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February 06, 2008

Supervisors approve rural area ordinances... and more

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PLUS: Crozet project moves ahead, a traffic signal for Glenmore, Advance Mills Bridge faces setback, sewers for Albemarle Place, and the rising water and sewer rates

Rural Areas Ordinances

20080206bosview2At their meeting on February 6, 2008, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved three rural area ordinance changes related to holding periods on family sub-divisions, stream buffers, and driveways across steep slopes.  The approvals came in front of an audience of about 100 community members, thirty-four of whom spoke during the public hearing.  Identical 4-2 votes on each ordinance broke the stalemate in the Board’s work to support the goals in the rural areas portion of the County’s Comprehensive Plan.  Supervisors Ken Boyd (Rivanna) and Lindsay Dorrier (Scottsville) both voted against the ordinance changes.

Crozet Gateway

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Adnan Yousef and his family lobby the Board to approve Crozet Gateway

In other business earlier in the day, the Board of Supervisors approved a site plan for a new development at a key intersection in Crozet.  The Crozet Gateway project will redevelop a 2 acre site at the corner of Route 240 and Route 250 near Brownsville Elementary School.  The existing convenience store will be replaced with two multi-story commercial buildings, a use allowed by-right on the property.  At issue was a request to lower the number of parking spaces provided in the development.  The developer was proposing 99 while the County was recommending 118.  County staff recommended that the Board uphold the prior decisions of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Administrator to keep the parking expectation at the higher figure.

Adnan Yousef shared his frustrations with the Board about how long it has taken him to get his development approved.  He first submitted his plans in July 2006.  Yousef said he was upset that the County's concerns about the parking matter were not raised earlier in the process when he could have made adjustments to his engineering plans.  He said the delays had resulted in potential tenants opting to locate in other new developments along Route 250 near Crozet which were able to be built more quickly.

Supervisors apologized for the delays that occurred and unanimously voted to approve the parking waiver and Yousef's final site plan.

Transportation Matters

In the Board's monthly transportation update, the Supervisors learned from VDOT’s Allan Sumpter that a traffic signal is moving forward for the Glenmore intersection on Route 250 East.  Sumpter said the “warrants” had been recently re-evaluated by VDOT and that this assessment indicated a signal was now justified.  Planning and engineering work will commence immediately.

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The Board also heard a report on the Advance Mills Bridge situation.  The bridge in Northern Albemarle was closed for safety reasons in 2007 and the community had been working with VDOT to have a temporary bridge installed while a permanent bridge plan was completed.  Sumpter said a recent call from the Federal Highway Administration had put the brakes on the temporary bridge and that VDOT was going to have to focus only on the permanent solution, something that might not be complete until mid-2010 or early 2011. VDOT's Quintin Elliot said any other course of action could jeopardize Federal funding for the permanent bridge project.

Members of the Advance Mills Neighborhood Association and Supervisor Ann Mallek (White Hall) will be going to Richmond tomorrow to meet with Federal Highway officials to understand the reversal of their October 2007 endorsement of the two bridge plan just days before the temporary structure was supposed to go to bid.

Sewers for Albemarle Place

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RWSA's Tom Frederick (Left) and ACSA's Gary Fern (Right) report to the Supervisors

The Supervisors also received updates from both the Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA).  RWSA's Executive Director, Tom Frederick, started with some good news that the Sugar Hollow Reservoir had completely refilled and was spilling for the first time since the drought conditions worsened in late 2007.

ACSA Executive Director, Gary Fern, updated the Board on sewer capacity issues at the Albemarle Place development.  Fern said the new Albemarle Place developer, Edens & Avant, was meeting with his staff to plan for the site's sewer needs.  According to Fern, Albemarle Place will be connected to an upgraded Meadowcreek Interceptor by December 2009.

Water & Sewer Rates

Supervisors asked if the water and sewer rates being discussed would cover the costs of the Community Water Supply Plan and a growing list of sewer infrastructure needs.  Fern indicated he was still preparing his capital budget for FY 2009 and carefully reviewing the rate information from RWSA.  The RWSA provides water and sewer services to the City of Charlottesville and the Albemarle County Service Authority. 

Frederick said the RWSA was trying to find the right balance in its rate structure to be sensitive to ratepayer concerns.  The sewer needs will be better understood after the completion of a major sewer interceptor study later this year.  With respect to water rates, in January, the RWSA projected increases of 1.3% in the City and 2.5% in the County for each of next five years to support the construction of the new Ragged Mountain Dam. 

County Executive Bob Tucker told the Supervisors that if the community wanted to expedite the pipeline phase of the water supply plan, rates would go up more steeply.The pipeline will connect the expanded Ragged Mountain Reservoir to the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.  To support both the dam and the pipeline being built at the same time, water rates would increase  7% for the the City and 11.7% for County for each of next five years.

Brian Wheeler

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