The Pointe: County densification continues
Yesterday, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved rezoning for North Pointe, the 264 acre proposed development along 29N just past the airport that will add 900 new homes and 500,000 square feet of retail space to the area. With the BOS boardroom in the County Office building filled to capacity, the BOS voted 4-2 to approve the rezoning, despite the fact that ten of the twelve speakers that night were in opposition to the project.
According the Daily Progress, there were dozens of people wearing “Vote Yes” pins at the meeting, raising their hands in support of the project, but later it was learned that many of them were employees of the development company, Great Eastern Management.
BOS members Sally Thomas and Dennis Rooker voted against the project, with Rooker saying, “What we’ve got here is a development that will create a huge traffic problem on [U.S.] 29,” according to the DP. Indeed, the development is expected to attract 37,000 vehicle trips a day, and that’s in addition to the 30,000 vehicle trips a day in the area now, according to data on the Charlottesville Tomorrow website.
Representatives from Great Eastern Management emphasized the numerous changes that had been made to the project, including larger vegetated buffers along U.S. 29, widening the road and adding new traffic signals, and an increased number of biofilters to control sediment runoff into the North Fork Rivanna River.
BOS member David Slutzky, who voted to approve the project, said, “If we don’t build North Pointe now in this location, I predict significant growth in the rural area. To me, that would be a disaster.” As Slutzky said during his election campaign, he fears that the approval process for these kinds of dense developments is so slow that developers will find it easier to build by-right in the rural areas.
Environmentalists were on hand as well. John Cruickshank of the Sierra Club urged the BOS “to send this plan back to the drawing board,” adding, “The citizens of Albemarle deserve a North Pointe that will not cause irreparable harm to air, water and land resources. ”Š We will live with the consequences for years to come.”