By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors kept Walker’s Ridge to the original Rivanna Ridge plan during the Feb. 19 meeting.
There were 14 public speakers during the opening general public comments. Of them, 11 of them outright opposed, two spoke of general concepts to consider for the Walker’s Ridge action item and one person spoke on a different subject matter.
Public concerns ranged from the alternative drain fields to too many home sites to complaints the project did not fit in with how residents view Palmyra planning area.
“I think this project would be a disaster financially for the county. I think it would be a disaster environmentally for the county,” said Marvin Moss.
Three supervisors agreed with the public sentiment.
“It will change Palmyra, historically,” said Don Weaver (Cunningham District).
Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) said he supports property rights but couldn’t vote for the project.
“[Future supervisors] are going to be tearing down our pictures from the Morris Room [if we pass this],” said Ullenbruch. The entrance of the Morris Room in the county administration building has pictures of many Board of Supervisors.
Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) tried to defer action on the special use permit of Walker’s Ridge. The SUP was for major utilities and without it, the rezoning to a planned unit development (PUD) would fail. His motion to defer failed to receive a second.
O’Brien mentioned that state projections, that have been eerily correct historically, have the county growing significantly in future decades. He noted the project was not a five year project but would develop over many years.
“Reality is, where are those [new] people going to go?” asked O’Brien. “We have to have smart growth. Are we going to have them spread out across the county?”
He defended his motion to defer because of the procedures of the rezoning. The expert opinions the applicant provided defended the major utilities, such as the wells for the first phase and the alternative drain fields for the entire project.
Other documents that are part of the rezoning process, including staff reports, disagreed with some findings.
Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) mentioned some of the best parts of the Rivanna River includes the section that passes by the project.
Ullenbruch motioned to reject the SUP for major utilities and received a second by Weaver. The motion to reject passed 3-0-2, with chairwoman Mozell Booker and O’Brien abstaining.
The motion to reject the PUD rezoning passed 3-2, with Booker and O’Brien voting against rejection.
The owners of the property, Hotel Street Capital LLC, could begin another process of rezoning of the land or could develop using the original R-3 zoning granted to Rivanna Ridge. Walker’s Ridge PUD rezoning process took over a year.
Rivanna Ridge was approved for R-3 rezoning in the late 2000s but the owner did not submit a site plan. In order to develop, a site plan must be submitted and approved by the county planning director. Rivanna Ridge called for over 200 residential units with an idea of condominium style.
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