J4C Speaks Out on Mooretown Road Extension
J4C submitted a position statement to planners at the most recent meeting in the Mooretown Road Feasibility Study process on October 20, 2014. The statement mirrors earlier statements in 2011 and again in May 2014, as part of the organization’s presentation to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. J4C argued that while the road might encourage economic development, and serve transportation needs, it would also create pollution, increase storm water runoff, and encourage more sprawl to the north and west.
Read the full statement below.
The James City County Citizens Coalition (J4C) spoke against extending Mooretown Road to connect with Croaker Road during development of the 2009 Comprehensive Plan. We argued that while the road might encourage economic development, and serve transportation needs, it would also create pollution, increase storm water runoff, and encourage more sprawl to the north and west. Consequently, we asked that plans to extend Mooretown Road be halted at the conclusion of the feasibility study.
To support this position we now add the following:
- The argument that this road is needed to allow emergency equipment to move east during an evacuation event that reverses I 64 to westbound only traffic is severely weakened by Gov. McAuliffe’s ongoing review of the state’s hurricane response plan, which “may target evacuation of smaller areas as opposed to mass evacuation” (VA Pilot, 7/18/14).
- Purchasing land for a four-lane road to be constructed at some time in the future, as proposed by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., at a meeting on 4/29/14, would remove many acres from the county’s tax base with little benefit.
- The large eastern tract comprising the Stevens and Hill Top Farms and the Pottery land can be given access to Routes 199 and I 64, including an intermodal connection to CSX, without continuing Mooretown Road beyond the Stevens Farm.
- Maps provided by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., show that building a four-lane highway between Croaker and Lightfoot Roads will be ecologically damaging and presents serious challenges that will be very costly to overcome. The area is laced with deep ravines, broad resource protection areas, numerous wetlands and free flowing streams as well as being dotted with protected plant species and archaeological sites. The soil is highly erodible and is stable only because of forest cover. It is no accident that this land has escaped developers’ bulldozers.
The J4C continues to believe that plans to extend Mooretown Road should be halted at the conclusion of the present feasibility study. Construction can be reevaluated when a developer presents a plan for the Economic Opportunity area designated in the 2009 Comprehensive Plan. At that time a two-lane service road, designed only to serve the planned EOZ development, should be considered and only with some economic support from the developer.