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Telegraph Hill settlement could bring roundabout

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Fredericksburg City Council on Tuesday approved a settlement with owners of the proposed Telegraph Hill development that could lead to a roundabout on Lafayette Boulevard.

Though a roundabout won’t resolve the problems of heavy morning and evening traffic on Lafayette Boulevard, Councilman Matt Kelly said the city cannot deny a developer access to transportation routes.

He also said the plan is better than one proposed by the developer last year and better than a traffic signal.

On Tuesday, the council also approved revised subdivision plans that call for building the development in two phases, the first of which could begin immediately and calls for 79 single-family homes.

The council voted to initiate an application to rezone 22 acres in phase two as Planned Development Mixed Use.

That land is currently zoned a mix of residential, industrial and light industrial. Fredericksburg Park LLC, owner of the land, seeks to create a town-center style community that would have a maximum of 350 multi-family residences and a maximum of 350,000 square feet of commercial, office and retail space.

If the rezoning is approved, the developer would build a roundabout along Lafayette Boulevard across from Lee Drive, an entrance to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

If the rezoning fails, the developer would instead install a traffic signal at the intersection of Lafayette Boulevard with Rampart Drive, the new street that will provide access to the Telegraph Hill site.

The city and Fredericksburg Park—a group of investors led by managing member David Horstick—are sharing the expense of a traffic modeling study, estimated to cost $4,200.

A preliminary report presented to the council Tuesday projected traffic on Lafayette Boulevard at the Telegraph Hill entrance at peak times in the year 2020.

If a traffic signal were installed there, peak evening traffic would experience a 574-second delay, or nearly 10 minutes, the report states.

With the roundabout, the delay would be cut to 258 seconds.

Peak morning times would see less of a delay: 508 seconds with a signal compared to 95 with the roundabout.

Public Works Director Doug Fawcett and Kelly said neither option is ideal but noted the peak traffic is from people who live outside the city.

Herndon-based Parsons Brinckerhoff is conducting the study.

Last September, the council rejected the Telegraph Hill project in a 4–3 vote, with the majority saying the project wasn’t consistent with plans for development on Lafayette Boulevard that aligned with a corridor study conducted by the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The developers proposed adding a street—Rampart Drive—that would intersect with Lafayette Boulevard.

The developers, who had sued the city, offered the installation of a roundabout at the intersection as a solution to council concerns.

The rezoning application, which includes the roundabout, will go before the Planning Commission for a public hearing, possibly on Oct. 30.

Once the Planning Commission acts, the issue will return to City Council, which would hold a public hearing before voting. The issue isn’t expected to come back before the council until January.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972