Called Colonial Circle, the business development would probably contain small shops and a gas station, said Jason Stewart, director of planning and zoning.  Initially it would have up to 20,000 square feet of business space.

Peters’ proposal contains an offer to donate land to the county for construction of a roundabout at the intersection to help alleviate traffic issues.  The county has already submitted an application for transportation funding for the roundabout; in fact, it was the county’s first transportation priority this year.

While discussing the rezoning request, Supervisor Bob Ullenbruch asked how much of an impact the development would have on existing traffic issues.   Based on 2014 Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) data, Rt. 53 has an annual average daily traffic count of 6,900, while Rt. 618’s is 3,000.  The current intersection is often congested.

Also, only half a mile south of the intersection on Rt. 53 is Lake Monticello’s Monish/Tufton Gate, a spot which some consider unsafe due to the multiple crashes and fatalities that have occurred there over the years.

In response to Ullenbruch’s question, Supervisor Tony O’Brien predicted that Colonial Circle would not be a “destination.” Rather, he said, “I would suggest that the type of businesses that are going to be there would be businesses that are serving existing traffic.  This is not likely to be the type of businesses where people are going to drive in from Charlottesville to come to.  So you’re really not going to change the traffic flow substantially.”

The roundabout should help with the flow of traffic at the intersection, O’Brien continued.  He also expects it will force drivers to slow down on that stretch of road, which he said is “critical for safety purposes.  We’ve seen far too many accidents and deaths there.”

“I think this is one of the best layouts for a roundabout,” said Supervisor Don Weaver.  “The owner has proffered the land… I think it’s a tremendous project here.”

If VDOT doesn’t approve funding or a construction plan for the roundabout within six years, Peters’ proffer of land will expire.

No one spoke at the public hearing.  Supervisors approved the rezoning 5-0.

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