To the Editor: Freetown: It’s Not Just About Water

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Letters reflect the opinions of their authors and not necessarily those of the Crozet Gazette.

Freetown: “It’s Not Just About Water—It’s About Public Safety”

What About:

With the traffic on Route 250 at this time, extreme congestion, how can anyone even think of adding more traffic at this point? What about five or ten years from now? How can we overlook the traffic from the three schools, Old Trail and other housing developments already under development or approved for construction?

I think we are overlooking the traffic study because we are going on with plans without having a traffic study. Does that mean no matter what the outcome of the traffic study, we are going to overlook the safety of our schools, plus the safety of our community?

Maybe after the station is under construction then we will have a traffic study. The traffic study should have been completed three years ago, and then we would have some comparison with today’s traffic and traffic three to five years from now.

I can assure you that this will be the worst injustice, the greatest mistake that the Albemarle Board of Supervisors could ever make. Those three schools are the future of Albemarle and one day these kids will ask you why! Why is our school so inaccessible by foot or our bikes?

Currently, in this section of Route 250, there are four driveways trying to get on 250: Warren Body Shop, Arbor Life Tree Business, Free Town Lane and Whiting Lane; all are within a distance of 500 feet; plus there are 18-wheelers making U turns into the body shop and the tree business. This does not consider the traffic that will be entering/exiting to 250 to the ReStoreN site, and the traffic immediately across Route 250, accessing the Ridge Market and two family homes’ driveways.

Things We Need to Know

Why should the most affected vulnerable public entities that will be hurt by the Re-Store-N station be our schools? No one has said anything about the schools except “Look the other way.” Why are the parents, the teachers, the bus drivers not being informed about the safety of more traffic? They will have to deal with many issues in getting the kids to school safely.

Should we be thinking about what is going to happen in five or ten years on Route 250? It will be another 29 North. Why was the school board not requested to appear at any hearings or to submit written views—is this how elected and appointed county officials view the schools—an unimportant entity of the county? The taxpayers past, present and future have a huge investment in our three Western Albemarle County schools. These taxpayers have “by right” ownership in these multimillion-dollar lands and buildings. It is incomprehensible that any elected or appointed official or county staff person would place the general “public’s rights” over that of a relatively new property owner of 4+ acres with a “by right” zoning that will severely and permanently impact the multimillion dollar public investment! Who wants to claim credit for ever allowing this zoning battle of nearly three years to have gotten any approval? Yes, we the taxpayers are paying for needless “waste and mismanagement” of public funds in a most imperfect public hearing process. As well, private citizens have spent thousands of dollars in legal fees, hydrology experts, geology experts, and other consulting fees to stop a bureaucracy bent on destroying the character and livability of their neighborhoods, and the profitability of their businesses. I hope that a few fair-minded officials will finally stop this environmental injustice. If not, hopefully, fair minded and impartial judges will.

Water runoff of the Restore-N station: After running off the station property this water, etc, will at some point go through 5 or 6 residential properties in Free Town before it gets to Stockton Creek. From Stockton Creek it will go into Mechums River, then into Moorman River, then into Albemarle and Charlottesville’s drinking water. We must remember that all the vegetation will be gone; there will be nothing to hold the water back. Eventually in a few months or years, there will be a major runoff from the parking lot. Before we start “digging” we need to get this right.

After any large rain storm, this water runoff will come off that hill of the Re-Store-N station like a river! A holding tank will only stop a small portion of this water. The rest will go to the Rivanna Dam—untreated—as well as affect to the lawns and gardens of Free Town.

Richard Brown
Free Town