Harrisonburg Housing Authority prepares to submit Bluestone Town Center proposal to city

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 5:37 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority (HRHA) is preparing to submit an application to the city for its largest housing project ever.

The proposed Bluestone Town Center would be built near the intersection of Garbers Church Road and Erikson Avenue and would include between 850-900 housing units of different varieties.

“The plan is very comprehensive and tries to meet and serve a variety of different needs within our community. It’s predominately a workforce housing development but it also has features of first-time home ownership and also senior housing,” said HRHA Executive Director Michael Wong.

The housing authority will submit its rezoning application for the project in Dec. The proposal will then go before the planning commission in Jan. and then to the city council in Feb.

Over the last several months HRHA worked with its development partner equity have tweaked the proposal after completing a traffic impact study and gathering comments and concerns from the public.

“The focus has been on the design of the development, making sure the roads in the project met the standards of the city, and also making sure that we include some of the feedback that we heard from the community too,” said Wong.

Wong said that HRHA has heard from many community members who have spoken in favor and in opposition to the project. The two main concerns he’s heard from those opposed are the large size of the development and its potential traffic impact.

“The size concerns are directly related to how does this development impact the city’s infrastructure such as schools and safety networks. We feel like most of the individuals that we would be serving would be people that are already living here so see an impact but not a significant impact,” said Wong.

Town Center housing would be available to people at 80% or less of the median income which is about $80,000 in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham area.

“We’re talking about $64,000 or less with single-family homes also available for people between $64,000 and $96,000 with regard to income. It’s surprising how many people call me asking about the status of the development just because of the need for housing in the local community,” said Wong.

Wong will provide the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners with an update on the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday. He said if the project ends up being approved by the city it would take 6 to 8 years for it to be complete.

“We anticipate the site development work would probably not start until late 2023 with any of the multi-family or senior housing not being built until 2025 or 2026,” he said.