City Plan 2040 Virtual Meeting

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City Plan 2040

Roanoke’s comprehensive planning process is in its final stages. Comprehensive plans provide a broad vision for the future of the community with recommendations for implementation. The following virtual meeting will guide you through a draft of City Plan 2040, that includes priorities and policies that will influence administrative decisions and future investment in the City for the next 20 years.

Each section below will be followed by a comment box where you can provide your thoughts on the plan. An additional section is provided for comments on the Welcoming Roanoke Plan.

Vision

City Plan 2040 is a comprehensive plan that will guide investment and decision-making in Roanoke over the next 20 years. The plan recommends policies and actions that work together to achieve the following vision.

In 2040, Roanoke will be:

  • A city that understands its natural assets and prioritizes sustainable innovation.
  • A city that ensures the health and safety of every community.
  • A city that considers equity in each of its policies and provides opportunity for all, regardless of background.
  • A city that interweaves design, services, and amenities to provide high livability.
  • A city that promotes sustainable growth through targeted development of industry, business, and workforce.
  • A city that collaborates with its neighbors to improve regional quality of life.

Welcoming Roanoke 

The Welcoming Roanoke Plan addresses how we can better serve new residents in our city. It provides a roadmap to creating a welcoming city for all, including immigrants and refugees. While the Welcoming Roanoke Plan is a separate document it will be adopted as part of City Plan 2040.

Themes

City Plan 2040 is guided by six themes drawn from the American Planning Association’s (APA) Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans.The APA identified six principles necessary to ensure a sustainable community. This plan extends those principles into themes that target pressing community concerns, while anticipating Roanoke’s future needs. These themes will ensure a holistic planning approach that addresses environmental, social, and economic well-being. The following six themes will inform the elements of the plan.

  • Harmony with Nature
  • Healthy Community
  • Interwoven Equity
  • Livable Built Environment
  • Resilient Economy
  • Responsible Regionalism

Elements

The elements of City Plan 2040 consist of priorities, policies, and actions. The plan’s priorities are the most prominent areas of concern identified by the community. The plan’s policies create a decision-making guide to address each priority. The plan’s actions are specific steps needed to implement each policy and achieve the long-term vision of City Plan 2040.

For general questions about City Plan 2040 please contact:

Wayne Leftwich
wayne.leftwich@roanokeva.gov

Interwoven Equity

Vision: In 2040, Roanoke is both a diverse and an inclusive community with access and opportunities available to all including: education, housing, healthcare, employment and quality of life. Roanoke recognizes how these opportunities are interconnected and how past actions created barriers that limited opportunity for underserved communities, particularly the African-American community, and eroded trust in institutions. To maintain a high level of Interwoven Equity inclusion, the community is engaged continuously to identify and predict changes that could become opportunities or barriers and to adapt appropriately to those changes.


Priority One: Trust

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 (access to affordable housing, services, employment, etc.)
  • 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

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 referral 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, fire and emergency medical services, 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

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 and being unfavorable of 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

The Greenlining Institute defines greenlining as “the affirmative and proactive practice of providing economic opportunities to communities of color.”

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 specific 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

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

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)

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Lela Ijames
lela.ijames@roanokeva.gov

Healthy Community

Vision: In 2040, Roanoke engages a holistic and equitable approach to building and ensuring the physical and mental health of our community by empowering citizens with the knowledge and resources to achieve healthy living and to strive for accountability as individual members of a connected society.


Priority One: Safety

Action Items:

  • Include community collaboration when determining community policing strategies
  • Improve education for patrol officers through third party training sessions that address sensitive neighborhood concerns
  • Use updated data and research to predict problem areas and reduce crime through design standards (CPTED)
  • 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

The EPA defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.”

Action Items:

  • Update disaster recovery and preparedness plans with climate change metrics
  • Assess current disaster recovery and preparedness plans to address additional needs for vulnerable populations
  • Maintain strong, transparent, and equitable communication and outreach to the public through various information streams in emergency situations
  • Create a strong communication system with hospitals and health care providers in preparation for pandemics and other public health emergencies
  • Update emergency response plans to ensure the needs of vulnerable populations are met in the event of public facility closings or shutdowns
  • Continue collaboration between local governments for delivery of Fire and EMS services
  • Continue updating Fire and EMS plans to improve service and address special needs for vulnerable populations

Action Items

  • Ensure design of new and updated streets considers the safety and comfort of vulnerable users through implementation of an active Street Design Team that includes diverse staff and community members
  • Promote Complete Streets to enable safe and comfortable access for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders
  • Create a robust campaign to educate motorists on safe interaction with vulnerable street users

Action Items:

  • Improve street lighting to increase the sense of safety and encourage pedestrian activity
  • Reduce speed limits in needed areas to improve pedestrian safety
  • Upgrade crosswalks to be clearly delineated through pedestrian friendly design
  • Ensure crosswalks and signals are installed in areas with high pedestrian traffic and signals timed for elderly and ADA needs
  • Create a Pedestrian Plan that identifies areas with high pedestrian activity in order to target necessary infrastructure to improve pedestrian 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 Two: Wellness

