Health and Support Services 0%

Action Items:

  • Improve public education of current health resources and develop new support services

  • Increase public awareness of domestic violence and other family issues and the availability of family services

  • Support development of adequate inpatient and outpatient medical and rehabilitation facilities for substance abuse or mental health disorders that are small in scale, accessible, and distributed across the City

  • Remove barriers to treatment, disease management, and support for those with substance abuse and mental health

  • Encourage educational programs that raise awareness of substance abuse and mental health

  • Explore therapeutic recreational programming

Actions Items:

  • Improve connections among local service providers for homeless people and people living in poverty

  • Expand after care resources for previously homeless individuals

  • Examine and address risk factors associated with substance abuse and mental health disorders

  • Consider Alternative-to-Incarceration programs for nonviolent offenders with substance abuse or mental health disorders

  • Create programs and incentives to help formerly incarcerated people move back into society, and remove the barriers to the same

Actions Items:

  • Support community assessments of gaps in the health networks that exist within the City

  • Support various programs and providers that service areas or individuals of need

Priority Four: Access to Affordable Healthy Food

Access to Affordable Healthy Food 0%

Action Items:

  • Incentivize affordable, healthy food grocers within food desert areas through partnerships and public funding

  • Support partnerships with nonprofit food providers and technology like ride sharing and delivery applications to expand food access

  • Continue the success of the Summer Feeding Program through Roanoke City Public Libraries, and extend it to include local food partners

  • Promote SNAP, TANF and other existing programs and incentivize the purchase and consumption of healthy foods

  • Partner with Roanoke City Schools to develop creative ways to encourage healthy eating at school and at home

  • Consider restrictions on convenience stores in food swamps that do not provide some level of fresh produce or create public safety concerns

Action Items:

  • Continue working with the RVARC and neighboring localities on regional food planning

  • Encourage local food production and urban agriculture

  • Improve food distribution infrastructure (markets, mobile produce vending, commercial kitchens, food hubs)

  • Support farm incubator programming in coordination with other regional stakeholders

  • Advocate for state policy that increases healthy food production and access

  • Create incentives for merchants to sell and promote healthy, local, fresh food options

  • Research urban agricultural practices and investigate ways to encourage and support context sensitive agriculture production and farming

Action Items:

  • Create more programming for nutrition education and meal preparation for a healthy diet

  • Incorporate nutrition, food, and health education into the curriculum of schools at all levels

  • Partner with nonprofits for educational events regarding local food services

Priority One: Sustainable Land Development

Sustainable Land Development 0%

Action Items:

  • Adopt a City Green Building and Site Design Standard that promotes durability, sustainability and environmental compliance in building materials, site design, landscaping, energy efficiency, and health during all stages of development

  • Improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency through creation of a City building benchmarking system defined by Department of Energy metrics and indoor air quality goals

  • Create incentives for green roofs on new buildings and retrofit of existing buildings

  • Continue to require pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure as part of new development plans to create a connected system

  • Remove all minimum parking requirements from the zoning code; adopt a simplified mechanism to control excessive parking (e.g., maximum coverage)

  • Encourage development that respects natural topography

  • Use innovative practices to promote compact development

  • Implement new measures of oversight to ensure development standards are properly maintained over time

Action Items:

  • Implement tax credits for reducing pre-existing parking lots/impervious surface

  • Implement tax credits for utilizing renewable energy or increasing energy efficiency

  • Identify and promote ways for Historic property owners to adapt to green building standards

  • Encourage building benchmarks at point of sale

  • Incentivize compliance with the City Green Building and Site Design Standard

  • Improve knowledge of green building opportunities through public education and outreach

  • Implement new measures of oversight to ensure improvements are properly maintained over time

Action Items:

  • Protect and promote native plant species in landscaping requirements and as part of projects in sensitive lands or natural habitats

  • Identify sensitive lands, natural habitats, and species within the City and create practices to protect and encourage connections between them

  • Continue to update the River and Creek Overlay District and maintain riparian corridors as part of the City’s natural habitats and sensitive lands

  • Assess parks for conversion of underused turfgrass areas to new forested areas

Action Items:

  • Encourage development that is oriented to waterways

  • Incentivize private recreation and civic yard space through development standards

  • Identify and incentivize preservation of quality green space in development projects

Action Items:

  • Remove minimum parking requirements

  • Encourage space saving parking measures, such as shared parking and parking decks, through incentives and zoning requirements

  • Increase permeability requirements as part of parking standards (.e.g, permeable pavers, infiltration strips, rain gardens)

  • Replace dated standards, such as impervious surface ratio, with measures that reduce impervious surface while encouraging desired compact development patterns

  • Update development standards to increase permeability for existing large areas of impervious surface, especially in industrial and commercial districts

  • Incentivize replacement of impervious surface with permeable material

  • Use a land tax to discourage excess impervious surface

  • Encourage parking lots to be removed or repurposed into civic space, green space, and other interactive uses

  • When impervious surface is unavoidable, promote disconnection and permeable pavers to reduce storm drain runoff

Priority Two: Tree Stewardship

Tree Stewardship 0%

Action Items:

  • Increase funding for the City’s urban forestry program

  • Expand and improve the City’s tree planting program

  • Assess parks for conversion of underused turfgrass areas to new forested areas

  • Achieve recognition beyond that of a “Tree City”

  • Create an incentive program for residential tree planting

  • Perform a tree assessment and promote tree planting in areas with less coverage to encourage even distribution of canopy

  • Create a healthy and diverse tree canopy through the City tree list and tree assessments

  • Increase tree planting requirements with consideration to “right-tree-right-place” in streetscape improvements and developments with large areas of impervious surface

Action Items:

  • Fund maintenance and protection of the City’s existing and growing tree stock

  • Promote tree education certification for businesses and utilities within the City (Right tree right place)

  • Require tree education for appropriate City employees and contractors

  • Expand the influence and efforts of regional stewardship organizations such as Roanoke Tree Stewards, Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, Trail Crews, and other similar organizations

  • Engage in national environmental celebrations (Arbor Day and Earth day) citywide to increase resident education and involvement

  • Partner with schools and institutions for education opportunities and tree planting initiative

Action Items:

  • Encourage trees within close proximity to hardscaped areas

  • Promote tree canopy adjacent to watercourses

  • Monitor adherence to landscape requirements and replacement of lost landscaping through various methods such as bonds

  • Protect mature trees in new development projects and assess ways to protect mature trees throughout the City

  • Revise development standards to ensure better growth and survival of trees and landscaping (e.g., interior tree planting requirements in conjunction with parking requirements)

  • Promote native tree species in landscape requirements

  • Assess ways to protect mature trees and overall tree canopy through various methods such as forest conservation plans

Priority Three: Water Resource Management

Water Resource Management 0%

Action Items:

  • Update design standards to reflect changes in rainfall intensity

  • Prioritize construction of BMPs over less sustainable stormwater infrastructure as part of City projects

  • Promote innovative practices in stormwater management

  • Ensure a systems approach that balances current capital improvement projects with future climate goals

Action Items:

  • Continue to foster collaboration between the Planning Department and Stormwater Division to ensure a comprehensive approach to the Stormwater Management Program

  • Create a green infrastructure metric in line with the Roanoke City Stormwater Management Program

  • Re-evaluate stormwater control measures and BMP’s to improve incentives for green infrastructure

  • Monitor and report percentage of green infrastructure projects annually

  • Review the stormwater manual and regulations with an expanded stakeholder group that includes the addition of representatives from zoning, utilities, and the commissioner of revenue

Action Items:

  • Amend state regulations so local nutrient credits are required to be used for mitigation projects in the Roanoke region

  • Explore methods to reduce the negative impacts of the stormwater credit system through stormwater fee evaluation and code changes

  • Increase visibility of stormwater fee

  • Tier stormwater fee to reflect individual impact on runoff and better incentivize stormwater reduction credits (i.e., apply it to paved areas but not productive buildings)

Action Items:

  • Conduct an overall study and planning document that assess flood potential, natural assets, land use, and other factors along our streams and rivers to develop consistent conservation strategies and appropriate development standards that minimize potential for damage

  • Improve the water quality of the Roanoke River and tributaries through flood management and pollution reduction, with a focus on the three primary pollutants, bacteria, sediment, and PCBs

  • Increase informal education and awareness efforts (e.g., artwork on storm drains)

  • Establish partnerships to create an adopt a storm drain program

  • Partner with Roanoke Outside, schools, and other organizations to increase outreach, education, and river access

  • Strategic acquisition of floodplain and/or better establishment of riparian buffers

  • Improve management of yard waste to mitigate negative impacts on the storm drain system, such as congestion and pollution

Action Items:

  • Promote a regular meeting on water management through WVWA members

  • Encourage water conservation and plan for a lasting water supply

Action Items:

  • Develop a floodplain management plan to determine appropriate future land use in flood prone areas

  • Perform regularly updated studies of storm frequency and intensity in order to maintain accurate data and predict potential changes in flooding

  • Expand the City’s Stormwater Utility Flood Mitigation Program in order to reduce repetitive flood losses and re-establish natural flood plains

  • Use greenways as a floodplain management tool

  • Protect the natural function of undeveloped floodplains

Priority Four: Clean Energy and Transportation

Clean Energy and Transportation 0%

Action Items:

  • Improve and expand incentives for the use of renewable energy

  • Expand solar electric power generation with measureable goals of kilowatt hours

  • Work with the Regional Transmission Organization to purchase renewable energy

Action Items:

  • Improve public outreach, education, access, and support of fixed renewable energy programs

