The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting, work session and public hearing on Tuesday, October 21, 2008, at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Lane Auditorium, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Members attending were Linda Porterfield, Thomas Loach, Marcia Joseph, Bill Edgerton, Eric Strucko and Jon Cannon, Vice Chairman. Calvin Morris, Chairman was absent. Julia Monteith, AICP, non-voting representative for the University of Virginia was absent. Mr. Strucko arrived at 6:02 p.m. Mr. Loach arrived at 6:15 p.m.
Other officials present were Phil Custer, Engineer; Susan M. Stimart, Business Development Facilitator; Elizabeth Marotta, Senior Planner; Summer Frederick, Senior Planner; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning; David Benish, Chief of Planning; Bill Fritz, Chief of Community Development and Greg Kamptner, Deputy County Attorney.
Call to Order and Establish Quorum:
Mr. Cannon called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.
Six Year Secondary Road Plan
The Six Year Secondary Road Construction Plan is VDOTís Plan for the allocation of road construction funds for improvements to Secondary Roads (Route 600 and above) for a six year period. The purpose of the Planning Commission work session is to discuss the Countyís other potential projects/issues not on the Priority List. Staff will incorporate the Planning Commission recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for discussion. (Juan Wade)
Mr. Benish summarized the staff report.
∑ He apologized that the map was omitted from the staff report. It is the same map from last year. Staff is not recommending any changes. The Six Year Secondary Road Plan is VDOTís plan for the allocation of road construction funds for the secondary road system. VDOTís financial plan is based on a set of priorities adopted by the Board of Supervisors. Essentially that is what the Planning Commission is looking at, which is the Countyís priority list for improvements. At this point in time in the process VDOT has not even developed a draft budget. That is something that they do now at the beginning of the year, which the Board will receive towards the end of their review process.
∑ In summary, staff has not recommended any changes to the plan this year. Staff did not receive any public requests. Staff did receive several project issue areas from Pupil Transportation in the Schoolís Division and Fire and Rescue. Those comments were forwarded to VDOT. Most of those requests are for paving and all are within the rural areas. Staff will discuss that policy, but is not recommending any paving projects in the rural areas at this point in time. None of the projects appear to have any significant safety issue related to them. In fact, a number of the projects have very low counts. None of these projects were deemed so unique or safety issue related enough that merited adding to the strategic list of improvements. Staff has forwarded these project areas to VDOT.
∑ VDOT staff is looking at ways in which they can use maintenance funds in their existing forces to address some of the issues, such as the narrow roadway and if there is some bush cutting and general grading and maintenance on the roads that could improve the conditions. So that is the approach that they are taking. The two bridge projects that Fire/Rescue identified were on the road that serves the Gleco Mills area. While the weight limits are relatively low, the traffic volume on that roadway is pretty low. It is a loop road so one can access either side of the bridge if necessary in case of an emergency.
∑ The status of unpaved road projects was a big issue at last yearís discussion. The Commission recommended that there be no new paving projects in the rural areas. The Board of Supervisors did discuss the issue and directed staff to apply all funding of unpaved road funds to two road projects that are adjacent to or serve the development area, being Dickerson Road and Rio Mills Road in the Hollymead development area. Those projects will use a substantial amount of the unpaved road funding source for the next six years. In the current priority list for the unpaved road projects the list only consists of those two road projects. The Board did say that they would consider or take a look at projects that perceive to have a significant safety consideration to them. The Planning Commission also mentioned this in their action.
∑ Staff provided some general guidelines as to how they would try to measure what a significant safety issue is, which is provided in the staff report. They would look at crash data for the road segment and then look at the type of crashes to see if it relates to the road surface. The daily volumes on the roadways and if there is any unique traffic issues related to the volume would be considered. If there was a substantial amount of wide bodied equipment on the roadway and it was a farm route, then they might want to encourage the paving of that road way for agricultural support. They would look at unique conditions. Staff would also look at Fire/Rescue requests to see if there was a significant access issue with providing access, such as if there was an unpaved road in the center of a high response area. If there are significant road geometric issues that might relate to significant erosion problems that create an unsafe surface it could be taken into consideration. The bottom line is that it is going to be kind of like you will know it when you see it. These would be the criteria that staff will try to measure on a case by case basis.
∑ This information has been provided for the Commissionís general input. The Commissionís comments will be provided to the Board of Supervisors when they review this in December for their initial work session.
