Monday, November 23, 2015

Proposed Rezoning Q&A Part I

For the next few weeks, the Town of Abingdon will be publishing several posts regarding the concerns of the proposed rezoning of the CEMA Corporation property. The staff has received several questions and wants to provide information by disseminating informational bulletins.

The first set of questions addresses zoning, an overview of the development project proposed for re-zoning, and the effects that the proposed rezoning would have on the Virginia Creeper Trail:

1.      What is Zoning and why is it an important tool for municipalities?

·         Zoning is a land use tool that originated in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s in urban areas such as New York City, to help regulate the development of land and to promote “health, safety and welfare” of the community.  The constitutionality of zoning was upheld by the US Supreme Court in a landmark case in 1926.  Shortly thereafter, zoning ordinances were enacted in many jurisdictions around the nation.
·         In Abingdon, the earliest records related to zoning appear in the late 1940’s.  The Town’s Planning Commission was established in 1947 and that board passed the town’s first zoning ordinance on December 8, 1948. 

For the Town of Abingdon, just like other jurisdictions, zoning is a tool to help the town achieve certain objectives:

1) Improve or protect public health, safety, and welfare of its citizens
2) Plan for future development
3) Develop new community centers with adequate transportation, utility, health, educational, and recreational facilities
4) Recognize the need for agricultural, industry and business growth
5) Provide residential areas with amenities for family life
6) Assure that the growth of the community is compatible with the efficient and economical use of public funds
7) Encourage economic development activities that provide employment and enlarge the tax base

While these are general “objectives”, the source of the town’s zoning power resides with the Town Council.  Zoning decisions are one of the most important, and often most difficult, judgments made by the Town Council. The law gives the Council the explicit legislative authority to make changes to the Town’s zoning map and ordinances.  According to the Code of Virginia, zoning ordinances and districts are to be drawn and applied by reasonably considering the following:

1) The existing use and character of the property
2) The comprehensive plan
3) The suitability of the property for various uses
4) Trends of growth and/or change
5) Current and future requirements of the community as to land for various purposes as determined by population and studies
6) Transportation, utility, recreation areas, schools, housing, and other public service needs
7) The encouragement of the most appropriate use of land throughout the locality
8) And, the protection of life and property from failures of natural systems (ex – floods, fires, etc.)

2.      What is the process for rezoning a piece of property in the town of Abingdon?

·         Often, property owners wish to change the zoning district on property they own (or otherwise have an interest in) to accommodate a new land use.  This is known as a “rezoning”.  The process for changing a zoning district through either a map change (ex – from one district to another) or through an ordinance amendment (ex – adding a permitted use in a particular district) is prescribed by the Code of Virginia. 

·         The general procedure is as follows:

1)       A request is received by the local jurisdiction (ex – Town of Abingdon)
2)       Staff members process the application, including setting times/dates for public hearings (as necessary), advertising the hearing per the requirements of the Code, and providing materials and information for the various boards and commissions that may review the request.
3)      Any request related to zoning must first have a public hearing to be heard by the Planning Commission, which makes a recommendation to the Town Council.

A)     The Code of Virginia does allow jurisdictions to conduct joint meetings of the Council and Planning Commission.

4)      Following consideration by the Planning Commission, the Council will additionally hold a public hearing to consider the request.  The Council may adopt the resolution before it, reject the resolution, or it may continue the matter to another date and time for further consideration.  Additionally, an applicant reserves the right to withdraw their request at any time up to the time of the vote.
5)      Once the Council has voted on a matter and it has been adopted or rejected, the matter is deemed to have been completely through the “rezoning process”.  There are provisions for appeal of decisions made by the Council to the Circuit Court, however these are generally appeals based on the correct application of the zoning procedure and not to reverse the outcome of the decision of the Council.  

In the Town of Abingdon, there are a few nuances that are worthy of note related to this process.  The Town Council and the Code of the Town of Abingdon, understanding that items such as rezoning and amendments to the code of ordinances may be complex at times, allows for two readings (or two opportunities for consideration) of such items.  The purpose for two readings is to allow the public ample time to consider a proposal, as well as time for the Council to consider such items and discuss it with their constituents.  The Council, at its sole discretion, may elect to dispense with the second reading if (in its opinion) the second consideration of an item is not warranted. 