Action Items:

  • Create a plan to establish a Health in All Policies approach to policymaking
  • Continue efforts to become a certified Trauma Informed community
  • Improve healthcare access for the uninsured and underinsured
  • Establish an oversight group to recommend and implement new health policy measures

Action Items

  • Create a central resource hub that provides access to health information, tools, and resources; and promote through various media outlets, health care providers, and related entities
  • Encourage partnerships and education programs focused on food preparation, exercise, tobacco cessation, obesity, diabetes, safety nets etc.
  • Provide mobile services through local libraries and other resources

Action Items

  • Address age, condition, and equitable distribution of recreation centers
  • Facilitate shared use of schools, places of worship, and other institutional facilities for recreational activities
  • Provide a comprehensive network of greenways, trails, blueways, and parks to promote health and social connections through physical activity
  • Implement strategies outlined in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan

Action Items

  • Improve opportunities for social connection by providing public gathering spaces
  • Encourage and enable integration of senior-oriented housing 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 Three: Access to Health and Support Service

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 in-patient and out-patient medical and rehabilitation facilities for substance abuse or mental health disorders
  • Remove barriers to providing effective 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 the homeless and impoverished
  • Expand/extend after care resources for previously homeless individuals
  • Examine risk factors associations with substance abuse and mental health disorders and create proactive approaches to address and educate at risk populations (Define ACE scores)
  • Consider Alternative-to-Incarceration programs for nonviolent offenders with substance abuse or mental health disorders
  • Create programs and incentives to help incarcerated individuals move back into society

Priority Four: Access to Affordable Healthy Food

Action Items

  • Create or support a Food Policy/Food Security/Food Equity Council or task force
  • Create a Food and/or Health Policy Director in City Government

Action Items

  • Identify food deserts and incentivize affordable, healthy food grocers within these areas through partnerships and public funding
  • Assist in coordination of/partnership with nonprofit food providers and technology advancing services like ride sharing and delivery applications to expand the reach of service
  • Continue the success of the Summer Feeding Program through Roanoke City Public Libraries, and extend it to include local food partners
  • Promote SNAP, TANIF 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
  •  Restrictions on additional convenience stores in “food swamps” that do not provide some level of fresh produce or create public safety concerns

Action Items

  • Encourage local food production such as, gardens, urban agriculture, bees, chickens, greenhouses and other environmentally controlled measures
  • 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 legislation
  • Create incentives for merchants to sell/stock healthy, local, fresh food options

Action Items

  • Research urban agricultural practices and create an Urban Agriculture Plan for the City
  • Develop a land inventory to show vacant, underutilized land for food production potential
  • Edible landscaping: Add more fruit bearing plants on approved tree list
  • Investigate ways to encourage and support  context sensitive agriculture production and farming

Action Items

  • Create more programming for nutrition and cooking education
  • Improve nutrition/food/health education in schools
  • Partner with nonprofits for educational events regarding local food services

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Brittany Gardner
brittany.gardner@roanokeva.gov

Harmony with Nature

Vision: In 2040, the City of Roanoke will boast a clean and resilient environment in which everyone will live and prosper in harmony with nature through innovative, sustainable and resilient practices that: nurture community health; embrace recreational opportunities; protect our natural resources; address the local aspects of climate change; support ecosystem services; and foster appreciation and understanding of the City’s relationship with its natural surroundings


Priority One: Sustainable Land Development

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
  • 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
  • Include provisions for Historic property owners within green building standards to ensure appropriate improvement
  • 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
  • Identify and target parks and other public spaces for reforestation

Action Items:

  • Allow development that is oriented to waterways
  • Incentivize private recreation and civic yard space through development standards
  • Incentivize preservation of quality green space in development projects

Quality Green Space

Quality green space can also be referred to as activated green space. Outdoor spaces that contain vegetation and furniture or amenities are more likely to be used, and therefore provide greater benefit to the community.

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

Action Items:

  • Increase funding for the City’s urban forestry program
  • Expand and improve the City’s tree planting program
  • 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
  • Allow for reforestation of appropriate City parks
  • 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 initiatives

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

Priority Three: Water Resource Management

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 goal

 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:

  • Work with the State to encourage stormwater credits to be used on development projects within the City instead of outside areas
  • 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

Action Items:

  • 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:

  • Increase collaboration with neighboring localities
  • 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

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 (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

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

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 let 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

The EPA defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.”

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

Action Items:

  • Implement the steps outlined in the City’s Climate Action Plan
  • Require a level of green building certification for new public buildings
  • Seek opportunities to use permeable surfaces for 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 project

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

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Brittany Gardner
brittany.gardner@roanokeva.gov

Livable Built Environment

Vision: In 2040, Roanoke is a growing, historic cultural hub with vibrant neighborhoods for all; housing that is safe, accessible, affordable, and varied; advanced technology to provide access opportunities for all; and an integrated multi-modal, user-friendly transportation system.