Mr. Loach questioned #18 regarding Main Street in Crozet. He noted that the entrance into the new library might need to be extended off of Main Street. He questioned if there was money available for that.
Mr. Benish replied that at least a portion of Main Street will be built into the entrance to the library. It is a small portion.
Mr. Loach noted that it was an entrance off of Crozet Avenue and Crozet Main Street that will feed into the library. Because of the site and the elevation for the library they felt that the entrance would have to be moved towards the back of the parking lot, which meant that there would be more paving of that.
Mr. Benish said that will be looked at primarily as a county project probably through CIP funding. Based on the priorities and the available funds in VDOTís allocations they are going to be hard pressed to keep Jarmanís Gap Road on schedule. It looks like it is okay as of today. There is one potential option to use revenue sharing monies, which are VDOT monies for that. But, right now they are anticipating just CIP money. He noted that they are now discussing continuing that road back to Park Road so that it creates that loop. But, he did not know if there has been a decision on it.
Mr. Loach said that they had talked about bringing the trucks out from Barnes Lumber Company through that area.
Mr. Strucko noted that he was looking at the priority list and how they came up with the ranking. He asked to move Eastern Avenue, #15, on the priority list up to the top ten after the Sunset Fontaine Connector. He felt that they need to make at least a symbolic commitment to the designated growth areas and the planning for the road way infrastructure that they have there. He thought that particular project would do a lot to improve the situation within Crozet. But, he would put it after the Fontaine Sunset Connector because in just looking at the traffic counts it would have a bigger impact for that particular growth area. He felt that Eastern Avenue should be a higher priority than it is.
Mr. Benish pointed out that one factor that was considered was that at this time Eastern Avenue does not qualify for VDOT funding. It may in the future. But, it is a fair statement. This is used for creating priorities for VDOTís secondary plan. But, the county does use it as our priority for roads in the county whether funded through the CIP or VDOT. It is still a fair statement and issue if there is an agreement to move it up.
Mr. Strucko asked how proffers factor into staffís determination in the ranking. For instance, in looking at Old Lynchburg Road around the Biscuit Run development the county did get a proffer from the developer for so many dollars for road improvements in and around the development.
Ms. Joseph noted that when that went to the Board of Supervisors they decided that funding would not go to these specific roads, but it would go into the pot.
Mr. Benish replied that is correct. Those monies could be used for the Eastern Connector, Sunset Avenue or the Southern Parkway.
Mr. Strucko noted that they have not collected proffers because they are contingent upon the certain number of building permits issued. He thought that 830 was the threshold. He asked if there have been proffers paid that have gone into the road pot yet in general.
Mr. Benish replied yes, there are proffers monies in the pot. In fact for the Route 22/250 intersection improvement the county share of that private public partnership was proffer monies from the Glenmore proffers.
Mr. Strucko asked if staff knows the balance of the pot.
Mr. Benish replied that he did not know the total amount off the top of his head. Staff can get that information through the proffer planner.
Mr. Strucko said that at some point they could as a community, with the Board of Supervisors being the appropriation body, could dedicate those monies for a particular road project. The county could be in the road building business on a case by case basis.
Mr. Benish replied that is correct. As an example, the road proffers from Glenmore were proffered for improvements to Route 250 east and/or other improvements that are deemed appropriate by the county. When Luck Stone and Williams Paving Company came with a proposal for a partnership with VDOT staff let the Board know that they would want to enter into that project and use this funding. The Board of Supervisors has to actually approve the use of those proffers. That is typically the process they go through.
Mr. Edgerton asked how long ago those Glenmore proffers were made.
Mr. Benish replied that the original proffers were made in 1991 and 1992. The proffers were then modified with several other rezonings for other areas added to Glenmore. Some of that money dates back for a long time.
Ms. Joseph asked if any of this money was for bike trails and sidewalks. They hear about people really wanting to get around in something other than an automobile. She asked if there was any way they could stretch our dollars by focusing on those sorts of things for a while.
Mr. Loach pointed out that Jarmanís Gap design was for a bicycle lane and sidewalk.
