County planners have reconsidered plans to provide a direct footpath connection between the proposed Arden Place development and Woodbrook. In the new proposal the footpath would instead connect with the Woodbrook Lagoon Project, which in turn would connect with Woodbrook. “What we are recommending now is that the Arden Place development connect to that public project, the Woodbrook Lagoon project,” said Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development for the County, during an interview last Friday.
“In our opinion if connection to Woodbrook is ever made through the Lagoon project, that would afford the residents of Woodbrook the opportunity to access the commercial and other activities that occur to the south of them,” said Fritz referring to destinations such as Northside Library, Carmike Cinema and ACAC.
Listen to our complete interview with County planners Fritz and Gatobu. (15m)
While many Woodbrook residents continue to oppose any southern connection, Fritz believes that this may not be a fair representation of neighborhood opinion. “The trail system connection to Woodbrook currently does exist, there are well defined trails that exist within Arden Place which is an indication that while people didn’t come speak at the planning commission meeting that they were in favor of the trail – they are speaking with their feet, if you will, by [the] trails being there, ” said Fritz. “There is obviously a demand for some form of connection,” he added. “Further, it’s our opinion that if a formal trail system is not established, that an informal trail system will create itself. It’s our opinion that an established, defined trail, is a better and safer trail,” said Fritz.
With regard to the proposed road connection, “the developer has revised the plan to show no connection to the Woodbrook subdivision,” said Gerald Gatobu, the Principal Planner for the County responsible for the Arden Place development. “[the developers] have met the two public standard road that was required.” “The second point of access is now at Rio and not going through Woodbrook as was shown before.” Gatobu said.
Gatobu then went on to describe the footpath the County is considering, “it will be a ten foot wide paved [trail] and will be maintained — we are still working out the details of the maintenance — either with the applicant or with the County,” he said.
When asked about the format of the September 8th planning commission meeting Gatobu said, “it’s up to the planning commission chair, but I believe people will be given the exact same three minutes to express themselves — for or against — and in this case we encourage, and always do encourage, the public’s participation.” September 8th will be the last opportunity for Woodbrook residents to express their opinions on the development.
We will have more information on the September 8th planning commission meeting as it becomes available.