Eminent domain in Albemarle?

From Lisa Provence’s article in The HooK last week –

Paul Minnerly is used to developments springing up around his Crozet home. What he isn’t prepared for: a future road connection going through his one-acre lot. …

“The county requires me to reserve a right of way for future connections,” says Justin Beights with Beights Development, which is building Old Trail. “We’re not going to build [a road] because we don’t own Mr. Minnerly’s property. It’s not even a real right of way. It’s something the county wants.” …

“We wanted to line up that intersection,” says Albemarle senior planner Francis MacCall. “We’re not looking to take any property. We’re not looking for the developer to take any property. If Mr. Minnerly wants to sell his property in the future, we’d like to see an intersection there.” But, he adds, Minnerly is under no obligation to sell his property to a developer. …

“Please don’t threaten my land,” he beseeches Albemarle County. “I’ve written dozens of letters to the county and gotten no response. No one has called or written to calm my concerns.” …

“It’s a non-issue, but it makes Mr. Minnerly uncomfortable, and no one will assure him,” says Beights. “It’s up to the county.”

I wish I had heard Arin Sime on WINA this morning discussing this matter.

Three questions about this initially arise – one: what business does the County have requiring a road through someone else’s property? two: Why won’t either the County and/or the Developer put in writing that they will not use eminent domain to take this right-of-way? three: How is this possibly a “non-issue”? It is very easy to take this “non-issue” position when it’s not your land that may be taken from you by force.

At least this is a case of something that would benefit the community with a road rather than simply helping the developer build more houses for their own benefit. Infrastructure and utilities do in fact, serve the public need. Candor from the developer and the County would be go a long way.

Think very carefully about whom you elect to the Albemarle County BoS.

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