Forum Watch

August’s Forum Watch is out – I will post a link as soon as it is posted. In the meantime, below is the Forum Watch in full.

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Important Dates

Zoning Issues

Master Planning

Water Supply

Transportation Policy

Other Land Use

Important Dates

July 26 – Charlottesville Planning Commission Work Session on Zoning Ordinance Amendments 5:30 pm CCH
August 1 – Albemarle County Mountaintop Overlay Committee meeting 4:00 pm ACOB
August 3 – Nelson County Board of Supervisors work session zoning 6:00pm NCC
August 3 – Albemarle County Board of Supervisors meeting 9:00 am ACOB
August 9 – Nelson County Board of Supervisors work session –Zoning 6:00pm NCC
August 9 – Charlottesville Planning Commission Public Hearing Zoning Ordinance Changes 6:30 pm CCH
August 9 – Greene County Board of Supervisors meeting – Senior Tax Abatement GCAB

ACOB – Albemarle County Office Building
CCH- Charlottesville City Hall

GCAB – Greene County Administration Building
NCC – Nelson County Courthouse

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Transportation Policy

Meadowcreek Parkway – A significant effort is continues to generate federal transportation dollars to fund the construction of an interchange at McIntire and 250. The Free Enterprise Forum has commissioned an independent review of previous studies to see if the interchange is required to meet traffic goals. This issue may heat up in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

Charlottesville Downtown Mall Crossing – More than 100 Downtown businesses submitted a petition to City Council asking for a replacement traffic crossing on the west end of the downtown mall. The petition was supported by the Downtown Business Alliance to assist west end businesses that would benefit from increased exposure and access. The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the concept. Others support the change as it will increase the number of ways drivers can cross the mall. Neighborhood Development staff is researching the issue it is anticipated the NDS staff report will be presented in September to the Charlottesville Planning Commission.
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Zoning Issues

Albemarle County Neighborhood Model Zoning Text Amendment – The previous iteration of the ZTA is now available online at Albemarle County staff held a focused discussion on March 31st 2004 to discuss the changes to the zoning with members of the development, building, real estate and community at large. Based on this meeting, staff has indicated significant changes have been made and have been sent to the County Attorneys office for review.

A public input session has been anticipated after the County Attorneys office has had an opportunity to draft ordinance language. The ordinance will then go to the Planning Commission.

The Free Enterprise Forum strongly encourages all with an interest in community development in Albemarle County to read the proposed language and provide your comments to the County Staff. Written comments may be directed to Elaine Echols, Senior Planner in Albemarle County. Ms. Echols e-mail is

Nelson County Zoning – Nelson County Board of Supervisors continue to make slow progress with the revised subdivision ordinance. Nextmeetings are August 3rd 6:00pm and August 9th 6:00pm Courthouse. Details at
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Water Issues

Community Water Supply – Tom Frederick, Executive Director of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority reported yesterday that two of the four community water supply alternatives were no longer under consideration. His full report on the community water supply can be found here

Mr. Frederick hopes to have the proposed alternative to the Rivanna Board in January and to the Regulators in February 2005. Rivanna projects two additional public information sessions one in the fall and one in January. To see the deadlines and the costs of this project please see the report at

The Free Enterprise Forum does not have a preferred option but appreciates that each of the options under consideration is designed to meet the projected 50 year need for water in the community. If the community come up with a workable solution to the 9.9 million gallon a day projected need and then permit and build it, future generations will be served by this good stewardship.

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Master Planning

Fluvanna County The final draft of the community plan is on the county website. Go to and click on the Planning Department link For more information, contact Steven Biel, Director of Planning & Community Development (434) 591-1910 or

Places 29 – Places29 reported to the Albemarle Planning Commission last week regarding the progress of their study and the future activities. An interesting report is posted on the Albemarle County website reflecting the variety of comments that were received at the public input session. . The Free Enterprise Forum has reviewed this lengthy report and believes it is an accurate representation of the views expresses at the meeting. We remain concerned that many of the public comments focused on a desire for no interconnectivity of neighborhoods and a bypass. We look forward to seeing how the Places29 staff deals with this conflict when the public wishes do not agree with the county approved neighborhood model. It is also interesting to hear some tables applauding the arrival of new retail and requesting more high end stores while others are quoted “enough shopping already”.

A map of the study area can be found here
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Other Land Use

Natural Heritage Committee In a split decision (3-2 Mr. Dorrier absent) the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved the creation of The Natural Heritage Committee to advise the Board of Supervisors on The Natural Heritage of Albemarle County and to report on the impacts of future development may have on the bio-diversity of the County. Applications are being accepted for this committee now, no county residency is required. While the BOS has indicated that they do not believe this will be a new regulatory hurdle the Free Enterprise Forum is taking a wait and see attitude. If you have an interest in serving on this committee please contact

Albemarle County Mountain Overlay Committee – This committee is now continuing their work on the third tier of a draft “framework for a Mountain Overlay District (MOD) Ordinance. The glacial pace of the deliberations is draining many of the members. This month one member of the committee announced her departure as she is moving from the area (The Free Enterprise Forum is not aware of any plans to replace ms. Hobbs on the committee). Based on the current pace of work, The Free Enterprise Forum does not anticipate a work product from this committee until after the first of the year. For additional details on their current deliberations, please contact .

Fluvanna Planning Commission Reduction – The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors are trimming the Planning Commission in size down to six members to better reflect the BOS composition. William R. “Ray” Kidd and Robert J. Layne were the first two members to leave the commission with out replacement. R. Grant Tates term expires on July 31. The Free Enterprise Forum is in favor of the planning commission adjustment and believes the BOS plan of losing seats to attrition rather than selecting members to remove is a prudent path.
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Public Policy and the Boys of Summer –
Warning: Sports Clichés ahead
By. Neil Williamson, Executive Director, Free Enterprise Forum

Through Forum Watch, you have read of our concerns with committees designed to achieve a predestined outcome. The Free Enterprise Forum fights hard to have regular citizens be a part of the process and sit on committees that impact their neighborhoods, their businesses, and their families. In part thanks to our efforts, citizens and businesses have a seat at the table. Now we need to fill those seats.

By keeping the core of a baseball team healthy throughout the regular season bodes well for possible post season success. In many businesses, 20% of your customers make up 80% of your sales. The same rule is true in the public square. On a really good day 20% of the people interested in an issue are willing to attend meetings and make a difference on the issue of the day. These 20% are generally motivated by the desire to see their community a better place and are willing to dedicate the volunteer hours to make that happen. More often than not these are the same 20% people serving in other community leadership positions.

The good news is, more and more of you are stepping up to the plate (still another baseball analogy). Last week, The Free Enterprise Forum sent out an Albemarle Alert referencing several open positions in Albemarle County. I know of five new applications that have been or will be filed directly linked to our publicity efforts. Earlier today, I sent out an e-mail referring to several positions in the city that needed citizen involvement. I have heard back from three citizens in the last three hours. I am thrilled to have such positive response.

If you have thought about serving but are not sure, please give me a call. I can provide you with an honest evaluation of the time commitment and the types of work required.

We have accomplished a great deal but we have much to do. Until all appointed boards and commissions reflect the vast diversity of talent and opinion in our region, we must keep asking you the question – Are you in the 20% actively making a difference or the 80% watching the game from the stands, knowing if you would take the chance you could be an all-star.

“Put me in coach – Im ready to play TODAY” – John Fogerty

Respectfully submitted,

Neil Williamson

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