Albemarle staff: More than enough residential units to meet projected growth

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After the state unburdened Biscuit Run developers by purchasing the would-be residential development as a park, Albemarle planners, developers, environmentalists and residents have debated whether or not to make up those 1,200 acres elsewhere. On Tuesday night, the Albemarle County Planning Commission will formally discuss the same.

A report compiled for updating the county’s Comprehensive Plan lists applications for moving land into Albemarle’s expansion area. However, the report also includes county staff’s take on whether Biscuit Run left Albemarle with insufficient residential capacity to meet growth needs during the next 20 years. The answer? No.

“As provided in the prior section, based on projected population growth, 1,770 to 7,438 new units, in addition to the units which have been approved by recent rezoning, will be needed by the year 2030," states the report. "The prior section also indicated that capacity exists in the current land use designations of the Comprehensive Plan for 6,600 to 22,100 new units. At this juncture, it would appear that there is adequate inventory of existing designated land to meet residential needs to 2030." That means maximum growth projections would only use about one-third of maximum residential capacity currently designated.

The report notes that three parcels may have some future in the county’s expansion area: Wendell Wood’s 710-acre Somerset Farm, the Franklin Farm Complex on Stony Point Road, and 77 acres owned by Clara Bell Wheeler that were removed from the Development Area in 2008 when Wheeler decided to apply for a conservation easement. These three parcels represent 814 acres, although the planning commission considered only 300 acres of Wood’s parcels in June. According to Wood’s application, Somerset could support 1,900 residential units and two neighborhood centers, each sized at 350,000 square feet.

Read more in the report here, or turn out on Tuesday night. Or share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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