Albemarle BOS Passes Resolution Opposing Western Bypass

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After nearly five hours of passionate pleas from both sides of the issue, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted 5-1 to pass a resolution that officially kills county support of the Route 29 Western Bypass.

The resolution, first put on the table Monday by Supervisor Diantha McKeel, also calls on the governor to allocate unspent bypass money for other projects.

Wednesday night’s board meeting saw a packed house as the controversial bypass debate resurfaces. After decades of discussion, many thought the road was a done deal more than two years ago, but it doesn’t look that way now.

More than 100 people spoke at the meeting Wednesday night, after supervisors promised that every person who wanted to speak would be heard.

Those who spoke in favor of the bypass called the project long overdue.

“It is long overdue for Albemarle County to have the integrity to honor the intentions and commitments years ago to our fellow Virginians and complete the bypass,” said Lou Kramer.

Harold Piller said, “I think you ought to have a real conscientious look at this and put the people of Albemarle County ahead of your own political agenda.”

Those against it asked the board to reverse what they call a midnight vote that approved the road back in 2011.

“It would just be such a destruction to the scenic beauty of Albemarle County,” said Jane Porter Folgelman.

“The proposed bypass will be 100 yards from my backyard,” said Greg Buppert. “I am opposed to the bypass as a costly, short-cited project that won't actually fix the problems it is supposed to address.”

While many thanked supervisors for opening the discussion again, others said the board needed to respect the decision made a few years ago.

Despite the contentious debate, the bypass battle could be headed back to square one anyway, after the Federal Highway Administration urged the Virginia Department of Transportation to find other alternatives. The FHWA says too much time has passed and too much has changed to support moving ahead in the long-languishing project.

Ken Boyd was the only supervisor to vote against the anti-bypass resolution.

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