In January, the Town Council made a decision to undertake a study on whether the community would benefit from the development of Design Guidelines for the commercial areas of Roanoke. The resurgence of the downtown commercial district has drawn the attention of developers and businesses, some of whom are considering Roanoke as a place to establish their business.
The Council recognizes that if the community does not establish control of the development that is to take place in the Town, we may not be pleased with the eventual end result. Other communities who have failed to maintain controlled growth through planning have found themselves with business districts that detract from the charm and appeal of the community.
In order to establish local control, the Council created the Design Guidelines Committee and asked it to review the controls currently in place for managing economic growth, the types of businesses that the community wants to see in commercial districts, and determine ways to maintain the character of the buildings that are in the Downtown district. The following business and civic leaders volunteered extensive time to facilitate this project:
- Alice Eshelman - Proprietor, Joseph Decuis, Board Member Roanoke Beautification Foundation
- Brian Secor - Independent business owner and President, Roanoke Board of Zoning Appeals
- Chris Jensen - REMAX Realtor, Board Member Roanoke Chamber of Commerce, Board Member Roanoke Economic Development Organization and Roanoke representative to Huntington County United Economic Development
- Jim Amstutz - Independent business owner and entrepreneur
- John Klingenberger - President of the Board of the Roanoke Economic Development Organization
- John Mann - Independent business owner and entrepreneur
- Nate Schacht - Director, Huntington County Department of Community Development
- Bryn Keplinger - Assistant Director, Huntington County Department of Community Development
- David Harris - Executive Vice President and co-founder of American Specialty Insurance and Risk Services, Board Member Roanoke Economic Development Organization
If the community is successful in completing the review and initiating suggested changes, the following benefits will result:
- Maintain and develop attractive and functional commercial buildings
- Promote functional streetscapes and public space
- Encourage compatibility of building design
- Increase pedestrian friendliness in commercial areas
- Preserve the historic buildings in our downtown commercial district
- Protect the property investment of businesses currently in Roanoke
- Encourage additional investment in new, quality businesses in Roanoke
- Provide design direction for businesses seeking to build in Roanoke
- Continue to expand the positive brand that Roanoke has developed in the region with compatible character to existing development
- Provide a means for Roanoke to control the review of business development by local citizens
As you read this material, it is important to understand two very critical points:
- The Guidelines will only apply to commercial buildings. Private residences are not subject to the Guidelines.
- Existing buildings will be grandfathered and not required to comply with the Guidelines unless the building is substantially remodeled or rebuilt.
To assist in finalizing its work, the Design Guidelines Committee needs your help and input. An open public meeting is scheduled at the Roanoke Seminary United Methodist Church on November 5th at 7:00 pm. The Committee will be present to hear from you and answer any questions you may have about its recommendations.
You can also provide your input and feedback through this web site. Simply click on the Contact Us Tab and send your comments to the Committee. The Committee will review all comments and ideas received prior to making any recommendation to the Town Council for their adoption.
The Design Review Committee encourages you to examine these draft documents carefully and provide your input. You may also contact any member of the committee with your suggestions. We appreciate your help and look forward to your input to a better Roanoke for our shared future.