Priority One: Growth through preservation and context sensitive development

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

Action Items:

  • Support significant development projects when endorsed by the neighborhood
  • Incentivize rehabilitation of underutilized buildings
  • Evaluate incentives for reuse of existing buildings, abatement, and water and sewer tap fees

Priority Two: Complete Neighborhoods

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 compliment 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

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

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
  • Explore alternative living arrangements near neighborhood centers
  • Permit accessory dwelling units in all residential zones

Priority Five: Arts and Culture

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: Regional Transportation Approach

Action Items:

  • Prioritize pedestrian, bicycle, and transit accommodations in and between neighborhood centers
  • Support additional train service, flights, and bus service
  • Support seamless paratransit services between localities

Action Items:

  • Coordinate transportation improvements that impact the region with partner localities and authorities
  • Create accessible transportation routes
  • Complete the greenway system by implementing the Greenway Plan
  • Integrate and improve mobility
  • Expand public transit

Action Items:

  • Coordinate transit services with surrounding localities
  • 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 shelter in development and redevelopment

Priority Seven: Complete Streets

Action Items:

  • Update Complete Streets 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

Action Items:

  • Increase funding to support identified and prioritized needs from other plans and policies
  • Underground utilities (water, sewer, natural gas, electrical…)
  • Increase access to broadband
  • Adequate wireless service throughout the City consistent with the Wireless Telecommunications Policy

Action Items:

  • Obtain data for informed decisions
  • Plan for climate context storm events

Action Items are still being developed

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Katharine Gray
katharine.gray@roanokeva.gov

Responsible Regionalism

Vision: In 2040, the region will plan, act, and promote itself cohesively, with consideration of each community’s political autonomy and social identity. Each community lends its unique assets and resources to developing the region’s economy and quality of life. The region will work together to provide exceptional educational opportunities and public services at the regional level. The region will see more success because it began to compete economically as a unified entity.


Priority One: Regional Collaboration

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

There are many opportunities for new collaborations, particularly in these areas:

  • Locally-managed programs that are state-mandated and are uniform in each locality. Examples include administration of building and development codes, stormwater management, codes and erosion control codes.
  • Services that are distributed geographically, such as public safety services, development inspection services, solid waste collection, stormwater utilities, parks and recreation
  • Some internal services of respective municipal organizations could be enhanced or made more efficient through consolidation or pooling resources (e.g., purchasing, human resources, fleet services, building maintenance)

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

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.

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Chris Chittum
chris.chittum@roanokeva.gov

Resilient Economy

Vision: In 2040, Roanoke’s economy will continue its sustainable growth through the recruitment of diverse industries, revitalization of underperforming commercial spaces, support for small and local businesses, and its continued partnerships with strong regional and national players who value, support, and celebrate each other’s successes.

Our economy will be one that builds on a strong collaboration between private businesses, non-profits, local government, and educational partners in order to develop a strong, skilled workforce across all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds that meets current and future employment needs and provides for good paying jobs.


Priority One: Maintain and Improve Economic Diversity

Action Items:

  • Analyze Roanoke’s industry location quotients and compare them to peer cities in order to identify and maintain a competitive advantage in areas of strength and to provide additional resources to underperforming target industries
  • 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
  • Revisit the Zoning and Building Code to better facilitate new and creative business models that may not fit within the current framework
  • Promote and Sponsor events or award competitions that encourage development of new technology, governance and engagement methods
  • Engage with the business community in order to identify needed workforce and resources for growth and expansion

Action Items:

  • Support all transportation related infrastructure in order to facilitate more efficient movement of both products and employees into and out of our region
  • Support the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport Masterplan
  • Provide a fiber-optic network for improved telecommunication by supporting the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority and other entities that are focused on this objective
  • 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 IC approaches to energy, storm water management, parking management, and waste management

Priority Two: Establish Stronger Economic Ties to our Regional Partners

Action Items:

  • The City of Roanoke will support the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy that will establish the roles and responsibilities of the City’s Economic Development Department and the ways in which the City may rely on other statewide agencies
  • Implement a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to ensure development and maintenance of relationships with regional developers, brokers, site selectors and state and regional organizations
  • Host forums annually with developers, brokers and other target audiences

Action Items:

  • Establish new regional metrics and measures to track Roanoke’s economic progress
  • Connect region industry experts with new business owners to create a mutually beneficial relationship
  • Create and monitor a Diversity in Leadership metric

Action Items:

  • Form a collaborative economic development partnership involving leaders from both the public and private sectors that encourage companies, colleges, and secondary schools to work together
  • Understand and use 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: Redevelop auto-oriented commercial corridors and underutilized industrial areas to be designed for permanence and purposeful land use

Action Items:

  • Identify aging and failing commercial and industrial properties
  • Identify and facilitate the use of brownfields grants and other resources for revitalization projects
  • Create public/private partnerships to ensure the future redevelopment of these places
  • Heavily scrutinize the need for new commercially or industrially zoned land in the City

Action Items:

  • Prioritize support for businesses identified as current or potential regional industry clusters
  • Continue to identify economic growth and development areas as enterprise zones, or similar designations, in order to provide tax concessions, infrastructure incentives, to attract investments and private companies to these buildings
  • Implement an Opportunity Zone Strategy Plan
  • Identify appropriate locations for trade schools and other job training centers, particularly in areas of need
  • Coordinate with private and non-private entities to acquire failed industrial/commercial property through a land trust/bank
  • Identify landowners in underperforming industrial/commercial areas and pursue public/private partnerships to facilitate redevelopment with experienced developers or support new developers in our area

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

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

Priority Four: Support Locally-owned Businesses

Action Items:

  • Create a guidebook or website for small business owners with clear, simple explanations of how to navigate the permitting and regulatory process, complete with contact information of all responsible parties

Action Items:

  • Work with strategic partners to create and enhance networking programs for the benefit of the entire business community
  • Develop and oversee a robust business visitation program, complete with strategic goals and objectives, roles, responsibilities and performance metrics
  • Host regular roundtables to give local businesses the opportunity to meet, learn, and form partnerships
  • Evaluate the business assistance programs to ensure equity to minority and women-owned businesses

Action Items:

  • Prioritize/Incentivize/provide additional points for local businesses when contracting purchasing agreements/government acquisition
  • Develop 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
  • Support businesses with efforts in import substitution, meaning that if a vital resource can be manufactured in the City, instead of being imported from elsewhere, there should be support for the business to expand operations to begin manufacturing that component themselves
  • Incentivize 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
  • Seek innovative options to support businesses by reviewing best practices throughout the country
  • Use lessons learned to prepare for other sudden disruptions due to a variety of causes

Priority Five: Outreach and Support Opportunities to Train for Better Jobs in Growing Industries

Action Items:

  • Use cluster analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses within the region’s workforce and related opportunities for employment growth with proper workforce training to meet demand

Action Items:

  • Work with local organizations, such as the Roanoke Regional Partnership, to connect young professionals and interns with emerging businesses in order to enhance recruitment efforts and advance the skills and knowledge in the city

Action Items:

  • Facilitate cross-organizational projects in order to provide best practices for workforce training to the public
  • Support new skills training for workers that have lost their positions to automation, outsourcing, and other shifting market dynamics

Priority Six: Promote Partners that Support Local Community Development Initiatives

Action Items:

  • Build a web-based platform where community members can go for information about available assistance in the area
  • Support financial empowerment centers and other community financial education centers in the City

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Phillip Moore
phillip.moore@roanokeva.gov

Welcoming Roanoke

As the city moves forward, it is vital that we project an atmosphere of inclusiveness to lifelong residents and newcomers. The Welcoming Roanoke Plan will serve as the City’s multi-sector strategic plan for integration, that highlights the  contributions immigrants make to the community. The Plan’s themes reflect those of City Plan 2040, but identify additional goals targeted to meet the needs of newcomers.


Interwoven Equity

  • Expand multi-lingual options for government resources and services
  • Educate other organizations on the importance of immigrant inclusion efforts and provide resources on how their organizations can implement practices that remove barriers for New Americans
  • Consider a dedicated person on the equity board or commission proposed in City Plan 2040 that focuses on the needs of immigrants
  • Include more New Americans on city boards and commissions
  • Continue efforts dedicated to attaining more equitable educational outcomes for school systems

Healthy Community

  • Adopt a charter that declares Roanoke a Compassionate City
  • Ensure emergency information is provided in multiple languages
  • Monitor and track crimes against immigrant populations
  • Strengthen the relationship between public safety staff and New Americans to increase usage of emergency services when needed
  • Expand and adapt trauma informed training for public safety staff and health care providers on working with diverse populations

Resilient Economy

  • Work with partner agencies to provide hazard and recovery information in multiple languages
  • Create a multi-lingual guide to opening a business
  • Consider specialized help for immigrants and refugees with starting, building, and growing their business
  • Consider a partnership between local businesses and students for mentorship opportunities
  • Identify and remove barriers to New Americans translating existing and earning new technical degrees, certifications, professional licensing, etc.

Harmony with Nature

  • Greenspace, such as parks and greenways, should be welcoming for all people
  • Provide inclusive recreational programs and events
  • Signs and educational materials in parks should be in multiple languages
  • Use outdoor activities such as community gardening, as a source of healing from trauma
  • Increase greenspace near predominately immigrant neighborhoods

Livable Built Environment

  • Recognize and support cultural centers in every neighborhood
  • Review public space policies to ensure a welcoming city for all
  • Increase affordable housing stock
  • Improve public transit clarity by providing information in multiple languages
  • Increase public transit access and connections to community resources like health care services

Responsible Regionalism

  • Create partnerships throughout the Roanoke Valley to engage in immigrant inclusion work and address the changing needs of immigrants
  • Increase regional transportation options
  • Market our successful diversity and inclusion efforts to attract new businesses and residents

For additional questions about this plan please contact:

Lela Ijames
lela.ijames@roanokeva.gov

Vision

City Plan 2040 is a comprehensive plan that will guide investment and decision-making in Roanoke over the next 20 years. The plan recommends policies and actions that work together to achieve the following vision.