3.      Can you provide an overview of the development project proposed for re-zoning involving approximately 30+ acres off of Green Spring Road in the town of Abingdon?

·         There is a tract of land currently owned by CEMA Corporation of approximately 70 +/- acres and a local developer Marathon Corporation has an option to purchase this property for a proposed development. 
·         The development project currently before Council for re-zoning involves a section of land situated off of Green Spring Road and in close proximity to Exit 17 off of I-81.  It consists of 30+/- acres and is currently zoned AFOS (Agriculture, Forestal, Open Space).
·         The proposed development concept plan requires that it be re-zoned to B2 to accommodate a new Food City grocery store, 5 restaurant sites, and 2 hotels. (see the picture below)
·         The project would also require road improvements affecting Cook Street, Cummings Street and Green Spring Road and involves the town of Abingdon as well as the Virginia Department of Transportation.
·         The remaining 40 +/- acres is being considered by the town of Abingdon for the placement of a sports complex facility.  This tract would remain with its designated zoning of AFOS and would provide a natural buffer between the proposed development and the Creeper Trail. 

4.      Why is the Creeper Trail important to the town of Abingdon? 
  • The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34.3-mile rail-to-recreation trail starting in Abingdon, traveling through Damascus, VA and ending just past Whitetop Station at the Virginia-North Carolina border. 
  • This spectacular trail attracts over 100,000 visitors each year to partake of the natural and scenic beauty of this area.
  • The Virginia Creeper Trail runs on a rail right-of-way dating to the 1880s. In the early part of the last century, the rail line carried lumber to feed the busy sawmills of Virginia and North Carolina.
  • Its name was inspired by the steam engines that slowly crept up the mountainside, although some argue that the name actually comes from the native Virginia Creeper vine that can be found growing along the trail.
  • By the 1970s, many railroads were abandoned so the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy began converting old railroad beds into trail systems for hikers and bikers. After the last train ran the route in 1977, the idea for The Creeper Trail was born, and it was completed in 1984. 
  • Much of the trail goes through private land. In many places, the public trail corridor is only 80’ wide. The trail is maintained by public-private partnerships between the U.S. Forest Service, the Towns of Abingdon and Damascus, and “Creeper Keeper” trail volunteers.  In 2014, the Virginia Creeper Trail was inducted in to the Rails-to-Trails Hall of Fame. This national honor has only been given to 27 trails. The Rails to Trails Conservancy singled out the Creeper Trail for its remarkable scenery, fascinating railroad history, and excellent trailside amenities. 
5.      How will the Creeper Trail and it proximity to the proposed development be affected by the re-zoning referenced in Question 3?

·         The proposed development is approximately 650 feet (almost the length of 2 football fields) from the center of the right of way of the Virginia Creeper Trail, one of the town’s greatest assets.
·         There is no projected land disturbance of any portion of the Creeper Trail and with proper bufferings and tree plantings, it is expected that only a very small portion of a proposed hotel would be visible from the Creeper Trail.
·         The proposed sports complex, currently being considered by the town, would provide a natural buffer to the proposed development and the planning commission will be reviewing the site and making recommendations to the developer to minimize the impact on the view shed of the Creeper Trail
·         Further, the town’s planning commission will be reviewing the site plan and will make recommendations relative to minimizing light pollution and noise pollution that may be generated by the development and the sports complex
·         The proposed development would also include a walking path around the entire tract of land which would join the Creeper Trail and provide additional parking for trail users


  1. Why did the town council of Abingdon keep all of this information from the community for so long?
    Why do all of this just for one or two people? Only CEMA and Food City are the ones that will benefit from this project.

  2. The wording: The remaining 40 +/- acres is being considered by the town of Abingdon for the placement of a sports complex facility.

    What size of a soccer field would be built?

    Young families think this is a done deal but it is not.
    To say, "Is being considered" is like the town council is dangling a carrot but it will forever be out of reach.

