Charlottesville Community Engagement audio recap for April 20, 2024

This website is nearly 19 years old, and doesn’t really have any original content of its own. But without the Charlottesville Podcasting Network, there is no way I would have ever been able to be where I am today—in an era of never-ending experimentation!

For most of its time, Charlottesville Community Engagement has been a newsletter and podcast. The recent creation of a radio version that airs on WTJU Radio on Saturdays at 6 a.m. has disrupted much of the workflow. This week, the WTJU Rock Marathon pre-empted my show. That gave me some extra time on Saturday to produce this edition.

Here’s what you will hear:

  • Charlottesville City Council adopts a budget that reflects a move toward unionization of the city’s workforce, higher salaries for city employees, and lower education funding from the state due to increasing property values (read the story)
  • There’s a problem with excessive dog waste being left at the city’s newest park (read the story)
  • Charlottesville’s parks and recreation officials want your input on the next master plan to guide the future of public spaces in the city (read the story)
  • The city has a plan to fix drainage issues in Oakwood Cemetery and will further discuss the issue on April 24 (read the story)
  • Albemarle and Charlottesville both need more lifeguards for the summer season (read the story)
  • Charlottesville’s Planning Commission gets an update on the new Development Code (read the story
  • Albemarle Supervisors have comments on recent deployment of the HART team and a bomb threat at Planet Fitness (read the story )
  • The Albemarle Department of Social Services helps a lot of people each year and Supervisors get a briefing (read the story
  • Albemarle Supervisors weigh in on expanded uses in the rural area as part of the Comprehensive Plan process (read the story)

CCE: Several stories about Charlottesville’s draft budget for FY25

Welcome to the April 6, 2024 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. I’m Sean Tubbs of Town Crier Productions, a company that seeks to increase awareness of what’s happening at meetings of local government in the greater Charlottesville area. If you click through to the podcast, you will hear a series of stories that have appeared in the newsletter and podcast this past little while.

  • Members of the public speak at hearing on Charlottesville’s next draft budget, which was originally built on three tax rate increases (read the story)
  • Council approves about $1.3 million in funds from the current budget for affordable housing projects (read the story
  • Council also reallocates another $90K in federal funds to BEACON kitchen (read the story
  • On Monday, Council’s newest member called for a steep increase in the personal property tax to discourage automobile usage (read the story)
  • On Thursday, Council agreed in principle to support a budget based on a 20 cent increase in the personal property tax rate (read the story)

Charlottesville Community Engagement for March 23, 2024: A look at some of what’s in the city’s draft FY25 budget

Good morning and welcome to Charlottesville Community Engagement for Saturday. March 23. What is this? It’s a weekly look at some of what’s been happening in local and regional government in the part of Virginia where WTJU broadcasts. I’m Sean Tubbs, a journalist keen on writing as much as I can and sharing it in a variety of places.

This website is one of those places! I created this in 2005 as an experiment and that’s still what I aim to do every day I’m at work. This is another example of Town Crier Productions.

In this edition:

  • Albemarle Deputy Fire Chief for Emergency Management details efforts to fight brush fires this week that burned hundred of acres  (read the story)
  • Charlottesville City School names a new principal for Charlottesville High School  (read the story)
  • Details on Charlottesville’s FY25 budget from across a series of work sessions this month (read one story) (read the other)
  • Charlottesville’s Finance Director updates Council on how $19.6 million in ARPA funds have been used (read the story)
  • Social and health metrics program garners Charlottesville a National League of Cities Award (read the story)
Albemarle Deputy Fire Chief John Oprandy at a March 21, 2024 press conference (Credit: Sean Tubbs)

Charlottesville Community Engagement for March 16, 2024: Public transit edition

Good morning and welcome to Charlottesville Community Engagement for March 16, 2024. I’m Sean Tubbs, a local journalist who created a company called Town Crier Productions four years ago to increase coverage of municipal governments in the area around Charlottesville. This week on radio version for WTJU, we solely look at public transportation in the community and efforts to increase service while also choosing vehicles that will help Charlottesville meet goals to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

To learn more and to read the script, visit the Substack newsletter and podcast home page.

On the program today:

  • The Regional Transit Partnership directs staff to prepare the by-laws for a potential transit authority 
  • Charlottesville City Council agrees to a pilot project where Charlottesville Area Transit buys two battery-electric vehicles now and agrees to have staff research the potential purchase of two hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2027
  • The interim CEO of Jaunt responds to comments made by a representative of the transit union 
  • The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission’s Board of Directors approves continued work to create the transit authority

Charlottesville Community Engagement for March 9, 2024

This is the archive edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement for Saturday, March 9, 2024. I’m Sean Tubbs, a local journalist who writes about infrastructure, budgets, and all sorts of decisions about what gets built. What you’re going to hear is a digest of stories that have been used this week in the podcast version of a newsletter I send out, with much of the sound coming from local government meetings. The idea is to capture this moment in our community’s history in as much detail as possible.

