More input on 460 growth
Published 10:22 am Friday, March 22, 2013
BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
WINDSOR—Brenda Peters from the Five Forks Road area is concerned that future development along the Route 460 corridor could ultimately ruin why she came to Isle of Wight in the first place.
“I moved here 10 years ago, and I want it to stay as rural as it can be. I don’t want it to become another Smithfield or Suffolk,” said Peters.
She was one of 50-plus area residents who got a second opportunity to offer input on the developing Route 460 corridor master plan on Tuesday at Windsor High School. As with the first meeting in late November, the Isle of Wight County Planning and Zoning Department is looking into what development could occur with the construction of the $1.4 billion Route 460 Limited Access Highway, which is set to begin in 2014.
Attending from the department were Director Beverly Walkup, Assistant Director Matthew Smolnik and Planner Richard Rudnicki, who gave the presentation.
Three possible scenarios were compiled based on an online survey and information provided at the previous meeting.
In Scenario No. 1, for example, the land use is close to what already exists. There would be approximately 3,089 acres involved. About 15 miles of water and sewer infrastructure would be needed. Further, there’d be space for approximately 600 residential units and two million square fee for commercial and office use.
The residents were again asked to review the scenarios and use multi-colored stickers for where they would or would not like to see development.
Michele McManus, who lives near where the future highway will be built, is concerned about drainage issues, specifically any water or trash coming from the elevated road onto her property.
Wayne Briggs of Shiloh Drive is concerned that more development will mean more people and more laws would need to be created.
Julia Liggins, who lives on Blackwater Road, said she’s hoping to see more infrastructure such as sewage and utilities, as well as more businesses to provide for her needs and convenience.
“They all had pluses and minuses, and we’ll have to evaluate them based on the things we’re planning for the town,” said Windsor Planning and Zoning Director Dennis Carney. He added this would include “ensuring commercial development continues to expand within the town.”
Carney continued, “It’s hard to say at this point which way we want to go or which is the better scenario for the town.”
Forty-two stickers were counted, with some people focusing on the first or second scenarios, while others rated all three, said Rudnicki. He added that no one seemed especially interested in the third scenario, possibly because there weren’t enough options for development.
“I was very excited with the overall turnout to the meeting,” Rudnicki said. “Myself and Mr. Smolnik heard a lot of great comments on the scenarios and gained some good perspective on how the citizens feel to help in making revisions.”
He acknowledged there might have been some confusion at the start of the meeting — that the new highway would be the evening’s subject.
“But once Planning staff presented and talked with the citizens in attendance, I think everyone had a good grasp of the meeting’s topic,” said Rudnicki.
So far he doesn’t anticipate a third such meeting, and also thinks there has been enough public response “to finalize a scenario and move forward with completing the master plan.”
There are no set dates for making formal presentations to the county’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Rudnicki estimates it would be June or July before giving an informational item to the Planning Commission.