Pantops Plan

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

May 25, 2006

The Pantops Master Plan has been on hold for more than a year, but Thursday night Albemarle County leaders got back on track starting with a series of public forums.

Pantops was zoned as an urban area a number of years ago, so the development is not an entirely new idea, but the planners said Thursday they do want to hear some new ideas from local residents on how they want to see the land used.

"We want to be sure that any plan reflects the community vision," said Rebecca Ragsdale, an Albemarle County planner.

The planning originally started several years ago, but was put on hold early in 2005. But Thursday planners say the process is back on track and ready to move forward.

"Tonight was to pick up where we left off, review the guiding principles. We'll be asking some questions about the public input they gave us. We want to make sure it's still valid," said Ragsdale.

For residents who are opposed to more development in the county, planners point to the fact that more than 90% of Albemarle County designated as rural, and more than 25 years ago, Pantops was designated as an urban area, for urban development.

"The county has had this long-standing growth policy of trying to target growth in the development areas and preserve the rural areas," explained Ragsdale. "So Pantops has been a development area for quite some time."

Residents got to see a number of plans. All are based on neighborhood models, which focus on convenience. People living in these neighborhoods would be able to walk just about everywhere. The grocery store, the post office, the gym, and similar commercial spaces would all be within a half mile of residential areas.

"With the master plan, we're encouraging that the uses are more balanced on more residential and appropriate mixes of commercial and neighborhood services in all parts of Pantops," said Ragsdale.

Something else that may play a role in how they develop the Pantops area is Monticello--much of Pantops can be seen from Monticello. The developers say they want to keep that area looking as pristine as possible, and make sure that all of the development includes trees, gray roofs, and other things to make it all blend in to the landscape.

If you missed Thursday's forum, but would like to give some input on the Pantops Master Plan, another public workshop is scheduled for June 8th at 7 p.m. at the Broadus Memorial Baptist Church on Stony Point Road.

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