Trail Waiver# 6366-WTL-001-1:
|Article Prepared By Robert Michie
Trails and Sidewalk Committee, Lee District
Last Reviewed: 11 October 2010
BB&T Bank at Beacon Hill has filed a Site Plan (6366-SP-002) to demolish its current branch office, located at the corner of Southgate Drive and Richmond Highway, and then build a new branch office to replace it. During the consideration of the Special Exception (SE-2009-LE-022) preceding the Site Plan, the applicant states that the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors waived the requirement to provide any frontage improvements. In fact, the Planning Commission record says that "...a waiver of the frontage improvements with the implementation of the staff-proposed development conditions." The record also accepts "... a modification of the Richmond Highway Corridor Area Streetscape Elements to that shown on the SE Plat." The record does not give the applicant a blanket denial of frontage improvements. These are the conditions subsequently reported and approved by the Board Of Supervisors, as shown on Page 44 of the Clerk's Summary for March 23 2010.
An approximately 120-foot section of frontage along Richmond Highway has triggered the requirement for an 8-foot Type I trail, and a bike lane on Richmond Highway. Applicant's Request: waive bike lane requirement because:
Map 1: Map of Subject Area. Property highlighted in color.
The Beacon Hill Branch of BB&T is part of the Beacon/Groveton Community Business Center (CBC). It has its own section in the Area IV Comprehensive Plan, starting on Page 39 of the 3-9-2010 update to the 2007 Edition. BB&T is a business operating in a parcel identified as "A-1" in the Beacon/Groveton Map (Figure 9). A full build-out of the recommended streetscape within the Area IV Plan will be impossible without direct assistance from Virginia DOT.
The present situation is that a service road parallels Richmond Highway on the west side where the bank is. Observations during the 11 October 2010 Field Check showed that the service road itself is being used as a bike lane. This is not an ideal situation, but it gets the job done.
Online searching failed to turn up a copy of the Special Exception plat referred to in the minutes of the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisor meetings of March 2010. The Field Check, however, found a less-than-desirable situation situation with the sidewalks that we hope BB&T already recognized, and will fix. BB&T's building design disrupts a north-south sidewalk. Plantings disconnect pedestrians from reaching the Bank's "browsing area" and the continuation of the sidewalk beyond the Bank.
Field Check 11 October 2010
Approve the Waiver for the following reasons:
The streetscape recommendations for the Beacon/Groveton CBC within the Area IV Comprehensive Plan are considerable. One set of recommendation has been of interest to Lee District Supervisors for over ten years: improving the plight of pedestrians along Route One. The unfortunate sidewalk break shown in Photo #1 is exactly the type of poor design that Lee District has been trying to stamp out. In 2002, Lee District used the Trail Waiver process to get Target Stores to provide an adequate sidewalk for Beacon Hill residents. BB&T, a local Bank, should be ready to do its share, too.
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