June 7, 2011
The proposed Somerset Farm development would be located almost 1,000 feet from Biscuit Run State Park. If approved, the development would house both commercial and residential property with up to 2,000 units.
The 600 acre property stretches for a mile along Route 20, near Interstate 64 and Avon Street, but only 317 acres would be developed, the rest would serve as open space.
"It's a mixed use, planned development to serve Albemarle County," explained Wendell Wood, owner of Somerset Farm. "It's five minutes from downtown Charlottesville - there will be shopping, all types of housing, conveniently located."
Members of the Albemarle County Planning Commission say they need more development on the south side of the county to meet the housing and shopping needs of new and current residents. However, some on the commission believe while water and sewer demands are not an issue, the depletion of environmental and other resources is a concern.
Commissioner Linda Porterfield voiced her concern at Tuesday night's meeting. She says that with more people the already strained fire and police departments would not be able to handle the demand. However, Planning Commission Chair Duane Zobrist claims the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors wouldn't let that issue slip through the cracks.
"I know the Board of Supervisors is concerned about that," Zobrist told CBS19. "I'm sure they will allocate whatever funds are necessary to make sure our community is safe."
It will be a long time before development can break ground. Wood and his staff will continue to work on their report and plan in anticipation of a public hearing in the fall.