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A Big Shift in Albemarle County’s Board of Supervisors

Virginia Board of Elections - Election Night Results - November 5th, 2013 - Snow-Palmer.jpg

A lot of money was raised and spent in these elections.

The Albemarle County elections last night brought about a resounding change on the Albemarle County Supervisors. Gone are Rodney Thomas and Duane Snow; in are Brad Sheffield and Liz Palmer. For what it’s worth, the Democrats won and the Republicans lost.

Looking at the races through the lens of VPAP data, I saw this in a Facebook conversation:

So which Supervisors are beholden to real estate development groups? Here are some of the top donations by industry… Notice a pattern?

Duane Snow, $17,800 Real Estate/Construction
Liz Palmer, $26,043 Miscellaneous
Rodney Thomas, $12,300 Real Estate/Construction
Brad Sheffield, $17,386 Miscellaneous

It’s hard to argue with money. Seemingly more than the ballot box, money matters.

Local elections matter. The localities vote on growth management strategies, property tax rates, the ways in which the emergency services operate and cooperate (or not) and notably transportation and infrastructure improvements. And yesterday, about 13,000 people in Albemarle County helped decide the near (and long) term future of Albemarle County.

J. Reynolds Hutchins at the DP says:

Palmer, Sheffield and McKeel ran campaigns hinged on the county’s growing transportation problems and angst over the Western Bypass of U.S. 29.

Whether the Western Bypass gets built will be an interesting (continued) debate. Will they build it? Will they shut it down? Will they study it more? Will they extend it so it’s a more logical and functional road?

The County needs infrastructure improvements … let’s see how the new Board chooses to take up that task.

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Shifting Demographics and the (Charlottesville) Housing Market

The buyers who used to be for one to four years – are gone.

Charlottesville has always been a bit of a transient market, and this recession is creating some significant shifts in the demographics of buyers, shift I’m trying to figure out now rather than later.

– Younger people are choosing to rent rather than buy, as they have neither the desire nor job stability to to purchase. Put simply, many don’t know where they’ll be in two years and don’t want to be saddled with a house.

– I’d wager a large percentage of the population has been turned off of homeownership, for all the obvious reasons.

– “Active adult” communities in Charlottesville are few and far between, but The Lodge in Old Trail (in Crozet) looks like it may be poised for success.

What will the landscape look like in thirty or forty years when these now new developments (I am reluctant to call some of these new incarnations “neighborhoods” just yet) start to experience their own turnover? Who will buy these houses?

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A Shift in Charlottesville Soccer

Update 16 July 2010: Charlottesville’s getting an indoor turf field … at the Ice Park.

Plans are to offer an ice rink for six months of the year, from October through March, and a turf field for the remainder of the year. Visitors to the arena will now be able to take part in both winter and summer sports programs, from public ice skating to indoor soccer and lacrosse.

Courteney Stuart has more at the HooK on Mark Brown, the new owner of the Ice Park.


cvillesocial.com.jpg

You probably didn’t hear it, but a shift happened on Sunday in the Charlottesville soccer scene.

Playing and coaching soccer in Charlottesville for years, first coaching one kid from U-8 up and in the process of starting another, playing in SOCA’s adult league for nearly seven years, I have always lamented the lack of soccer league competition. No more.

Last Sunday marked the first week of soccer for CvilleSocial. The early reviews are that it’s fantastic to have soccer competition in Charlottesville. Turf fields. For soccer players in Charlottesville, this is Huge.

The big dog in the Charlottesville soccer scene has (always) been SOCA – the Soccer Organization of Charlottesville. Monticello United has recently offered competition for the youth league as well, but there has never been more than one option for adult soccer in Charlottesville.

Here’s a quick primer on adult soccer in Charlottesville/Albemarle:

SOCA offers Spring and Fall 11 -v- 11, Summer 8 -v- 8 and Winter indoor 5 -v- 5 (our region desperately needs an indoor soccer facility … and there might be hope for that).

CvilleSocial’s Summer offering is 6 -v- 6 on TURF fields. Yep, turf. At the newly-renovated Park at UVA. The Park is located just down the hill from UVA’s Law and JAG schools.

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Condos Are a Shifting Market – Even in Charlottesville and Albemarle

We don’t have co-ops in Charlottesville, so just substitute “condo” for “co-op” – Moreover, barring a swift economic renaissance, lawyers, managing agents and condo boards are bracing for things to worsen significantly this year as job losses mount, severances and savings evaporate, and the new reality sets in. … Now, say five condos go to foreclosure – after all, foreclosure may be the best business decision (excepting morals and ethics) available – The foreclosure process takes six months or so … that’s $600 loss to the condo association – per unit – so that’s a six thousand dollar loss to the condo association.

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