Albemarle County is considering changing the status of eight roads, which would subject future projects along the corridors to design guidelines.
Albemarle has 21 roads classified as entrance corridors, but eight roads or portions of the roads do not currently meet state code requirements to be in an entrance corridor. The county’s Architectural Review Board regulates the design of development along the corridors.
County staff are recommending that the county try to change four of the roads from entrance corridor to arterial status, and consider making the rest county scenic highways.
They will be presenting these recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 3.
“Really in February, we’re asking the board for direction on how to proceed,” said Margaret Maliszewski, a county planning manager, at an ARB meeting on Monday.
Under state code, an entrance corridor has to meet two criteria: it must be designated or classified as an arterial street or arterial highway by the Virginia Department of Transportation, and it has to be a significant route of tourist access to the locality or to designated historic landmarks.
When Maliszewski realized there was an issue with some of the roads in 2018, the county stopped applying the entrance corridor regulations to those streets or segments of streets.
“They’re still listed in the ordinance … We believe the board wants us to pursue these options dealing with the various corridors and once we figure out what the answers are, then we need to go back and amend the ordinance,” she said.
If the board wants to seek changes, county staff recommend that it pursue arterial status for Avon Street Extended, Barracks Road from the city of Charlottesville limits to Georgetown Road, Thomas Jefferson Parkway and U.S. 250 from Route 22 to the county line.
According to VDOT’s Functional Classification Comprehensive Guide, if the Board of Supervisors wanted to change the roads’ classifications, it would have to submit a request to the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization, which would then either forward the request to the VDOT district planner or deny the request.
The final decision is made by the Federal Highway Administration.
Frank Stoner, an ARB member, questioned whether it’s worth the effort to pursue this designation change for these streets.
“I have some anxiety over Avon Street,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a major arterial and it’s a road that already has a fairly industrial character. I worry there aren’t many places anymore in the county where you can actually build something that’s akin to a warehouse or a purely functional structure, and Avon kind of already serves that purpose, so I’m probably less comfortable with that as an ARB corridor.”
Staff is also recommending that the board consider re-establishing a county scenic highway designation. Maliszewski said the previous scenic highway designation was eliminated when the entrance corridor overlay was established in 1990.
Barracks Road beyond Georgetown Road, Irish Road, Louisa Road from Route 231 to the county line, Route 20 from Proffit Road to the county line and Thomas Jefferson Parkway, if it does not receive arterial status, are staff’s recommendation for consideration for the county scenic highway designation.
If the board supports re-establishing the designation, it would ultimately need to go through a public process and vote on a zoning text amendment.