  3. Why does Abingdon need 3 more hotels when the current hotels are never full? We have:
    Comfort Inn
    Comfort Suites
    Holiday Inn Express
    Hampton Inn
    Martha Washington Spa
    Quality Inn
    The Apline Motel
    Super 8 and
    America's Best Value Inn
    as well as a dozens of bed and breakfasts.

    How many hotels does Abingdon really need?

  4. Could you please post a much larger map? I can't read any print that is on the current one.

    1. If you click on the map, it will open to a larger version.

  5. How does the developer and the town plan to address the inability of the interchange at exit 17 to handle the current traffic flow since VDOT has not even scheduled or funded a widening of the underpass?

  6. With high vacancy rate in 4 of the town's shopping centers, why is the town interested in building an even larger one? Two of the struggling centers are anchored by Mr. Smith's stores. What makes the town think he can anchor an even larger one?

  7. Is there need for any of this? The stores/hotels there now are sufficient for the population. This is what happens all the time in Nova..more crap than is needed to make cash for a developer and the older properties fall apart. KEEP THE TRAIL AS IS. Dont screw up.the one thing that draws tourism ..(town planners already screwed up the highlands festival).
    Whats the sports complex actually for?

  8. Is there need for any of this? The stores/hotels there now are sufficient for the population. This is what happens all the time in Nova..more crap than is needed to make cash for a developer and the older properties fall apart. KEEP THE TRAIL AS IS. Dont screw up.the one thing that draws tourism ..(town planners already screwed up the highlands festival).
    Whats the sports complex actually for?

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Experience shows that Council's driving ambition is always raising tax revenue. In a town of 8,500, does Council actually think 5 new chain restaurants and 2 hotels along with the ones slated for exit 19 will garner new meals and motel/hotel taxes? The reality will be the same amount of taxes and an empty Main Street. Why has Abingdon's Main Street Association not weighed in on this issue since it affects all of us in Town? You are supposed to be our advocate. Why did Abingdon not annex exit 19 and cluster the cookie cutter shopping centers together around Wal-mart? Instead of spending $5M of taxpayer money on a sweetheart entrance to the new Food City, the money would be better spent buying the Town Center through the Economic Development Board and giving Mr. Smith a land lease for $100 per month. It's a double win! Mr. Smith gets something for nothing including accolades for doing the right thing and the Town gets a new shopping center and the tax revenue that goes with solid occupancy. Abingdon also gets to continue to protect its most important economic engine.

  10. I think that it would be truly dispicable for the town and Food City to so blatantly disregard the feelings of so many of the people of Abingdon regarding this matter if they choose to muscle their way in and push this through. The public has clearly made their opinions known. Have we truly become so obsessed with the almighty dollar that we would sacrifice the beauty and exceptional charm of our small town and Creeper Trail? If the answer is yes, then we are not who I thought we were. I, for one, will no longer do business at Food City if these plans continue. And I suspect many will do the same.

  11. This is all so stupid, nothing about it will hurt the Creeper Trail in any way.

  12. What was the town thinking? Why the rush if this was legit proposition? The legacy of this administration will be sadly diminished, as will Food City's reputation as a community builder.

  13. I would really hate to see something nice happen to the town I live in and in case anyone is confused that's sarcasm. The way forward maybe to take down and old building or two they will not stand forever

  14. If by nice, you mean alienating the Abingdon residents of Green Spring rd and by destroying beautiful farm land. Let them expand in the prime location that they currently occupy. This is a matter of GREED!!! Pure and simple.

    1. I can't understand why you are so concerned about this, if you are using your real name, you live over 4 miles from this site, not in my wildest dreams can I believe you would be able to see it from your house. Maybe you need to change your name to "Tamara Selfish". You want your cake and eat it too, why don't you move to town to help pay the tax bill? Oh, you want to live in the country with low county taxes. You don't have a dog in this hunt, I'm betting that most of the "Creepies" don't live in town so they should keep their mouth shut. I am sure this will be a first class development, Mr. Smith does things "first class" and this will be no different. Who wouldn't want a large brand new grocery store with all the trimings? Our kids deserve nice ball fields and this is a start in the right direction. From what I can see in the picture of the proposed development, looks like this will solve a long problem with getting in and out of the Magic Mart parking lot. We had a Bonanza Restaurant there at one time, they left because it was so hard to get in and out off. We need some more nice restaurants in Abingdon. I am talking about some that have a family atmosphere without the beer and mixed drinks being served.

