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July 29, 2010

County planners give okay to expanded Fontaine

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DailyProgress By Bridgett Lynn
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, July 29, 2010

 

20100727-FRP-map Click to enlarge

A proposal to increase the size of the University of Virginia’s Fontaine Research Park by 310,000 square feet has moved one step closer to reality.

The Albemarle County Planning Commission on Tuesday recommended approval for a rezoning, despite concerns from city residents that an expanded research park would mean more traffic through their neighborhoods.

“The Comprehensive Plan proposes the Sunset-Fontaine connector to be accommodated on the site,” county planner Claudette Grant said. “Outside of showing this area on the application plan, the applicant has made no commitment elsewhere to address this [project].”

City, county and university planners agreed on the concept for the road as part of a 2004 planning study. The road would reduce traffic congestion on Old Lynchburg Road and would link to the county’s designated growth areas south of Interstate 64.

The University of Virginia Foundation originally proposed in 2007 to expand Fontaine Research Park by 725,000 square feet but has scaled that back to 310,000 square feet.

“The major issue was the need for a traffic study,” Grant said. “The traffic study revealed that the research park could propose an additional 310,000 square feet instead of 725,000 square feet in order to mitigate traffic impacts.”

Fred Missel, director of design and development of the UVa Foundation, said at the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association’s meeting held earlier this month that the county has not yet decided what the exact route of the connector should be. However, the county is suggesting at least one alternative.

“Staff believes an alternative location would be to utilize parts of Natural Resources Drive which accesses the Department of Forestry building,” Grant said. “This would necessitate relocation of a part of this road which the applicant has indicated they are not supportive of because this would generate too much traffic going through the park.”

Staff also recommended the applicant participate in a Sunset-Fontaine connector study that the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will be undertaking.

The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing for the UVa Foundation’s plans at their meeting September 8.

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