Albemarle may add another layer to development approval

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors is set to add another layer to developments’ approvals.

You can read all this proposed new Committee here. My biggest beef with this proposed Committee is this part –

Staff recommends that membership not be limited to County residents. Given the relatively small number of potential members with the necessary expertise, staff hoped to avoid preventing the participation of any interested and capable people. However, the guidelines in the fact sheet do indicate that the total committee membership should consist of some County residents.

Hmm. We happen to have a fairly sizable University here from which to draw potential members, no? Why should those who are not taxpayers within our community be permitted to determine how we can or cannot develop our land?

and this part –

F. At the request of the staff, Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors, review selected development proposals for biodiversity impacts, and provide comment regarding the impacts, potential mitigation measures, and/or alternative approaches to the development.

What does this mean? Will the Committee have carte blanche to in effect deny new developments?

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3 Comments

  1. Ted Corcoran May 20, 2005 at 09:55

    Open up the murky approval process. The more the merrier. Taxpayers have greater weight, but since overdevelopment impacts everyone, there should be more voices about land use. Look at the infrastructure-challenged, taxpayer-funded proffers-laden, erosion-uncontrolled, traffic pattern nightmare out on 29 — the BOS really worked over Wendell Wood but good! Deny development? Another layer of oversight? Is that your worry?

    It appears to me that the point of these proposals is to bring some accountabilty to those who would be allowed to exercise the right (not a privilege in this state, though it should be) to develop their piece of earth. Private developments have consequences for all citizens — taxpayers and, yes, those that live nearby have a stake in sound, well-planned, well-vetted proposals.

  2. Jim May 20, 2005 at 10:18

    “Deny development? Another layer of oversight? Is that your worry?”

    My worry is that this seems to be another arbitrary step in the approval process that is sufficiently ambiguous so as to force good developments elsewhere. I agree with you that the County should open up the approval process, but have found that people tend not to care until the approval process is too far along for any action. (a bit cynical but I believe accurate). I don’t think that this proposed Committee would have had a beneficial effect for the chaos that is 29 North. As a close friend said when we were in Forest Lakes right after the USA Today article, “Does this look like the Number 1 place to live?”

    Perhaps Staff should specify that members of the Committee should be from adjoining counties, to ensure that those involved actually do live nearby and are not flown in by special interest groups (pro or against development) on an ad-hoc basis.

    As I tell all of my clients, in my opinion, the three biggest challenges facing our region are 1) lack of adequate infrastructure, 2) lack of sufficient water 3) lack of affordable housing. I do not advocate a “growth at all costs’ point of view, but believe that the process should be open and clear. Ambiguous committees are harmful for all.

  3. Ted Corcoran May 23, 2005 at 09:23

    Good post. Yes 29 is over, kaput. But aren’t there lessons to be learned?

    One thing an “ambiguous” committee– however it is constituted — would do is slow down the process to a reasonable degree such that it doesn’t get so far along that it can’t be changed, objected to, or outright stopped. As it is, developments have an easy time in the beginning because no one is aware of them in the first place. Once the light of day is shined, folks realize their interests are in play…

    BTW: your RSS feed is back working…