    2. You have no right to call someone Selfish when you are just as selfish. All that you are really concerned about is you and your kids and that's not fair nor is it right. At least Tamara has the courage to use her real name. But not you. I think you purposely did not use your own name because you know you are selfish and wrong in your views and you don't want someone looking you up and calling you onit.
      Well here it is anyways:
      1. What part about the town council's wording regarding the sports complex makes you so confident that it will ever be built?
      2. Then what size are the ball parks, soccer fields, etc will they be? Will they be large enough to hold tournaments? The size that Kingsport has? You don't know do you.
      3. Why does Steve smith and Jim brown run this end of town? Money. That's all they care about. They don't care about you and your kids.
      4. If you are such a family orientated person, why not eat at home? It's called making dinner and eating at your dining room table and talking to your family. Restaurants are loud places and difficult to talk within.

      There are so many things wrong with your argument that I should have ignored you but when you look someone up and attack them, well you need to be called out.

    3. Hey Creepy Kreeper, it sounds like you have your panties in a wad, your rant really bothers me. Sounds to me like you need to grow up and quit throwing your little fits. I'll bet your house is built on a spot where there was pretty farm land at one time, we don't need your house, but we do need room for nice stores to be built for the benefit of all. This is America, people buy land, they sell land to people who have a use for it, you are free to buy this property if you have the money and then you can decide what you want to do with it. Go play with your dolls.

  15. I think the addition of a sports complex and new restaurants in Abingdon would be great. I for one would much rather spend my money for entry fees and food during baseball tournaments locally instead of supporting Kingsport’s economy. We usually spend anywhere from $50.00 to $100.00 per weekend during tournaments. If you multiply this by the hundreds of parents and grandparents that travel to Kingsport and other areas every weekend in the Spring and Fall to watch their kids play ball you begin to see how much money we could be spending locally to help out our own town.

    1. Who said it would be tournament size???????
      Any of it?????????
      read again: The remaining 40 +/- acres is being considered by the town of Abingdon for the placement of a sports complex facility.
      What part about that sounds like a done deal even?

    2. Spending money at chain restaurants is not spending money locally. The Town Council has not committed one dime to a sports complex. I advocate for a real sports complex. Not 40 acres but at least 100. Kinsport has committed twice that and it has paid dividends. However the Town has taken money that could be spent a much needed sports and committed $5M to a new entrance for Food City.

  16. Sickening as to what people will do for money....Why don't you just bulldoze mainstreet while you are at it.????? Yuk

  17. For those concerned about the view shed from the creeper trail it appears that the developers have already addressed this issue by agreeing to add trees and berms as a buffer. As far as light pollution goes I lived next to the Creeper Trail for about a year and don’t recall it getting much use at night anyways other than the occasional criminal using it to try and evade police. It appears that by connecting the parking area of the new development with the Creeper Trail it would provide better and safer access to the trail than having to cross Green Spring Rd. By the way, for everyone concerned over the loss off beauty my only question is "Where were you when the decision was made to put Graffiti looking artwork all over the stop light control boxes?".

  18. From what Steve Smith did with the old Abingdon Hospital I have no doubt that any type of development that he is involved in will be nothing less than top notch. He could have been like Alpha Natural Resources and moved his headquarters to Bristol, but instead he revived what could have been a tremendous eye sore in to one of the nicest buildings in the Town of Abingdon. I welcome the new restaurants and hope that the new sports complex will bring even more people to our area to fill up our hotels, restaurants, and local stores to help support our community.