In 2040, Roanoke will be:

  • A city that understands its natural assets and prioritizes sustainable innovation.
  • A city that ensures the health and safety of every community.
  • A city that considers equity in each of its policies and provides opportunity for all, regardless of background.
  • A city that interweaves design, services, and amenities to provide high livability.
  • A city that promotes sustainable growth through targeted development of industry, business, and workforce.
  • A city that collaborates with its neighbors to improve regional quality of life.

Welcoming Roanoke 

The Welcoming Roanoke Plan addresses how we can better serve new residents in our city. It provides a roadmap to creating a welcoming city for all, including immigrants and refugees. While the Welcoming Roanoke Plan is a separate document it will be adopted as part of City Plan 2040.

Themes

City Plan 2040 is guided by six themes drawn from the American Planning Association’s (APA) Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans.The APA identified six principles necessary to ensure a sustainable community. This plan extends those principles into themes that target pressing community concerns, while anticipating Roanoke’s future needs. These themes will ensure a holistic planning approach that addresses environmental, social, and economic well-being. The following six themes will inform the elements of the plan.

  • Harmony with Nature
  • Healthy Community
  • Interwoven Equity
  • Livable Built Environment
  • Resilient Economy
  • Responsible Regionalism

Elements

The elements of City Plan 2040 consist of priorities, policies, and actions. The plan’s priorities are the most prominent areas of concern identified by the community. The plan’s policies create a decision-making guide to address each priority. The plan’s actions are specific steps needed to implement each policy and achieve the long-term vision of City Plan 2040.

For general questions about City Plan 2040 please contact:

Wayne Leftwich
wayne.leftwich@roanokeva.gov

Interwoven Equity

Vision: In 2040, Roanoke is both a diverse and an inclusive community with access and opportunities available to all including: education, housing, healthcare, employment and quality of life. Roanoke recognizes how these opportunities are interconnected and how past actions created barriers that limited opportunity for underserved communities, particularly the African-American community, and eroded trust in institutions. To maintain a high level of Interwoven Equity inclusion, the community is engaged continuously to identify and predict changes that could become opportunities or barriers and to adapt appropriately to those changes.


Priority One: Trust

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 (access to affordable housing, services, employment, etc.)
  • 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

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 referral 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, fire and emergency medical services, 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

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 and being unfavorable of 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

The Greenlining Institute defines greenlining as “the affirmative and proactive practice of providing economic opportunities to communities of color.”

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 specific 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

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

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)

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Lela Ijames
lela.ijames@roanokeva.gov

Healthy Community

Vision: In 2040, Roanoke engages a holistic and equitable approach to building and ensuring the physical and mental health of our community by empowering citizens with the knowledge and resources to achieve healthy living and to strive for accountability as individual members of a connected society.


Priority One: Safety

Action Items:

  • Include community collaboration when determining community policing strategies
  • Improve education for patrol officers through third party training sessions that address sensitive neighborhood concerns
  • Use updated data and research to predict problem areas and reduce crime through design standards (CPTED)
  • 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

The EPA defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.”

Action Items:

  • Update disaster recovery and preparedness plans with climate change metrics
  • Assess current disaster recovery and preparedness plans to address additional needs for vulnerable populations
  • Maintain strong, transparent, and equitable communication and outreach to the public through various information streams in emergency situations
  • Create a strong communication system with hospitals and health care providers in preparation for pandemics and other public health emergencies
  • Update emergency response plans to ensure the needs of vulnerable populations are met in the event of public facility closings or shutdowns
  • Continue collaboration between local governments for delivery of Fire and EMS services
  • Continue updating Fire and EMS plans to improve service and address special needs for vulnerable populations

Action Items

  • Ensure design of new and updated streets considers the safety and comfort of vulnerable users through implementation of an active Street Design Team that includes diverse staff and community members
  • Promote Complete Streets to enable safe and comfortable access for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders
  • Create a robust campaign to educate motorists on safe interaction with vulnerable street users

Action Items:

  • Improve street lighting to increase the sense of safety and encourage pedestrian activity
  • Reduce speed limits in needed areas to improve pedestrian safety
  • Upgrade crosswalks to be clearly delineated through pedestrian friendly design
  • Ensure crosswalks and signals are installed in areas with high pedestrian traffic and signals timed for elderly and ADA needs
  • Create a Pedestrian Plan that identifies areas with high pedestrian activity in order to target necessary infrastructure to improve pedestrian 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 Two: Wellness

Action Items:

  • Create a plan to establish a Health in All Policies approach to policymaking
  • Continue efforts to become a certified Trauma Informed community
  • Improve healthcare access for the uninsured and underinsured
  • Establish an oversight group to recommend and implement new health policy measures

Action Items

  • Create a central resource hub that provides access to health information, tools, and resources; and promote through various media outlets, health care providers, and related entities
  • Encourage partnerships and education programs focused on food preparation, exercise, tobacco cessation, obesity, diabetes, safety nets etc.
  • Provide mobile services through local libraries and other resources

