Some residents of the Glenmore subdivision are concerned about increased traffic and density that a new development will bring to their part of Albemarle County. However, county officials and developer Andrew Boninti say that the Rivanna Village proposal is in line with plans for that part of eastern Albemarle, a designated growth area.
“What the county wants to put in the Village of Rivanna is inconsistent with what is in the master plan. How do we try to bring those two together?” said Glenmore resident Richard Wagaman.
Wagaman is also a member of the Village of Rivanna Community Advisory Council, which advises the county on planning matters. He says that since much of the Rivanna Village site adjacent to Glenmore is wetlands or streams, and should be “undevelopable,” the area where homes can be built will require greater density.
Boninti says his proposal, which includes 342 units of mixed housing types and allows for 60,000 square feet of commercial use, actually does more to preserve wetlands and streams than a proposal approved in 2007 that never began construction. The 2007 proposal, he said, would have more fully developed the site.
“The fact we are preserving streams and wetlands doesn’t mean that it can’t be developed,” Boninti said. “It is not truly undevelopable, though we see it that way.”
“In our look at this rezoning request, we are actually reducing the density that was previously approved,” Benish said. “We try to strike a balance between having all the features important for a good community, but not underutilizing with suburban development.”
“For homeowners, it would be nice if it would just be a field, but this development is in a growth area,” Boninti said.
The proposal includes plans for an 18-acre central park and 13 acres of linear parks around the development, a 42 percent increase from the last proposal.
Another concern of some Glenmore residents is that the development will increase the traffic using Glenmore’s connection to U.S. 250. They believe this problem could be addressed by eliminating one access onto Glenmore Way and replacing it with a cul-de-sac.
“The number of people coming out of Glenmore proper is rapidly growing to over 800 homes,” said Linda Porterfield, an advisory council member and former planning commissioner. “Add in the people in the rural areas that encircle Rivanna Village and it is going to mean gridlock.”
“One of the principles of the Albemarle County planning staff is that they like interconnectivity. They don’t like cul-de-sacs,” Boninti said.
Benish said that the widening of U.S. 250 from Glenmore to Interstate 64 is a priority improvement in the region’s drafted Long Range Transportation Plan. While such a project would alleviate congestion in the area, the proposal is on the plan’s “visioning list,” meaning there is no date set for implementation.
The Glenmore Community Association also has asked that all efforts be taken to prevent construction traffic from coming in on Glenmore Way by allowing a direct construction entrance off U.S. 250. Boninti says this is unlikely to get approved.
“We have asked [the Virginia Department of Transportation] this question, and their answer is no,” he said. VDOT cited that Glenmore Way is a safer option because there is signalization, slower speed and lower traffic volume.
The Rivanna Village proposal is tentatively scheduled for a public hearing at the Planning Commission’s meeting on April 22. The Village of Rivanna Community Advisory Council will meet a day earlier to prepare its comments to the commission.
“Be strategic with your Planning Commission and board members,” Benish advised. “What we do isn’t a done deal until the commission or board act on it.”
Before the development can get approval, the application needs a sign-off from the East Rivanna Volunteer Fire Company, which is on the property.
Boninti says he is optimistic Glenmore residents will be satisfied with the final project.
“People often think developers and homeowners are working against each other,” Boninti said. “But we share a lot of the same wishes.”