  • Continue and expand the City’s tax incentive program for energy efficiency

  • Identify areas with potential for renewable energy generation to ensure cohesion with priorities for greenspace and increased tree canopy

  • Encourage development of renewable energy generation in underutilized spaces

Action Items:

  • Increase sidewalk connections and maintenance

  • Improve crosswalk safety (street design, cameras, lights, signs)

  • Update bicycle lanes and related facilities (e.g., bike boxes) to be painted and separated from vehicle traffic where infrastructure allows

  • Improve community transportation ratings for transit, walking, and cycling

  • Increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations through EV ready building incentives and find innovative ways to map their locations

  • Improve public transit to meet the needs of the community

  • Educate all transportation users on the various modes, with a focus on motorists’ education of pedestrian, scooter, and bicycle rights and safety

  • Increase law enforcement against dangerous driving behaviors and motorists that fail to yield to other modes of transportation

  • Provide education on safe routes to schools through RCPS

  • Expand energy efficient and emission reducing policies for management of city vehicles

  • Support technology, strategies, and businesses that improve access to more sustainable modes of transportation, such as Ride Solutions

Priority Five: Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation 0%

Action Items:

  • Strive for outdoor recreation accolades that are a best fit for the City

  • Increase marketing and programming for all age recreation within the City and surrounding areas

  • Build on partnerships and connections with the Park Service, Roanoke Outside, and the Appalachian Trail to better share resources

  • Market Roanoke as the largest urban area along the Blue Ridge Parkway and AT

  • Improve wayfinding within the City for visitor connections to outdoor recreation

  • Provide funding and capacity to meet recreational demand

Action Items:

  • Implement the steps outlined in the City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan

  • Ensure recreational spaces meet the needs of all residents, regardless of age or ability

  • Provide funding and capacity to ensure regular maintenance of all outdoor amenities

  • Explore options for urban camping and partnerships for developing a campground within or near the City

  • Increase walkable access to parks, greenways, and village centers for all residents (0.5 mile)

  • Maintain, expand, and enhance, trails and greenways (natural and paved), while protecting and reducing disturbance of vegetation

  • Incentivize new development to aid in establishment of recreational River access points

  • Expand and market the City’s blueway

  • Encourage appropriate, river-facing development along the Roanoke River

  • Improve access to the City’s blueway for water recreation through removal of low water bridges and increasing the number of access points

Action Items:

  • Extend greenways to surrounding localities

  • Partner to explore connections between City trails and the Appalachian Trail

  • Partner with local higher education institutions to develop outdoor and environmental programming and opportunities within the City

  • Partner with neighboring localities to identify and protect viewsheds

Priority Six: Clean and Beautiful City

Clean and Beautiful City 0%

Action Items:

  • Provide funding for equitable maintenance of all neighborhoods in all City service departments

  • Implement beautification programs along thoroughfares and medians

  • Ensure nuisance abatement codes are enforced equitably in all neighborhoods

  • Reduce visual clutter created by utilities and outdoor advertising

  • Empower citizens to create community driven programs that create a sense of pride in all neighborhoods

  • Participate in national beautification programs such as Keep America Beautiful

Action Items:

  • Enhance cleanliness and marketability of the Roanoke River and its tributaries

  • Provide various types of waste and recycling receptacles throughout the City and outdoor recreation areas

  • Identify and implement innovative litter and waste collection strategies

  • Support citizen led cleanup efforts

  • Improve awareness and enforcement of litter laws

  • Foster a culture of accountability and environmental stewardship

  • Continue City maintenance and cleanup of public spaces

Action Items:

  • Exceed state and local air quality standards

  • Reduce the number of impaired waterways within the City

  • Implement dark sky lighting measures in targeted areas

  • Better market the City’s Brownfield Redevelopment program

  • Increase protections for vulnerable populations when locating intensive uses

Action Items:

  • Incentivize business to use biodegradable and recyclable products

  • Explore opportunities for a city composting program

  • Increase access to public recycling bins

  • Continue to improve maintenance of City serviced waste disposal and recycling

  • Provide resident and business education on the City recycling program

  • Provide easily accessed “zero waste” options to citizens and businesses for all waste streams: solid, traditional recyclables, electronics and electrical materials, household hazardous materials, vegetative waste, etc.

Priority Seven: Green Convenience

Green Convenience 0%

Action Items:

  • Implement the steps outlined in the City’s Climate Action Plan

  • Require a level of green building certification for new public buildings

  • Require permeable surfaces for any City funded developments or improvements

  • Continue collaboration between City Departments to ensure projects meet sustainability goals during site plan review

  • Continue to create and exceed goals for sustainability, including reducing waste, emissions, and energy usage

  • Incorporate renewable energy in new lighting projects

Action Items:

  • Partner with school systems and educational institutions to provide environmental education

  • Create an environmental education center

  • Reinstate a permanent Clean and Green Committee to collaborate with nonprofits and businesses

  • Collaborate to continue and expand the operations and marketability of the Clean Valley Council

Action Items:

  • Advocate for state improvements to environmental policy, including financial support for the EPA and grant opportunities

  • Continue to seek the ability to implement a ban on plastic bags and single use wastes

  • Enact policies to reduce carbon footprints

Action Items:

  • Partner/consult with surrounding localities on policy

  • Attract and develop related environmental support industries within our Regional Planning District to promote sustainability research & technology innovations
Priority One: Growth Through Preservation and Context Sensitive Design

Growth Through Preservation and Context Sensitive Design 0%

Action Items:

  • Proposed development (infill development, alterations, renovations, and additions) should create or enhance a distinctive character that relates well to the surrounding community

  • Develop design standards reflective of the most-beloved examples of local community character

  • Increase compact development patterns in neighborhoods while retaining community character

  • Allow multiunit and cluster housing types that are compatible in scale and character with detached single-family homes

Action Items:

  • Protect rivers and streams through revised riparian buffer requirements

  • Increase tree canopy requirements

  • Incentivize trees and neighborhood beautification

  • Update the zoning ordinance to include best-practice development standards that preserve important natural areas

Action Items:

  • Develop and update a citywide preservation plan

  • Assist historic property owners to obtain historic tax and building renovation credits

  • Review and revise Architectural Design Guidelines to improve clarity and respond to new technologies and materials

  • Continue to designate future buildings, sites, and districts through the Certified Local Government program

Action Items:

  • Support significant development projects when supported by the neighborhood

  • Incentivize rehabilitation of underutilized buildings

  • Evaluate incentives for reuse of existing buildings, tax abatement, and relief of water and sewer tap fees

Priority Two: Complete Neighborhoods

Complete Neighborhoods 0%

Action Items:

  • Regularly update neighborhood plans every ten years, evaluating and recommending specific opportunities for complete neighborhoods, future land use, placemaking, housing, economic development, connectivity, and open space

  • Involve neighborhood organizations, civic groups, and businesses in the development and implementation of neighborhood plans

  • Prioritize plans for neighborhoods identified as potential target areas for community development funding

Action Items:

  • Identify and prioritize potential neighborhood center areas to target support

  • Develop a strategy for improving existing neighborhood centers, redeveloping underutilized centers, and creating new centers in key locations in the neighborhood planning process

  • Allow a wide variety of housing, employment, shopping, recreation, and transportation options within each neighborhood center

  • Cluster community-serving facilities within neighborhood centers to increase accessibility for all

  • Use the public realm to create unique features within each neighborhood center that serve as a focal point for the area

Action Items:

  • Create a transportation mobility plan prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle accommodations

  • Update and adopt street design guidelines prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle accommodations

  • Prioritize capital improvement projects to address neighborhood center areas

  • Strengthen streetscape connections between neighborhood centers and surrounding residential areas by: installing missing sidewalks, crosswalks, and shared use paths, and upgrading pedestrian infrastructure in poor condition

  • Create pedestrian area plans with right-of-way improvements tailored to the surrounding development context

  • Increase multimodal accessibility within neighborhoods

  • Provide signage linking community areas

Action Items:

  • Require all new and major redevelopment of commercial corridors and commercial centers to complement and transition well into the surrounding neighborhoods

  • Allow a wide variety of uses that serve surrounding neighborhoods along with the broader community

  • Provide multimodal connections from neighborhoods to, along, and through the commercial corridor and/or large commercial center

Priority Three: Interactive Spaces

Interactive Spaces 0%

Action Items:

  • Use the public realm to create unique features within each neighborhood center such as plazas, squares, and enhanced pedestrian areas that serve as focal points for the area

  • Public spaces should be designed to support multiple activities, be comfortable for both individuals and groups, provide seating opportunities and appropriate lighting, and be accessible for users of all abilities

  • Public spaces should be easily accessible by all modes of transportation

  • Paths along which pedestrians move should be safe and engaging

  • Promote partnerships to assist in the development of interactive spaces

Action Items:

  • Public spaces should include common and useable open space surrounded by active uses

  • Public spaces should be designed to support multiple activities, be comfortable for both individuals and groups, provide seating opportunities and appropriate lighting, and be accessible for users of all abilities

  • Require wide sidewalks in commercial areas

Action Items:

  • Implement the Roanoke Parks and Recreation Master Plan

  • Create parks so that citizens are within a 10 minute walk of a park

  • Promote partnerships to assist in the development of park spaces

Priority Four: Housing

Housing 0%

Action Items:

  • Perform a housing study to look at trends, needs, and current conditions of housing in the City

  • Incentivize development that includes affordability, accessibility, and context sensitive design components

  • Develop programs that enable homeowners to make continual investments to keep homes safe, accessible, and well maintained

