COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Key West Dam Repair Alternatives
Discuss Alternatives for Key West Dam
Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Stumbaugh, Muhlberger
September 1, 2004
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
In May of 2004 the Ridge Home Owners Association of Key West Subdivision asked the County to find a remedy to address the potential failure of a dam which supports a portion of Key West Drive that provides the primary means of access to 20 dwellings and the recreation center north of the Key West Drive/Northwest Lane intersection. In June of 2004, information regarding the condition of the dam was presented to the Board and staff was directed to explore possible alternatives to address the problem. Kimley-Horn and Associates was retained to review existing conditions and to provide possible options to address the problem.
The portion of the right of way which crosses the dam was platted as part of Section One of Key West in 1959. The fifty foot platted right of way extending Key West Drive (then known as Ridge Road) crossed an earthen dam. (It is believed that the dam and pond existed prior to the creation of this subdivision.) The right of way was dedicated to the County and accepted by the approval of the plat. However, the road and dam were never improved or maintained by the County. VDOT would not accept the road into the state system for maintenance in part because the dam did not meet state requirements. Because the County had no obligation to improve or maintain the road, the developer assumed responsibility for any future improvements or maintenance. In 1986 John Schwab, the developer, 19 homeowners, and the owners of the swim club entered into an agreement whereby the developer agreed to make improvements to the road, which previously had an inadequate surface, in exchange for the Ridge Home Owners Association agreeing to be responsible for “(t)he future repair, maintenance, upkeep, improvement, enhancement and replacement of Ridge Road”. The County was not a party to this agreement. Since 1986, the road surface has been maintained pursuant to this agreement.
As discussed in the May 26, 2004 staff report (Attachment 1), the dam is now in need of repair. The Ridge Home Owners Association takes the position that the 1986 Agreement does not require it to maintain or repair the dam. Because the County is not a party to that agreement, it is not necessary for the County to determine whether that position is correct. Even though the County continues to own the fifty foot right of way, legally it is not required to participate in any repairs to the road or dam.
Because of public safety concerns for those persons who must necessarily cross this dam, including residents of the 20 houses for which it serves as a primary access, fire and rescue providers, and school buses, staff has determined that repairs to this dam are necessary. Staff, in conjunction with Kimley-Horn (consulting engineers), has identified five possible options to properly repair the dam.
The following are the options and the associated costs to properly repair the dam and/or upgrade the road:
· OPTION 1: Improve the Dam and Upgrade the Key West Drive Roadway for VDoT acceptance, level control structure with riser and trash rack ($704,000);
· OPTION 2: Drain Key West Lake and Upgrade the Key West Drive Roadway for VDoT acceptance, stream running through a culvert ($678,000);
· OPTION 3: Improve the Dam, but do not upgrade the Key West Drive Roadway for VDoT acceptance, level control structure with riser and trash rack ($347,000); and
· OPTION 4: Drain Key West Lake, but do not upgrade the Key West Drive Roadway for VDoT acceptance, stream running through a culvert ($323,000);
· OPTION 5: Improve the Dam, but do not upgrade the Key West Drive Roadway for VDoT acceptance, level control with RCP barrel pipes at same level as existing ($295,000).
The dam, toe to toe, is not entirely within the platted right of way. A construction easement would be needed for any work outside of the right of way. The lake covers parts of six plats. Construction easements would be needed for work to occur in these areas. The Department of Environmental Quality would be required to approve draining the lake and creating a flood plain.
Staff recently met with Supervisor Boyd and residents of Key West to discuss options and listen to concerns. Based on this input and analysis of the options, staff believes that option 3 best meets the needs of the County and residents of Key West.
Residents of Key West also support implementation of Option 3. They are primarily concerned about addressing the needs of the dam and maintaining the amenity provided by the lake. The residents have maintained the road over the dam in the past and have indicated that they intend to continue to do so in the future. It is important to note that if the County chooses to repair the dam, maintenance of the dam will become an ongoing responsibility of the County.
Regardless of the option approved by the Board, three approaches exist for addressing the cost of the project.
One alternative is for the County to let the developer or his successors in interest repair the dam and require the developer to get approval from the County to make the necessary repairs in the County right of way. Because the County has no legal obligation to make the repairs, the developer or his successors in interest would be required to pay the cost of the repairs.
Another alternative is for the County to make the necessary repairs. Once the County assumes the responsibility for making these repairs it is likely that it would be responsible for any necessary repairs that are required in the future. If the dam remains in existence, the County would be responsible for the dam maintenance even if the road is taken into the VDOT system for maintenance. If the road is improved by the County and not taken into the VDOT system, the County may be responsible for any future mandated road maintenance and improvements.
The third alternative is for the County to enter into an agreement with the Ridge Home Owners Association to jointly agree to repair the dam and/or road and to agree to a cost sharing solution. If the dam is removed and the road is taken into the VDOT system for maintenance, the agreement would simply address the project costs. If the dam is repaired or the road is not accepted in the VDOT system for future maintenance, the agreement should also address future maintenance responsibilities and costs.
Staff recommends implementation of Option 3 and requests Board direction on the funding approach. If County funds are to be utilized toward the project, staff will provide alternatives to the Board at a future meeting.
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