By Bridgett Lynn

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Thursday, July 29, 2010




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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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