Action Items

  • Address age, condition, and equitable distribution of recreation centers
  • Facilitate shared use of schools, places of worship, and other institutional facilities for recreational activities
  • Provide a comprehensive network of greenways, trails, blueways, and parks to promote health and social connections through physical activity
  • Implement strategies outlined in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan

Action Items

  • Improve opportunities for social connection by providing public gathering spaces
  • Encourage and enable integration of senior-oriented housing 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 Three: Access to Health and Support Service

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 in-patient and out-patient medical and rehabilitation facilities for substance abuse or mental health disorders
  • Remove barriers to providing effective 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 the homeless and impoverished
  • Expand/extend after care resources for previously homeless individuals
  • Examine risk factors associations with substance abuse and mental health disorders and create proactive approaches to address and educate at risk populations (Define ACE scores)
  • Consider Alternative-to-Incarceration programs for nonviolent offenders with substance abuse or mental health disorders
  • Create programs and incentives to help incarcerated individuals move back into society

Priority Four: Access to Affordable Healthy Food

Action Items

  • Create or support a Food Policy/Food Security/Food Equity Council or task force
  • Create a Food and/or Health Policy Director in City Government

Action Items

  • Identify food deserts and incentivize affordable, healthy food grocers within these areas through partnerships and public funding
  • Assist in coordination of/partnership with nonprofit food providers and technology advancing services like ride sharing and delivery applications to expand the reach of service
  • Continue the success of the Summer Feeding Program through Roanoke City Public Libraries, and extend it to include local food partners
  • Promote SNAP, TANIF 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
  •  Restrictions on additional convenience stores in “food swamps” that do not provide some level of fresh produce or create public safety concerns

Action Items

  • Encourage local food production such as, gardens, urban agriculture, bees, chickens, greenhouses and other environmentally controlled measures
  • 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 legislation
  • Create incentives for merchants to sell/stock healthy, local, fresh food options

Action Items

  • Research urban agricultural practices and create an Urban Agriculture Plan for the City
  • Develop a land inventory to show vacant, underutilized land for food production potential
  • Edible landscaping: Add more fruit bearing plants on approved tree list
  • Investigate ways to encourage and support  context sensitive agriculture production and farming

Action Items

  • Create more programming for nutrition and cooking education
  • Improve nutrition/food/health education in schools
  • Partner with nonprofits for educational events regarding local food services

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Brittany Gardner
brittany.gardner@roanokeva.gov

Harmony with Nature

Vision: In 2040, the City of Roanoke will boast a clean and resilient environment in which everyone will live and prosper in harmony with nature through innovative, sustainable and resilient practices that: nurture community health; embrace recreational opportunities; protect our natural resources; address the local aspects of climate change; support ecosystem services; and foster appreciation and understanding of the City’s relationship with its natural surroundings


Priority One: Sustainable Land Development

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
  • 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
  • Include provisions for Historic property owners within green building standards to ensure appropriate improvement
  • 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
  • Identify and target parks and other public spaces for reforestation

Action Items:

  • Allow development that is oriented to waterways
  • Incentivize private recreation and civic yard space through development standards
  • Incentivize preservation of quality green space in development projects

Quality Green Space

Quality green space can also be referred to as activated green space. Outdoor spaces that contain vegetation and furniture or amenities are more likely to be used, and therefore provide greater benefit to the community.

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

Action Items:

  • Increase funding for the City’s urban forestry program
  • Expand and improve the City’s tree planting program
  • 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
  • Allow for reforestation of appropriate City parks
  • 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 initiatives

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

Priority Three: Water Resource Management

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 goal

 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:

  • Work with the State to encourage stormwater credits to be used on development projects within the City instead of outside areas
  • 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

Action Items:

  • 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:

  • Increase collaboration with neighboring localities
  • 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

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 (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

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

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 let 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

The EPA defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.”

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

Action Items:

  • Implement the steps outlined in the City’s Climate Action Plan
  • Require a level of green building certification for new public buildings
  • Seek opportunities to use permeable surfaces for 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 project

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

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Brittany Gardner
brittany.gardner@roanokeva.gov

Livable Built Environment

Vision: In 2040, Roanoke is a growing, historic cultural hub with vibrant neighborhoods for all; housing that is safe, accessible, affordable, and varied; advanced technology to provide access opportunities for all; and an integrated multi-modal, user-friendly transportation system.


