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October 09, 2009

Supervisors oppose “eastern bypass” and other VDOT recommendations for U.S. 29

Reader comments (1) By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, October 09, 2009

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has formally expressed their concern about recommendations being proposed by VDOT’s corridor-wide study of U.S. 29. At their meeting on October 7, 2009, the Board voted 5-1 to pass a resolution opposing some of the study’s recommendations involving Albemarle County.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20091007-BOS-Eastern-Bypass

20091007-BOS-Center-State
This map shown at the recent public forum on the corridor study depicts a new road passing through eastern Albemarle County. Click through for a larger image (.PDF) (Source: VDOT)
In addition to the extension of Leonard Sandridge Road and the creation of a new elevated interchange  to connect U.S. 29 to the 29/250 Bypass, the study also recommends study of a new road to connect Culpeper to I-64 along the Route 15 corridor. However, VDOT’s map shows that route passing through Albemarle County  along its eastern border with Louisa County.

Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) said this concept was put forward without any input from the community. He was also concerned that the dotted line depicting the route passes through lands currently protected from development through conservation easements.

“It’s a disastrous idea and it’s going to have a chilling effect on the opportunity to get more conservation easements in that portion of the County where they are desperately needed and highly valued,” Slutzky said.

Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) said he was concerned the study also recommended that legislative action be taken to require localities to insert language into their comprehensive plans to accommodate for the recommended alignments. 

The resolution specifically outlines the County’s opposition to the extension of Leonard Sandridge Road and the so-called eastern bypass. The resolution also asks for Hillsdale Drive Extended and the widening of U.S. 29 from the South Fork Rivanna River to Hollymead to be include in the  corridor study. It also contains language against the elevation of state priorities over local ones.

“Localities should not be required to include specific transportation projects in their comprehensive plans that are not approved by the locality and the applicable MPO,” reads the resolution.

Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna) said he also opposed the eastern bypass, but could not support the resolution because he believes VDOT should consider the extension of Leonard Sandridge Road.

“I strongly believe that we need that route on the western side, whether you call it a parkway or a parallel road or a bypass,” Boyd said. “I’m not willing to say totally take that western bypass property off the map.”

Download Download the resolution (.PDF)

Several members of the public spoke out against the idea at the Board’s meeting on Wednesday. Keswick landowner Harrison Taylor said the alignment further diminishes the property values of land already placed under easement.  Morgan Butler of the Southern Environmental Law Center said he was concerned that the study would form the basis of a corridor implementation plan that would require localities to modify their comprehensive plans. Jeff Werner of the Piedmont Environmental Council applauded VDOT for recommending access management and parallel roads in the study, but had reservations about the specific new roads being proposed.

The public comment period for the study ends on October 16. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will consider the study at its meeting in November.

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:
  • 01:00 – Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) begins conversation during “Matters from the Board”
  • 02:45 – Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) mentions he asked Bob Tucker to write up a resolution
  • 04:50 – Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna)
  • 05:20 – Public comment from Keswick area landowner Harrison Taylor
  • 08:30 – Public comment from Tony Vanderwarker of the Piedmont Environmental Council
  • 10:45 – Public comment  from a landowner who did not give his name
  • 14:00 – Public comment from Morgan Butler of the Southern Environmental Law Center
  • 17:30 – Public comment from Jeff Werner of the Piedmont Environmental Council
  • 19:40 – Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) describes the resolution
  • 30:45 – Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) describes why he supports the resolution
  • 33:00 – Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna) describes why he is not supporting the resolution

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