COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Sun Ridge Road Improvement Project
Phase II Road Improvements
Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Shadman, Kelsey
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
January 3, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
The objective of the Sun Ridge Road Improvement Project was to upgrade an existing privately maintained public road so that it could be accepted into the State system for maintenance. The project was divided into two phases. Phase-I consisted of replacing/widening the existing pavement from the Northfield Road intersection to the last driveway serving Lot 15 (Stacy) and improvements to the existing drainage system. Phase-II was to extend the road within the existing public right-of-way and along the existing graded but unpaved road-bed to serve three remaining undeveloped lots of record, as well as address improvements to the existing drainage system. As the Board may recall, this item has been discussed a number of times at Board meetings over the past several years. Through these discussions it was concluded that expending funds on this project was reasonable because of the fact that a public right of way had been dedicated for the subdivision road, but the road was never built by the developer. At the time, the County did not have a road bond requirement and therefore was not able to guarantee that the road would be completed. Given these unique circumstances, the Board approved moving forward with this project. However, that commitment was limited at the time to a total cost of $150,000.
Plans were prepared for both phases of the project and bids were received February 1, 2005. Unfortunately, the complexity of the Phase-II drainage issues increased the project cost above the budget approved for the project. Based on bids received, the total cost for both phases of the project came in at about $177,000, excluding any unforeseen costs associated with the design, easements and construction of stormwater improvements. Priority was given to the public health, safety and welfare of the residents along the existing portion of the street. Therefore, the County pursued the construction of the Phase-I improvements only. The Phase-I project was completed in August 2005 and accepted into the State System April 2006. The total cost of the Phase I project was about $130,000 leaving an unspent balance of approximately $20,000.
An inquiry was recently received about the status of Phase II and staff was asked by Supervisor Slutzky to estimate the current cost of the public road extension and to explore possible alternatives. The purpose of this executive summary is to outline the full cost and scope of the Phase II extension and to explore several alternatives.
Goal 1. Enhance the Quality of Life for all Albemarle County Residents.
Goal 3. Develop Policies and Infrastructure Improvements to Address the County’s Growing Needs.
Original Phase-II Design Plans (Kimley-Horn Assocs. 2005): The January 2005 Phase-II design plans provided for a 350 foot extension of the Phase-I public street (18’ wide), included a cul-de-sac at the “T” intersection of the existing undeveloped public right-of-ways (see Attachment 2), and drainage improvements to adequately convey stormwater runoff to an existing culvert under Huntington Road. Staff has generated a construction cost estimate of $169,700.00 based on these design plans (Attachment D).
In the course of considering alternatives, staff determined that Tax Parcel 62A1-F-10 (6.96 acres), just beyond the limits of the potential Phase II project, is zoned Residential (R2) and could be subdivided to create four new lots along the existing undeveloped public right-of-way (see Attachment A). While not a part of the Phase II project, if the road were further extended at the cost of the developer of these lots, such a development proposal would allow for the extension of Sun Ridge Road to the existing Wakefield Road (Rte.651). This future private improvement, made possible by the full extension of Phase II, could benefit the County by encouraging the future infill or redevelopment of this parcel and providing an opportunity to complete the interconnection to Wakefield Road. However, this interconnection is not currently identified in the Comprehensive Plan as a specific transportation infrastructure improvement.
Alternate #1: As an alternative to the full extension shown in the Kimley-Horn Associates design of Phase II, Alternative #1 minimizes the street extension to that necessary to serve the southernmost undeveloped parcel (Attachment C). This alternative limits the street extension to approximately 160 feet and takes advantage of the existing road fill and the depression on the west side to provide the new cul-de-sac. The drainage improvements provided in the Phase-II Design Plans would still be necessary, but the shortening of the street and relocation of the cul-de-sac could achieve a $40,000 reduction in the construction cost. However, this alternative requires the cooperation of the property owners to dedicate additional public right-of-way for the cul-de-sac and public drainage easements.
Alternative #2: As an alternative to provide adequate access for the development of two of the three undeveloped lots, Tax Parcels 62A1-0F-7 and 62A1-0E-14 have frontage off the current Sun Ridge Road cul-de-sac and therefore can be developed as of today, pending VDOT approval of a driveway. It is important to note that the third parcel without street access, Tax Parcel 62A1-0F-8, would not have the minimum frontage required by Albemarle County Code § 18-6.4.1 under this alternative, and there is no legal basis for a waiver to allow access over a private driveway for this third parcel. Access over the undeveloped public right-of-way is not permitted under current regulations. Even if permitted, staff would have concerns that private driveways located within undeveloped public rights-of-way would create issues of “perceived ownership” and could not be authorized without a public hearing required before the County could transfer any public property rights now held by the County.
Finally, if the County were to decide not to participate in the further extension of this road, a “private street” could be extended from the limit of the Phase-I project to serve the three undeveloped lots. The use of a “private street” would require authorization of the Planning Commission per Code § 14-233A. Since this street is located within the “development area”, Code § 14-412 would require this street to be an urban section (curb & gutter). Therefore, the Commission would also have to grant a waiver (per Code § 14-225.1) to use the “rural private street” section consisting of 14 feet of pavement (grade exceeds 7%) with shoulders and ditches. The public right-of-way would need to be vacated by the Board and replaced with a private street easement. Lastly, the three properties served by the private street would need to record documents declaring their obligation to maintain the private street. A private street would have to be constructed using private funds; public funds could not be used in this circumstance.
Based on the determinations made for the Phase I project, this road project is not eligible for State funding. The road extension would need to be constructed privately or funded by the County as a one-time capital improvement cost. If funded as a one time capital project, the alternative costs would be as follows:
Phase II - Full Extension - $149,700 (equal to $169,000, minus the current $20,000 balance)
Phase II - Alternative I - $109,700 (equal to $129,700, minus the current $20,000 balance)
Phase II – Alternative II - $0
Staff requests that the Board of Supervisors provide direction regarding the Phase-II portion of this project. Specifically, should staff proceed with the final design and construction of Phase-II and which street option should be pursued?
Attachment A Sun Ridge Road Map
Attachment B KH&A 2005 Plan
Attachment C Alternate-1 Plan
Attachment D Phase-II Construction Estimate
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