Mr. Benish noted that almost all the road projects that they propose to build, particularly those in the urban area, have bike lanes and sidewalks associated with them. The Profit Road improvements would be just like Jarmanís Gap. Other than geometrics Jarmanís Gap improvement is really bike lanes and sidewalks. As a standard now, which is a sea change from where VDOT was a dozen years ago, they are actually through their policies almost mandated to provide for some level of bike and pedestrian facilities. It is much easier to get those incorporated into the projects. The specific designs are somewhat debatable from time to time. The other thing that they have been trying to do in the rural areas is strongly encourage with plant mix projects that shoulders be paved in rural routes. He noted that a little of that took place on Garth Road/Barracks Road. There was a project that VDOT actually received a grant for several years ago on Route 29 North to do shoulder paving. Our topography does not allow for real great 4í lanes, but to the extent that they can widen the shoulders beyond the outside edging they are trying to do that. Part of that is to make roads a little more accommodating to bikes in the rural areas.
Mr. Cannon noted that does help bikers. Even if the bikers donít ride on it they can get off on it if they need to.
Mr. Benish said otherwise for the rural area those roads would not be subject to the same development standards for bike lanes and sidewalks as the development area roads according to VDOT standards.
But, as an example, the Advance Mills Bridge is being constructed with shoulders for bike lanes and pedestrians.
Mr. Cannon asked if there is no money for rural road paving.
Mr. Benish replied that there is money for rural road paving that is an annual minimal allocation. The list of approved road paving projects is on the second page of the attachment. It is essentially those two roads that are located in the urban area. That was the policy that was agreed to by the Board of Supervisors to use that funding on unpaved roads in the urban area. These are the only two roads.
Mr. Canon said that these are the only two unpaved roads in the rural area that are going to get done.
Mr. Benish replied that is correct. There used to be a list, which staff will continue to keep as an inventory of roads. Staff had a list of about 20 to 30 projects that had been identified for road paving. But, they are no longer roads that they have been identified on our priority list for paving. It now only includes these two road ways.
Mr. Cannon asked if an action was being requested from the Planning Commission.
Mr. Benish replied no, that this was just an opportunity for the Commission to provide comment to the Board of Supervisors if they want to act on it. There was a suggestion for a change in priorities. If there is a consensus from the Commission for that, it would be good to have a clear direction from the whole Commission.
Ms. Porterfield noted that was the one that was not qualifying at this point for VDOT funding.
Mr. Benish replied that it does not qualify for VDOT funding.
Ms. Porterfield said that it would not be helpful to move it up at this point.
Mr. Benish noted that it is only helpful in the sense that this list is also used by staff when making CIP requests for road improvement projects where it is identified for importance. It does have values if the Commission thinks it is more important than other projects to move it up. But, for the VDOT process and the allocation of state funds it would not make that much difference.
Mr. Cannon asked if there is a desire to resolve on that particular issue or is Mr. Strucko content with just to have his comments noted in the record.
Mr. Strucko said that he offered a suggestion and the Planning Commission can weigh in. His rationale was that he thought it was probably an importance after Sunset Fontaine. He thought that on the projects for Berkmar Drive Extended and Old Lynchburg Road they can handle it potentially through proffers. He stressed how important that particular road, Eastern Avenue, is to the Crozet Master Plan. Therefore, he would like to see it moved up.
Mr. Cannon asked staff to convey that point of view to the Board of Supervisors when they take this up as Mr. Struckoís point of view.
Mr. Loach supported Mr. Strucko.
Ms. Porterfield supported Mr. Strucko, but wanted to be on the record to say that they need to figure out how to bring some more money into the bottom line of Albemarle County. This is a good example of it.
Mr. Strucko noted that with the proffers that they imposed and with the monies that they would collect when development would happen they would have enough money for the infrastructure if the state canít afford to abide by its obligation to the great Commonwealth of Virginia.
Ms. Joseph said that staff and the Board have really looked at this as the whole county. So it appears as she looks down this list that they are trying to provide improvements all over instead of just in one area of the county. She thought what they would be doing when moving up the Eastern Avenue is that they are focusing more on Crozet than the rest of the community. She supported staff explaining that Mr. Strucko and Mr. Loach think this is important, but she could support the rest of the list in how it has been arranged because it looks like they have tried to really address the needs of the entire community.
Mr. Benish noted that #12 was actually Scottsvilleís request. Any request for secondary road improvements for the Town of Scottsville has to be in VDOTís priority list for the county. That is the one project that they have requested. Staff tries to keep that reasonably high in respect to a project that the Town of Scottsville wants to do. He felt it was important to note that Scottsville does not have a separate process for improvements, but has to be incorporated into the county review.
Ms. Joseph noted that the county was working with the city to make the Hillsdale Drive project happen.
Mr. Benish said that the Hillsdale Drive is really reflective of the 29H250 recommendations, which is why it was a high priority. There is a very small segment in the county. That is why staff included it.
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