Pike Church development

Brent Finnegan -- January 13th, 2009

One of the final items in this evening’s City Council agenda (PDF) is the execution of an agreement between the city and Pike Church, LLC. The contract pertains to the large property just south of the truck stop off Main Street which lays across the city-county line.

While details are still a little fuzzy, the proposed development looks like it could be more “big box” stores flanked by town homes.

The county is considering rezoning the property — the bulk of which lies within the county — to allow commercial development. From the county’s website:

RZ08-10 Pike Church, LLC., P.O. Box 27, McGaheysville, to rezone 89.02 acres from A2 (General Agricultural) to R5 (Planned Residential) and 43.97 acres from A2 (General Agriculture) and B1 (General Business) to B1-C (General Business with Conditions) on tax parcels 123 (A) L18, L18A, and L18B. The site is located on the west side of South Main Street (Route 11), approximately .4 miles south of Covenant Drive (City Roadway) and immediately north of Pike Church Road (Route 701), in Election District #4. The Comprehensive Plan designates this area as Mixed Use and Community Residential. The applicant has submitted proffers limiting the by-right and special uses permitted under B1 zoning. In addition, the proffers for the B1 area address new and improved roadways, elements of traffic flow mitigation, open space, landscaping, and outdoor lighting. The R5 master plan proposes a mix of residential uses including 156 apartments, 226 townhouses, and 62 detached single-family dwellings for a total of 440 residential units at 5.5 units per gross acre. R5 zoning allows up to eight units per gross acre.

I contacted Kai Degner, and he told me that according to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, that area of the city is intended to be commercial, and is already zoned for that purpose. The roads would most likely need to be widened and improved, which Pike Church would help pay for. I’ll update this post with more details as they become available to me.

27 Responses to “Pike Church development”

  1. Scott Rogers says:

    Very interesting! Thanks Brent! I can’t make it to the meeting tonight, but am looking forward to hearing how things go with the Rosetta Stone public hearing, and this rezoning.

  2. Bubby says:

    Show me the roads, and the traffic plan for those 440 units x 2 driving adults = 880 auto/day load that will added to the existing congestion. The County has no transportation plan, no money for roads, nor the spine to require road improvement proffers.

  3. Bill says:

    I would suggest that one would carefully study the proffers before commenting on something that they know little about. The proffers have been worked with both the county and the city and include the opportunity for a wide comprehensive study of the 11 South corridor to Rt 704. Certainly alot more planning and insight than the Harrisonburg Crossing mess. It would appear that not only will you be able to get into the development with ease, but also get out of it as easily. Which is quite different from Harrisonburg Crossings.

  4. I’m sitting in the council meeting now. Hodgen just mentioned that a big box development in the county like this could potentially be bad for businesses in the city.

    Traffic impact is a key concern here. Hodgen said that a big development in that area could exacerbate “existing problems” in traffic.

    Motion passed.

  5. Renee says:

    I had heard in the past that the City officials always expected Harrisonburg to grow in that direction (hence, why the Main post office was built seemingly outside of town). Interesting that a large development is now in the works.

  6. Bubby says:

    Traffic already backs up two lights on Pleasant Valley Rd. turning onto Rt. 11. The I-81 interchange is not sized to deal with the existing traffic. The efforts by the Valley Republican Caucus to starve VDOT of tax revenue has succeeded – there is no money for new roads, nor improvements. “Study” it until the cows come home, it doesn’t matter. That leaves you two options; pack the roads with congestion (like Port Road), or just say no to more dense residential zoning. You can’t have it both ways boys.

  7. Lowell says:


    You see clearly what others wish not to admit…

  8. The Valley Progressive says:

    This may be a dumb question but, are there any plans to develope North 11? It seems like there is a lot of room for growth around exit #251 yet all I have seen (yet not heard much about) is the new Technology Park.

  9. Scott Rogers says:

    Meadowbrook is one subdivision that is under development on 11N — but there hasn’t been much else yet. There is certainly speculation that there will be more, now that the new Elementary/Middle school complex is open out on Smithland Road.

