Planned development draws concerns


By Megan Rowe  / Daily Progress staff writer
March 7, 2006

About 175 Albemarle County residents turned out Tuesday night to question, criticize and occasionally compliment a proposed high-density 269-acre community.

The North Pointe development would be built just north of Proffit Road on U.S. 29 and include nearly 900 residential units, most of which would cost between $300,000 and $400,000. The community also would have approximately 664,000 square feet of retail and office space.

Residents expressed concern that the increased traffic would aggravate congestion on U.S. 29, especially at the Airport and Proffit roads intersection, already the county’s third-worst accident site.

One resident praised Great Eastern Management Co.’s proffers, which include road improvements and property for a new elementary school and library. Others were less impressed.

Keith Jones, who lives off Proffit Road, was concerned about additional traffic.

“Proffit Road has a huge impact on this, and it’s already dangerous,” he said, adding that North Pointe residents would use the road as a shortcut to the Pantops area.

“We’re making sure that it’s not going to be any worse,” said Mark Graham, Albemarle County community development director.

“You are making it worse,” Jones replied.

Great Eastern plans to add a third lane to both the northbound and southbound sides of U.S. 29. The third northbound lane would begin at the Proffit and Airport roads intersection and extend to a proposed road across the street from the University of Virginia Research Park at North Fork. The southbound lane would be slightly shorter, according to Valerie Long, an attorney representing Great Eastern.

Great Eastern also would add a through-lane to at least one side of Proffit Road where it would go through the proposed community. The developer also would build a roundabout on Proffit.

Approximately 10 percent of North Pointe’s housing would be designated affordable, which means each unit must cost no more than $190,000. There would also be “not a lot of” workforce housing costing around $238,000, Chuck Rotgin of Great Eastern said.

Others living near the proposed development are concerned that it would drive up their property values.

“I don’t want a neighborhood of rowdy, noisy people next to me, and I don’t want my taxes to go up,” Virginia Pace said before the meeting began. Pace lives off Pritchett Lane, adjacent to the proposed North Pointe site. “I like my privacy.”

Albemarle County resident Rudy Beverly was more optimistic. “I think if we build it so it will not create more sprawl in the county … it could be great,” he said. Beverly added that he hoped that North Pointe residents could work within their neighborhood instead of having to travel on U.S. 29 to get to work but added that this might not be possible. “Here is something that is a great opportunity to see if we can create that.”

North Pointe already has experienced a turbulent time with Albemarle County’s Planning Commission, which rejected the project twice. Regardless, the Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on it later this spring.

Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd scheduled Tuesday’s meeting to bring neighboring communities up to speed on the plan’s current design.

“I think a lot of people are trying to get as much information as they can on this project, so I felt it necessary to kind of take it out to the neighborhood,” he said.

Contact Megan Rowe at (434) 978-7267 or mrowe@dailyprogress.com.