What do most people think about when they think about â€œCharlottesvilleâ€?
The Downtown Mall? Itâ€™s in the City. Monticello? Thatâ€™s in the County. Soâ€™s the Rotunda. And John Paul Jones Arena.
Know what doesnâ€™t get shared effectively or efficiently? Planning how to get from Darden Business School to the Downtown Mall. Absurd, right?
Ever wonder about the differences in urban planning in Charlottesville and Albemarle?
Sean Tubbs at Charlottesville Tomorrow writes a must-read piece this week – One community, two approaches to urban planning in which he delves into the disparities between the City and County in population (the County has a lot more people), funding (the City has a lot more to work with) and ability to plan and implement said plans (the County is at a significant disadvantage to the City).
However, the countyâ€™s proposed capital budget identifies no new funding to implement projects called for in those plans. For instance, one item that will be deferred is a long-awaited small area plan for the intersection of Rio Road and U.S. 29.
On the other hand, the Comprehensive Plan adopted by the City Council last year calls for small area plans, two of which are currently underway.
They are the â€œstrategic investment areaâ€ in central Charlottesville completed by the firm Cunningham and Quill and the $340,000 streetscape of West Main Street.
The cityâ€™s proposed capital budget also includes $2.1 million in the next year to begin implementation of those plans.
â€œThatâ€™s money for design for whichever projects we decide to move forward,â€ said Jim Tolbert, the cityâ€™s director of Neighborhood Development Services, at the council work session. He said this could include street improvements or work to begin daylighting Pollocks Branch, a creek running underground near Friendship Court and the Ix warehouse complex.
The localities have a symbiotic relationship. The City of Charlottesville has the Downtown Mall and the â€œhustle and bustleâ€ of a City. The County has Monticello. And a whole lot of UVA (think Boarâ€™s Head, Klockner Stadium, office buildings along Emmett Street, too). Route 29 runs through the City and County for goodness sakes. One would think that the City and County would agree on how its citizens traveled. The City of Charlottesville is not an island. (found via Statchatva.org )
What if â€¦ Consider the Revenue Sharing Agreement between the City and County. In short, the County pays the City – last year about $16 million:
During the time this agreement is in effect, the City will not initiate any annexation procedures against the County. Also, pursuant to this agreement, a committee was created to study the desirability of combining the governments and the services currently provided. The agreement became effective on July 1, 1982 and remains in effect until:
â–ª The County and City are consolidated into a single political subdivision; or
â–ª The concept for independent cities presently existing in Virginia is altered by the State law in such a manner that real property in the City becomes part of the Countyâ€™s tax base; or
â–ª The County and City mutually agree to cancel or change the agreement.
It wouldnâ€™t make sense to build part of a road designed to provide access to and from one and stop it at the border of another, but thatâ€™s just what has happened with the Meadowcreek Parkway. Know who gets â€œplayedâ€ in the argument about water between the City and County? The citizens of both.
Weâ€™re in this together . The City and County need to cooperate – on urban planning, on fire fighting services, police, schools, traffic, water and sewer. Most people to whom I speak agree that the divisiveness that exists between the City and County is unhelpful and counterproductive, but solutions are hard to come by. Professing cooperation doesnâ€™t seem to be a campaign platform that bodes well for success.
Whatâ€™s the solution? I donâ€™t know, but Iâ€™d love to hear some ideas.