COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Preddy Creek Property Status Report

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Provide status report on the Preddy Creek property and request direction from the Board.

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, White, Davis, Mullaney

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

May 3, 2006

 

ACTION:     X                        INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:                             INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:      Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

The Preddy Creek property is a 571 acre tract of County owned land located on the Albemarle/Orange County line.  Of the total, 452 acres are in Albemarle County and 104 acres are in Orange County.  The remaining 15 acres are in Greene County.  The property has long road frontage in Albemarle on Burnley Station Road (Rt. 641) and is located about 1.5 miles east of Route 29.  The property was purchased in 1969 as a potential site for a water supply impoundment.  The 1977 Camp, Dresser, McKee Report on Alternative Water Supply Sources recommended that, with a yield of only 3 million gallons per day, a Preddy Creek impoundment would be too small to be considered as a new water source.   Management of the property has been limited to an annual posting for “No Hunting” along Rt. 641 and the gating of 3 access roads onto the property from Rt. 641.  All actions to date have been at the request of neighboring property owners.  The property has historically been used as part of a network of horseback riding trails involving many adjoining properties.  Neighboring property owners have assisted with posting the property and have kept the County advised of any illegal activities or concerns.  There is also strong evidence of ATV use from neighboring properties, however there have been very few reports or complaints regarding this use.

 

While there has been no decision on the ultimate disposition of this property, past discussions regarding the property have tended to favor retaining the property for natural area and trail related park use.  The recent recreation needs assessment strongly supports formalizing the use of this property for these purposes.  The needs assessment revealed that natural areas and trails ranked #1 as the most needed and important recreational facility to respondent households from a list of 27 possible recreational facilities.  At the same time natural areas and trails ranked as the second highest unmet need.

Based on the information in the needs assessment the Parks and Recreation Department requested funding during the FY 2006-2015 CIP process for minimal development to allow public access to the Preddy Creek property for hiking, running, mountain biking and equestrian trail use.  Funding of $113,000 was requested in FY 07/08 for this purpose.  During the technical review and approval period that funding was pushed back to FY 10/11 where it is currently scheduled.  Just recently the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club (CAMBC) has sent a formal request to the Parks and Recreation Director asking that the Board designate the Preddy Creek property a park so that the Department can work in conjunction with CAMBC to facilitate the construction of a multi-user trail network (Attachment A).  CAMBC volunteers are responsible for the construction and maintenance of the popular 15 mile trail network at Walnut Creek Park.  The recent closing of the heavily used Panorama trail network has created an urgent need for additional trails.          

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

3.6 Provide opportunities for the healthy and productive use of leisure time.

4.2 Fun County services in a fair, efficient manner and provide needed public facilities and infrastructure.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

The Preddy Creek property has never been officially designated as a park site.  The Albemarle County Open Space Plan recommends that it be evaluated as a potential natural area for public enjoyment of natural history and passive recreation.  The Parks and Recreation section of the Community Facilities plan recommends that it be evaluated to determine the most

appropriate uses of the property.  The Parks and Recreation Department recommends that the property be designated for park use and that for the foreseeable future the development be limited to the extent which will allow public access for the enjoyment of the natural setting and non motorized trail use.  The Department would like to work in partnership with CAMBC, neighboring property owners and other interested parties in the sensitive development of this area for recreation use.  The fact that the property has never been designated as a park makes supervision of the property problematic.  While the Parks and Recreation Department generally oversees the property, the Director has no formal authority to enforce the provisions of the County Code in dealing with matters pertaining to the property.  Since the Preddy Creek property is not recognized as a park in the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan, the first step in achieving this designation is a review for compliance.  If after review it is determined that a park is an appropriate use for this property, staff will reassess initial funding requirements and return to the Board for direction regarding funding and scheduling.  If the property in Orange and Greene counties is desired to be included in a park, zoning approvals from those counties would be necessary to be obtained.   

 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

The action being recommended in this request has no budget impact.  Budget impact will be addressed in future discussions if this project moves forward after compliance review.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board initiate the process to designate the Preddy Creek property as a park and direct staff to initiate a review of its use as a park for compliance with the Comprehensive Plan.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:

A – Request and background information from Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club (on file in Clerk's office)

 

Return to regular agenda