  19. I don't understand why there is so much backlash over this development. Anyone in Abingdon that has kids that play sports knows there is huge need for more and nicer fields in our area. Anyone that knows anything about business knows that to set idle means to get left behind. Food City is only trying to do what any successful business would do and that is to position themselves to stay ahead of the competition coming to town at Exit 19 (Walmart). I could be wrong, but I would guess that between KVAT, Food City, Mid Mountain Foods, and Super Dollar that the Food City family provides more jobs than anyone else in our area. We should be giving them all the support they need since they have done so much for our community through donations, employment, and affordable groceries. I think everyone that is being so negative about this development needs to stop for a minute and think about what this Town would be like if Food City decided to take these jobs elsewhere. I enjoy the Creeper Trail as much as anyone, but the reality is that it probably costs a lot more to maintain than what it brings in since I've never had to pay admission to use it. I'm also pretty sure the Creeper Trail isn't going to pay the bills for very many families unless you rent out bicycles.

    1. Unknown, you could not be more wrong about people who do not live in town. The Creeper has over 100,000 visitors a year. Far more than the 8,000 that actually live in Abingdon. Without these visitors, Abingdon has no economy. The Town has made many statements regarding the evolving tourist economy and their desire to grow upon it. Placing commercial development so close to the Town's golden egg laying goose is madness. And Unanous, yes the Creeper Trail does mine and most of the local businesses bills.
      Matt, you seem to understand very little about the amount of value that is associated with the old buildings you are OK to tear down. Part of Abingdon's draw is its architectural stock. Tearing it down is right in line with the Town's desire to put homogenized shopping center as our gateway to Main Street. Do some research and see who pays the bills in this town. Besides property taxes, the Town will receive little in the way of new tax revenue from Food City.

  20. I hope this whole thing happens for Food City as well as the citizens of Abingdon. This is a ridiculous argument! Food City always has been and always will be a great company to work for. I am employed by Food City (K-VA-T) and I am very proud of my employer for all it does for the community. They are part of our home and community. They are not trying to take anything from the community, they are trying to add to the community. As far as why they do not improve the facility they are currently in, my understanding is that the building is not theirs and the landlord is not letting them add to that building. I guarantee Steve Smith is not going to do anything that would be detrimental to our community. The man is a true success story. Let him prove once again that he knows what he is doing.

    1. The Center's owner wants to sell the struggling Town Center and has offered it to Food City for about $6M. I would look at the communities where FC has built these new super stores. There are several lawsuits initiated by those communities against FC regarding the disposition of the old locations. FC keeps them tied up so that no other grocers can go in there leading to long term vacant shopping center. Again, this is less about Food City and more about the way we are represented by our elected officials. Everyone I know says they want a new Food City just not there.

    2. How about sharing this information you claim about there being several lawsuits against Food City.

    3. I agree with unknown on that because in Bristol Ollies is in the old Food City building

  21. The residents of Abingdon have learned recently there is a plan to have Food City place a Flagship Grocery Store, two hotels and five restaurants next to the Virginia Creeper Trail on The Meadows Farm. There are many residents that will be impacted directly or indirectly by this move.

    1. The residents of Abingdon were not informed of this proposed project until recently.

    2. The Virginia Creeper Trail project would impact the town. The culture of the community would be changed. The town has already allowed one corporation to
    limit the Virginia Highlands Festival that has dropped in attendance due to the move from their former location to a street that now resembles a weekend event. The festival was once listed as one of the 100 best in the nation.

    3. There have been no archaeology, cultural, environmental or traffic studies by independent groups.

    4. The reported traffic at Exit 17 is now at 17,000 vehicles daily. The suspected increase is estimated to be an additional 10,000 vehicles. This would overwhelm the exit which is dangerous now with 27,000 vehicles.

    5. The Green Springs Road and the residents will be affected or moved out. Most oppose the rezoning.

    6. The entrance to the project will cost the town $8 Million which was slated to be used for a bypass for Abingdon to reduce the traffic at Exit 17. This is our tax dollars and from the residents. It will be like the town is giving our money away to a corporation.

    7. The Food City group could rebuild where they are located at the same cost or less than buying and building on The Meadows Farm. This form of stewardship was demonstrated by Shoney's which rebuilt on their own property.

    8. The Food City group is most likely reacting to the unwanted Wal-Mart that is strategically placed just outside the town limits by the approval of the Washington County Board of Supervisors who also approved unwanted fracking.

    9. The Food City Project will leave to empty strip mall wastelands on both sides of Cummings Street as visitors and residents enter the town.

