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Concerns voiced over Cedar Valley entrances

STRASBURG — Members of the Strasburg Town Council and the Planning Commission expressed concerns Wednesday that the potential Cedar Valley housing development would not have two entrances and exits during the initial phases of the project.

During a joint meeting of the two groups, Councilwoman Kim Bishop said that she was concerned about the safety of only having a single entrance and exit to the housing development at U.S. 11.

“I know it’s not planned, but could you connect that (road) up to Colly Block (Road) so that group of people will be able to have two entrances and exits?” Bishop asked David Frank of Pennoni Associates, who represented the developers in Wednesday’s meeting. “Because that’s a big concern for safety for me, is to have a way in and a way out.”

Frank stated that the current plans do not have the extended road but that the developers would comply with access management standards from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Frank also stated that eventually the developers would extend the entrance to Colly Block Road. But the extension would not occur immediately.

“[The road extension] is not something that we are planning at some point, because of the cost of this,” Frank said.

But other council members and Planning Commission members still expressed safety concerns regarding the lack of a second entrance.

James Massie, a member of the Planning Commission, said that he was concerned about how emergency vehicles would be able to access the housing development if U.S. 11 had a vehicular crash.

“I would see really a need for having at least a gravel second exit for at least emergency or emergency vehicles,” Massie said.

Councilman Ken Cherrix also expressed concern about the possibility of sinkholes on the site, because the Cedar Valley housing development is set to be near a cavernous area. Frank said that geotechnical and wetlands experts would be assessing the land before it is developed.

Frank added that the new plan being proposed by the developers would have more of a grided pattern for the development of townhouses. Also, the developers now plan on developing 114 townhouses, up from 95 previously. There are set to be 256 units in total.

The Cedar Valley project has been left largely unfinished since development was stalled following the Great Recession. Frank said that he was excited to be working on progressing with the development after the long delay.

“It’s exciting to have this thing come back, and it’s exciting to finally have something positively happen here,” Frank said. “We’re going to work closely with the town.”

Wednesday’s meeting was set up largely so town officials could discuss the potential plans prior to voting on them. They did not vote on the plans.

Following the joint discussion with Planning Commission, the Strasburg Town Council convened for a separate work session to discuss whether or not it would approve the demolition of the “Eats Stand” in the town parking lot.

The Town Council unanimously approved the demolition but did so on the contingency that the demolition is approved by the Architectural Review Board and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. That meeting occurred on Thursday after the Northern Virginia Daily’s print deadline.

The review board has to approve any demolition of buildings in the historic district, although the Town Council can exempt town buildings from those rules.

Also, the town has to have the demolition assessed by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources because the building is on the site of part of the town’s Community Development Block Grant project. As part of that project, the town is planning on renovating the downtown parking lot.

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