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J4C Urges Maintaining PSA

j4c_forestConsistent with input to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan update, J4C opposes connecting the land parcel at 2604 John Tyler Highway, across from the Governor’s Land subdivision, to the county sewer system. This property lies outside the Primary Service Area (PSA) and in lands designated as Rural. These are defined by the Comprehensive Plan as “… predominately known for agricultural and forestall activities,” and “… contain … natural areas, extensive Resource protection Areas (RPAs), aquifer recharge areas, and headwaters of important watersheds.” Allowing the property owners to connect to JCSA sewer would violate the PSA, the County’s most effective growth control tool.

J4C outlined its opposition during a public hearing at the Supervisors meeting on July 8, 2014.

Read the complete statement below.

J4C opposes connecting 2604 John Tyler Highway to the county sewer system. Doing so promotes development by precedent from Centerville Road to the Chickahominy River and makes a mockery of the Comprehensive Plan. There are presently ten properties for sale, totaling 100 acres, between the Monticello/John Tyler Highway intersection and the River, and all of them are plotted for residential development. We see three primary issues at risk: 1) exacerbating serious traffic congestion along the Monticello Corridor, 2) further despoiling the county’s community character, and 3) maintaining the integrity of the Comprehensive Plan. We therefore join County staff and the Planning Commission in opposing this application.

  1. Traffic: The J4C published a traffic study in September 2008, noting that traffic along the Monticello Corridor between Powhatan Secondary and Ironbound Road was increasing at more than five percent annually. By 2007, traffic between Ironbound and 199 had already reached levels projected by the 2003 Comprehensive Plan to occur in 2026. The J4C study quoted a DRW Consultants’ prediction that the level of service along this county centerpiece would decline to a solid F. VDOT defines LOS F as “characterized by stop-and-go waves, poor travel times, low comfort and convenience, … increased accident exposure … and a complete breakdown of service …” – all situations familiar to those travelling this corridor today. Why make matters even worse by promoting more residential building along this corridor? 
  1. Community Character: James City County’s community character has contributed to its attractiveness and growth through the years. Its importance to residents is evidenced by the designation of Community Character Areas and Corridors in the Comprehensive Plan and was again validated by responses to the recent Virginia Tech resident survey.

John Tyler Highway-Route 5 is one such Community Character Corridor (CCC) and has been afforded special considerations from the County for over 20 years so as to promote the County’s rural, natural and historic character. It provides the main entry to James City County from the west and is one of the few unspoiled entrances from any direction. It links Virginia’s modern capital, Richmond, to its colonial capital, Williamsburg, and affords access to the James River plantations, the Richmond National Battlefield Park, the Colonial National Historic Park and other historic sites, as well as many recreation and conservation areas such as the Chickahominy River Park, the Chickahominy Wildlife Refuge and the Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery. It is designated as a Virginia Byway and a bicycle-touring route. In 2002, James City County validated its importance by contributing tax dollars to the purchase of a protective buffer.

  1. Maintaining the Integrity of the Comprehensive Plan and PSA: The Comprehensive Plan guides County growth and development by providing a long-term context in which to evaluate individual proposals. Broad-based and extensive citizen input to both the 2009 and 2035 Plans demonstrates strong public concern over the impacts of residential development and support for controls on that development. The most effective of these controls for localities is the Primary Service Area (PSA).

This property lies outside the PSA and in the Rural Lands, which, from the Comp Plan “… are predominantly known for agricultural and forestall activities,” and “ … contain lands that are vital to the broader environmental health of the County, such as natural areas, extensive Resource Protection Areas (RPAs), aquifer recharge areas, and the headwaters for important watersheds. Land preservation, especially of prime farmland soils, is of utmost importance in this area.” 

Approving this application would mock the Comprehensive Plan by violating seven county goals and strategies:

  • Community Character 1.1: Preserve and enhance entrance corridors and roads that promote the rural, natural, or historic character of the County.
  • Land Use 1.6: Enhance and preserve the agricultural and forestall economy and character of the Rural Lands and the predominantly wooded, natural, and small-town character of the County.
  • Land Use 4.1: Enforce policies of the Comprehensive Plan to steer growth to appropriate sites in the PSA.
  • Land Use 4.2: Provide for low density and moderate density residential development in appropriate locations inside the PSA and prohibit such development on rural lands outside the PSA.
  • Transportation 1: Foster a safe, effective and efficient transportation system that supports the county’s land use, community character, and high quality of life.
  • Transportation 1.1: Ensure that new development follows recommended densities, intensities, and development patterns that will serve to preserve the road capacities and support the Community Character Corridor designations of existing and proposed roads.
  • Transportation 1.2: Expect new developments to maintain an acceptable level of service on surrounding roads …

As this board works to draft the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, do not send the message to residents that the Plan has no meaning. Therefore, J4C urges the Board to deny this application.