Priority One: Growth through preservation and context sensitive development

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

Action Items:

  • Support significant development projects when endorsed by the neighborhood
  • Incentivize rehabilitation of underutilized buildings
  • Evaluate incentives for reuse of existing buildings, abatement, and water and sewer tap fees

Priority Two: Complete Neighborhoods

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 compliment 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

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

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
  • Explore alternative living arrangements near neighborhood centers
  • Permit accessory dwelling units in all residential zones

Priority Five: Arts and Culture

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: Regional Transportation Approach

Action Items:

  • Prioritize pedestrian, bicycle, and transit accommodations in and between neighborhood centers
  • Support additional train service, flights, and bus service
  • Support seamless paratransit services between localities

Action Items:

  • Coordinate transportation improvements that impact the region with partner localities and authorities
  • Create accessible transportation routes
  • Complete the greenway system by implementing the Greenway Plan
  • Integrate and improve mobility
  • Expand public transit

Action Items:

  • Coordinate transit services with surrounding localities
  • 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 shelter in development and redevelopment

Priority Seven: Complete Streets

Action Items:

  • Update Complete Streets 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

Action Items:

  • Increase funding to support identified and prioritized needs from other plans and policies
  • Underground utilities (water, sewer, natural gas, electrical…)
  • Increase access to broadband
  • Adequate wireless service throughout the City consistent with the Wireless Telecommunications Policy

Action Items:

  • Obtain data for informed decisions
  • Plan for climate context storm events

Action Items are still being developed

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Katharine Gray
katharine.gray@roanokeva.gov

Responsible Regionalism

Vision: In 2040, the region will plan, act, and promote itself cohesively, with consideration of each community’s political autonomy and social identity. Each community lends its unique assets and resources to developing the region’s economy and quality of life. The region will work together to provide exceptional educational opportunities and public services at the regional level. The region will see more success because it began to compete economically as a unified entity.


Priority One: Regional Collaboration

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

There are many opportunities for new collaborations, particularly in these areas:

  • Locally-managed programs that are state-mandated and are uniform in each locality. Examples include administration of building and development codes, stormwater management, codes and erosion control codes.
  • Services that are distributed geographically, such as public safety services, development inspection services, solid waste collection, stormwater utilities, parks and recreation
  • Some internal services of respective municipal organizations could be enhanced or made more efficient through consolidation or pooling resources (e.g., purchasing, human resources, fleet services, building maintenance)

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

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.

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Chris Chittum
chris.chittum@roanokeva.gov

Resilient Economy

Vision: In 2040, Roanoke’s economy will continue its sustainable growth through the recruitment of diverse industries, revitalization of underperforming commercial spaces, support for small and local businesses, and its continued partnerships with strong regional and national players who value, support, and celebrate each other’s successes.

Our economy will be one that builds on a strong collaboration between private businesses, non-profits, local government, and educational partners in order to develop a strong, skilled workforce across all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds that meets current and future employment needs and provides for good paying jobs.


Priority One: Maintain and Improve Economic Diversity

Action Items:

  • Analyze Roanoke’s industry location quotients and compare them to peer cities in order to identify and maintain a competitive advantage in areas of strength and to provide additional resources to underperforming target industries
  • 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
  • Revisit the Zoning and Building Code to better facilitate new and creative business models that may not fit within the current framework
  • Promote and Sponsor events or award competitions that encourage development of new technology, governance and engagement methods
  • Engage with the business community in order to identify needed workforce and resources for growth and expansion

Action Items:

  • Support all transportation related infrastructure in order to facilitate more efficient movement of both products and employees into and out of our region
  • Support the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport Masterplan
  • Provide a fiber-optic network for improved telecommunication by supporting the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority and other entities that are focused on this objective
  • 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 IC approaches to energy, storm water management, parking management, and waste management

Priority Two: Establish Stronger Economic Ties to our Regional Partners

Action Items:

  • The City of Roanoke will support the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy that will establish the roles and responsibilities of the City’s Economic Development Department and the ways in which the City may rely on other statewide agencies
  • Implement a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to ensure development and maintenance of relationships with regional developers, brokers, site selectors and state and regional organizations
  • Host forums annually with developers, brokers and other target audiences

Action Items:

  • Establish new regional metrics and measures to track Roanoke’s economic progress
  • Connect region industry experts with new business owners to create a mutually beneficial relationship
  • Create and monitor a Diversity in Leadership metric

Action Items:

  • Form a collaborative economic development partnership involving leaders from both the public and private sectors that encourage companies, colleges, and secondary schools to work together
  • Understand and use 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: Redevelop auto-oriented commercial corridors and underutilized industrial areas to be designed for permanence and purposeful land use

Action Items:

  • Identify aging and failing commercial and industrial properties
  • Identify and facilitate the use of brownfields grants and other resources for revitalization projects
  • Create public/private partnerships to ensure the future redevelopment of these places
  • Heavily scrutinize the need for new commercially or industrially zoned land in the City

Action Items:

  • Prioritize support for businesses identified as current or potential regional industry clusters
  • Continue to identify economic growth and development areas as enterprise zones, or similar designations, in order to provide tax concessions, infrastructure incentives, to attract investments and private companies to these buildings
  • Implement an Opportunity Zone Strategy Plan
  • Identify appropriate locations for trade schools and other job training centers, particularly in areas of need
  • Coordinate with private and non-private entities to acquire failed industrial/commercial property through a land trust/bank
  • Identify landowners in underperforming industrial/commercial areas and pursue public/private partnerships to facilitate redevelopment with experienced developers or support new developers in our area

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

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

Priority Four: Support Locally-owned Businesses

Action Items:

  • Create a guidebook or website for small business owners with clear, simple explanations of how to navigate the permitting and regulatory process, complete with contact information of all responsible parties

