By Connie Chang

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Friday, October 2, 2009

On September 8, 2009, the

Albemarle County Planning Commission

revisited the

Village of Rivanna Master Plan

and adopted a resolution of intent to incorporate it into the

County’s Comprehensive Plan

. Commissioners discussed the adequacy of transportation and sewer capacity and questioned how necessary improvements would be made in the absence of necessary local or state funding.

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The Village of Rivanna, which is located on

Route 250

East and includes the

Glenmore development

, is one of the County’s

designated growth areas

. “The purpose of this Master Plan was to provide guidance on where and how new development should take place and to make recommendations on the timing of new development,” said senior planner Elaine Echols.

Image courtesy Albemarle County. Click to enlarge.

The current development area of the Village is 2.7 square miles. According to the current draft plan, density will radiate from the village center, with the highest dwelling densities near this area and the lowest at the edges. Although a maximum of 674 units have already been approved within the Village, the plan would accommodate 300 to 400 potential new units.

At the Commission’s previous work session, transportation and sewer capacity issues were the main topics of concern for both Commissioners and residents.

According to staff, Route 250 is over capacity from Route 22 to the city limits at Free Bridge. By 2035, staff predict that traffic will increase by 90%, up to an average of 42,185 vehicles per day between Route 22 and Charlottesville.

To address this issue, the master plan recommends various transportation improvement, specifically for Route 250 East. Some of these recommendations include widening Route 250 from 2-3 lanes to 4 lanes east of the


-Shadwell interchange to Glenmore Way and improving intersections at Route 729 and Black Cat Road. Some residents of the area are skeptical those projects will come to fruition.

“At least since 2005, the Village of Rivanna has not been linked to the City of Charlottesville by roads of adequate carrying capacity and it will never be,” said Glenmore resident Neil Means.“It is a development area, but it’s also a village and there’s already enough units. If you build the recommended densities in this plan plus what’s already approved it’ll be a town, not a village.”


traffic engineer Joel DeNunzio told the Commission there are currently no funds available to widen Route 250 to Route 22.

Several comments were made by Commissioners and the public regarding the concurrency of infrastructure necessary to sustain new development within the Village and how these projects will be funded.

“I think we’re becoming more and more serious minded about this knowing the funding doesn’t exist for this infrastructure,” said Commissioner

Marcia Joseph

(At-Large) . “I don’t think this community wants to raise taxes to pay for the infrastructure.”

“We should have a better way of tying development to infrastructure,” said Commissioner

Tom Loach

(White Hall). “[Increasing development potential] shouldn’t come at the cost of quality of life of our growth area residents.”

David Benish

, the County’s Chief of Planning, said there will also need to be a certain level of specificity in the language of the plan regarding infrastructure adequacy. The County will have to decide whether they would accept degraded “levels of service” for its roads which lengthens travel times for commuters. Benish also commented that staff may explore other methodologies in working with VDOT to measure infrastructure adequacy.

In addition to transportation challenges, the build-out of the Village of Rivanna plan may also be hindered by the water and sewer capacity in the area. “Sewer limitations are going to affect the growth that can occur probably much more than the road system,” said Echols. The capacity exists for the developments that have been approved and a little more, but it all depends on what the usage is.”

Foreshadowing an issue that will likely be raised at upcoming meetings, Echols told the Commission, in response to a question on housing densities, that if it did not want greater housing density in the master plan, it could use sewer capacity as an “infrastructure lever” to establish growth limits.

At the end of the work session, the Commission approved a resolution of intent to adopt a master plan.  A revised draft will be shared with the public in advance of a public hearing.  Before it sets a date for that meeting, the Commission requested that staff provide additional information, specifically regarding traffic data, developable acreage in the area, and how new development will impact commuter time for residents. A future work session is expected to be held before December 2009.  The Commission will make recommend a final master plan to be reviewed by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.



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