Road connection requirements: New state guidelines

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Beginning Wednesday, state guidelines will require new residential developments to include connecting roads to nearby existing neighborhoods but not everyone agrees that's a good thing.

Chesterfield's Bayhill Pointe neighborhood sits next to a large plot of undeveloped land. Last year, residents fought to block a development that would have connected their subdivision to a new one.

"Obviously our concerns are our children," said resident Tracy Papiernik.

Tracy Papiernik helped lead the opposition. She and some of her neighbors worried that the connection to the new development would turn Battlecreek Drive into a cut-through, endangering their quiet community.

"In many places, bike paths are very close to the road, we don't feel like there is a safety zone with the streets," said Tracy.

The development plans for the property next to Bayhill Pointe were eventually scrapped.  But under the new VDOT requirements, if another developer does build on the site, they would have to build the connecting road, or lose state funding for road maintenance. County officials say connectivity is the best policy because it will reduce congestion and improve public safety.

"It allows our public safety departments to provide quicker and better service to our citizens when the need arises," said Chesterfield County Planning Director Kirk Turner.

Adam Berlew just moved to Bayhill Pointe. He likes the privacy and safety of a secluded subdivision, but his winding commute to work has helped him see the potential benefits of neighborhood cut-throughs.

"To get to this neighborhood you have to take 288 north all the way to Hull Street, follow Hull all the way back around to Bailey Bridge," Berlew said.

If a developer chooses not to build connecting roads, the cost of maintaining the roads would shift to the county, or the homeowners themselves.

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