Residents oppose Mt. Airy road proposal Extension would create four-way intersection


MOUNT AIRY -- A proposal to extend West Ridgeville across Route 27 and create a four-way intersection was blasted by several residents at a special Town Council meeting Wednesday.

If an access road to Route 27 is approved by the State Highway Administration, the plan could require closing part of East Ridgeville Boulevard to eliminate an intersection with Route 27, said Town Planner Teresa Bamberger. Another road would be built to link the proposed extension of West Ridgeville Boulevard to the end of East Ridgeville Boulevard.

A second part of the proposal designates the extension of West Ridgeville Boulevard as a collector road in the town's Master Plan. The proposed collector road would run parallel to East Ridgeville Boulevard and north to Century Drive. The cost of this road would be paid by those who develop the adjacent property.

The two-part plan for the collector road evolved from Bob Peacock's proposal for a better access road to his 13-acre commercially-zoned property across Route 27 from West Ridgeville Boulevard, Mrs. Bamberger said.

"Basically, this new road would carry mostly commercial and industrial traffic," said Mrs. Bamberger. "We think that may be a benefit to the people who live here."

But several town residents at the meeting disagreed.

"I disagree that it is going to benefit the people of Conestoga Court," said Stephen J. Semelsberger Jr., who said problems with traffic at the proposed four-way intersection would be "significant."

Homes near the proposed road are inhabited predominantly by families with young children, said Russell Pavlicek.

Midge Thomas expressed concern about water run-off from development of the Peacock property. She also asked who owned the land where the extended West Ridgeville Boulevard would be built, but was told by town officials the exact location of the road was not known.

"The way things are, right now, East Ridgeville Boulevard is planned as a collector road," Mrs. Bamberger told the crowd of approximately 75. "It's the only way for traffic to get in and out. There's nothing you can do about it; it's going to develop regardless if this road is in."

"Isn't this a little bit of the tail wagging the dog?" asked Jay Neuman, noting it could be five, 10 or 15 years before the proposed second phase of the road would be constructed. "I think we ought to just wait. I don't see anybody wanting it with the exception of Mr. Peacock."

But George Leiby, an area property owner, said the proposal offered a choice and urged residents to "look toward the future. I would hope that the community considers the 20-year-view and does the right thing."

Town Council President Delaine Hobbs said, "We're here because we think it's of paramount interest to know how all citizens feel."

Mt. Airy's Town Council will decide whether to support the proposed access at next month's meeting on Sept. 14, said Councilman Marcum Nance, who heads the town's street and roads department.

"The final decision is not going to be ours but the State's," said Nance.

If the State Highway Administration approves the access, the town's planning commission and council would be involved in determining the future road configuration, said Mrs. Bamberger.

In other business:

* The council opened bids for trash and recyclable hauling. Council members voted to accept Eastern Waste Industries contract pending verification of the bid.

* The town council also voted to repair an ailing computer in the town office rather than replace it. Although a new upgraded computer system was including in the town's budget, the council decided to repair the computer's hard drive and use it at another location when the new system is purchased.

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