Council Reacts to Mosby Boulevard Developments

Frustration over Mosby Boulevard spilled into the Town Council chamber last night and Ward Two Councilman, Allen Kitselman, expressed his dissatisfaction with the process and communications regarding the project.

Kitselman said, “I’m concerned about this from what I’m hearing in the media and what I’m picking up as far as reactions to this plan and I’ve asked the county to brief us at BADA tomorrow. We basically know nothing about what’s going on here.”

His comments referred to an article that appeared in the Clarke Daily News on December 13th that addressed VDOT’s recent plan modifications for Mosby Boulevard that require almost twice the land that has already been recorded in the easements for the road. The councilman’s remarks followed town manager Keith Dalton’s updates to council on recent developments with the planned roadway that will cross school owned property.

Kitselman then took exception to the article saying, “Coverage in this article is shades of a year ago with a lot of misinformation. This road does not cut the campus in half.”   He closed his comments   stating, ”For this road not to be built would be a hardship for everyone, taxpayers, school board, everybody in this county.”

Mayor Wilson Kirby conceded that the council could do a better job  disseminating information saying, “Some of these issues we have answers to and we have to make those answers available.”

Mayor Kirby responded to one of the issues raised by Kitselman, the dividing of the campus. “If you look at how the plans progressed, 44 acres were purchased by the school board which is south, south east of Mosby.   Then the 12 acres on the north side was given to the board. This then completed the total acreage. When that 12 acres on the north side of the campus was conveyed to the school board, that made it appear, in the eyes of the public and the eyes of the school board, that Mosby Boulevard was splitting the campus.”

While the mayor’s explanation of the events that led up to the situation is accurate, the fact remains that the proposed Mosby Boulevard extension will strand 12 acres of school owned property on the other side of what   town documents refer to as a “major collector road.”

This recent controversy was exacerbated by what appears to be a procedural misstep on VDOT’s part. The public hearing for the Mosby Boulevard project, scheduled for January 12th, was announced in two local print publications and informed readers that copies of relevant documents would be available for review only in Staunton and Edinburg, neither of which could be considered convenient for Berryville residents.

VDOT’s planning error was quickly addressed by county officials, but left residents who have opposed the road feeling once again slighted by a system that has pushed the project through despite significant local opposition.

Ironically, the additional land that VDOT is now seeking is needed because the road design had to be scaled back for lack of funding. On January 13, 2010, VDOT held a scoping meeting for the planned construction of Mosby Boulevard. At that meeting VDOT determined that funds were not available to build the preferred design with curbs and gutters so a revised design with shoulders and ditches was proposed. Unfortunately the plans were never updated and the easements were filed for the preferred design with curbs and gutters. However, the “cheaper” design solution actually requires more land and now VDOT needs to correct the omission.

The public hearing for the project will be held January 12, 2011 from 4:00PM to 7:00PM at the Berryville/Clarke County Government Center. Additionally town manager, Keith Dalton has requested that VDOT representatives attend the Berryville Town Council meeting on January 11th, the night before VDOT’s   public hearing.

Comments

  1. A Point of Clarification:

    There appears to be some confusion concerning the purchase of the “Ketoctin” property for the new high school.

    The property purchased was a total of 58.707 acres, purchased all at the same time, and recorded in the courthouse in Book 505 page 353, on August 29th, 2008. There was no land subsequently either “given” or purchased. The Mosby right-of-way runs through the land purchased.

    There was also an additional piece of land, known as “Coleman’s Lane”, purchased at the same time, a narrow strip of land 27 ft. wide running the full width west of the school property, totaling 1.194 acres, but recorded in a separate “Quit-Claim” deed. The separate deeds are due to the types of deeds (the differences between a “general warranty” deed and a “quit claim” deed).

    The total acreage of the land purchased on August 29th, 2008 was 59.901 acres.

    Robina

  2. Fact Checker says:

    Sad that we are back to relitigate this topic. If I had my druthers, the Mosby funding would not even be on the table. Given the sorry condition of VDOT funding, the closing of the Front Royal office and relocation of personnel, it is a shame that those precious funds are being used to build the bypass to nowhere. On the other hand, anyone who travels north on Rt. 340 before Senseny Road sees the pavement painted black with emergency stops to avoid rear end collisions for cars turning left onto Senseny. Does this not give VDOT a slight clue?? Will it take a high speed rear end crash involving high school students going to Westwood Road to get VDOT’s attention.

  3. Just sayin says:

    Mr. Kitselman, how would not building this “major collector road” be “a hardship for everyone”? It’s a major collector road to where? The Food Lion? If I’m comin off of Westwood Road, and want to go around town, it’s not a far jog up to the light at the bypass; if I want to go downtown, I turn right and go there. So, exactly how would not having this road (which maybe made sense when Battlefield Estates was set to expand by about 60 houses) be a hardship? The site is a school now; the plan can change, since the use for that land has changed. Direct VDOT to use that precious money to make a better roundabout or traffic-light intersection there at Westwood and Rt.7 Business.

    At least the mayor now acknowledges that the town has not communicated why it still “needs” this road.

  4. Interesting says:

    VDOT’s documentation shows an “interesting” change in the project. If you visit the VDOT page for the project here: http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/staunton/clarke_county_-_route_636.asp

    The listed benefits for this project (as in the reason for this road being built) are as follows:

    This project will provide a safe and highly efficient entrance to the new Clarke County high school. Pedestrian and bicycle accommodations will be made through the shared use path, which will connect into the existing sidewalks along Mosby Boulevard.

    What were the “Benefits” before? The road has been in their much “lauded plan” for years before the school. Sounds like a nice little piece of revisionist history to me. The Town mandated the road so the school elected to use it for an entrance and now the entrance is the reason for the road. Wow, only in Berryville.