Planning commissions work together

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ISLE OF WIGHT—Issues of emergency services, sewer, water and traffic along Route 460 in Windsor were the subjects of a recent joint work session between the planning commissions for Isle of Wight County and the Town of Windsor.

 Route 258 and 640 plan

Route 258 and 640 plan

Rusty Chase, IOW director of Emergency Services, explained how trains can potentially delay response times for the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department and Windsor Volunteer Rescue Squad, both located east of the tracks. The Carrsville Volunteer Fire Department is on the west side.

However, Chase said there are mutual aid agreements with Franklin and Suffolk fire rescue services whenever the needs arise.

He also recommended a ladder truck for the Windsor firefighters.

Chase said he’s seeing a decline not only in volunteers for fire and rescue, but in civic groups generally. He added the WVFD has a strong core in staffing.

6-leg intersection plans

6-leg intersection plan

“We want to be engaged in any conversation regarding water and sewer,” said Frank Haltom, assistant director of General Services for the county.

The panels wanted to know what is the anticipated capacity of the future sewer pump station and force main for Phase A, and if the sewer line would accommodate additional development within Windsor.

“It’s almost impossible to figure capacity because no design has been done,” Haltom said. “You have to size sewers almost perfectly.”

Cleansing velocity, as he phrased it, is needed. A pipe that’s too large, for example, could allow sludge to settle.

“Sewer capacity has to be designed specifically for the customer,” he added.

Haltom said the town’s water system will not support initial development.

“We’re in the process of building pipeline to help further economic development prospects and make the area more marketable,” he said, and added that funds would be allocated for design this year, with money allocated for construction next year.

Both panels raised traffic concerns, specifically:

  • Additional traffic, no planned roadway improvements and no identified source of funding
  • Additional residential developments and their impacts
  • Increasing train traffic and vehicular traffic backups
  • Truck traffic using Route 460 instead of the future Route 460 bypass

Matthew Smolnik, assistant director of IOW Planning and Zoning, said train traffic has gone up around 40 percent.

For preventing traffic backups, he said the department has lobbied the Virginia Department of Transportation, “but that’s their responsibility.”

During his presentation on the Countywide Transportation Plan, which was adopted May 2011, Smolnik looked at 10 intersections that were analyzed in a study.

Recommended improvements and projected costs to Route 258/Route 460:

Alternative A – Dedicated turn lanes ($1.5-$3.7 million)

Alternative B – Overpass with RR grade separation ($60-$130 million). This has been rejected.

Route 460/Court/Church/Bank Streets:

Realign cross streets to form a 4-way crossing ($0.9-$1.6 million)

These upgrades are “intended to address poor levels of service caused by high traffic volumes and poor roadway conditions.”

Carita Richards, mayor of Windsor, said she’s concerned about the proposal for the six-leg, and how it would affect both traffic and residents.

“We’ve inherited that intersection, and it’s what makes Windsor what it is,” said Beverly Walkup, director of Planning and Zoning.

“We can’t solve the problems now,” Walkup added. “I think we need to broaden our thinking and think about alternatives. No, we don’t have all the answers. We have got to get (corporate, local, railroad and state) representatives to the table.”

The Isle of Wight Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, in the county courthouse.

The Windsor Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, in council chambers at 8 E. Windsor Blvd.