A developer’s plan to move a stream crossing at an under-construction housing development took a step closer to reality Tuesday.
The Albemarle County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of a special-use permit to relocate the crossing, which originally was approved in 2016 as part of a proposed development called West Glen.
Since then, the property changed hands and a new development with more than 200 housing units, Pleasant Green, is being built on site proposed for West Glen site and additional land.
Jeremy Swink with Stanley Martin Homes said the developer decided to move the crossing after a community meeting, at which a resident said the developer should consider moving it since they now had additional land.
“This has been a long work in progress for us and one that we’re excited to to hopefully bring to fruition to take some of the pressure off of Blue Ridge [Avenue],” he said.
The crossing is necessary to satisfy a 1991 permit for a stream crossing on Cling Lane, which dictates that a second access point to Orchard Drive must be built before further development can occur.
The new proposed stream crossing will have fewer stream impacts and would be 925 feet downstream of the previously approved location.
“The total impact in this 2016 alignment … was 1.22 acres within the stream buffer and 9,660 square feet of preserved slopes, and in this revised location it takes that down 50% to an impact of 0.62 acres and no impact to preserve steep slopes,” said Charles Rapp, county director of planning.
Plans are approved for Pleasant Green, and Stanley Martin Homes is currently building the first phase, which consists of 50 units. A site plan application for the second phase of 126 units has been deferred until action is taken by the Board of Supervisors on the stream crossing.
If the relocation is ultimately approved by the Board of Supervisors, Stanley Martin Homes will also remove a dam in Powell’s Creek and dedicate a greenway trail to the county.
Commissioner Jennie More, who lives on Blue Ridge Avenue, said that although the residential development is by-right, Stanley Martin made “absolutely no attempts to use size and scale creatively to help maintain the character of that which already exists in this area.”
More said that Pleasant Green and the Vue, an 126-unit apartment complex on Blue Ridge Avenue, even though both developments did not need rezonings, will affect “already stressed” road systems and school capacity, and “the community will be left to deal with this, just as other areas in the county have the same issues from intense growth.”
“I bring these things up because I think the Planning Commission and the board needs to have conversations about these issues as they become more and more critical,” she said. “Existing road conditions countywide are more often the single most critical issue in applications that we receive … Current conditions in some areas are failing and the decision to add more pressure on these roads truly is a decision of health, safety and welfare. Infrastructure lags behind in areas where development rushes forward. Conversations and solutions need to be of utmost importance.”
The special-use permit has not yet been scheduled for a Board of Supervisors meeting.