Albemarle Appendectomy

By. Neil Williamson

 Albemarle County is going to some effort to get the public reengaged in their Places29 Master Planning exercise.  Thus it was with great surprise that the Free Enterprise Forum discovered a significant places29_webcomponent of the master plan is unavailable to the public – Appendix 2 – Implementation and project descriptions.

This is just the latest interesting twists in finding “public” information about Places29.  If you are looking for the technical memorandum that back up the report, you will not find them anywhere on the Albemarle County site, you must know to look on the subcontractor Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission site. 

It is in Appendix 2 that people begin to get an understanding of the actual scope of the changes being proposed.  While the larger document speaks of limiting access to US 29, Appendix 2 includes maps that show how challenged the movements from US 29 will be.

Here is a link to one of the “unavailable” projects.  Project Number 22 (of 58) from Appendix 2 page A2-29: 2009_08_31_09_50_45 

As one reviews the project sheet, one can much better understand the verbiage “construct jug handle road and cosolidate access on the east side of US 29 between Timberwood Blvd. and Airport Road.” 

While supressing my conspiracy theorist paranoia, I wondered why would Albemarle County choose not to make Appendix 2 readily available to the public?  Clearly each project has been presented to the Planning Commission and is a part of the public record (if you know where to look). 

After taking a good hard look at just at Project Number 22 [of 58] here are a few musings regarding why the appendix may have been recused from public view:

  • Could it be that the planners would rather discuss the plan from 30,000 feet rather than be challenged by the Forest Lakes residents that will have tortured access to Hollymead Town Center? 
  • Perhaps, the planners would prefer not to discuss how southbound travelers seeking to get to the airport will need to turn right on a new “circulator road” north of the intersection with Airport Road; while northbound airport traffic will divert through Forest Lakes to reach the terminal.  
  • Is it possible the Planners not wish to discuss the volume of traffic that will be channeled through existing neighborhoods based on Airport Road/US29  new “jug handle” alignment?

 The Free Enterprise Forum calls on Albemarle County to place Appendix 2 on the Places29 website to better allow the public to understand the Places29 plan. 

Further, we encourage the public to attend the public information sessions scheduled for September 8th4 pm – 5:45 at the Albemarle County Office Building 2nd floor and September 10th4:30 pm – 6:30 pm at the Hollymead Fire Station.

The Planning Commission Public Hearing on Places29 is not yet finalized but an October 13th hearing is anticipated.

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