Action Items:

  • Work with strategic partners to create and enhance networking programs for the benefit of the entire business community
  • Develop and oversee a robust business visitation program, complete with strategic goals and objectives, roles, responsibilities and performance metrics
  • Host regular roundtables to give local businesses the opportunity to meet, learn, and form partnerships
  • Evaluate the business assistance programs to ensure equity to minority and women-owned businesses

Action Items:

  • Prioritize/Incentivize/provide additional points for local businesses when contracting purchasing agreements/government acquisition
  • Develop 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
  • Support businesses with efforts in import substitution, meaning that if a vital resource can be manufactured in the City, instead of being imported from elsewhere, there should be support for the business to expand operations to begin manufacturing that component themselves
  • Incentivize 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
  • Seek innovative options to support businesses by reviewing best practices throughout the country
  • Use lessons learned to prepare for other sudden disruptions due to a variety of causes

Priority Five: Outreach and Support Opportunities to Train for Better Jobs in Growing Industries

Action Items:

  • Use cluster analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses within the region’s workforce and related opportunities for employment growth with proper workforce training to meet demand

Action Items:

  • Work with local organizations, such as the Roanoke Regional Partnership, to connect young professionals and interns with emerging businesses in order to enhance recruitment efforts and advance the skills and knowledge in the city

Action Items:

  • Facilitate cross-organizational projects in order to provide best practices for workforce training to the public
  • Support new skills training for workers that have lost their positions to automation, outsourcing, and other shifting market dynamics

Priority Six: Promote Partners that Support Local Community Development Initiatives

Action Items:

  • Build a web-based platform where community members can go for information about available assistance in the area
  • Support financial empowerment centers and other community financial education centers in the City

For additional questions about this theme please contact:

Phillip Moore
phillip.moore@roanokeva.gov

Welcoming Roanoke

As the city moves forward, it is vital that we project an atmosphere of inclusiveness to lifelong residents and newcomers. The Welcoming Roanoke Plan will serve as the City’s multi-sector strategic plan for integration, that highlights the  contributions immigrants make to the community. The Plan’s themes reflect those of City Plan 2040, but identify additional goals targeted to meet the needs of newcomers.


Interwoven Equity

  • Expand multi-lingual options for government resources and services
  • Educate other organizations on the importance of immigrant inclusion efforts and provide resources on how their organizations can implement practices that remove barriers for New Americans
  • Consider a dedicated person on the equity board or commission proposed in City Plan 2040 that focuses on the needs of immigrants
  • Include more New Americans on city boards and commissions
  • Continue efforts dedicated to attaining more equitable educational outcomes for school systems

Healthy Community

  • Adopt a charter that declares Roanoke a Compassionate City
  • Ensure emergency information is provided in multiple languages
  • Monitor and track crimes against immigrant populations
  • Strengthen the relationship between public safety staff and New Americans to increase usage of emergency services when needed
  • Expand and adapt trauma informed training for public safety staff and health care providers on working with diverse populations

Resilient Economy

  • Work with partner agencies to provide hazard and recovery information in multiple languages
  • Create a multi-lingual guide to opening a business
  • Consider specialized help for immigrants and refugees with starting, building, and growing their business
  • Consider a partnership between local businesses and students for mentorship opportunities
  • Identify and remove barriers to New Americans translating existing and earning new technical degrees, certifications, professional licensing, etc.

Harmony with Nature

  • Greenspace, such as parks and greenways, should be welcoming for all people
  • Provide inclusive recreational programs and events
  • Signs and educational materials in parks should be in multiple languages
  • Use outdoor activities such as community gardening, as a source of healing from trauma
  • Increase greenspace near predominately immigrant neighborhoods

Livable Built Environment

  • Recognize and support cultural centers in every neighborhood
  • Review public space policies to ensure a welcoming city for all
  • Increase affordable housing stock
  • Improve public transit clarity by providing information in multiple languages
  • Increase public transit access and connections to community resources like health care services

Responsible Regionalism

  • Create partnerships throughout the Roanoke Valley to engage in immigrant inclusion work and address the changing needs of immigrants
  • Increase regional transportation options
  • Market our successful diversity and inclusion efforts to attract new businesses and residents

For additional questions about this plan please contact:

Lela Ijames
lela.ijames@roanokeva.gov

While you’re here…

We are currently seeking community feedback for the following projects. Please take a minute and share your ideas!

Belmont-Fallon Target Area

What is the Belmont-Fallon Target Area? For nearly 20 years, Roanoke has concentrated its community development funding into a single neighborhood to increase its impact. In 2019, the City selected the Belmont and [...]

Welcoming Roanoke

What is Welcoming Roanoke? Roanoke is among 13 communities selected by New American Economy (NAE) and Welcoming America to receive awards through the Gateways for Growth Challenge. As part of this award, Roanoke [...]

City Plan 2040

What should Roanoke look like in 20 years? Every 20 years or so, City planners gather ideas and feedback from the community and develop a new Comprehensive Plan. This document [...]

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2020-05-01T00:40:22+00:00