Final forum in Route 58 series set for Monday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2008

ISLE OF WIGHT—Residents, business owners and property owners with an interest in the Route 58 corridor in southern Isle of Wight will have another chance on Monday to help shape the future of that area.

The county’s planning department will hold its third in a series of “Route 58 Community Vision” meetings from 7 to 9 p.m. at Carrsville Elementary School, promising that those with an interest in helping to define the character of the rural corridor will have one more opportunity to share their opinions.

Participants in two similar meetings, held in January and April, identified some of the features they hope will be protected from the development that is expected eventually to spill over from Isle of Wight’s “primary growth markets,” located in the northern part of the county and along Route 460.

They also suggested the types of development they would most like to see in the southern part of the county, ranking their desire for things like retail shops, industrial centers and subdivisions.

Monday’s forum will give participants a first look at the draft plan that has been developed based on the input from those earlier meetings, according to information from the planning department.

Those attending will be asked to comment on the plan and share ideas on how to implement it.

The goal is to develop growth guidelines for the next 20 years or so.

Consultants from Charlottesville-based Renaissance Planning Group hope to have a final plan ready for review by the county’s Planning Commission in August. If approved, that plan then would be submitted for endorsement by the Board of Supervisors.

The final document would help guide development along the entire Business Route 58 corridor, from Franklin to Suffolk.

With its ready railroad, airport and highway access, that corridor is ripe for development of port-related cargo transfer stations, a consultant told participants at the January meeting. The area’s many large properties and higher elevation than neighboring Franklin also will make it attractive to residential developers, especially as the county expands its water and sewer services, he added.

County surveys that preceded the series of forums showed that retail development—especially construction of a grocery store to serve the area—leads the list of desires for many who live in the southern part of the county.

That desire, however, is not likely to be fulfilled until population density increases south of Route 460, the consultant warned.