HRHA Rezoning Gets Positive Review

New Site Offers Better Chance For Disabled

Posted: May 6, 2013

The Harrisonburg Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Wednesday night on a rezoning request from the Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority, which wants to build 30 units for disabled residents at Commerce Drive and East Washington Street. (Photo by Preston Knight / DN-R)

HARRISONBURG — The second time may be the charm for the Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s attempt to build the area’s first housing complex for people with disabilities.


A rezoning request for the proposed site on Commerce Drive is the subject of a public hearing at Wednesday’s Harrisonburg Planning Commission meeting.


HRHA seeks to rezone about two acres at 241 Commerce Drive, near the intersection with East Washington Street, to construct 30 multifamily units for disabled residents. The property is currently zoned R-3c, a form of residential zoning, and the authority wants it rezoned to a less restrictive residential designation.


The Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday in City Council chambers, 409 S. Main St.


The agency sought to rezone about three acres at the corner of Gay and Hill streets for a similar project last year, but it pulled the request after residents, the Planning Commission and city staff voiced concerns with the location.


The city’s planning staff has recommended approval this time. The main difference from the previous site, according to a staff report, is that the Commerce Drive location’s zoning designation is more in line with the project HRHA has in mind. It is currently zoned to allow construction of up to 29 units.


HRHA, though, wants to build a combined 30 units in three, two-story buildings so the property must be rezoned for the project to go forward. A special-use permit also has been submitted with the rezoning request, notes HRHA Executive Director Michael Wong, because the complex is not a “by-right use” for that area of the city, even with a successful rezoning.


The project, dubbed Commerce Village, will serve “medically vulnerable” people, a broad category of residents with physical and mental disabilities. Each of the 30 units would have one bedroom and be leased to no more than two unrelated people.


The site is near Pleasant View Home, which offers services to disabled residents at 151 Commerce Drive.


Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or

NDN Video News