A developer's plan to build a new road as part of a proposed retail and industrial center in Mount Airy has nearby residents on East Ridgeville Boulevard worried about the road's effect on their property values.
About a dozen homeowners who oppose the road attended the Mount Airy Planning and Zoning Commission's Monday night meeting to voice their concerns.
"I think our main concern is, we don't want a road in front of us and in back of us," said Tamara Barton, an East Ridgeville Boulevard resident. "No one is going to want to buy our house if it's in between two roads."
Developer Robert Peacock has proposed building a new road south of and parallel to East Ridgeville Boulevard. The new road would extend across Route 27 and would be the main point of access to the 13-acre property he plans to develop.
Although several businesses have expressed interest in the site, Mr. Peacock has said poor access to the property has severely limited his efforts to market it. He has received approval from the State Highway Administration to extend East Ridgeville Boulevard across Route 27.
Mount Airy's town planner, Teresa Bamberger, said a new road could be designed to carry the industrial traffic that would be generated from the new development. East Ridgeville Boulevard not designed to handle such a large volume of truck traffic, she said. The Town Council voted to support the new road last year, but the final road design is still under review.
"The town saw the potential to develop the road as an alternative to developing East Ridgeville Boulevard," Ms. Bamberger said. "It would get traffic out of the neighborhood."
But East Ridgeville Boulevard resident Robert Best said construction of the road would cut into some of his property. In addition, he said, the new road wouldn't eliminate truck traffic.
"There will still be truck traffic behind us or in front of us," he said.
Ms. Bamberger said it would be at least 10 years before the new road is partially completed.
"I wouldn't be surprised if the road wasn't in in 20 years," she said.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to send Mr. Peacock's plan to the Town Council and directed him to submit additional plans on the alignment of the new road.
To address residents' concerns, the commission voted to ask the Town Council to appoint a committee to study issues related to the new road. The commission will recommend that the committee include a planning commission member, the Town Council, town zoning staff and citizen representatives from the surrounding neighborhood.