  • Continue to allocate HOME and CDBG funds to non-profit affordable housing developers for new housing and renovation of existing housing for low income homeowners and tenants

  • Prioritize funding to affordable housing near neighborhood centers

Action Items:

  • Maintain effective code enforcement operations

  • Maintain effective relationships with neighborhoods to share ways to maintain properties

  • Continue to support the city’s rental inspection program and consider program expansion to cover new housing types/arrangements, as appropriate

Action Items:

  • Consider ways to introduce different housing types into neighborhoods that lack housing diversity while being mindful of and responsive to concerns about neighborhood character, design, and maintenance

  • Study the locations and characteristics of exemplary Missing Middle housing examples (local) that successfully fit into a neighborhood setting.  Use those findings to guide policies and standards for creating multiunit housing types in neighborhood settings

  • Encourage the development of larger Missing Middle housing buildings near neighborhood centers and along commercial corridors

  • Explore opportunities for alternative living arrangements, such as group living and co-housing, near neighborhood centers

  • Permit accessory dwelling units in all residential zones

Priority Five: Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture 0%

Action Items:

  • Implement and update the Arts and Cultural Plan

  • Include art, culture, and history as an element of all future neighborhood plans

  • Incentivize art as a part of development and redevelopment projects

  • Include public art as part of all public facilities, public spaces, and streetscape improvement projects

  • Develop public art projects within neighborhood centers

Action Items:

  • Allow artist studio and arts center use in all multipurpose districts

  • Create a formal mural program process

Priority Six: Interconnected Transportation System

Interconnected Transportation System 0%

Action Items:

  • Prioritize pedestrian, bicycle, and transit accommodations in and between neighborhood centers

  • Support seamless paratransit service

  • Implement the greenway plan to provide off-street transportation paths as part of a complete transportation network

Action Items:

  • Transit routes should connect and serve neighborhood centers and other activity areas in the City

  • Proposed future land use in community plans should emphasize more intensive development in the proximity of transit routes

Action Items:

  • Coordinate bus routes with the location of neighborhood centers and other activity areas

  • Improve and maintain transit stops with amenities such as shelters, posted schedules, benches, bike racks, and trash cans along all routes, prioritizing highest used routes first

  • Extend service hours to include each day of the week

  • Require right-of-way or easements for bus shelters in development and redevelopment

Priority Seven: Complete Streets

Complete Streets 0%

Action Items:

  • Update Street Design Guidelines to prioritize the pedestrian and bicycle experience within neighborhoods

  • Align capital improvement program, neighborhood planning, and development standards to expand complete streets

  • Coordinate street improvements between various departments

  • Expand programs to allow temporary closure of streets for public use more frequently

  • Encourage common parking areas to enable access to multiple places/uses

Action Items:

  • Conduct and maintain a sidewalk and crosswalk inventory

  • Require sidewalk construction or replacement along streets and for circulation between buildings and activity areas as part of all development projects, unless scale is minimal

  • Improve pedestrian systems through planting shade trees, adding pedestrian scale lights, and street furniture

  • Increase funding for pedestrian system improvements

Action Items:

  • Expand, improve, and maintain on-street bicycle networks

  • Expand the use of bike lanes to include other slow moving vehicles such as scooters, electric bicycles, etc.

  • Revise the zoning ordinance to require bicycle parking

  • Increase the number of bicycle racks in neighborhood centers to provide on-street bicycle parking

  • Increase funding for bicycle network improvements

Action Items:

  • Create and implement the Vision Zero Action Plan to reduce injury and death

  • Base design standards for motorized vehicular systems around typical system usage throughout year, not peak periods

Action Items:

  • Encourage multimodal education within the school system

  • Request increasing multimodal education requirements within state driver education requirements

  • Provide multimodal education to residents within the City

Priority Eight: Improve Infrastructure

Improve Infrastructure 0%

Action Items:

  • Increase funding to support identified and prioritized needs from other plans and policies

  • Extend primary utility services (e.g., water, sewer, gas) to all parts of the city to provide reliable services and support development

  • Increase access to broadband

  • Adequate wireless service throughout the City consistent with the Wireless Telecommunications Policy

Action Items:

  • Identify available, timely, and appropriate public data

  • Develop systems or processes to analyze that data to support decision making

Action Items:

  • Continue to require new utility services to be located or relocated underground

  • Assess feasibility of relocating utilities underground as part of large streetscape and road construction projects

  • Minimize the size and number of free standing signs

  • Implement and periodically update the city’s Wireless Telecommunications Facility Policy to encourage the use of various stealth and small cell technology
Priority One: Regional Collaboration

Regional Collaboration 0%

Action Items:

  • Support regional marketing by Virginia’s Blue Ridge

  • Continue to support the Roanoke Regional Partnership’s outdoors branding work

Action Items:

  • The planning commissions of the region’s governments should convene annually to discuss issues of mutual concern and identify areas for collaboration

  • Establish regular staff-level meetings among departmental peers in Roanoke County, Salem, and Vinton to establish and maintain relationships, discuss common issues and identify ways to collaborate on improved services for citizens

Action Items:

  • Request the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission to initiate a study to review the public services and civic amenities of the region and publish a report documenting existing regional approaches and recommending potential new partnerships or consolidations

  • Seek modification of the independent city relationship and other state policies that inhibit regional cooperation

Priority Two: Plan and Think Regionally

Plan and Think Regionally 0%

Action Items:

  • Participate in regional transportation planning through the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization

  • Develop plans at the regional level

  • Where plans are locally-focused, they should have a regional element that consider the greater context, with special attention given to regional land use patterns. Plans should identify growth areas, work to prevent sprawl, and balance the supply of commercially-zoned land.

Priority One: Promote Broad Diversity in the Economy

Promote Broad Diversity in the Economy 0%

Action Items:

  • Analyze the industry segmented location quotients of Roanoke and compare them to other economic centers of relative size

  • Create a Comprehensive Economic Development Plan that will work with regional partners to identify target industries and businesses, identify current best practices for recruitment, retention, and outline a strategy for their implementation

  • Explore new business location technologies, such as multimedia or map-based web services, that can easily provide information to the business and development community on available sites and developable areas

  • Designate a lead agency to coordinate programs, resources, and planning for development of technology businesses

  • Create a web site that promotes Roanoke to technology companies including information about available space, communication infrastructure, and links to other technology resources

Action Items:

  • Promote and market Roanoke’s cultural, historic, recreational, educational, transportation and environmental assets

Action Items:

  • Support co-locating facilities and incubator spaces that enable sharing of space and facilities to stimulate local business and entrepreneurship

  • Promote and Sponsor events or award competitions that encourage development of new technology, governance and engagement methods

  • Engage businesses to understand the support resources needed in order to expand operations and employment

Action Items:

  • Ensure transportation infrastructure is maintained to provide a high level of mobility to support business activity, such as efficient movement of both products and employees into and out of our region

  • Support the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport master plan

  • Develop competitive fiber-optic networks in the Region

  • Provide entrepreneurial support for small businesses

  • Support a business networking community

Action Items:

  • Allow for and encourage experimentation and innovation – including potential changes to City policies and practices – consistent with City goals and priorities of the Innovation Corridor, including development, sustainability, job creation, entrepreneurship,  and equity

  • Support innovative approaches to energy efficiency, parking, transportation, construction, and redevelopment

  • Support new development and redevelopment opportunities that align with and enhance the Innovation Corridor’s initiatives, including, housing, sustainable infrastructure, creation or preservation of green space, and job creation initiatives

  • Support Innovation Corridor approaches to energy, storm water management, parking management, and waste management

Priority Two: Establish Stronger Economic Ties to Our Regional Partners

Establish Stronger Economic Ties to Our Regional Partners 0%

Action Items:

  • Support the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy framework of roles and responsibilities

  • Implement a customer relationship management tool to ensure development and maintenance of relationships with regional developers, brokers, site selectors and state and regional organizations

  • Host forums with developers, brokers and other target audiences in order to promote the region and discuss regional development strategy

Action Items:

  • Form stronger collaborative economic development partnerships involving leaders from both the public and private sectors that encourage companies, colleges, and secondary schools to work together

  • Support the informal regional and institutional networks, such as university alumni associations, to aid in facilitating knowledge transfer and networking opportunities

Action Items:

  • Identify areas for tourism, such as the Downtown Roanoke Tourism Zone, to provide incentives that attract investments and private companies in these areas

  • Support Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge’s efforts to attract additional conferences to the City

  • Work with Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge to support and promote local businesses in marketing efforts

  • Encourage development of Downtown lodging and construction of new hotels in order to support the growth of events, conferences, and tourism

    • Promote community events as economic opportunities and aspects of community identity

Priority Three: Conversion of Underperforming Commercial and Industrial Areas

Conversion of Underperforming Commercial and Industrial Areas 0%

Action Items:

  • Create partnerships with private redevelopment entities to plan and implement redevelopment strategies

  • Support development of a land bank and land trust to acquire and convert property to productive uses

  • Identify and approach landowners in underperforming commercial areas and pursue partnerships to facilitate redevelopment

  • Create an inventory of areas warranting acquisition and redevelopment during the neighborhood/area planning process

  • Use brownfields grants and other resources to clean up these sites if needed

  • Prioritize support for businesses identified as potential regional industry clusters
  • Implement an Opportunity Zone Strategy Plan and Prospectus

Action Items:

  • Explore real estate tax models that use land value or a combination of land and building values to promote smart growth tactics, prevent land speculation, discourage derelict properties, and encourage rehabilitation and redevelopment

Action Items:

  • Continue to encourage revitalization of commercial corridors through major streetscape improvements, landscaping, formal open spaces, and transportation network connectivity

  • Continue to accelerate redevelopment activity along commercial corridors through performance-based incentives such as, Job Creation Incentives, Rehabilitation Incentives, Demolition Assistance Program, Beautification Grants, ground breaking/grand opening ceremonies, and public announcements that allow our citizens to recognize the economic growth within the City

  • Emphasize Corridor Planning as part of the neighborhood planning process

  • Conduct regular reassessments of local enterprise zone designations and the package of incentives provided to maximize geographic impact and economic benefit

  • Locate trade schools, workforce  training centers, and other employment services within and adjacent to neighborhoods where they are needed

  • Create a toolkit for incentivizing redevelopment of failed commercial properties ripe for redevelopment

Action Items:

  • Remove the ability to request land consumptive, passive uses from the City’s commercial areas, particularly along commercial corridors

  • Encourage more neighborhood commercial zoning around targeted “village centers” that is compatible with the City of Roanoke’s character and vision

  • Examine parking requirements attached with zoning use classifications in order to reduce the amount of unused parking

Action Items:

  • Avoid adding to the oversupply of general commercial and industrial land and closely scrutinize land use requests that add to the supply of such zones

  • Revisit the individual purpose statements of the multiple-purpose Districts in the Zoning Ordinance

Priority Four: Local Business Development

Local Business Development 0%

Action Items:

  • Provide special outreach and education for local business owners about resources including incentives, façade grants, partnership opportunities, etc.

