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electricmonk

Smith Mountain Lake/Roanoke

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I originally thought of this topic earlier in the week and now I can't find links to all the stories involved. But anyway what I was going to get at was the explosive growth around Smith Mountain Lake and the lack of any decent highways to get there seems kind of like an anomaly in todays culture. Roanoke is the largest metro area easily accessable from the SML area with Lynchburg a close second. To get there from Roanoke though it can be a bit hair-raising. I know 3 people to have died on rt 122 over the years which is one of the main routes to the lake from Roanoke. I'm not normally by any stretch of the imagination an advocate for more roads but I do think that SML would be better served by decent safe roads leading to it. It's obvious that the growth is going to occur without them so why not build the roads and make it safer?

Here's one article from this week.

-snip-

In April, Smith Mountain Lake developer Trey Park received a permit to build a self-contained sewage treatment plant on a 479-acre parcel about halfway between Westlake and Hales Ford Bridge.

Now, six months later, it's clear why he needed it. Park has applied for rezoning and nine special-use permits to transform a large chunk of the former Hancock Farm into LakeWatch Plantation, a mixed-use development that will include restaurants, athletic fields and a variety of housing choices.

If approved, the entire development will take 10 to 15 years to complete, Park said. He estimates the completed project's value will be nearly $500 million.

"This is a true planned community," Park said. "We're trying to make this a destination for Franklin County and for visitors to Smith Mountain Lake."

The rezoning and special-use permit requests will be heard by the Franklin County Planning Commission Oct. 11, and then by the board of supervisors next month. Park is asking for the land to be rezoned from agricultural to planned commercial district. He's also requesting special-use permits for 96 residential single-family units, 68 multi-family units, a 104,000-square-foot shopping center, 36 cottages, a 10,000-square-foot fire station, a 2-acre day care site with a 9,000-square-foot building, a 12-acre boat-trailer and recreational vehicle storage site, a 3-acre outdoor amphitheater and a 1-acre trash container site.

-end snip-

Over the past few months I've seen a couple other announcements for the area like tis one. Who's to say how much will actually get built but in the long term it's going to happen so we might as well plan on it. And that includes enacting land use plans and zoning regulations for Franklin and Bedford Counties.

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There definately needs to be an effort to get updated infrastructure to the Smith Mountain Lake area. The sprwal is inevitable, but organizing it a little better wouldn't hurt.

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Yeah, that's what I'm saying. There' s been talk for years about updating the roads leading to the lake but I think everyone is stuck in the 6 lane superhighway or nothing mode. Can you think of any other areas in the country that have gone through a similar growth spurt that they could use as an example? I know there are plenty but my brain isn't working all that great lately.

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Old thread I know, so I thought I'd resurrect it. The fastest growth in the western half of the state is occuring along the Bedford and Franklin sides of Smith mountain lake. It is disconcerting that no significant plans are in the works to accomodate the traffic from all these new people. Do county planners expect all these new residents to grow their own food and never leave their neighborhoods.

This growth is right in Roanoke's back yard, 10-35 miles away. In fact some of smith mountain lake is only about 5 miles (as the crow flys) from downtown Roanoke. I wonder if the lack of planning now will isolate roanoke from all the potential economic activity these residents could theoretically bring to the city.

The fastest growing county in virginia, Loudoun, has a far different development pattern than SMLake. There, the growth is fueled by workers looking for cheaper housing in the outskirts of northern virginia. I assume that makes the growth more traffic intensive. Most Smith mountain lake residents don't commute to Roanoke, although a significant number of them do.

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Franklin and Bedford Counties have some semblence of land-use plans, but they don't coordinate with each other. Smith Mountain Lake is going to become a big development mess if it keeps growing.

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Id like to see photos of Smith Mountain Lake. I know its not directly related to Urbanism but from what i know, it sounds like a really nice place.