    10. The culture and magic of the town will be turned into just another I-81 community along the interstate.

    11. Walkers and bikers will be able to see buildings and noise from traffic and the complex on the Virginia Creeper Trail.

    12. There is the planned Elder Spirit Community, a model for seniors living independently and caring for one another, that will see the buildings and hear the noise.

    13. Several residential areas near Exit 17 will be limited severely in avoiding the Exit 17 traffic.

    14. There is information that has been published in a leading magazine about the "Trail of Tears" for African Americans who in forced slavery were moved from the tobacco fields to the cotton files.

    15. The monies for the French Moore Blvd will be spent on the entrance to the Food City complex. There are no other plans or monies available for the immediate future that is known.

    16. The Combs Center property, Latte Field, and many other properties could be developed for a sports complex for young people.

    17. The merchants of Abingdon benefit by the Virginia Creeper Trail and the Virginia Highlands Festival. Already, vendors have dropped off since the change for the festival. The Virginia Creeper Trail brings in tourism.

    18. There is an article in a major magazine about the Trail of Tears in the November Edition.

    19. Surrounding farm land will be affected by the project.

    20. Downtown merits improvements and merchants rather than turning Abingdon into a community of outlying stores like other communities.

    Thank you.

    1. You know if we had listened to the old people several years ago, we wouldn't have this mess. I remember the old timers telling everyone what a waste that super highway was going to be, they pointed out all the nice farm land that was being taken and all the crime it would bring into our county. I remember back then the traffic on Main St. was bumper to bumper all day on Saturday, it was hard to find a parking place, people were out walking up and down the streets. If we had only listened, we wouldn't have the problems at Exit 14, Exit 17 or Exit 19. We should have stood our ground and told them no, we don't want that super highway. The best I remember the same thing was told when they came up with this Cummings Street idea. To get on Green Spring Rd, one had to go down Pecan St and cross the Rail Road where The Creeper Trail begins, there was a nice little grocery store there on Pecan. They built Cummings street and the first thing you know there was an A&P opened. The little store on Pecan closed down, along with several other stores on Main St.

      This hilltop they are wanting to flatten out holds a lot of history, there was an old woman who told me years and years ago that when Daniel Boone came through Abingdon and his dogs got attacked near the Court House, he proceeded south and camped out on the top of that hill so he could keep a lookout for the wolves in case they tracked him and attacked again. That very hill is why Daniel Boone named it Wolf Hill, I am told that on occasion when the moon and sign are right one can hear them wolves howling in the night.
      Just think how good things would be if we had stopped that Super Highway!!

    2. I haven't seen it, but am told there is a big tree up on that hill where Old Daniel carved his initials, it says D. Boone killed a bar

    3. If the Town of Abingdon allows a mountain top removal of the Meadows, they'll allow anything. Mr. Brown needs to run for Mayor since he's really calling the shots.

  22. I thought that this was a blog where mature adults could exchange intellectual ideas in a safe much for that! I will not be wasting any more of my valuable time on this site. Being personally attacked, name calling?!?, and having my address looked up by a total stranger is very creepy and unnerving. I thought that our small town was removed from such behaviors. My only response is that I don't need to live on Green Springs Rd in order to oppose this issue. However I am very sympathetic toward these folks because I know how I would feel if it were my backyard. I have compassion for their situation. If I were truly selfish, I would say, "Why should I care? I use the Watauga entrance to the Creeper Trail." But I think there are times in life when you must choose to do the right thing and stand up for decency. This is one if those times. Food City is a bully, not just in our town but in other counties as well. That is my opinion and I have the right to express it. And I respect the rights of others to voice their opinions as well, even if they differ from mine. We all live in the most beautiful area of the country. Let's not let this issue bring out something ugly. Peace and love.

    1. I would think that mature adults would realize when you get on the internet and use your name it opens the door to people finding out where you live, where you work and even a picture of the house you live in. You are whining about being personally attacked and called names, what do you think you have done when you say this is just pure "greed" and imply that Food City and Mr. Smith is a "bully"? I guess the shoe doesn't fit your foot huh?