  • Create a guidebook or website for small business owners with clear, simple explanations of how to navigate permitting, licensing, and regulatory processes, with relevant contact information

  • Favor local growth over recruitment efforts and incentives aimed toward drawing national or large-region chains

  • Work with strategic partners to create and enhance business networking programs, including regular roundtables for local businesses

  • Implement a robust business visitation program, complete with strategic goals and objectives, roles, responsibilities and performance metrics, for the specific purpose of encouraging local business growth

  • Support a strong year round local shopping campaign that encourages residents to shop in the City, particularly downtown, and highlights the opportunities, choices, and value of shopping locally

  • Encourage businesses to expand operations for import substitution efforts, manufacturing a vital resource locally, when possible, instead of importing

Action Items:

  • Prioritize or provide additional points for local businesses when contracting City purchasing agreements

  • Encourage purchases from both minority and women owned businesses in local government contracts

Action Items:

  • Provide details on available resources for business recovery and strive to provide the information in multiple languages

  • Use lessons learned to prepare for sudden disruptions due to a variety of causes

Priority Five: Align Economic Development with Workforce Development Systems

Align Economic Development with Workforce Development Systems 0%

Action Items:

  • Use cluster analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses within the region’s workforce

  • Use innovative strategies to develop and connect qualified talent with the specialized needs of employers

  • Work with the Roanoke Regional Partnership to connect young professionals and interns with emerging businesses to enhance recruitment efforts, skills, and knowledge in the City

  • Create “Centers of Excellence” where businesses and industry experts can collaborate with educators to become teachers and workforce training leaders

  • Facilitate cross-organizational projects to provide best practices for workforce training

  • Support training for those who have lost jobs due to automation, outsourcing, and other measures

Priority Six: Support Local Community Development

Support Local Community Development 0%

Action Items:

  • Provide funding to organizations as partners in providing critical community services

  • Expand business resources and partnerships with community organization to maximize the benefit of public funding

  • Support financial empowerment centers and other community financial education centers in the City

Amendments to the City’s Zoning Code are scheduled to be heard by the Roanoke City Planning Commission on October 11th, 2021. More details, including how to participate, can be found on the Planning Commission’s webpage.

The text amendments will complete the following actions of City Plan 2040:

  • Harmony with Nature | Priority One: Sustainable Land Development

    Policy 5: Reduce impervious surface through development requirements

    • Action Item: Remove minimum parking requirements
  • Interwoven Equity | Priority Three: Neighborhood Choice

    Policy 3: Enable a range of housing types in each part of the community to achieve inclusive, livable neighborhoods that prosper over time

    • Action Item: Permit accessory dwelling units in all residential zones
  • City Design | Land Use | Priority: Design for Permanence

    Policy 2: Promote development patterns that contribute to places of enduring value

  • City Design | Land Use | Priority: Purposeful Land Use

    Policy 2: Encourage active, productive uses of land and preclude unproductive uses of land

  • Text amendments will also include electric vehicle charging stations and solar energy facilities as accessory uses. These amendments will take action towards policies within the Harmony with Nature theme.

Priority One: Trust

Trust 7%

Action Items:

  • Review and eliminate City codes and policies based on explicit or implicit biases, and advocate the same approach for state laws and policies

  • Advocate for criminal justice reforms that address systemic and interrelated issues of our time such as mass incarceration, militarization of police, implicit bias, school–to-prison pipeline, the war on drugs, and mandatory sentencing

  • Enable complete neighborhoods to develop within the framework of the zoning code, providing access to affordable housing, services, and employment

  • Ensure the diversity of advisory and decision-making bodies reflects the diversity of Roanoke

Action Items:

  • Create an office or Council-appointed commission that evaluates existing and proposed policies through an equity lens

  • Initiate community dialog on equity and community issues

  • Develop an educational component in schools on the historical experience of African Americans in Roanoke and embrace statewide changes to history curricula that accurately depicts the Civil War and Reconstruction

  • Build capacity (ability and experience) for neighborhood-based organizations to carry out or direct appropriate community improvements and services

  • Complete visible community-identified public facility improvements to demonstrate commitment, especially those that were previously recommended in neighborhood plans

  • Commit to ensuring that the diversity of City staff, commissions, and boards reflects the diversity of Roanoke and require the same of larger community organizations the City supports financially

Action Items:

  • Create a commission that focuses on evaluating policies through an equity lens

  • Create equity measures or requirements for each theme within the Comprehensive Plan and compare with peer cities

  • Develop an equity lens for policy and regulation review at the staff level and research best practices to create accountability within government, for example Government Alliance on Race and Equity

  • Create an office that coordinates government actions and reviews policy and regulation to determine their effect on equity in the community

  • Inventory and report projects completed in CDBG eligible target neighborhoods

Priority Two: Break the Cycle of Poverty

Break the Cycle of Poverty 0%

Action Items:

  • Inventory central area commercial and industrial districts to develop strategies and incentives for redevelopment

  • Create accessible information about starting a business

  • Create programs to facilitate new business startups by local entrepreneurs

  • Provide incentives for new business development in core districts

  • Ensure incentives are conditioned on living wage job creation

Action Items:

  • Support programs that help people deal with multiple issues holistically through referrals to the varied forms of support an individual may need

  • Ensure preventive mechanisms are in place for helping at-risk people to prevent more serious issues (e.g., underemployment, homelessness, health issues, and unsafe housing conditions)

  • Make gateways to services accessible in neighborhoods (such as in libraries and schools)

  • Prioritize employment preparation and workforce development for groups that need more support

  • Ensure convenient access to employment networks (build social capital)

  • Support and improve financial literacy services

  • Connect the Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness with the Police and other City staff to better serve people who are experiencing homelessness

Action Items:

  • Attract and retain highly qualified, diverse teachers who want to teach in an urban environment including recruitment from historically black colleges and universities

  • Provide salary incentives to retain talent in schools with greater need

  • Continue programs that provide focused opportunities to at-risk students

  • Provide high-quality supportive services in schools (e.g., medical services, mental health services, nutrition)

Action Items:

  • Continue our partnerships with institutions of higher learning in our area

  • Expand opportunities for virtual education to help provide a variety of opportunities for children

  • Attract and retain highly qualified administrative leaders and top-notch educators

  • Strengthen joint partnerships with the Roanoke City Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, Roanoke Fire and EMS, Department of Social Services, and mental health agencies to continue to improve safety

  • Identify and cultivate collaborative opportunities with businesses, non-profits, community organizations, and faith-based organizations within each school neighborhood

  • Support the Roanoke City Public Schools Strategic Plan

Priority Three: Neighborhood Choice

Neighborhood Choice 0%

Action Items:

  • Reconsider housing policies rooted in racial segregation efforts such as exclusionary zoning districts that exclude all but single-family houses

  • Work to reduce tenure bias, that is, the favoring of owner-occupants over renter occupants, by reviewing City policy and plans to eliminate such bias

  • Ensure the Fair Housing Board is active in removing barriers by providing community education, paired testing, and assessment of barriers to housing choice

Action Items:

  • Review and reexamine how and where zoning codes permit group care facilities and group homes providing housing and supportive services and support distribution of such housing in neighborhood settings dispersed throughout the City

  • Continue housing first programs and test other innovative housing approaches

  • Improve connections among local service providers for the homeless and those experiencing poverty

  • Expand/extend after care resources for previously homeless individuals

  • Inventory the existing group care/transitional living facilities; disperse such facilities and amend policy as needed to meet the needs of the community

  • Support and improve financial literacy services

  • Better promote and improve literacy action

Action Items:

  • Assemble a package of greenlining resources such as down payment assistance, access to fair credit for mortgages, housing finance counseling, and Live Near Your Work  incentives

Action Items:

  • Develop a housing plan as a component of the comprehensive plan

  • Ensure affordable housing is available in all neighborhoods in the city

  • Promote complete neighborhoods, so all neighborhoods have a broad range of housing types, including multifamily housing

  • Pursue legislative opportunities to increase affordable housing options and opportunities

  • Incentivize housing that is affordable and/or is built with universal design standards

Action Items:

  • Maintain vigilance by monitoring data to identify emerging gentrification patterns

