Good Fences And Non-Conforming Use in Albemarle

I’d like to think that we can all get along. If the choice were to come down to more houses, more (consistent) traffic, more (consistent) noise, more roads and more of a drain on the environment, which would you choose?

First, the Blue Ridge Swim Club pool, located in Ivy in a (by others’ standards) rural part of Charlottesville/Albemarle has the opportunity for another phase of its long life.

Albemarle County planning commissioners voted Tuesday in favor of allowing a summer camp to take up residence at the Ivy-based Blue Ridge Swim Club— one of the country’s oldest continually operating commercial swimming pools supplied by natural waters.

The camp is seen as a way to revitalize the swim cluband preserve the local treasure after years of declining revenue and mounting maintenance.

Giving kids the opportunity to live and play outside is crucial. It’s funny; while many believe that it takes a village to raise kids, too often they want that village to be someone else’s, over there.

Second, vineyards in Albemarle County are faced with a challenge:

Photo courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/juliarowe/3829651383/sizes/m/

The Albemarle County Planning Commission voted Tuesday to recommend that the police department enforce violations of the county’s noise ordinance stemming from events held at farm wineries.

The move comes after strong signals were sent by the Albemarle supervisors that they were expecting a different outcome.

The action would make excessive outdoor amplified music subject to civil penalties as a criminal offense. If approved by the supervisors, the changes would require the police to determine if the music is audible 100 feet from a vineyard’s property line or within a neighbor’s building.

There’s even a petition to Help the Vineyards (on Facebook).

The hyperbolic alternative may be to have all non-conforming uses bulldozed and turned into cookie-cutter neighborhoods notthattheresanythingwrongwiththatiliveinone.

These interesting and unique features make Charlottesville just that – interesting and unique. A balance can be struck, and I would ask for everybody to think about the bigger picture. Do we want Northern Virginia or Charlottesville*?

Of course, this is all easy for me to say. I live in a cookie-cutter development next to a soccer field, baseball diamonds, playgrounds and a pool; if Crozet Park were up for some kind of redevelopment, I’m sure I’d be upset.

* Charlottesville in this case being ‘CharlAlbemarle’ or ‘Charlottesville-Albemarle’

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