Tag Archives: Politics
An easy way to learn about and engage with Albemarle County - Engage Albemarle.
The Comprehensive Plan is Albemarle County's most important document regarding growth, development and change. It establishes government policy to help guide public and private activities as they relate to land use and resource utilization. What general thoughts would you like to share about the Comprehensive Plan as it is being reviewed by the Board of Supervisors this summer and fall?
Better to express your opinion now in the hopes the Comp Plan can be altered than complain about the decisions that have already been made.
What would be helpful would be if the County would identify which specific parts of the Comp Plan are, or are likely to be, up for debate/discussion - in the Housing section, for example (pdf).
â€œI think the presumption of the policy is that the county needs an additional means of collecting dollars to pay for capital improvements, which presumes that the existing tools that you have are not adequate,â€ said Frank Stoner of Milestone Partners. Stoner was among those who suggested that an increase in real estate property taxes would be a fairer way to raise funds. Last month, Albemarle County adopted a tax rate of 79.9 cents per $100 of assessed real estate value, a 3.3-cent increase over the previous rate of 76.6 cents. â€œA 1 cent tax increase gives you almost double the revenue that you have received through the proffer policy,â€ Stoner said, â€œand at least itâ€™s equitable and itâ€™s an existing tool that you have.â€I've written about this before.
My answer to the question (what are the negatives about living in Charlottesville and Albemarle): Perhaps the single greatest negative with living in CharlAlbemarle is the collective inability of the City and County to implement plans â€“ specifically for infrastructure. Their constant bickering, planning, fighting, planning, discussing, planning and then planning some more is remarkably irresponsible.Is removing cash proffers an option? (from May 2013): And ... keep in mind that the City of Charlottesville is much better funded than the County of Albemarle with respect to infrastructure.
One decades-old question was answered with a resounding no.
â€œA bypass is not something we would consider,â€ Norfolk-based consultant Philip A. Shucet, the head of the advisory panel and former commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, told the board.
Nearly two years after officials awarded a contract for the bypass, and after $54 million was spent on the project, the planned 6.2-mile road has become a footnote.
The transportation board, a 17-member panel of gubernatorial appointees that presides over Virginiaâ€™s transportation system, will determine what happens to unspent money from a project state officials had valued at more than $244 million.
If nothing else, this seems to remove the uncertainty from the conversation about the Western Bypass. We can return now to our discussions about the woes of traffic on 29 North and how the CharlAlbemarle area is woefully incapable of understanding the issues and equally incapable of implementing solutions. Such is life.
Rather than go into the history of the Western Bypass (it goes on for decades), discuss the various regional influences (Lynchburg is key), the various local players (broadly itâ€™s growth vs no-growth) and whether VDOT is going to sell the houses it bought many years ago (it should if the Bypass is truly dead) or even whether the Western Bypass was the right route (it wasnâ€™t but thatâ€™s because itâ€™s a 30+ year old design, designed well before massive growth on 29 North) - start looking at background at Charlottesville Tomorrow.
There is a fundamental disagreement over what, exactly, U.S. 29 is. Is it a major north-south transportation corridor with the goal of providing relatively unimpeded traffic flow to through traffic along its 1,000-mile path or is it, in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, a local retail strip? It canâ€™t be both. ...
Charlottesville and Albemarle, however, still persist in their silly, outdated belief that U.S. 29 is really just â€œEmmett Street,â€ the local retail strip, and has no connection to the rest of the state. Thatâ€™s evident in Albemarleâ€™s â€œplanâ€ to address improvements on Emmett Street: a silly, utopian â€œPlaces29â€ with overpasses â€” built where major retail centers now sit â€” for through traffic, pedestrian-friendly amenities and added lanes for traffic.
I think theyâ€™re right. If the bypass is truly dead, whatâ€™s the solution?
Short story - a new solution needs to be implemented. One would assume it would need to be agreed upon first, so letâ€™s accept that the segmentation of the Charlottesville - Albemarle region will continue. Not that thatâ€™s a bad thing, it just is. (more)
Iâ€™m thinking we will need to wait for Elon Muskâ€™s hyper loop.
Assessments are up. So might be the mil rate.
Recommended budget value: $349.3 million
Increase over current year: 8.3 percent ($26.8 million)
Proposed real estate tax rate: 80.8 cents/$100 assessed value
Current rate: 76.6 cents/$100 assessed value
Impact: The annual tax bill on a property assessed at $300,000 would increase from $2,298 to $2,424 at the proposed rate.