  • Put decision-making about neighborhood improvements at the neighborhood level. Consider intensive public deliberation processes to determine neighborhood improvement priorities

  • Use funds to rehabilitate existing housing stock to help current residents remain in their home

  • Support the development or rehabilitation of affordable rental housing

  • Educate community on the Homestead Exemption law

Priority Four: Inclusive Culture

Inclusive Culture 0%

Action Items:

  • Sponsor opportunities for learning and discussion about the root causes of discrimination and how to address those issues

  • Create opportunities for open dialogue among residents from all neighborhoods

  • Provide educational opportunities to help community leaders become champions in their communities

  • Promote dialogue with nonprofits and businesses on equity, diversity, and inclusion

  • Consider inclusiveness and diversity when programming city-supported events

  • Engage immigrant and refugee populations in community organizations

  • Celebrate community successes

Action Items:

  • Provide training on equity and coalition building

  • Use public deliberation techniques for informed decision making by citizens

  • Facilitate connections among neighborhood leaders

  • Continue grant funding to support neighborhood organizations

  • Develop neighborhood-level capacity to decide and implement neighborhood improvements

  • Ensure neighborhood engagement in civic governance

Priority Five: Service Delivery

Service Delivery 0%

Action Items:

  • Employ best practices to promote available services in order to reach all residents regardless of age and income

  • Consider neighborhood-based service information in civic facilities like libraries

  • Support information and referral programs that help people connect with the resources they need

  • Ensure government meetings are accessible at convenient times and there are accommodations for disabled people, and when appropriate, provide multiple opportunities for engagement by holding multiple meetings in neighborhood settings (such as at libraries), at different times of day

  • Provide programs that help educate residents on City services and processes such as the Mayor’s Starting a Business Summit, Leadership College, and the Roanoke Planning Academy

  • Develop Spanish language versions of informational programs and online content

Action Items:

  • Ensure services are accessible by transit (i.e., on or near a route)

  • Provide services in neighborhoods with mobile units or by rotating services among libraries or other community facilities

  • Convene community walks with residents and government service providers to establish communication and information-sharing (e.g., police, fire and EMS, planning/code enforcement, parks and recreation, teachers/school staff, etc.)

Action Items:

  • Consider CDBG target neighborhoods as priorities for infrastructure improvements (e.g., sidewalks, curbs, streets, storm drainage, bike lanes, greenways, and street trees)

  • Consider CDBG target neighborhoods as priorities for improvements to public facilities (e.g., fire stations, libraries, schools, parks, recreation centers, and other community services)

Priority One: Wellness

Wellness 0%

Action Items:

  • Adopt a Health in all Policies approach where community health is considered in all significant policy decisions

  • Establish an advisory body to guide and assess the City’s policies as they relate to community health

  • Develop a community health plan with specific priorities, policies, actions, and data measurement related to health in the City

  • Consider representation from health professions on boards and commissions

  • Partner with Healthy Roanoke Valley and the organizational partners to focus on improving social determinants of health

Action Items:

  • Create a central resource hub that provides access to health information, tools, and resources

  • Initiate community education programs on food preparation, exercise, tobacco cessation, obesity, diabetes, etc.

  • Push health services and information out to neighborhoods through mobile events, in libraries, and at other community facilities

Action Items:

  • Address age, condition, and equitable distribution of current recreation centers

  • Facilitate shared use of schools and other institutional facilities for recreational activities

  • Provide a comprehensive network of greenways, trails, blueways, and parks

Action Items:

  • Improve opportunities for social connection by providing public gathering spaces

  • Encourage and enable integration of senior-oriented housing and other group care or living arrangements in neighborhood settings including co-housing

  • Partner with local groups and nonprofits to improve social connections and networks for older adults and disabled populations. Create and support intergenerational social connection through volunteer programs and events

  • Support and strengthen neighborhood associations and their efforts for community engagement

Priority Two: Safety

Safety 0%

Action Items:

  • Engage communities in developing policing strategies

  • Improve education for patrol officers through third party training sessions that address sensitive neighborhood concerns

  • Use updated data and research to predict problems and incorporate Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to reduce crime

  • Continue to use the RCPD RESET Coordinator as a liaison between the police department and the community

  • Improve neighborhood contact with the RPD Crime Prevention Unit and encourage stronger neighborhood watch programs

  • Institute community walks that include area citizens and an interdisciplinary group of City service representatives, including city planners, code enforcement, police, fire/ems, and schools

Action Items:

  • Ensure Fire-EMS plans provide for services to meet desired response times and level of service across the City and address specific needs for vulnerable populations

  • Update disaster recovery and preparedness plans to consider effects of climate change

  • Assess current disaster recovery and preparedness plans for adequate coverage of vulnerable populations including preparation for emergencies, contingencies for public facility shutdowns, and communication methods during emergencies

  • Create a strong communication system with hospitals and health care providers in preparation for pandemics and other public health emergencies

  • Continue collaboration between neighboring localities for delivery of Fire and EMS services

Action Items:

  • Review, update, and readopt the Complete Streets Policy and the Street Design Guidelines

  • Consider general reductions in speed limits throughout the City, particularly in neighborhood settings

  • Redesign and retrofit streets to encourage slower and more appropriate vehicle speeds for the context

  • Improve street lighting as needed to increase the sense of safety and encourage pedestrian activity

  • Identify areas with high pedestrian activity in community plans and recommend appropriate infrastructure such as sidewalks, paths, lighting, and crosswalks to provide pedestrian safety and comfort

Action Items:

  • Administer building maintenance codes as a remedial strategy for improving building conditions, and as a preventative strategy to halt further decline of Roanoke’s well-designed but aging residential buildings

  • Continue and enhance rehabilitation programs to improve existing housing conditions and construction programs to provide safe new housing in core neighborhoods (such as the various programs provided by the members of the Roanoke Housing Partnership in CDBG target areas)

  • Consider new strategies for improving the safety of the City’s residential housing & institutional buildings as health sciences progress

  • Raise awareness of household risks through public outreach

  • Provide funding and incentives for household upgrades that reduce health risks

  • Consider ways to incorporate energy and environmental quality audits within the development review process

  • Assess and improve environmental quality of public and institutional buildings

Priority Three: Access to Health and Support Services

Access to Health and Support Services 0%

Action Items:

  • Improve public education of current health resources and develop new support services

  • Increase public awareness of domestic violence and other family issues and the availability of family services

  • Support development of adequate inpatient and outpatient medical and rehabilitation facilities for substance abuse or mental health disorders that are small in scale, accessible, and distributed across the City

  • Remove barriers to treatment, disease management, and support for those with substance abuse and mental health

  • Encourage educational programs that raise awareness of substance abuse and mental health

  • Explore therapeutic recreational programming

Actions Items:

  • Improve connections among local service providers for homeless people and people living in poverty

  • Expand after care resources for previously homeless individuals

  • Examine and address risk factors associated with substance abuse and mental health disorders

  • Consider Alternative-to-Incarceration programs for nonviolent offenders with substance abuse or mental health disorders

  • Create programs and incentives to help formerly incarcerated people move back into society, and remove the barriers to the same

Actions Items:

  • Support community assessments of gaps in the health networks that exist within the City

  • Support various programs and providers that service areas or individuals of need

Priority Four: Access to Affordable Healthy Food

Access to Affordable Healthy Food 0%

Action Items:

  • Incentivize affordable, healthy food grocers within food desert areas through partnerships and public funding

  • Support partnerships with nonprofit food providers and technology like ride sharing and delivery applications to expand food access

  • Continue the success of the Summer Feeding Program through Roanoke City Public Libraries, and extend it to include local food partners

  • Promote SNAP, TANF and other existing programs and incentivize the purchase and consumption of healthy foods

  • Partner with Roanoke City Schools to develop creative ways to encourage healthy eating at school and at home

  • Consider restrictions on convenience stores in food swamps that do not provide some level of fresh produce or create public safety concerns

Action Items:

  • Continue working with the RVARC and neighboring localities on regional food planning

  • Encourage local food production and urban agriculture

  • Improve food distribution infrastructure (markets, mobile produce vending, commercial kitchens, food hubs)

  • Support farm incubator programming in coordination with other regional stakeholders

  • Advocate for state policy that increases healthy food production and access

  • Create incentives for merchants to sell and promote healthy, local, fresh food options

  • Research urban agricultural practices and investigate ways to encourage and support context sensitive agriculture production and farming

Action Items:

  • Create more programming for nutrition education and meal preparation for a healthy diet

  • Incorporate nutrition, food, and health education into the curriculum of schools at all levels

  • Partner with nonprofits for educational events regarding local food services

Priority One: Sustainable Land Development

Sustainable Land Development 0%

Action Items:

  • Adopt a City Green Building and Site Design Standard that promotes durability, sustainability and environmental compliance in building materials, site design, landscaping, energy efficiency, and health during all stages of development

  • Improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency through creation of a City building benchmarking system defined by Department of Energy metrics and indoor air quality goals

  • Create incentives for green roofs on new buildings and retrofit of existing buildings

  • Continue to require pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure as part of new development plans to create a connected system

  • Remove all minimum parking requirements from the zoning code; adopt a simplified mechanism to control excessive parking (e.g., maximum coverage)

  • Encourage development that respects natural topography

  • Use innovative practices to promote compact development

  • Implement new measures of oversight to ensure development standards are properly maintained over time

Action Items:

  • Implement tax credits for reducing pre-existing parking lots/impervious surface

  • Implement tax credits for utilizing renewable energy or increasing energy efficiency

  • Identify and promote ways for Historic property owners to adapt to green building standards