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I found a website with free pics of the the lake. Each link is for an individual pic. :shades:

800x600_smith_mountain_lake_upon_cliff_high-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

800x600_fall_ascends_upon_smith_mountain_lake_01-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

800x600smithmountainlakeliving01-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

800x600_smith_mountain_lake_frosty_morning_001-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

800x600_smith_mountain_lake_the_virginia_dare-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

800x600_smith_mountain_lake_frosty_top_mountain-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

800x600_smith_mountain_lake_sunrise_sailor-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

800x600_smith_mountain_lake_grand_lake_view_001-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

800x600_smith_mountain_lake_purple_sunset_001-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

800x600_smith_mountain_lake_sailboats_01-1-th.jpg]My Webpage

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How large is Smith Mountain Lake in acreage? How many miles from one end to the other at its longest point? And how wide?

It's a beauty, judging from the pictures.

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How large is Smith Mountain Lake in acreage? How many miles from one end to the other at its longest point? And how wide?

It's a beauty, judging from the pictures.

The lake is 20,600 acres / 32 square miles. It has about 500 miles of shoreline (many coves). It is about 40 miles long at its longest point. Probably an average width of less than half a mile but the widest distance of extreme ends of the lake, perpendicular to the 40 mile length is about 15 miles extending from the blackwater area of frankin co into coves in bedford co. The typical depth of the lake is 100-150 feet but the area near the dam is approximately 250 feet deep. In case it hasn't been mentioned before, the film 'What about Bob' was filmed here.. not at lake Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. The summer filming season was too short there.

Info obtained from smith-mountain-lake

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I haven't been to the lake in about 20 years and every time I see photos of what it's become I'm amazed. My parents had a boat there back when I was a kid but it sunk at Bay Rock Marina during the flood from Hurricane Agnes. They never replaced it. The boat itself would be worth a small fortune today. It was a wooden cabin cruiser from the 1960's.

In the late 70's some friends of theirs had a place there that we used to go to almost every weekend. My older brother and Dad used to row across the cove to go deer hunting. That area is now a huge condo development.

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My family had some land that was (I believe) near what's now the State Park. They sold it back in the early/mid 80s, thinking they'd never use it for anything.

If only they'd held onto it for about 20 years...

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Watch for this area in the next 10 years. IMO, SML will grow by leaps and bounds as people are moving more into the suburbs than anything else and this (SML) is the closest to water we can get on this side of Richmond.

you know, if we get this Toyota plant on this side of VA...there's going to be a huge economical impact on the Roanoke-Lynchburg market.

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I haven't been to the lake in about 20 years and every time I see photos of what it's become I'm amazed. My parents had a boat there back when I was a kid but it sunk at Bay Rock Marina during the flood from Hurricane Agnes. They never replaced it. The boat itself would be worth a small fortune today. It was a wooden cabin cruiser from the 1960's.

In the late 70's some friends of theirs had a place there that we used to go to almost every weekend. My older brother and Dad used to row across the cove to go deer hunting. That area is now a huge condo development.

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I ran some analysis and if you extrapolate current census growth data to the year 2090, Franklin County popuation will exceed Roanoke County AND Roanoke City. And the bulk of that population growth will be from the Rocky Mount area northward to the Roanoke County line.

Sean

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I took the 2000-2006 population figures and extrapolated out to 2050. Here are the population totals and my comments:

Bedford County: 60,371 in 2000, 97,666 in 2050; seems about right

Botetourt County: 30,496 in 2000, 45,456 in 2050; seems too low, I was surprised it only grew about 1,500 from 2000 to 2006

Craig County: 5,091 in 2000, 5,121 in 2050; seems too low, there will probably be some spill-over from Botetourt eventually

Floyd County: 13,874 in 2000, 23,084 in 2050; could be a little high, too remote for this much population

Franklin County: 47,286 in 2000, 79,456 in 2050; seems too low

Montgomery County: 83,629 in 2000, 122,229 in 2050; probably a little high unless alot of high tech companies emerge from Va Tech

