Keswick Developments Anger Residents

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

November 16, 2005

A new development in Keswick has some residents up in arms. Albemarle County proposed the Rivanna Village a decade ago and now that the plan is in the works, some residents are upset they're going to live next to parking lots.

This once private rural community of Keswick, will soon see the light of development. The developer, Kessler Group, calls it the Rivanna Village. It will replace 82 acres of land along Route 250 and put up almost 500 residential units and commercial space.

"I'm concerned about what's going to happen," said Carole Milk, a Keswick resident.

Milk has lived in her home over 24 years and recently made some additions on it just so she can enjoy the scenery. But, with the new development Milk said her beautiful backyard view is going to be filled with a parking lot and townhouses, which is forcing her to make a decision if she wants to move.

"If they keep encroaching, they're buying up property all along [Rt.] 250 here and I'm going to be stuck in the middle," said Milk.

Still others like Rhett Ripplinger feel the development is a good thing, but the residents of Keswick are being kept in the dark about these changes.

"Everybody that I've talked to that owns land around here believes in the right of private property [that you can] do what you want to do but they also believe that they want to know more about it and they want to get their wishes and desires heard," said Ripplinger, a member of the Rivanna Citizens Committee.

Right now all they can do is listen. County officials had this land marked for development for at least a decade.

"It's been designated by county as a growth area. It's part of our land use planning. It's about having designated areas where we want development to happen and to keep the rest of the county rural," said Lee Catlin, an Albemarle County Representative.

County officials said there will be opportunities for the public to give their opinion in the future.

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