Board to tackle commercial corridor
Planning project will include 21,000 acres of neighborhoods north of city
By DAVID DADURKA  / Daily Progress staff writer October 1, 2003

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday approved neighborhoods along U.S. 29, north of Charlottesville, as its next master-planning project. The new planning area would encompass roughly 21,000 acres, from Hydraulic Road north to the Piney Mountain Road area - the county's largest commercial corridor. The county's first master plan, conducted in Crozet, involved hundreds of residents who worked on a plan to shape future development in the community. The decision to move forward on master planning another area drew criticism from one Crozet resident prior to the board's approval of the project. Tom Loach said questions remain to be answered about how needed infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, would be funded in Crozet's plan. "If master planning is to work, it has to work from the start," Loach said. "It cannot follow the current model of build now, provide later, which has proved detrimental to growth-area residents." He added: "Furthermore, I would recommend that other communities take a similar position taken by the Crozet Community Association and not support any new development where there is not clear evidence of adequate infrastructure funding." Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker said the master plan shows how developments fit into the overall design. "I don't think a master-planned area should have a committed hold on capital funding," he said. The Albemarle Planning Commission has held several work sessions on the Crozet plan, and a county spokeswoman said several more sessions will be held before a public hearing. Officials on Wednesday also discussed how they would deal with projects proposed while the next master plan is being developed. The U.S. 29 corridor in Albemarle already has several proposals, representing millions of square feet in commercial and residential development, Rooker said. The board approved portions of the 180-acre Hollymead Town Center development, located on U.S. 29 across from Hollymead Gardens Cemetery, at meetings in July and August. Two other major developments, Albemarle Place and North Pointe, also are being proposed along the highway. During the Crozet master plan, county officials asked developers to delay projects and participate in the planning process. Supervisor David P. Bowerman noted that officials could not legally put a moratorium on new developments, but county attorney Larry W. Davis said that the board could take up to a year to consider rezoning applications and special-use permits. Bowerman said that at least one developer who delayed his golf course project in Crozet and worked with the community and staff on the master plan faced little resistance in gaining approval. Contact David Dadurka at (434) 978-7299 or ddadurka@dailyprogress.com.