  10. The Valley Progressive says:

    Thanks Scott, where is Meadowbrook located? I have to admit I didn’t even know that there was a new school on Smithland!

  11. Scott Rogers says:

    Here is the map from the subdivision’s web site — it’s just a tad north of Exit 251, on the left (west).

  12. Gary says:

    Meadowbrook isn’t very big, and it looks like most of the houses that are there aren’t occupied, and there are alot of vacant lots. Don’t forget that somebody got the bright idea to build a truck stop there at exit 251, but were denied last year because of concerns about what all the truck traffic would do.

  13. Scott Rogers says:

    Meadowbrook will eventually have 138 single family homes, but you are correct that it will be some time before all of those homes are built and lived in. I believe new water and sewer infrastructure was recently (in the past few years) extended out 11N quite a ways, but I’m not entirely clear on the details. It would seem that eventually (in 5-10 years?) there would be quite a bit more development out in that direction.

  14. The Valley Progressive says:

    Thanks for the info guys. I’m becoming more and more interested in growth in the city and county.

  15. Karl says:

    The city really has little say in this matter (Pike Church). The land needed in the city limits is already zoned to the developers liking and need. The county on the other hand has the land that needs rezoning. Planning Commission in the county has already taken up the issue and recommended approval. The housing portion has also changed to “only” include 380-housing units. All this from a story we did back in early December…interesting that no other media outlet attended that meeting.

    If you want a less “fuzzy” view of what is proposed and the messy road situation you should be able to find it here:


    BTW, there’s a public hearing on this proposal tonight (01/14).

  16. Karl says:

    VP, forgot to mention your question. In the last year Rockingham County denied a rezoning that would have allowed a truck stop to be built at the 251 exit between the VDOT complex and the exit itself. At the time of the denial, one Supervisor mentioned that there has been some interest in building a couple hotels in that area. None of those plans have been officially announced or officially proposed. Hope that helps.

  17. eso says:

    I know a lot of people that would like a Olive Garden and a Best Buy in Harrisonburg. I don’t guess there’s any chance they would be in the box stores?

  18. After having visited two big box stores today that are both going out of business — Circuit City and Office Depot — I wonder two things: what about all the empty retail space in Harrisonburg, and what stores would go into the Pike Church shopping center?

  19. Emmy says:

    Books-A-Million is moving into the mall, and I assume closing their location next to Applebee’s. That’s one more large open store, even though no one is going out of business in that instance.

  20. David Miller says:

    I would like to propose a zoning amendment that requires anyone who builds a new strip mall to agree to pay for demolition of said strip mall if vacancy drops below 50% for more than one year. If you build it, they come and go, then it just hurts my eyes. If you pave over functional farmland, this seems like an appropriate compromise.

  21. The sort of build-open-close cycle I’ve seen over the last 20 years or so in Harrisonburg has been anything but smart growth. More like trial-and-error growth. Or in some cases, just error.

    Are all U.S. towns and cities essentially the same in this regard? Anyone remember seeing the Waynesboro outlet mall open and close? Is this an American thing?

  22. Emmy says:

    I remember the outlet mall very well. Isn’t someone doing something with that space now?

    Interestingly enough my church has attempted to rent a large empty building here in town several times and the owner wants an insane amount of rent for something that has been empty for at least a year, if not longer. I guess some people just don’t need the money.

  23. Josh says:

    That’s where the Waynesboro Target, Kohl’s etc. shopping center is now.

    Ben Schumin (long-time local blogger) did a photo essay about the original outlets:

    The Schumin Web – Photography – Waynesboro Outlet Village

    And a few photos of the new shopping center:


  24. Emmy says:

    Clearly it has been a long time since my last trip to Waynesboro ;)

  25. Tad says:

    There should not be any more rezonings in the City or County that don’t involve millions of dollars of proffers from the developers. Richmond is not going to sent us any money for roads. Current residents cannot afford higher real estate taxes. The message to developers should be simple. If you want your development then by all means show us the money. If you want to drill for gas in shale show us the bond that ensures if you screw up the community will be compensated.

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