Collicello North’s A Go; Work May Start In Fall
Developer To Feature ‘Urbanist’ Principles
HARRISONBURG — The situation is looking up for Collicello North.
City Council unanimously approved a rezoning request Tuesday from Kin Group LLC that will enable the development team to construct up to 35 homes in a proposed mixed-use community off Collicello Street.
In an interview Wednesday, Dean Weaver, the project leader from Blue Ridge Architects in Harrisonburg, said a site plan should be submitted to the city in the next month, and site work could then begin in November “at the earliest.”
Once groundbreaking occurs for homes, build-out is expected to be reached in 30 months, he said. The project will cost an estimated $10 million. It could include as many as 15 single-family homes, 18 townhouses and one duplex.
Collicello North will feature “urbanist” principles of smaller homes and narrow streets that promote walking and biking.
“It’s not for that person that’s looking for a half-acre and a fenced-in backyard,” Weaver said.
Collicello Street will be extended past Fifth Street to Va. 42. At that new intersection, traffic can only turn right in and right out.
The main entrance to the development will be at Fifth and Collicello streets. Weaver wants to focus business opportunities for the project at that location.
One idea is for a bed-and-breakfast in a brick house that developers own at the entrance. It would serve guests of Collicello North residents because the homes would not have enough room to accommodate many visitors, Weaver said.
A private street off Edom Road will serve 12 units on the backside of the property, he said. Fencing is planned for that area to mitigate “visual blight” coming from Edom Road, which has an auto repair shop, car sales lot and taxicab service, Weaver said.
But he is unconcerned that Collicello North homes won’t sell because of those businesses or the potential for the occasional runaway animal from the nearby Shenandoah Valley Livestock Sales Inc.
“[The livestock auction] is something people of Collicello North will probably embrace rather than look down on,” Weaver said.
Kin Group needed to rezone two parcels from general industrial and R-2, a type of residential classification, into another residential category, R-7, which gives it more flexibility with zoning regulations.
Only two other locations in Harrisonburg have the R-7 tag: The Quarry, a 500-home development that never materialized at an abandoned Frazier Quarry location between Country Club and Smithland roads; and Brookside Park, a collection of single-family homes and duplexes off Jefferson and Suter streets.
Diane Gray, who lives at the corner of Fifth and Collicello streets, has repeatedly urged the city to vote down Collicello North, and she did so again at a public hearing Tuesday. She is concerned with the density of the development and questions the likelihood of it turning out as planned.
Gray argues the city should be wary of another R-7 project because the quarry development, proposed in 2007, has not been built and Brookside, she says, has undesirable sights, such as cars on blocks.
“Why try for a third one?” she asked.
Yet council members say support for the project has been more widespread.
“It’s certainly not cramming everything you could possibly cram into the space,” Councilman Richard Baugh said.
Councilman Abe Shearer adds that people are “excited” about living closer to downtown in a community where less yard maintenance is required and residents can live closer to their neighbors.
“This is kind of the way many people prefer to live in the 21st century,” Shearer said.
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or firstname.lastname@example.org