Forum Watch is out.

Of particular note are the Places 29 report (pdf) and Neil Williamson’s editorial.

August 2005
 

 

Forum Watch

September  2005

 

 

 

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IN THIS ISSUE:

 

Important Dates

 Zoning Issues  

 

 

 Master Planning

Water Supply

 

 

Transportation Policy

Other Land Use

 

 

Editorial

 

Important Dates

 

 
 

September 14  – Local Governmental Forum Chamber of Commerce see www.cvillechamber.com
September 14 – Albemarle County BOS work session – Overlot grading 6:00 pm ACOB
September 20 – TJPED Economic Development Symposium http://www.tjped.com/ 9:00 am PVCC
September 20 – Albemarle Planning Commission Hearing Lighting Zoning Text Amendment 6:00 pm ACOB
September 21 – Fluvanna BOS meeting development work session 7:00 pm FCGC
 
ACOB – Albemarle County Office Building
CCH- Charlottesville City Hall
GCAB – Greene County Administration Building
FCGC – Fluvanna County Government Center
PVCC – Piedmont Virginia Community College

 

 
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Transportation Policy

 

 
 

Meadowcreek Parkway – The efforts to generate federal dollars in support of a Meadowcreek Parkway interchange were successful to the tune of $27 million dollars.  Despite this important step, the parkways future is not yet certain.  At least one City Councilor still has concerns regarding parkland issues.  This issue may or may not be resolved in the next few months.    

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 had been anticipated the NDS staff report will be presented in September to the Charlottesville Planning Commission.  At press time it is unclear when such a report will be heard.

 

Ruckersville Parkway – “Recently retired Del. Mitch Van Yahres and two other prominent Charlottesville residents are promoting an environmentally friendly parkway to parallel U.S. 29 to the west” reports Kate Andrews in the Daily Progress.  Story and map see  http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=CDP/MGArticle/CDP_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031784482548

 
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Zoning Issues

 

 
 

Albemarle County Neighborhood Model Zoning Text Amendment – The previous iteration of the ZTA is now available online at http://www.albemarle.org/department.asp?department=planning&relpage=5236  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 eechols@albemarle.org

Nelson County Zoning – Nelson County Board of Supervisors continue to make slow progress with the revised subdivision ordinance.  Details at http://www.nelsoncounty.com/planning/proposedzoningordinance     
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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 http://www.rivanna.org/documents/agenda_jul25_2005_doc5d.pdf
 
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 http://www.rivanna.org/documents/agenda_jul25_2005_doc6b.pdf
 
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 www.co.fluvanna.va.us and click on the Planning Department link For more information, contact Steven Biel, Director of Planning & Community Development (434) 591-1910 or sbiel@co.fluvanna.va.us.

Places 29  –  An interesting report is posted on the Albemarle County website reflecting the variety of comments that were received at the public input session.  http://www.albemarle.org/upload/images/forms_center/departments/community_development/forms/Places29/places29-wkshp1-statistics.pdf .  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 http://www.albemarle.org/upload/images/Forms_Center/Departments/Board_of_Supervisors/Forms/Agenda/2005Files/20050504/Northerndevelopmentattachb.pdf
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Other Land Use

Albemarle County Mountain Overlay Committee – This committee is now idle waiting for staff to draft proposed language for a Mountain Overlay District (MOD) Ordinance.  The glacial pace of the deliberations is draining many of the members.  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 neil@freeenterpriseforum.org .

Albemarle County Lighting Zoning Text Amendment The Free Enterprise Forum has submitted a zoning text amendment to ask Albemarle County to reconsider its prohibition of spilled light on pedestrian walkways and right of ways.  The ZTA also asks the county to allow zoning inspectors to use average lumens instead of initial lumens in their inspections. Albemarle County is clearly pushing for a more pedestrian oriented form of development.  The Free Enterprise Forum does not understand the hesitancy to allow light to spill greater than ½ foot candle to the pedestrian right of way.  The Planning Commission will hear this ZTA on September 20th.
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Editorial

Uncommon Common Sense
By. Neil Williamson, Executive Director, Free Enterprise Forum
 
Recently, the Free Enterprise Forum has witnessed local officials and non officials making silly mistakes that would have benefited from a little more common sense or common courtesy. 
 
Common sense indicates if residents speak clearly that they do not want roads interconnecting to existing neighborhoods, elected and appointed officials will listen.  The chairman of the Albemarle Planning Commission suggested such an opinion was uninformed stating it presented the planning commission with an “educational opportunity”.
 
In the Places 29 meeting (where this comment came from) residents took time out of their lives to be a part of the planning process.  To then have their comments disparaged by the very commission appointed to oversee planning is inappropriate.  Again and again, residents hear from government planners that they know best and if we only knew what they knew we too could see the light.  It seems as though some residents have seen the light and they dont like what they see. 
 
Common courtesy seems to have been trumped by political expediency in the Rich Collins/Shoppers World case.  Unsuccessful Candidate Collins went to distribute leaflets on private property in the Shoppers World shopping center.  After being asked to leave several times, he refused.  He then was arrested (and received significant FREE press coverage) for trespassing.  Last week it was announced the ACLU and The Rutherford Institute are joining forces to sue the shopping center.  To add insult to injury The Daily Progress reports “Collins will continue to distribute leaflets in local shopping centers – including Shoppers World – on behalf of Toscano, according to the lawsuit.”
 
Common sense says if you plan a new parkway called the Ruckersville Parkway and half of its length is in Greene County, you talk to Greene County.  Mitch Van Yahres and his team spent a great deal of time meeting with “local transportation officials” but did not yet meet with Greene County as of the latest media dispatch.
 
Yes, common sense and common courtesy – two ideals in need of a revival.
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
Neil Williamson
 

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Copyright Free Enterprise Forum 2005
This publication is a product of the Free Enterprise Forum.
For more information on the items addressed in this issue or on other topics related to local government in the
Central Virginia region, contact Neil Williamson at
Neil@freeenterpriseforum.org or call 434-220-0781.  Those who read the small print are rarely surprised. (I love this, Neil!)

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