Forest Lakes residents grill Boyd on Hollymead growth area expansion
More than 100 residents of the Forest Lakes community packed Hollymead Elementary School on Thursday night to hear Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd explain the details of a proposed expansion of the county’s development area.
Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20110127-Boyd-TownHall
“My fear is that this is going to get approved with no infrastructure improvements and we’re going to watch U.S. 29 come to a standstill,” said Cynthia Neff, a former candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates.
In November, residents thought the idea was dead after Boyd announced at a public hearing that he would not support it following a petition from Forest Lakes residents opposed to the additional development.
“We all want that infrastructure to occur, but we want it done in a way different from the way it’s happened in the past,” said Scott Elliff, a member of the board of directors of the Forest Lakes Community Association. “The way it always happens is that the growth occurs first, and then the infrastructure.”
However, lingering concerns over how to find funding for infrastructure projects called for in the Places29 project prompted Boyd to reconsider the idea a month later. As examples, he listed the extension of Berkmar Drive and improvements to Ashwood Boulevard’s interchange with U.S. 29.
“There’s zero money for any of these projects,” Boyd said. He said the county is not likely to raise property taxes to raise funds given the economic downturn.
Boyd said Wood told him that he could currently choose by-right to build housing developments or gas stations on the land. That would not only deprive the county an opportunity to get investment through proffers, but it would also lead to uncontrolled growth.
“We could be looking at four or five new entrances on U.S. 29,” Boyd said.
However, Neff pointed out that Wood proffered around $12 million in improvements when Hollymead Town Center was rezoned, and that the new expansion area is one-fifth of the size of that development. That would mean a rezoning of the proposed expansion area would only yield a fifth of the proffers.
“The projects you’re talking about cost $84 million,” Neff said. “Getting a couple of million dollars is not going to solve this.”
Elliff said the improvements to Ashwood Boulevard should be done regardless of the expansion of the growth area.
“Of course you have to be creative in this environment, but we would not trade getting that improvement in on U.S. 29 for having another Hollymead Town Center across the street from us,” Elliff said.
Boyd said the Comprehensive Plan change was the only way to bring the developer to the table to describe what infrastructure improvements they would make in exchange for the rezoning.
“When we go into zoning, we ask for all sort of [experts] to come forward and tell us what the impacts of the development will be,” Boyd said. “I don’t know any time when we haven’t done most of all of those things.”
Elliff said a change to the Comprehensive Plan to allow for retail development there would be one of only two steps required for the development to occur.
“If we don’t want it, why would be possibly open the first gate?”
Steve Ashby said that if Boyd does vote for the expansion, he encouraged Wood to contribute toward a regional bus service.
“I know there’s no money for it but if we’re going to be expanding the growth area we need to be looking at other ways to get around,” Ashby said.
Boyd said he would think very hard about the comments he received before making a decision about how he would vote.
TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:
- 01:30 - Supervisor Ken Boyd makes his opening remarks
- 16:00 - Comments from Cynthia Neff
- 19:30 - Responses from Ken Boyd to Neff's comments
- 21:30 - Comments from Steve Ashby
- 22:45 - Jane Williamson asks Boyd if he can see any end to population growth in Albemarle
- 24:40 - Comments from Mike Warlick about a recent rezoning requested by Wendell Wood
- 27:00 - Another person comments about proffers for Hollymead Town Center
- 28:45 - Comments from Kirk Bowers about stopping growth
- 33:30 - Comments of Scott Elliff of the Forest Lakes Community Association
- 35:45 - Boyd said he will not support a single entrance for the new development at Ashwood Boulevard
- 38:45 - Elliff explains why he is opposed to a comprehensive plan change now
- 40:30 - Comments from Joyce Ross about another rezoning
- 42:50 - Comments from Lyn Holt in favor of the growth area expansion
- 45:00 - Comments from John Chavan in favor of the growth area expansion
- 48:30 - Comments from Jennifer McEwan questioning need for expansion
- 54:30 - Comments from a woman in opposition to the expansion
- 58:00 - Comments from Jim Grimes questioning the effectiveness of proffers
- 01:00:15 - Boyd claims rules are stricter now on controlling erosion
- 01:01:00 - Comments from Chris Hapgood on continuing siltation of Forest Lakes' bodies of water
- 01:02:00 - Grimes asks Boyd how he will vote; he defers to the end of the meeting
- 01:02:30 - Comments from a man who says form of development needs to be worked on
- 01:06:20 - Comments from Phil Merrill
- 01:11:00 - Comments from Lisa Harrison who says land should stay rural
- 01:14:20 - Comments from Key West resident Dennis Roethlisberger
- 01:18:00 - Comments from Jenny Patterson
- 01:19:20 - Comments from unidentified woman
- 01:24:00 - Comments from Forest Lakes resident Ted Miller
- 01:27:00 - Comments from Jimmy Dean
- 01:29:30 - Additional comment from Kirk Bowers
- 01:31:00 - Comments from Jack Marshall of Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population
- 01:32:00 - Comments from Steve Ashby about lack of pedestrian improvements in northern growth area
- 01:33:30 - Boyd explains why he is against a local tax increase to pay for transportation improvements
- 01:34:00 - Comments from Forest Lakes resident Bob Daniels
- 01:37:10 - Comment from an unidentified man
- 01:38:30 - Boyd explains why he supports putting the western bypass back on the table
- 01:41:30 - Forest Lakes South resident Mark Davis asks Boyd
- 01:44:00 - Forest Lakes resident Derek Duval
- 01:46:10 - Boyd says he will not announce how he will vote until Wednesday
- 01:49:30 - Comment from the public
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