  • Encourage building benchmarks at point of sale

  • Incentivize compliance with the City Green Building and Site Design Standard

  • Improve knowledge of green building opportunities through public education and outreach

  • Implement new measures of oversight to ensure improvements are properly maintained over time

Action Items:

  • Protect and promote native plant species in landscaping requirements and as part of projects in sensitive lands or natural habitats

  • Identify sensitive lands, natural habitats, and species within the City and create practices to protect and encourage connections between them

  • Continue to update the River and Creek Overlay District and maintain riparian corridors as part of the City’s natural habitats and sensitive lands

  • Assess parks for conversion of underused turfgrass areas to new forested areas

Action Items:

  • Encourage development that is oriented to waterways

  • Incentivize private recreation and civic yard space through development standards

  • Identify and incentivize preservation of quality green space in development projects

Action Items:

  • Remove minimum parking requirements

  • Encourage space saving parking measures, such as shared parking and parking decks, through incentives and zoning requirements

  • Increase permeability requirements as part of parking standards (.e.g, permeable pavers, infiltration strips, rain gardens)

  • Replace dated standards, such as impervious surface ratio, with measures that reduce impervious surface while encouraging desired compact development patterns

  • Update development standards to increase permeability for existing large areas of impervious surface, especially in industrial and commercial districts

  • Incentivize replacement of impervious surface with permeable material

  • Use a land tax to discourage excess impervious surface

  • Encourage parking lots to be removed or repurposed into civic space, green space, and other interactive uses

  • When impervious surface is unavoidable, promote disconnection and permeable pavers to reduce storm drain runoff

Priority Two: Tree Stewardship

Tree Stewardship 0%

Action Items:

  • Increase funding for the City’s urban forestry program

  • Expand and improve the City’s tree planting program

  • Assess parks for conversion of underused turfgrass areas to new forested areas

  • Achieve recognition beyond that of a “Tree City”

  • Create an incentive program for residential tree planting

  • Perform a tree assessment and promote tree planting in areas with less coverage to encourage even distribution of canopy

  • Create a healthy and diverse tree canopy through the City tree list and tree assessments

  • Increase tree planting requirements with consideration to “right-tree-right-place” in streetscape improvements and developments with large areas of impervious surface

Action Items:

  • Fund maintenance and protection of the City’s existing and growing tree stock

  • Promote tree education certification for businesses and utilities within the City (Right tree right place)

  • Require tree education for appropriate City employees and contractors

  • Expand the influence and efforts of regional stewardship organizations such as Roanoke Tree Stewards, Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, Trail Crews, and other similar organizations

  • Engage in national environmental celebrations (Arbor Day and Earth day) citywide to increase resident education and involvement

  • Partner with schools and institutions for education opportunities and tree planting initiative

Action Items:

  • Encourage trees within close proximity to hardscaped areas

  • Promote tree canopy adjacent to watercourses

  • Monitor adherence to landscape requirements and replacement of lost landscaping through various methods such as bonds

  • Protect mature trees in new development projects and assess ways to protect mature trees throughout the City

  • Revise development standards to ensure better growth and survival of trees and landscaping (e.g., interior tree planting requirements in conjunction with parking requirements)

  • Promote native tree species in landscape requirements

  • Assess ways to protect mature trees and overall tree canopy through various methods such as forest conservation plans

Priority Three: Water Resource Management

Water Resource Management 0%

Action Items:

  • Update design standards to reflect changes in rainfall intensity

  • Prioritize construction of BMPs over less sustainable stormwater infrastructure as part of City projects

  • Promote innovative practices in stormwater management

  • Ensure a systems approach that balances current capital improvement projects with future climate goals

Action Items:

  • Continue to foster collaboration between the Planning Department and Stormwater Division to ensure a comprehensive approach to the Stormwater Management Program

  • Create a green infrastructure metric in line with the Roanoke City Stormwater Management Program

  • Re-evaluate stormwater control measures and BMP’s to improve incentives for green infrastructure

  • Monitor and report percentage of green infrastructure projects annually

  • Review the stormwater manual and regulations with an expanded stakeholder group that includes the addition of representatives from zoning, utilities, and the commissioner of revenue

Action Items:

  • Amend state regulations so local nutrient credits are required to be used for mitigation projects in the Roanoke region

  • Explore methods to reduce the negative impacts of the stormwater credit system through stormwater fee evaluation and code changes

  • Increase visibility of stormwater fee

  • Tier stormwater fee to reflect individual impact on runoff and better incentivize stormwater reduction credits (i.e., apply it to paved areas but not productive buildings)

Action Items:

  • Conduct an overall study and planning document that assess flood potential, natural assets, land use, and other factors along our streams and rivers to develop consistent conservation strategies and appropriate development standards that minimize potential for damage

  • Improve the water quality of the Roanoke River and tributaries through flood management and pollution reduction, with a focus on the three primary pollutants, bacteria, sediment, and PCBs

  • Increase informal education and awareness efforts (e.g., artwork on storm drains)

  • Establish partnerships to create an adopt a storm drain program

  • Partner with Roanoke Outside, schools, and other organizations to increase outreach, education, and river access

  • Strategic acquisition of floodplain and/or better establishment of riparian buffers

  • Improve management of yard waste to mitigate negative impacts on the storm drain system, such as congestion and pollution

Action Items:

  • Promote a regular meeting on water management through WVWA members

  • Encourage water conservation and plan for a lasting water supply

Action Items:

  • Develop a floodplain management plan to determine appropriate future land use in flood prone areas

  • Perform regularly updated studies of storm frequency and intensity in order to maintain accurate data and predict potential changes in flooding

  • Expand the City’s Stormwater Utility Flood Mitigation Program in order to reduce repetitive flood losses and re-establish natural flood plains

  • Use greenways as a floodplain management tool

  • Protect the natural function of undeveloped floodplains

Priority Four: Clean Energy and Transportation

Clean Energy and Transportation 0%

Action Items:

  • Improve and expand incentives for the use of renewable energy

  • Expand solar electric power generation with measureable goals of kilowatt hours

  • Work with the Regional Transmission Organization to purchase renewable energy

Action Items:

  • Improve public outreach, education, access, and support of fixed renewable energy programs

  • Continue and expand the City’s tax incentive program for energy efficiency

  • Identify areas with potential for renewable energy generation to ensure cohesion with priorities for greenspace and increased tree canopy

  • Encourage development of renewable energy generation in underutilized spaces

Action Items:

  • Increase sidewalk connections and maintenance

  • Improve crosswalk safety (street design, cameras, lights, signs)

  • Update bicycle lanes and related facilities (e.g., bike boxes) to be painted and separated from vehicle traffic where infrastructure allows

  • Improve community transportation ratings for transit, walking, and cycling

  • Increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations through EV ready building incentives and find innovative ways to map their locations

  • Improve public transit to meet the needs of the community

  • Educate all transportation users on the various modes, with a focus on motorists’ education of pedestrian, scooter, and bicycle rights and safety

  • Increase law enforcement against dangerous driving behaviors and motorists that fail to yield to other modes of transportation

  • Provide education on safe routes to schools through RCPS

  • Expand energy efficient and emission reducing policies for management of city vehicles

  • Support technology, strategies, and businesses that improve access to more sustainable modes of transportation, such as Ride Solutions

Priority Five: Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation 0%

Action Items:

  • Strive for outdoor recreation accolades that are a best fit for the City

  • Increase marketing and programming for all age recreation within the City and surrounding areas

  • Build on partnerships and connections with the Park Service, Roanoke Outside, and the Appalachian Trail to better share resources

  • Market Roanoke as the largest urban area along the Blue Ridge Parkway and AT

  • Improve wayfinding within the City for visitor connections to outdoor recreation

  • Provide funding and capacity to meet recreational demand

Action Items:

  • Implement the steps outlined in the City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan

  • Ensure recreational spaces meet the needs of all residents, regardless of age or ability

  • Provide funding and capacity to ensure regular maintenance of all outdoor amenities

  • Explore options for urban camping and partnerships for developing a campground within or near the City

  • Increase walkable access to parks, greenways, and village centers for all residents (0.5 mile)

  • Maintain, expand, and enhance, trails and greenways (natural and paved), while protecting and reducing disturbance of vegetation

  • Incentivize new development to aid in establishment of recreational River access points

  • Expand and market the City’s blueway

  • Encourage appropriate, river-facing development along the Roanoke River

  • Improve access to the City’s blueway for water recreation through removal of low water bridges and increasing the number of access points

Action Items:

  • Extend greenways to surrounding localities

  • Partner to explore connections between City trails and the Appalachian Trail

  • Partner with local higher education institutions to develop outdoor and environmental programming and opportunities within the City

  • Partner with neighboring localities to identify and protect viewsheds

Priority Six: Clean and Beautiful City

Clean and Beautiful City 0%

Action Items:

  • Provide funding for equitable maintenance of all neighborhoods in all City service departments

  • Implement beautification programs along thoroughfares and medians

  • Ensure nuisance abatement codes are enforced equitably in all neighborhoods

  • Reduce visual clutter created by utilities and outdoor advertising

  • Empower citizens to create community driven programs that create a sense of pride in all neighborhoods

  • Participate in national beautification programs such as Keep America Beautiful

Action Items:

  • Enhance cleanliness and marketability of the Roanoke River and its tributaries

  • Provide various types of waste and recycling receptacles throughout the City and outdoor recreation areas

  • Identify and implement innovative litter and waste collection strategies

  • Support citizen led cleanup efforts

  • Improve awareness and enforcement of litter laws

  • Foster a culture of accountability and environmental stewardship

  • Continue City maintenance and cleanup of public spaces

Action Items:

  • Exceed state and local air quality standards

  • Reduce the number of impaired waterways within the City

  • Implement dark sky lighting measures in targeted areas

  • Better market the City’s Brownfield Redevelopment program

  • Increase protections for vulnerable populations when locating intensive uses

Action Items:

  • Incentivize business to use biodegradable and recyclable products

  • Explore opportunities for a city composting program

  • Increase access to public recycling bins

  • Continue to improve maintenance of City serviced waste disposal and recycling

  • Provide resident and business education on the City recycling program

  • Provide easily accessed “zero waste” options to citizens and businesses for all waste streams: solid, traditional recyclables, electronics and electrical materials, household hazardous materials, vegetative waste, etc.

