The James City County Planning Commission voted 5-1 Wednesday not to recommend approval for new retail shops on Monticello Avenue.
Tricor International, a residential and commercial developer, has submitted a special use permit and rezoning request to build the Monticello Avenue Shops which would be located near the intersection of Monticello Avenue, Old News Road and Ironbound Road.
The project involves developing 13,000 square feet of commercial space and would generate more than 100 new vehicle trips during the area’s peak hours of operations, according to a report from the county.
Currently, the area is zoned rural residential (R8) but Tricor has also applied to rezone it as general business (B1).
James City County staff had previously recommended approval for the project for various reasons, including its consistency with the current comprehensive plan, according to county documents.
Now, however, residents have had concerns about the potential traffic impacts the project could cause.
An online petition has been circulating to stop the project from moving forward. In the petition, which had 446 signatures as of Thursday morning, there are concerns that adding more shops and building new traffic patterns would cause issues for those who travel the road daily.
“Monticello commercial corridor is currently over burdened with traffic,” said Richard Tisdale, a resident representing the petition, during the meeting. “[It is] resulting in an unsafe condition and reduction in quality of life for anyone that has to travel it.”
For the past three years, Tricor has worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation to analyze the traffic impact, especially the interchange on WindsorMeade Way and Monticello Avenue, said Kurt Miller, a representative from Tricor.
The study showed the development would create a net increase of 532 new vehicle trips per day with a total increase of 887 trips per day.
There were a few suggestions in the study for improving the Monticello Avenue at WindsorMeade Way site driveway such as construction a westbound left-turn lane on Monticello Avenue, creating a left-thru lane and a right-turn lane on the site driveway, continuing the existing eastbound right turn lane from the Monticello Avenue and Marketplace Shoppes intersection and parts of southbound Windsormeade Way will be re-striped.
There would also be modifications to the current traffic light at WindsorMeade Way in order to direct traffic around the development’s two entrances.
Miller presented positive qualities about the project during the Planning Commission meeting Wednesday.
“This is an infill site on the main commercial corridor in the county, usually dictates a pretty successful site,” Miller said. “Everything around it is built out, everything around it is well-established this site just sits there sort of begging for this type of use and that’s what we propose.”
While the Planning Commission has voted not to recommend the project for approval, there is still a potential future for the retail shops. There will be a public hearing on the development prior to a final vote from James City County Board of Supervisors during its Jan. 14 meeting.