Private roads a concern for supervisors

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By John Barnhart

A project that the planning commission struggled with last month resulted in a split vote by the board of supervisors Monday night.

Sunset Cay Marina is the former Campers Paradise, located off Va. 122. Jim Fields and Mike Loflin, the developers, plan an expansion that includes 12 single family homes. These are to connect, via a private road, to Kasey Lakeview Drive. The parcel on which the homes are to be built has deeded access to Kasey. The developers chose to have one access road to these houses rather than build each with a driveway onto Kasey. The developers want to retain private roads which will be built to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) standards.

When the project came before the planning commission, residents of Kasey Lakeview Drive, also a private road, objected to a private road connection between their road and the development. They were concerned that it could bring a substantial amount of traffic onto their road consisting of vehicles, such as golf carts, that aren’t allowed on public roads. When the planning commission approved the private road request, they eliminated the two that affect Kasey. These had to be public roads.

Some of the supervisors think that private roads are a bad idea, period.

“I’ve always hated private roads in subdivisions,” commented District 1 Supervisor Dale Wheeler. “I’m eaten up with them in my district.”

William Wilcox, the landscape architect handling the project, said that the private roads are just an internal circulation system that allows alternate modes of transportation. He also said that the developer wants to control maintenance of the roads.

“The project, in general, is going to add a lot to the tax base,” Wilcox added.

Wilcox also said that it would be nearly impossible to bring Kasey up to public road standards because they would have to get the agreement of all 32 property owners. The project stops if one objects. County Attorney Carl Boggess, however, disagreed with this contention. Boggess said that Kasey has been officially dedicated to public use and the developer could improve it with out the property owners’ signatures. He also said that the road, that the developer proposes to connect 12 single family homes with Kasey can’t be considered because the property’s R-2 zoning prohibits private roads. The county’s zoning ordinance was adopted in 1998. Boggess said that only the private Sunset Cay, already a planned commercial development (PCD), and a connector road between it and Kasey is under consideration.

At that point, Wilcox said the developer would accept the planning commission’s recommendation, with the connector road a public road.

“In 18 years of sitting in this seat, I thought I had seen everything possible, but you guys get the pink flamingo award,” Wheeler commented, looking at the project as a whole.

Other supervisors had concerns.

“I do have heartburn where everything is listed as hotels, but when we talk about it, we talk about condos,” Neudorfer commented.

Neudorfer said that it is also unclear as to who will be in the association that would maintain the roads, questioning whether they would be well maintained. He also noted that the developer was inviting the public into an area where they would share roads with golf carts and other alternate modes of transportation. However, he offered a motion approving private roads within the PCD and requiring the connector road to be a private road.

“Anybody following my voting record knows that I’m always pro-business and anti-private road,” Wheeler commented before the vote.

The result was a tie, with District 4 Supervisor John Sharp and Board Chairman Steve Arrington joining Neudorfer to support the motion. District 3 Supervisor Roger Cheek, District 6 Supervisor Annie Pollard and Wheeler voted against it. District 7 Supervisor Gary Lowry was absent.

According to Boggess and County Administrator Kathleen Guzi said the issue can come before the supervisors again. Boggess said that this is because it is not a zoning request or special use permit. Guzi recommended cleaning up the request and bringing it back when all seven supervisors are present.

In other business, the supervisors unanimously approved a bed and breakfast inn proposal at the Smith Mountain Lake Airport. When this request came before the planning commission, it encountered no opposition and several neighbors spoke in favor of it. The B & B, to be called Bedford Landings Bed and Breakfast, proposed by Jack Phillips and Karen DeBord, will be located adjacent to the airport’s runway and have a hangar with access to the runway via a taxiway. The hangar is already there and is currently being used as a garage. The proposal is to build a bed and breakfast inn with four guest rooms and expect a maximum of eight guests at a time.