Albemarle Planning Commission Vote: 5th Street Station Can Move Forward
Jan 29, 2013 10:39 PM EST
The future of the Fifth Street Station shopping center is looking clearer. Albemarle's planning commission has voted to move forward with the project.
The planned shopping center between Fifth and Avon streets has been at a standstill for about a year. But Tuesday night, the planning commission hashed out important details involving some protected land in that area. The commission voted to approve the special permit to allow the developers to fill parts of the area flood plain.
"We have to demonstrate to the county that the grading and site development work will not cause the flood plain levels to rise and have any adverse impacts on any adjacent properties," said Valerie Long, a representative of the development.
Areas of the flood plain need to be filled to make room for a road that will connect Fifth and Avon streets. But that can't happen without full approval.
"One does not mess with flood plain unless you have permission to do so. And it seems we'll give them permission. Well it's not just the county that is involved here; it's DEQ, FEMA so on and so forth," said Calvin Morris, a member of the Albemarle Planning Commission.
In order to avoid impacts on the flood plain and surrounding areas, the permit has very specific instructions on which areas can be altered.
Tuesday's decision is a step closer to the shopping center breaking ground. That may happen later this year - which some in the area are excited about.
"It will provide them with a place to go shopping with a good grocery store with other things, amenities, and they don't have to go all the way to the northern end of 29," Morris said.
Others say it will be too disruptive.
"I really enjoy hiking along the creek and I know a good number of families do and I just ask that you - especially since it's a particularly large disturbance - really take your time and consider the impact on the future that this will have," said Marie Christine Wright, who lives near the shopping center.
There is a lot of work left to do, but with a few more steps of approval, construction will soon be underway. Wegmans grocery store has already confirmed it will be opening a location. With others following its lead, the new development will be a boost for Albemarle's economy, creating nearly 4,000 permanent jobs.
The project will now go in front of the Board of Supervisors in March. If they decide to approve, it will then go to FEMA for the final vote.
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