Priority Seven: Green Convenience

Green Convenience 0%

Action Items:

  • Implement the steps outlined in the City’s Climate Action Plan

  • Require a level of green building certification for new public buildings

  • Require permeable surfaces for any City funded developments or improvements

  • Continue collaboration between City Departments to ensure projects meet sustainability goals during site plan review

  • Continue to create and exceed goals for sustainability, including reducing waste, emissions, and energy usage

  • Incorporate renewable energy in new lighting projects

Action Items:

  • Partner with school systems and educational institutions to provide environmental education

  • Create an environmental education center

  • Reinstate a permanent Clean and Green Committee to collaborate with nonprofits and businesses

  • Collaborate to continue and expand the operations and marketability of the Clean Valley Council

Action Items:

  • Advocate for state improvements to environmental policy, including financial support for the EPA and grant opportunities

  • Continue to seek the ability to implement a ban on plastic bags and single use wastes

  • Enact policies to reduce carbon footprints

Action Items:

  • Partner/consult with surrounding localities on policy

  • Attract and develop related environmental support industries within our Regional Planning District to promote sustainability research & technology innovations
Priority One: Growth Through Preservation and Context Sensitive Design

Growth Through Preservation and Context Sensitive Design 0%

Action Items:

  • Proposed development (infill development, alterations, renovations, and additions) should create or enhance a distinctive character that relates well to the surrounding community

  • Develop design standards reflective of the most-beloved examples of local community character

  • Increase compact development patterns in neighborhoods while retaining community character

  • Allow multiunit and cluster housing types that are compatible in scale and character with detached single-family homes

Action Items:

  • Protect rivers and streams through revised riparian buffer requirements

  • Increase tree canopy requirements

  • Incentivize trees and neighborhood beautification

  • Update the zoning ordinance to include best-practice development standards that preserve important natural areas

Action Items:

  • Develop and update a citywide preservation plan

  • Assist historic property owners to obtain historic tax and building renovation credits

  • Review and revise Architectural Design Guidelines to improve clarity and respond to new technologies and materials

  • Continue to designate future buildings, sites, and districts through the Certified Local Government program

Action Items:

  • Support significant development projects when supported by the neighborhood

  • Incentivize rehabilitation of underutilized buildings

  • Evaluate incentives for reuse of existing buildings, tax abatement, and relief of water and sewer tap fees

Priority Two: Complete Neighborhoods

Complete Neighborhoods 0%

Action Items:

  • Regularly update neighborhood plans every ten years, evaluating and recommending specific opportunities for complete neighborhoods, future land use, placemaking, housing, economic development, connectivity, and open space

  • Involve neighborhood organizations, civic groups, and businesses in the development and implementation of neighborhood plans

  • Prioritize plans for neighborhoods identified as potential target areas for community development funding

Action Items:

  • Identify and prioritize potential neighborhood center areas to target support

  • Develop a strategy for improving existing neighborhood centers, redeveloping underutilized centers, and creating new centers in key locations in the neighborhood planning process

  • Allow a wide variety of housing, employment, shopping, recreation, and transportation options within each neighborhood center

  • Cluster community-serving facilities within neighborhood centers to increase accessibility for all

  • Use the public realm to create unique features within each neighborhood center that serve as a focal point for the area

Action Items:

  • Create a transportation mobility plan prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle accommodations

  • Update and adopt street design guidelines prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle accommodations

  • Prioritize capital improvement projects to address neighborhood center areas

  • Strengthen streetscape connections between neighborhood centers and surrounding residential areas by: installing missing sidewalks, crosswalks, and shared use paths, and upgrading pedestrian infrastructure in poor condition

  • Create pedestrian area plans with right-of-way improvements tailored to the surrounding development context

  • Increase multimodal accessibility within neighborhoods

  • Provide signage linking community areas

Action Items:

  • Require all new and major redevelopment of commercial corridors and commercial centers to complement and transition well into the surrounding neighborhoods

  • Allow a wide variety of uses that serve surrounding neighborhoods along with the broader community

  • Provide multimodal connections from neighborhoods to, along, and through the commercial corridor and/or large commercial center

Priority Three: Interactive Spaces

Interactive Spaces 0%

Action Items:

  • Use the public realm to create unique features within each neighborhood center such as plazas, squares, and enhanced pedestrian areas that serve as focal points for the area

  • Public spaces should be designed to support multiple activities, be comfortable for both individuals and groups, provide seating opportunities and appropriate lighting, and be accessible for users of all abilities

  • Public spaces should be easily accessible by all modes of transportation

  • Paths along which pedestrians move should be safe and engaging

  • Promote partnerships to assist in the development of interactive spaces

Action Items:

  • Public spaces should include common and useable open space surrounded by active uses

  • Public spaces should be designed to support multiple activities, be comfortable for both individuals and groups, provide seating opportunities and appropriate lighting, and be accessible for users of all abilities

  • Require wide sidewalks in commercial areas

Action Items:

  • Implement the Roanoke Parks and Recreation Master Plan

  • Create parks so that citizens are within a 10 minute walk of a park

  • Promote partnerships to assist in the development of park spaces

Priority Four: Housing

Housing 0%

Action Items:

  • Perform a housing study to look at trends, needs, and current conditions of housing in the City

  • Incentivize development that includes affordability, accessibility, and context sensitive design components

  • Develop programs that enable homeowners to make continual investments to keep homes safe, accessible, and well maintained

  • Continue to allocate HOME and CDBG funds to non-profit affordable housing developers for new housing and renovation of existing housing for low income homeowners and tenants

  • Prioritize funding to affordable housing near neighborhood centers

Action Items:

  • Maintain effective code enforcement operations

  • Maintain effective relationships with neighborhoods to share ways to maintain properties

  • Continue to support the city’s rental inspection program and consider program expansion to cover new housing types/arrangements, as appropriate

Action Items:

  • Consider ways to introduce different housing types into neighborhoods that lack housing diversity while being mindful of and responsive to concerns about neighborhood character, design, and maintenance

  • Study the locations and characteristics of exemplary Missing Middle housing examples (local) that successfully fit into a neighborhood setting.  Use those findings to guide policies and standards for creating multiunit housing types in neighborhood settings

  • Encourage the development of larger Missing Middle housing buildings near neighborhood centers and along commercial corridors

  • Explore opportunities for alternative living arrangements, such as group living and co-housing, near neighborhood centers

  • Permit accessory dwelling units in all residential zones

Priority Five: Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture 0%

Action Items:

  • Implement and update the Arts and Cultural Plan

  • Include art, culture, and history as an element of all future neighborhood plans

  • Incentivize art as a part of development and redevelopment projects

  • Include public art as part of all public facilities, public spaces, and streetscape improvement projects

  • Develop public art projects within neighborhood centers

Action Items:

  • Allow artist studio and arts center use in all multipurpose districts

  • Create a formal mural program process

Priority Six: Interconnected Transportation System

Interconnected Transportation System 0%

Action Items:

  • Prioritize pedestrian, bicycle, and transit accommodations in and between neighborhood centers

  • Support seamless paratransit service

  • Implement the greenway plan to provide off-street transportation paths as part of a complete transportation network

Action Items:

  • Transit routes should connect and serve neighborhood centers and other activity areas in the City

  • Proposed future land use in community plans should emphasize more intensive development in the proximity of transit routes

Action Items:

  • Coordinate bus routes with the location of neighborhood centers and other activity areas

  • Improve and maintain transit stops with amenities such as shelters, posted schedules, benches, bike racks, and trash cans along all routes, prioritizing highest used routes first

  • Extend service hours to include each day of the week

  • Require right-of-way or easements for bus shelters in development and redevelopment

Priority Seven: Complete Streets

Complete Streets 0%

Action Items:

  • Update Street Design Guidelines to prioritize the pedestrian and bicycle experience within neighborhoods

  • Align capital improvement program, neighborhood planning, and development standards to expand complete streets

  • Coordinate street improvements between various departments

  • Expand programs to allow temporary closure of streets for public use more frequently

  • Encourage common parking areas to enable access to multiple places/uses

Action Items:

  • Conduct and maintain a sidewalk and crosswalk inventory

  • Require sidewalk construction or replacement along streets and for circulation between buildings and activity areas as part of all development projects, unless scale is minimal

  • Improve pedestrian systems through planting shade trees, adding pedestrian scale lights, and street furniture

  • Increase funding for pedestrian system improvements

Action Items:

  • Expand, improve, and maintain on-street bicycle networks

  • Expand the use of bike lanes to include other slow moving vehicles such as scooters, electric bicycles, etc.

