seven stories on Devon and Port

Brent Finnegan -- December 12th, 2007

As reported in the DNR November 16, and again today, construction on a seven-story apartment/retail building on the corner of Devon and Port Road is expected to begin soon.

Council voted 4-1 in favor of the new building, on the unanimous recommendation of the Planning Commission.

17 Responses to “seven stories on Devon and Port”

  1. finnegan says:

    From the comments on the DNR story, it looks like several people are upset that council approved this. But the high-density, mixed-use R-5 zoning which allows this building seems (to me) to fall in line with several of the objectives of the Valley Conservation Council:

    – The property is not farmland or battlefield
    – It’s building up, not out
    – It’s intended to reduce the impact of the car

    From the VCC website:

    Reducing the impact of the car means providing more transportation choice: sidewalks, trails, bikeways, and public transportation. It also means designing transporation facilities for people not just vehicles. Standards for highways, neighborhood streets, roads, bridges, parking lots, and other facilities should be reexamined to make them more human scale and community friendly.

    Harrisonburg Planning Commission Chairman Richard Baugh said in the Nov 16 DNR story that the development plan fits into the city’s stated plans for the area along Port Republic Road. I’m not sure exactly what that means.

    While much of the blame about traffic problems gets directed at developers and/or City Council (and sometimes that blame is warranted) I think it’s also incumbent upon the average city resident or JMU student to walk or bike instead of drive when possible. Why is everyone so bent on driving everywhere — regardless of the distance — especially in areas where there are bike lanes and sidewalks?

  2. John says:

    I know the answer to that question! It’s because we are generally a society of fat, lazy people. As an example, I see my neighbor across the street from my house DRIVE HIS CAR down the driveway TO GET THE NEWSPAPER in the morning. I also see him at Gold’s occasionally. Explain that. Anyway….

    Traffic around here is NOTHING. I lived in Alexandria for years back in the 90’s — now THAT was traffic. Harrisonburgers think that 5 cars at a light is unbearable traffic.

    We’ve got a lot of new college students coming to town over the next few years. I think this is a great (partial) solution.

  3. David Miller says:

    John

    I appreciate where you are coming from in your contrast of NVa’s and Harrisonburg’s traffic congestion. Here’s my perspective. I was born here. When my family moved onto Garber’s Church Road it was a one lane gravel road, now it is four lanes wide with traffic lights. The forest is now a golf course. 33 used to be 55, then 45 now 35 mph. Now with new and improved stoplights (my favorite is the one that is specifically designed to screw over through traffic and improve access to Sheetz on 33!). This is growth. I love the economic stability and opportunity of Harrisonburg. I intend to spend my whole life here (so far so good). I don’t like change but that’s too bad for me. It happens. My point is this; just understand where we are coming from when we moan about traffic. When I got my license in 1997 I was able to cross town in 7 minutes (I was kinda dorky and timed myself to test the most efficient ways of making it through town without speeding). Now that time has increase to 20-30 minutes (I no longer time myself, it would take to long and add to the frustration). So just understand where the frustration comes from.

  4. David Troyer says:

    Kind of on topic: Did anyone go to the public input meeting regarding expanding Port Republic to four lanes from the city limit’s to the new Hospital at Reservoir?

  5. Don says:

    David M., not so dorky. I used to have an “Eight Minute Rule”, where I would only date girls within eight minutes driving time of my home. Now adays that would limit my options to about five blocks.

    As a life long resident I agree with your assessment of why we moan about traffic.

  6. Josh says:

    Did anyone on City Council consider how this is going to effect the new hospital??? I would hate to see an ambulance get through Port Rd traffic right now. Imagine what it is going to be like with all of these extra vehicles. I appreciate the fact that they are giving the future occupants the benefit of the doubt that they will use public transportation; however, I see way too many vehicles coming out of Hunters Ridge, Ashby Crossing, ect to believe that these new occupants will be any different.

  7. charles chenault says:

    Good morning everyone. Josh your point is well placed. The new hospital is consideration number one for Port Road. Two thoughts come to mind immediately. Trafffic west bound toward the hospital is much less dense at peak hours than coming east. Also, we are exploring the idea of using traffic light intervention systems for emergency vehicles which are included in the capital improvement program. When phases two and three of Stone Spring Road are complete and Reservoir Street is widened, most emergency vehiles will not have to use Port Road. There are other considerations, but the above were not mentioned at the meeting. We also felt this rezoning was not going to put more traffic on the road that the use that the current zoning allowed.
    Thanks – Charlie

  8. charles chenault says:

    CORRECTION – WEST IS EAST AND EAST IS WEST – THANKS – CHARLIE

  9. Josh says:

    Looks like we finally have 2 commenters posting as Josh! :)

  10. Draegn88 says:

    I’m looking forward to another building in which the landscaping is bestrewn with plastic cups and where the dumpster is overflowing. Then there’s the plethora of lights that will illuminate everything all night long. It will be lovely, don’t you think?

  11. JGFitzgerald says:

    Draegn88,

    The deal was that one locality would get the 1,500 slovenly college students (plus 15,000 responsible ones) and another would get the poor misunderstood self-pitying righter-than-right-wing white supremacists. Obviously, Harrisonburg got first choice. Cups can be picked up. Other kinds of droppings are not so easy.

  12. Kyle says:

    Joe,
    Great response as usual, its hard to believe that you were once affiliated with th DNR! :-) You know, I think its ironic when locals whine about JMU, but certainly don’t mind when they dump approximately $290 million into the local economy.

    If it wasn’t for the money and diversity (oh,oh a term draegn people don’t understand therefore they hate) that JMU and their students bring to the valley, then we’d just be another reactionary, backwoods, redneck southern town that can’t accept the reality of present day America, or get past the ignorant, insecure fallacy of racial supremacy.

    If we were that kind of town we’d just be sitting around blogging about how minorities have ruined the American way of life in order to blame others for our own inadequacies …………..Oh wait…………………What is the theme of this thread?

  13. Paul says:

    Construction has begun!

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