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August 03, 2006

Transportation funding challenge hits home: Crozet development deferred, Cascadia approved

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Bos20060802aThe Albemarle County Board of Supervisors held a lengthy discussion on transportation funding challenges and developer proffers as they reviewed two rezoning requests (Westhall-Crozet and Cascadia-20N) at their meeting Wednesday. Supervisors reached consensus that there was an urgent need for a worksession on these topics and these items are expected to be discussed at the Board's retreat in September. 

Daily Progress coverage is linked here.

Ultimately, the Board voted 5-1 to defer the Westhall rezoning with Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) voting against the motion indicating he favored supporting the new development in Crozet.  The Cascadia project was approved 5-1 with Supervisor Dennis Rooker voting against the project because of transportation and proffer concerns. In between the Westhall and Cascadia votes, the Board approved the North Pointe rezoning which also had its share of discussion on transportation and proffers.

Below are two podcasts from this portion of the meeting, one on Westhall and one on Cascadia. 


WESTHALL AUDIO

NOTE: In this recording when Supervisors refer to Eastern Connector, they actually mean Eastern Avenue in Crozet.

Download the podcast: Download 20060802-BOS-Westhall.mp3

WESTHALL SUMMARY

Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) indicated he would no longer vote in favor of any rezonings that did not adequately contribute to transportation and other infrastructure needs.  He cited what he saw as two problems with Westhall: 1) the number of units being approved in Crozet now already exceeds what the Master Plan intended for the first twenty years; and 2) that County does not have funding for transportation infrastructure (e.g. Jarmans Gap Road) because of the inadequacy of state funding.  He also suggested a new approach on future proffers which might be based on the number of vehicle trips per day anticipated to come to and from the development.  He suggested a $1,000 per vehicle trip generated per day proffer.  For Westhall at about 8,000 vehicle trips per day that would be $8,000 per unit in one-time voluntary proffers from the developer that could be applied to transportation projects.

Some Supervisors, including David Slutzky (Rio) and Lindsay Dorrier (Scottsville) expressed their discomfort discussing changing overall proffer expectations at the time of a vote on a specific rezoning request. Sally Thomas (Samuel Miller) shared her view that an up or down vote on this rezoning request was not a black and white issue with respect to the County's proffer policies.  Ms. Thomas shared her concern that increased monetary proffers in the designated growth areas might push development to the rural areas and might result in by-right development in Crozet that won't be in accord with the community's goals in the master plan.

David Wyant (White Hall) indicated he could not vote for approval of Westhall until there was a clear commitment from an adjoining property owner to fund the construction of Eastern Avenue, a connector road described in the Crozet Master Plan that would interconnect this neighborhood to Routes 240 and 250.  He indicated to his colleagues that he is attempting to broker such a deal and expects a decision from the developer any day.  Eastern Avenue is currently estimated to be an $8 million road project including a bridge over Lickinghole Creek.

Ken Boyd (Rio) indicated he shared the concerns expressed by Mr. Rooker and Mr. Wyant and that he could not support the project.  He said this went against what he normally believes with respect to controlling development, but that he said the issue had to be settled somewhere along the line, and that while he felt bad about doing it here, a "line in the sand" had to be drawn and a new message sent to the development community.

During the discussion, Supervisors Boyd, Thomas, and Dorrier all seemed to change their minds on the project and they joined Rooker and Wyant in voting in favor of a deferral so the applicant can have the opportunity to come back with revised proffers and to allow the Board to receive additional information on the County's ability to pay for new infrastructure.

CASCADIA AUDIO

Download the podcast: Download 20060802-BOS-Cascadia.mp3

Brian Wheeler

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