County and school board officials are reporting progress in discussions with the Virginia Department of Transportation regarding the latest round of easement discussions related to extending Mosby Boulevard through the new high school site. While a final agreement to spare an additional two acres of land that VDOT had contended is necessary for the extension of Mosby Boulevard, conciliatory tones were expressed by both sides at last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
Clarke County School Board chairman Robina Bouffault told the supervisors that a recent meeting with VDOT officials had resulted in a series of concessions that would alleviate concerns about encroachment of drainage ditches and road shoulder on the south side of Mosby Boulevard onto school playing fields and the school greenhouse site.
VDOT officials confirmed to the Supervisor that it was working to limit the amount of space necessary behind the school as well as move the planned storm water management pond to an underdeveloped area in the northwest quadrant of the school site.
VDOT also said that it is considering adjustments to the location the planned traffic circle located at the intersection of Main Street, Westwood Road and Whitacre Circle.
Supervisor Barbara Byrd (Russell) expressed support for the VDOT concessions. “There are three main areas of concern; the walking path on the south side of Mosby Boulevard, losing the greenhouse area and losing playing field space. This seems to address those issues.”
Supervisor David Weiss (Buckmarsh) said that he had also attended the VDOT meeting and was pleased with the level of cooperation that he had observed.
The most recent Mosby Boulevard flap erupted in early November when VDOT revised its requirements for the amount of land necessary to satisfy the extension of the road through the school’s property
“You can imagine our surprise therefore, when on November 1st we were informed that now VDOT wanted additional acreage – some 14 ft additional width added to the length of Mosby. At that time, we proposed that they try to minimize any further â€˜takings’, and if necessary, take that width from the north side of their existing right-of-way, instead of from the south, where we had already planned both PE fields and a new greenhouse,” Bouffault said in a recent electronic mail message. “However, to our dismay, we further discovered on Dec. 7th that they want an additional 2.33 acres – almost double the acreage previously deeded, and that the additional width can be as much as 37 ft – seriously encroaching upon our current plans not only for our PE fields, but also the planned greenhouse in the back of the school.”
Bouffault told the supervisors that as far as she was concerned VDOT can place the planned walking path “anywhere they want provided that it does not further encroach on school land.” Bouffault expressed satisfaction that negotiations with VDOT now seemed to be headed in the right direction.
VDOT officials told the supervisors that they intend to have a final resolution on the easement issues in time for the Mosby Boulevard extension public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, January 12, 2011 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at the Berryville/Clarke County Government Center.