By Pauline Hovey, Greene County Field Officer
If Wednesday night (9/21) was any indication, the Greene County Planning Commission can expect a large turnout at the hearing on Fried Companies’ application for a zoning change to the proposed Rte. 29 Creekside Development. Fried pulled the application weeks before it was scheduled to go before the commission, and the hearing was rescheduled for November 16.
Although the Planning Department posted the change on the county website, some residents hadn’t gotten the news, and a small crowd showed up to protest the developer’s request for a Planned Unit Development (PUD). Rezoning to a PUD would allow a change in the planned development in Ruckersville from 800 single family homes to 1180 homes, including townhomes.
Ruckersville area residents had been circulating flyers and sending electronic communications anticipating the impact the proposed increase in housing would have on area traffic, schools, and emergency services. People continued to trickle in throughout the meeting, only to discover the application had been deferred.
Commissioners faced an unusually light agenda that evening, due to another miscommunication that caused two requests for special use permits to be rescheduled as well. Despite Planning Director Bart Svoboda’s attempts to contact the local weekly newspaper and ensure the county’s ad announcing the public hearing for the special use permits would run, the newspaper omitted the ad, thus forcing the commission to delay the hearing another 30 days. Chairman Norman Slezak expressed concern about delaying an already lengthy process for those residents requesting special permits, but the county has little recourse when staff are relying on factors outside their control.
As a result, most of the meeting was devoted to a stormwater retrofitting study presented by Leslie Middleton, executive director of the Rivanna River Basin Commission. A team from the commission visited various sites in Greene County to determine how water was running off the land and where and how drainage and removal of pollutants as water flows to streams could be improved. Anticipating the state will prescribe more stringent stormwater regulations, Middleton suggested the county could use this analysis in the future as it applies for grants, considers capital improvement projects, and looks at upgrades and expansions at existing facilities, such as the schools.
Pauline Hovey is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. If you find this report helpful, please consider supporting the Free Enterprise Forum. To learn more visit www.freeenterpriseforum.org