  • Revise the zoning ordinance to require bicycle parking

  • Increase the number of bicycle racks in neighborhood centers to provide on-street bicycle parking

  • Increase funding for bicycle network improvements

Action Items:

  • Create and implement the Vision Zero Action Plan to reduce injury and death

  • Base design standards for motorized vehicular systems around typical system usage throughout year, not peak periods

Action Items:

  • Encourage multimodal education within the school system

  • Request increasing multimodal education requirements within state driver education requirements

  • Provide multimodal education to residents within the City

Priority Eight: Improve Infrastructure

Improve Infrastructure 0%

Action Items:

  • Increase funding to support identified and prioritized needs from other plans and policies

  • Extend primary utility services (e.g., water, sewer, gas) to all parts of the city to provide reliable services and support development

  • Increase access to broadband

  • Adequate wireless service throughout the City consistent with the Wireless Telecommunications Policy

Action Items:

  • Identify available, timely, and appropriate public data

  • Develop systems or processes to analyze that data to support decision making

Action Items:

  • Continue to require new utility services to be located or relocated underground

  • Assess feasibility of relocating utilities underground as part of large streetscape and road construction projects

  • Minimize the size and number of free standing signs

  • Implement and periodically update the city’s Wireless Telecommunications Facility Policy to encourage the use of various stealth and small cell technology
Priority One: Regional Collaboration

Regional Collaboration 0%

Action Items:

  • Support regional marketing by Virginia’s Blue Ridge

  • Continue to support the Roanoke Regional Partnership’s outdoors branding work

Action Items:

  • The planning commissions of the region’s governments should convene annually to discuss issues of mutual concern and identify areas for collaboration

  • Establish regular staff-level meetings among departmental peers in Roanoke County, Salem, and Vinton to establish and maintain relationships, discuss common issues and identify ways to collaborate on improved services for citizens

Action Items:

  • Request the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission to initiate a study to review the public services and civic amenities of the region and publish a report documenting existing regional approaches and recommending potential new partnerships or consolidations

  • Seek modification of the independent city relationship and other state policies that inhibit regional cooperation

Priority Two: Plan and Think Regionally

Plan and Think Regionally 0%

Action Items:

  • Participate in regional transportation planning through the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization

  • Develop plans at the regional level

  • Where plans are locally-focused, they should have a regional element that consider the greater context, with special attention given to regional land use patterns. Plans should identify growth areas, work to prevent sprawl, and balance the supply of commercially-zoned land.

Priority One: Promote Broad Diversity in the Economy

Promote Broad Diversity in the Economy 0%

Action Items:

  • Analyze the industry segmented location quotients of Roanoke and compare them to other economic centers of relative size

  • Create a Comprehensive Economic Development Plan that will work with regional partners to identify target industries and businesses, identify current best practices for recruitment, retention, and outline a strategy for their implementation

  • Explore new business location technologies, such as multimedia or map-based web services, that can easily provide information to the business and development community on available sites and developable areas

  • Designate a lead agency to coordinate programs, resources, and planning for development of technology businesses

  • Create a web site that promotes Roanoke to technology companies including information about available space, communication infrastructure, and links to other technology resources

Action Items:

  • Promote and market Roanoke’s cultural, historic, recreational, educational, transportation and environmental assets

Action Items:

  • Support co-locating facilities and incubator spaces that enable sharing of space and facilities to stimulate local business and entrepreneurship

  • Promote and Sponsor events or award competitions that encourage development of new technology, governance and engagement methods

  • Engage businesses to understand the support resources needed in order to expand operations and employment

Action Items:

  • Ensure transportation infrastructure is maintained to provide a high level of mobility to support business activity, such as efficient movement of both products and employees into and out of our region

  • Support the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport master plan

  • Develop competitive fiber-optic networks in the Region

  • Provide entrepreneurial support for small businesses

  • Support a business networking community

Action Items:

  • Allow for and encourage experimentation and innovation – including potential changes to City policies and practices – consistent with City goals and priorities of the Innovation Corridor, including development, sustainability, job creation, entrepreneurship,  and equity

  • Support innovative approaches to energy efficiency, parking, transportation, construction, and redevelopment

  • Support new development and redevelopment opportunities that align with and enhance the Innovation Corridor’s initiatives, including, housing, sustainable infrastructure, creation or preservation of green space, and job creation initiatives

  • Support Innovation Corridor approaches to energy, storm water management, parking management, and waste management

Priority Two: Establish Stronger Economic Ties to Our Regional Partners

Establish Stronger Economic Ties to Our Regional Partners 0%

Action Items:

  • Support the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy framework of roles and responsibilities

  • Implement a customer relationship management tool to ensure development and maintenance of relationships with regional developers, brokers, site selectors and state and regional organizations

  • Host forums with developers, brokers and other target audiences in order to promote the region and discuss regional development strategy

Action Items:

  • Form stronger collaborative economic development partnerships involving leaders from both the public and private sectors that encourage companies, colleges, and secondary schools to work together

  • Support the informal regional and institutional networks, such as university alumni associations, to aid in facilitating knowledge transfer and networking opportunities

Action Items:

  • Identify areas for tourism, such as the Downtown Roanoke Tourism Zone, to provide incentives that attract investments and private companies in these areas

  • Support Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge’s efforts to attract additional conferences to the City

  • Work with Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge to support and promote local businesses in marketing efforts

  • Encourage development of Downtown lodging and construction of new hotels in order to support the growth of events, conferences, and tourism

    • Promote community events as economic opportunities and aspects of community identity

Priority Three: Conversion of Underperforming Commercial and Industrial Areas

Conversion of Underperforming Commercial and Industrial Areas 0%

Action Items:

  • Create partnerships with private redevelopment entities to plan and implement redevelopment strategies

  • Support development of a land bank and land trust to acquire and convert property to productive uses

  • Identify and approach landowners in underperforming commercial areas and pursue partnerships to facilitate redevelopment

  • Create an inventory of areas warranting acquisition and redevelopment during the neighborhood/area planning process

  • Use brownfields grants and other resources to clean up these sites if needed

  • Prioritize support for businesses identified as potential regional industry clusters
  • Implement an Opportunity Zone Strategy Plan and Prospectus

Action Items:

  • Explore real estate tax models that use land value or a combination of land and building values to promote smart growth tactics, prevent land speculation, discourage derelict properties, and encourage rehabilitation and redevelopment

Action Items:

  • Continue to encourage revitalization of commercial corridors through major streetscape improvements, landscaping, formal open spaces, and transportation network connectivity

  • Continue to accelerate redevelopment activity along commercial corridors through performance-based incentives such as, Job Creation Incentives, Rehabilitation Incentives, Demolition Assistance Program, Beautification Grants, ground breaking/grand opening ceremonies, and public announcements that allow our citizens to recognize the economic growth within the City

  • Emphasize Corridor Planning as part of the neighborhood planning process

  • Conduct regular reassessments of local enterprise zone designations and the package of incentives provided to maximize geographic impact and economic benefit

  • Locate trade schools, workforce  training centers, and other employment services within and adjacent to neighborhoods where they are needed

  • Create a toolkit for incentivizing redevelopment of failed commercial properties ripe for redevelopment

Action Items:

  • Remove the ability to request land consumptive, passive uses from the City’s commercial areas, particularly along commercial corridors

  • Encourage more neighborhood commercial zoning around targeted “village centers” that is compatible with the City of Roanoke’s character and vision

  • Examine parking requirements attached with zoning use classifications in order to reduce the amount of unused parking

Action Items:

  • Avoid adding to the oversupply of general commercial and industrial land and closely scrutinize land use requests that add to the supply of such zones

  • Revisit the individual purpose statements of the multiple-purpose Districts in the Zoning Ordinance

Priority Four: Local Business Development

Local Business Development 0%

Action Items:

  • Provide special outreach and education for local business owners about resources including incentives, façade grants, partnership opportunities, etc.

  • Create a guidebook or website for small business owners with clear, simple explanations of how to navigate permitting, licensing, and regulatory processes, with relevant contact information

  • Favor local growth over recruitment efforts and incentives aimed toward drawing national or large-region chains

  • Work with strategic partners to create and enhance business networking programs, including regular roundtables for local businesses

  • Implement a robust business visitation program, complete with strategic goals and objectives, roles, responsibilities and performance metrics, for the specific purpose of encouraging local business growth

  • Support a strong year round local shopping campaign that encourages residents to shop in the City, particularly downtown, and highlights the opportunities, choices, and value of shopping locally

  • Encourage businesses to expand operations for import substitution efforts, manufacturing a vital resource locally, when possible, instead of importing

Action Items:

  • Prioritize or provide additional points for local businesses when contracting City purchasing agreements

  • Encourage purchases from both minority and women owned businesses in local government contracts

Action Items:

  • Provide details on available resources for business recovery and strive to provide the information in multiple languages

  • Use lessons learned to prepare for sudden disruptions due to a variety of causes

Priority Five: Align Economic Development with Workforce Development Systems

Align Economic Development with Workforce Development Systems 0%

Action Items:

  • Use cluster analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses within the region’s workforce

  • Use innovative strategies to develop and connect qualified talent with the specialized needs of employers

  • Work with the Roanoke Regional Partnership to connect young professionals and interns with emerging businesses to enhance recruitment efforts, skills, and knowledge in the City

  • Create “Centers of Excellence” where businesses and industry experts can collaborate with educators to become teachers and workforce training leaders

  • Facilitate cross-organizational projects to provide best practices for workforce training

  • Support training for those who have lost jobs due to automation, outsourcing, and other measures

Priority Six: Support Local Community Development

Support Local Community Development 0%

Action Items:

  • Provide funding to organizations as partners in providing critical community services

  • Expand business resources and partnerships with community organization to maximize the benefit of public funding

  • Support financial empowerment centers and other community financial education centers in the City

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