      From the blog, I understand that the nearest any of the building in the proposed development is at least 600 feet from the creeper trail, there will be a berm built along with trees to shield the Creeper Trail from the development. Can't these people who are going to be on the trail bear to see the top of a building? I am betting that even now they can see the large signs that are near Exit 17. I am willing to bet that they can hear the noise from the traffic on I-81 now. Surely to goodness they will understand that the people who live in Abingdon need to be able to buy groceries. I wonder what these bikers and walkers think of the noise now when the train goes by.

      A complaint has been made that "the residents of Abingdon were not informed of the proposed project until recently", well, so what, the proposal just recently came into being considered. Do you have any idea of what is going to take place down at Exit 14 in the near future???

      It was said that the Town of Abingdon has already allowed one corporation to limit the Va. Highlands Festival. Seems to me that The Barter Foundation were the ones who wanted it moved from The Barter Greens, now they have paved parking and set a large tent up to have shows in.

      It is hard for me to believe that a new Food City will draw 10,000 more cars per day, if so maybe they need to go ahead and build the new store and leave the old one open too.

      I would like to know the source of the price tag that has been applied to the entrance as being 8 million dollars and this money was slated to be used for a bypass. Where is the French Moore Blvd going, it is a dead end with a cul-de-sac, I wasn't aware that anything was in store for this area. I don't think it would be of much benefit to come out on Stone Mill Road, if they do it will take a lot more than 8 million dollars to rebuild and widen it to connect to Green Spring Road

      Speaking of the Elder Spirit Community, the best I remember there was a lot of opposition to this being built when it came up. I'm betting those people look forward to a new grocery store.

      Surely to goodness the 10 day Highlands Festival doesn't bring enough business to merchants for them to survive from year to year. Just what can we bring to downtown to get people to come? All we have now is antique stores (most of them have moved on) and restaurants that change name and locations every year. The big reason most have left downtown is because the buildings are so old and in a sad state of repair.

      There is no good reason to deny the rezoning request, the Creeper Trail will not be affected in anyway. A lot of fine farmland was taken to build the new hospital, a lot more is going to be taken by allowing the airport to extend it's runway, a lot of pretty farm land was taken to build the Lowe's at Exit 19 and more is being taken for the new Wal-Mart. The only way to get a glimpse of this in question is from coming out of the parking lot at K-Mart or get a quick look coming down I-81.
      Honestly people I can't believe all the fuss being made, we are not going to live in the past forever.

    2. John, did you know that the adjacent property is owned by the Kroger shopping centers developer? I will bet that he is a strong proponent of rezoning his neighbors land and will not waste any time making a request for his parcel to be rezoned commercial as well. There will be no compelling reason to deny any rezoning requests in that corridor. Then what? Take a look at Fredricksburg, Va if you ant to see how this type of commercial development will impact a small historic community. Soon they will build a bypass as in bypass town.

    3. The $8M price tag was supplied by the Town.

    4. Bob, I think you are wrong about more property being owned by the developer of Kroger. I just checked the tax map and the owner of Kroger and the other buildings in that complex is all owned by the same corp, they don't own anymore than just that complex.

  23. I'm just many of those 100,000 visitors do you think will quit visiting the creeper trail just because they can see the corner of a hotel 200 yards away??????? If anything, I think they will be thankful for the better parking and easier access.

    1. Will they stop visiting? I don't think so but I will bet as one blogger wrote, that they will pick a new starting point besides in Abingdon. There are many spots along the Trail to access it but they will benefit Damascus more than Abingdon.

    2. How much do these people pay to be able to ride or walk the Creeper Trail?

    3. Unknown, how long have you been working for Food City?

  24. I don't understand what the fuss is about the rezoning it is not going to disturb or hurt the creeper trail about the interstate 81 it already goes across the creeper trail and so does the golf course and people still come and walk and to my understand the creeper trail is closed from dusk until dawn just courious

  25. Tamara, anyone who looks you up and creeps you out should be reported to the police. I don't live on Green Springs Rd but also stand with the citizens there.I do live in the town of Abingdon and this isn't just a Creeper Trail issue. This is a sell-out of town citizens by their elected officials. If they can rezone Green Springs Road and turn it into an overpass they can do it to any street in town.


