Development has been shaking up the MoRA area, and we have another big move with rezoning petition No. 2016-141. The plans are to rezone about 41.5 acres directly to the east of Woodberry Forrest, north of Abbot Glen town homes, south of Wallace lane, and extending over to Independence Boulevard. The property currently includes Garr Church, forest, and two abandoned homes.
MoRA met with the petitioner and received a sneak peak of the development plans. What did we learn?
Developers envision a few phases of gated car storage lots for Independence dealerships, surrounding by wooded buffer zones, landscaping, and small hill barriers. The lots will only be accessible from Wallace Road, are expected to use low lighting, and will not operate overnight. The plans include a right-of-way for the Silver Line behind properties along Summerhill Drive and a few homes on the end of Woodberry Road and Lumarka Drive, connecting further down Village Lake Drive. The space is intended to accommodate light rail, roads, biking trails, and green space.
Current light rail plans show that the city plans to run the Silver Line between Independence Boulevard and Monroe Road, but the project is still unfunded and the exact route is only now becoming somewhat solidified. Additionally, the city is planning a bridge at Sharon Forrest Drive and on reworking the E W.T. Harris Boulevard intersection. Both plans are expected to displace some existing businesses and make new development nearly impossible. This may be the only opportunity in the near future for the Garr Church property that isn’t more apartments.
MoRA representatives did not see any major concerns with the rezoning and future development of the area, and feedback from the rezoning petition community meeting held at Garr Church on November 9 was similarly accepting of the proposed plans.