Roanoke County: 85,778 in 2000, 120,633 in 2050; too high, not enough room, this growth would spill into Botetourt, Bedford, and Franklin (and possibly Roanoke City)

Roanoke City: 94,911 in 2000, 74,251 in 2050; Roanoke has really lost alot since 2000, but my guess would be it'll stabilize in the mid-80s

Overall Regional Population (including Salem, Bedford, Radford): 467,484 in 2000, 608,687 in 2050. This would represent a 30% increase, while hardly explosive, would mean that the region would almost certainly have experienced a better 50 year period economically than 1950-2000.

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If Montgomery County continues to grow and provide things that college grads want to have, then perhaps the population growth could accelerate.

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I think the biggest challenge facing Smith Mountain Lake is the transportation issue. I know there are plans for lots more commercial & residential development but if the developers of these new

projects don't build the roads, who will? On the other hand, maybe the affluent folks who inhabit the Lake area don't want outsiders there anyway. Sometimes the status quo works very well for

those who have moved there to escape the overbuilt, congested cities in our region.

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A recent article on Roanoke.com (printed in THE LAKE - owned by Times-World Corp) illustrates one problem the Roanoke area seems to have. People overestimate distances here much more than in other areas I've lived. Another recent article referred to the old Victory stadium site as being 2 miles from downtown, when it is much closer to 1 mile (unless downtown is Magic City Ford, a stretch for downtown in my opinion.)

In Fredericksburg, people frequently say they live downtown, when they're actually 3 miles away in a suburban area that is reminiscent of the Wellington subdivision off Yellow Mtn Rd.

They will say they live 20 minutes from downtown when they live in Orange county, and if speeding 15 over during the night with no traffic, they can make it from their house to I95 in 20 minutes, meaning another 5 minutes (with no traffic) to actually be downtown. Normally an actual commute from these subdivisions to downtown is about 35-40 minutes during the normal thick traffic, and even longer during the peak of rush hour. People in Reston will say they're 20 minutes from DC, which is sort of true (given that you start the stopwatch as they enter the Dulles Toll Road and hit no traffic, and the terminus is the District Boundary, not downtown or the mall.

In Richmond, I frequently hear people say that Shortpump mall is 15 minutes from downtown, even though that is almost impossible to achieve, unless one considers the Boulevard interchange as downtown, and one hits no significant traffic along the way.

So when I read this article, it took me aback. The writer states that Roanoke is 45 miles from Smith Mtn Lake. She later specifically refers to Westlake Corner. I did some measuring and calculated driving distance and times on google. Westlake corner is 16 miles from downtown Roanoke. It is 25 driving miles away. My only theory, other than the possibility that she has a very misinformed idea of the distance to the lake, is that it was a typo and she meant to say '45 minutes away". That would be much more believable, although, as I've illustrated, other metro areas I've been in underestimate distances and would probably say that Westlake corner is about 30 minutes away.

I did some more measuring and found that if you drew a straight line from Roanoke to the farthest point on the lake (happens to be the dam) and then kept going, the first town you hit is Gretna -12 miles past the dam, which is still only 43 miles away from downtown Roanoke.

I guess I'll just tell myself that it was a typo and stop being bothered by such insignificant inaccuracies. story

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I visited Rocky Mount (Franklin County) recently and the growth there is phenomenal. My friend says a lot of "rich yankees" (hehe and boooo!) are moving in and causing gentrification in areas around the lake in an area now known as North Shore.

SML is a gorgeous area. I highly recommend a visit and stop by the Booker T. Washington National Park while you're there. It's right on the way from Rocky Mount and not far from anywhere in this area.

The park is located in Franklin County, VA, 16 miles northeast of Rocky Mount, VA via VA 40E and VA 122N; 25 miles southeast of Roanoke, VA via US 220S, VA 40E, and VA 122N; and 50 miles southwest of Lynchburg, VA via US 460W and VA 122S.

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