  26. Okay, that does it!! You mean to tell me that they are going to turn Green Springs Road into an overpass? That is unreal, beyond imagination! I can see it now, overpasses all over town. I just can't believe that someone can look you up on the internet and find out where you live, Lord have mercy on me, they can even find you phone number. It gets real bad when you have a Facebook page and put your picture on it, I am scared and am going to call the police right now. I am going to look at the court records and see if these people have committed a crime, no tell who is lurking and looking. They probably will put up some more traffic lights and lower the speed limit, this is just a complete sell-out!!!!! I think we should move the airport and put the new Food City down there. We need to watch them overpasses!!!!!!!!

    November 27, 2015 at 8:18 PM

  27. It's more than just about the Creeper Trail the people who live on the Green Springs Road has pretty much been told that they have to sell their land some of them may not look that good but it's still there home and they are good people.

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  29. not trying to start anything by saying this just voicing an opinion; the area of green springs rd is a bit run down, now i understand that some people that all they can do and are happy with that and that is fine but coming from someone who was a kid in this town i would love to see new things be brought in such at a few ball fields that do not effect the creeper trial. The small business side is all but gone due to Walmart coming in, and again don't get me wrong I love the restaurants we have in town and I do not want to see them go anywhere. Unfortunately, times change and i for one would rather see something like this happen rather then a few lager industrial sites come in

  30. You know we have a couple of big problems here, first it is the CAVE people and second it is the NIMBY people. The CAVE people are the ones who as the name implies, oppose virtually everything. The NIMBY people are called this because they say, Not In My Back Yard.

    Seems to me the biggest concern is the two lane under I-81, in looking at the map on Abingdon 2020 Transportation Plan the French Moore Blvd was proposed to come between Lowry Drive and The Town Center and connect to Cook St. That would be completely useless, all that would do is put more traffic on Cummings St.

    If some of the same bunch that is belly aching now had not used some of these same old worn out excuses back a few years ago, WalMart would have been built at Exit 14 and they were going to pay to have the Exit 14 rebuilt, they could have built a road on the south side of I-81 and connected it to Cummings St on that side of the interstate.
    Your bunch cries "Save the Creeper Trail", why don't you all be honest, you all are just not wanting your "little status quo" disturbed. You don't want any new restaurants built anywhere close to town, you don't want the hotels anywhere near town. You whine about money spent at chain restaurants, you make up a bunch of rumors trying to get people think that somehow this is going to ruin their life.
    I think we need to start charging people to use the Creeper Trail, after all a lot of our tax money is used to keep it going.

  31. I have not shopped in a WalMart since 2001. Guess what? I have not shopped at Food City since October of this year and don't ever plan on shopping there again. I will go to Food Country for all my shopping.

    1. I do the same. I do Food country. When does it matter what the people think. Apparently our town doesn't concidering both sides. Just what's best for them. They are about the money. We need more revenue for more town decorations.

    2. I do the same. I do Food country. When does it matter what the people think. Apparently our town doesn't concidering both sides. Just what's best for them. They are about the money. We need more revenue for more town decorations.

  32. I fully understand & support those who want to preserve the small town feel of Abingdon, as well as all it's history & natural beauty. At this point, I have to say, I'm neutral, overall, on this issue. One thing I find interesting thus far is, there are already several large, expensive homes in close proximity to the VCT, as well as a golf course surrounding the trail. All are MUCH closer than any of the proposed construction.

    I agree, this proposal seemed to have been sprung on residents & the projected impact of traffic, likely WILL be a major headache. However, I think a new recreational facility is a great idea. I don't know what may ultimately be built, if that part of the plan goes through, but I would hope they would include new Little League baseball & Midget League football fields. I've always thought the youth baseball fields in particular are in a VERY dangerous area.

    Personally, I'd like to see Abingdon have at least one major chain restaurant where you could sit down & order a meal or have a drink & watch a game. By no means do I want to see another Exit 7/Wally World. But I think a good balance is quite possible, especially when you consider that the proposed businesses, at least from the picture shown above, infringes far less on the VCT than several other areas which already exist.

  33. Has it been announced what stores/restaurants will be coming in?

  34. I sure do hope that we will get a Hooters.