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May 13, 2010

Master plan approved for the Village of Rivanna

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By Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved a master plan for the Village of Rivanna at their meeting Wednesday.  The village is a designated growth area on U.S. 250 East and includes the Glenmore community.

After almost three years of work, the village joins Crozet and Pantops as the third master planned community in Albemarle.  Unlike its predecessors, however, this plan says that new development should be approved only after adequate transportation and sewer treatment facilities are in place.

20100512-BOS1
Trevor Joscelyne, the President of Glenmore Community Association, said in an interview that the association did not take a position on the final master plan.“A lot of residents have been involved over the past several years,” said Joscelyne.  “We don’t have any major issues with [the plan].  They have modified it quite substantially, particularly with respect to density of housing.  They have also included a park area which we were fighting for, so we have fought our battles already.”

Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier, who represents the village on the Board of Supervisors, said in an interview that he thought the plan had been well received by his constituents.

“I think the plan has been thoroughly reviewed by all the parties,” said Dorrier.  “At one time there was some opposition, but that has been resolved.”

While the plan calls for infrastructure to be built in advance of new development, many residential and commercial projects have already been approved, but not yet built.

“We are not excited about the prospect of a lot of development on our doorstep,” said  Joscelyne, “but we realize that we don’t have a lot of say over that.”

“We need to improve the entrance into and out of [the village] at Route 250,” said Dorrier.  “That area is becoming more and more crowded and problematic….We need to look carefully at how we are going to solve the transportation issues out there.”

“The problem with Route 250 is that it is already near capacity, and many new homes have been approved already that will push it beyond capacity,” said Joscelyne.  “New development simply cannot happen unless the road is widened.”

Neil Williamson, executive director of the Free Enterprise Forum, sounded a note of caution about the infrastructure goals.

“I ask that you look carefully at the restrictions you are placing on new rezonings,” said Williamson.  “I am not sure you want to prevent any rezoning that may come in front of you.”

Supervisor Dennis Rooker said the guidelines for concurrency of adequate infrastructure were important and a key to getting public support.  

“Without that language on future transportation and future rezonings, it wouldn’t have the support of the residents,” said Rooker.

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Jeff Werner, Piedmont Environmental Council
The Piedmont Environment Council’s Jeff Werner said in an interview that Albemarle’s separate growth areas on Route 250 in Crozet and at Glenmore present some natural land use and transportation challenges.

“It raises some very good questions for the county, if you are going to allow growth in these separate areas which are disconnected from the urban growth area,” said Werner.  “There is a necessary level of transportation between the two that has to be accounted for in the plan.”

Werner also said that any plan would require careful consideration when it came time to make implementation decisions.  The board of supervisors is now controlled by conservative members, including Dorrier, who favor fiscal restraint combined with increased efforts to grow local businesses and streamline the review process for new development.

“People are worried that the current majority on the board is not really interested what these communities come up with in the master plans,” said Werner. “There is great concern this board majority will show deference to the business community, the development community, and not the residents’ priorities.”

Dorrier said the lack of state funding for transportation was going to present a challenge to any master plan and may require more local investment.

“We need to zero in on the problem areas and try to address them,” said Dorrier.  “We have not gotten any state support so we are going to have to do this ourselves.”

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