February 3, 2014
The Western Bypass project could be back up for debate in front of the Albemarle County Supervisors. The board members are considering holding a public hearing controversial proposal.
The bypass was considered by some to be a done deal. But the newly-elected Board of Supervisors are ready to hear what the public has to say about the controversial road.
In June 2011, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors changed its position to support the Western Bypass and funding was approved for construction not long after.
But according to Albemarle County spokeswoman Lee Catlin, something new has popped up on the agenda.
"An action item put on their February 5th agenda to consider holding a public hearing on the route 29 western bypass."
Morgan Butler of the Southern Environmental Law Center says it’s a good sign.
“Well, there have been a number of hearings in which the public’s been able to voice its thoughts on the bypass. What’s important to note is that we have an entirely new Board of Supervisors. Four of the six members of the board have not had a public hearing on the Western Bypass. They got the message loud and clear from the election that the public wants there to be public hearings before the board makes major decisions."
Butler new group likely wants to hear what people have to say about it.
"You want to have a local government, a state government, even a federal government that's interested in what the people have to say...what their recommendations are, what their priorities are, and so I think what we see here is a new age of leadership in the county where the Supervisors wants to actively go out and solicit the input from its citizens on the major issues that are coming before it."
VDOT has maintained that at this point nothing has changed with the bypass plans.
The supervisors will meet on Wednesday. During that meeting, they will determine when and if they will give the public the chance to weigh in, good or bad, on the road.