Development Denial

By: Philip Stewart Email
By: Philip Stewart Email

March 28, 2007

Tuesday night the Albemarle Planning Commission held their public hearing on the Biscuit Run development. The meeting lasted until late in the evening with a final vote to reject the re-zoning request.

Tuesday night's meeting lasted until almost midnight. The vote to deny the re-zoning for Biscuit Run came after the commission decided there simply were too many unresolved and unanswered questions.

"It is the 800 pound gorilla, as far as the size of the project," said Mark Graham, the Director of Community Development in Albemarle County. "It is so big that it generates beyond anything we've seen."

With 3,100 new housing units, Biscuit Run is the biggest development plan in the county's history.

Tuesday night the county planning commission voted 7-0 to recommend denial to the Board of Supervisors for the Biscuit Run rezoning, meaning, for now, the project is still up in the air.

"We made good progress last night toward resolving a number of those issues, but there's still a lot of open questions," said Graham.

Most of those questions included how the county will handle the increased traffic, water and sewer infrastructure, and what kind of impact the development will have on the environment.

Area residents were looking for answers.

"They like the project as far as how it's being proposed, the type of development, the nature of the development. They have a lot of concerns about how it's going to impact the broader community," said Graham.

In fact, of the more than two dozen people who commented Tuesday night, only two residents had positive things to say. The rest still had concerns, they are concerns that will likely need detailed answers in the coming weeks.

But it's how the public is so actively involved in this development, that is impressing county officials.

"Regardless of the outcome of the project, I think it has been a success in terms of communicating and working with the public, involving them in the process," said Graham.

The public is going to get to weigh in again. That will happen in May with a public hearing.

But before that, the County Board of Supervisors plans to have a work session on April 11. That will give them a chance to better understand last night's decision by the planning commission.

A final decision on the Biscuit Run development could come in May, at the earliest.

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