Bluestone

Avram Fechter, managing director of EquityPlus, and Michael Wong, executive director of HRHA, present the Bluestone Town Center project proposal to Harrisonburg Planning Commission and an audience on Tuesday night at a special meeting. 

The liaison committee between the Harrisonburg City School Board and Harrisonburg City Council will meet on Friday at noon to discuss the impact of the proposed Bluestone Town Center on city schools. 

The meeting will take place in City Council chambers. 

Last week the City Planning Commission recommended approval of the project, despite most speakers asking the commission to table or deny the request.

The Planning Commission's special meeting on Jan. 17 lasted five hours, with a packed house in council chambers, to consider issuing a recommendation for the proposed Bluestone Town Center, an 897-unit development complex on an 89-acre plot of land at the corner of Erickson Avenue and Garbers Church Road.

According to the city, Bluestone Town Center would have 897 units, including 133 for-sale manufactured homes, which are homes built in a factory and installed on-site, 324 town homes, and 440 apartments. A handful of houses, a poultry farm and Harrisonburg High School surround the site.

Liz Webb, city housing coordinator, said the cap on income for people eligible to rent at the Bluestone Town Center would be 80% of the area median income for Harrisonburg. For a family of four, that would be $61,200; a single renter would be $42,880 or less. Like all tax credit rental properties, Bluestone will be eligible to accept housing vouchers, Webb said. For-sale units will be restricted to those with incomes between 80% and 120% of the area median income.

City Council is scheduled to meet Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. to consider the proposed Bluestone Town Center project.

At a Tuesday night city council meeting, three Harrisonburg residents spoke against the town center and urged council members to research the topic before voting.

Barbara Powell, a Harrisonburg resident, asked council to answer questions posed by people during the Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 17. Concerns revolved around stormwater, increased traffic, proximity to a poultry farm and destruction of forest.

Elizabeth Jerlinski, who lives on Garbers Church Road near the proposed site, said that she has lived in Harrisonburg for 33 years, but never expected to live next to “a city within a city.”

Jerlinski said she thinks Planning Commission made their mind up about the project before hearing public comments.

“I feel the public concerns in all of our research have fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes,” she said.

Jerlinski asked council to take its time before making a decision.

Contact Megan Williams at 574-6272 or mwilliams@dnronline.com. Follow Megan on Twitter @Valley_Learn

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