Proposed raises: 2 percent for county staff
So â€¦ the tax rate cannot go higher than 80.8 cents/$100 assessed value. And it could stay at 76.6 cents. Of the proposed 4.2 cent increase, nearly half of that would be dedicated to the Albemarle County schools. This should be an interesting debate.
If youâ€™re curious to learn even more about the Albemarle County budget, the County has a lot of information on their site.
It costs nearly $12,000 per year to educate a kid in Albemarle County Schools. This year, the County Schools are facing a proposed funding gap of nearly $7 million and the cry from many parents, administrators and citizens has been to â€œfully fund the schools. (including emails from the schoolsâ€™ email distribution newsgroups).â€
Rather than repeat myself, this is a story I wrote three years ago and itâ€™s still relevant. Schools matter for housing values. Period. People move to the Charlottesville area all the time for the schools. Schools. Matter. (this is as good a time as any to remind folks to check your school district before you write an offer to purchase a home )
How should the citizenry pay for the schools?
Asking for â€œmore!â€ without referencing the â€œhow?â€ in my opinion diminishes the argument.
* note: one of my kids graduated from Western Albemarle schools and one is currently enrolled.
Who knows if and when the Western Bypass will be built? Know this - lots of people will show up to comment on it. Again.
A vote on the resolution could follow the hearing, set to begin at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the County Office Buildingâ€™s Lane Auditorium. That session is expected to stretch into the night and generate huge turnout, the latest turn in the enduring saga of the Western Bypass of U.S. 29.
I asked years ago a question about the Meadowcreek (John Warner) Parkway that could (and should, in a reasonable world) be asked of the Western Bypass - How would they design the Western Bypass today, with todayâ€™s human settlement and development patterns in place?
The answer is that the road would likely be a very different solution. Because implementing infrastructure solutions in the Charlottesville - Albemarle region takes a minimum of 30-50 years, plans should change, but they wonâ€™t.
I know this -
- The proponents arenâ€™t going to give up just because the road is a flawed design. Terminating at Forest Lakes is the wrong terminus - it was probably the right location 30 years ago, but now it should dump traffic north of the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, probably north of the UVA North Fork Research Park and really should terminate in Greene County. Those necessary changes arenâ€™t going to happen.
- The opponents are accused of using flawed data as are the proponents, whenever these arguments arise. They donâ€™t want the bypass and disregard the studies saying that the Western Bypass will save time.
- I just wish there was unbiased data and analysis by which the citizens could make informed decisions. I also wish that unicorns were real andInteresting analysis and commentary comes to us today from the C-Ville.
Police officers in the City of Charlottesville have doubled in the past two years the number of tickets they have issued to bicyclists, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports.
- Good. As a bicycle advocate and rider, seeing cyclists cutting in and out of traffic, on and off sidewalks, blowing through red lights, etc. makes it harder for the law-abiding cyclists.
- Really? The number of times Iâ€™ve watched a car badly blow through a red light while a police officer sits there watching the offense is itself almost criminal.
- Bad. Points on a driverâ€™s license because of these infractions? Donâ€™t you have to have a license in order to get points on said license?
- Good. Maybe this will serve as a discussion point for educating the police, cyclists and drivers.
- Is there something in the Code of Virginia for distracted pedestrians? Maybe they could target UVA students on the Corner; theyâ€™re dangerous, too.
Maybe the City can add this discussion point to their newest $50k study on creating and integrating â€œcomplete streets.â€ (it would be awfully nice to have this discussion include how to traverse City/County lines rather than myopically looking solely at each localityâ€™s needs.)
Once again, the Virginia General Assembly will be in session soon. Theyâ€™ll be filing all sorts of bills from whether a meth lab house needs to be disclosed (they tried this one last year, too) to whether there should be an extended minimum clearance space vehicles passing bicycles to this oddity: "Signing of pleadings, motions, and other papers; real estate licensees. Proscribes an individual from alleging a real estate licensee has engaged in untrue, deceptive, or misleading advertising unless such licensee has been convicted doing so.â€
Richmond Sunlight is a tremendous resource for staying informed, getting educated, and realizing that thereâ€™s an awful lot of Commending in the General Assembly and that paid lobbyists are probably the only ones who can keep up with the flood of bills (and know which ones are BS, which ones are legitimate, whoâ€™s supporting what and which ones have a chance to pass).
As distasteful as politics are, this stuff matters. If youâ€™re interested in what Iâ€™m tracking, these are the bills that Iâ€™m following. What interests you?