On today’s program:

  • The University of Virginia surpasses its $5 billion fundraising campaign and gets two major donations from the Harrison Foundation (read the story)
  • An update on UVA’s efforts to build between 1,000 and 1,500 affordable housing units across the community (read the story on C-Ville Weekly)
  • The Buildings and Grounds Committee of the UVA Board of Visitors takes action on several items including approving the location for a new parking garage to serve North Grounds (read the story)
  • Charlottesville City Manager Sam Sanders recommends a fiscal year 2025 budget based on raising the real property tax, the meals tax, and the lodging tax to cover the cost of paying unionized and non-unionized city employees more money and benefits (read the story)
  • Three new members have been appointed to the city’s Housing Advisory Committee (read the story)
  • Charlottesville City Council reallocates $215,000 in federal funds that will enable allow the the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to offer more produce (read the story)

Charlottesville Community Engagement: WTJU Edition #2

(Air date: March 2, 2024)

Hello and welcome again to another radio version of Charlottesville Community Engagement, customized for WTJU. I’m Sean Tubbs, the president of Town Crier Productions, a company I set up in 2020 to create stories about what’s happening in the localities surrounding the University of Virginia. Since July 2020, I’ve produced these in newsletter and podcast form, but 

I’m glad now to bring some of these stories to you over the airwaves.

In this edition: 

  • The City of Charlottesville has been served with a lawsuit seeking the overturning of the new zoning code and will respond in court on March 15  (needs pick-up)
  • Representatives from 4H, Habitat for Humanity, and the Legal Aid Justice Center all seek additional funding in Albemarle FY25 budget
  • Just before the Albemarle budget was presented, county officials sent out a report listing what got accomplished in 2023 
  • The $38 million Belmont Bridge will be completed under an emergency contract to help address public safety
  • A group of UVA students seek reform for the way Charlottesville uses one pot of federal money

Charlottesville Community Engagement: WTJU Edition #1

On February 24, 2024, the very first installment of a new customized version of Charlottesville Community Engagement created for WTJU. I’m Sean Tubbs, a community journalist who started this website in 2005 as an experiment in community journalism! That adventure continues with an omnibus version of the regular podcast.

Back in the summer of 2020, I started a newsletter and podcast about what’s called “the built environment.” What is that? Here’s a definition from the United States Environmental Protection Agency:

“The built environment touches all aspects of our lives, encompassing the buildings we live in, the distribution systems that provide us with water and electricity, and the roads, bridges, and transportation systems we use to get from place to place.” 

Charlottesville Community Engagement tries to cover as much of that as possible in the area around the University of Virginia and what’s known as the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. Listen to enough of these and you’ll get to know more about how decisions are made and how you might get involved. 

On this program:

  • A 59-year-old Charlottesville man was killed crossing U.S. 29 Tuesday evening, very near the location of a planned pedestrian bridge and in an area where more housing units are soon expected
  • Two engineers with the Virginia Department of Transportation discuss the upcoming construction of several projects at Hydraulic and U.S. 29  including that bridge
  • Elected officials in Nelson County and Greene County learn about a transportation safety study that the regional planning district is producing to help get more funding for construction of such projects
  • Albemarle County is moving ahead with changes the Square in Crozet 
  • County Executive Jeffrey Richardson unveils a $629 million budget for fiscal year 2025

Before you go: The Charlottesville Podcasting Network is a product of Town Crier Productions, a company formed in 2020 as part of my return to journalism. The material in this program is assembled from editions of Charlottesville Community Engagement that seeks to report as much as possible about how things get built.

To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

AC44 process continues with Albemarle Supervisor discussion on environmental stewardship

At their meeting on January 17, 2024, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors reviewed draft goals and objectives for five of the eight chapters in the update of the Comprehensive Plan. The process is called AC44. This audio originally appeared in the January 26, 2024 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement and is also archived on Information Charlottesville. I’m cross-posting audio to this site as an experiment and furtherance of the archive!

Charlottesville City Council selects Juandiego Wade as Mayor

This is the Charlottesville Podcasting Network with a longer form audio segment from something that happened this week. In this case, the election of officers for Charlottesville City Council for the next two years. I’m Sean Tubbs, and I posted a smaller version of this earlier this week in the January 2, 2024 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement

Every week I take the segments from that newsletter and upload them to Information Charlottesville. Sometimes I add more to the story or update it as best as I can. I’m doing that now for this story because I wanted to get some comments from City Councilor Lloyd Snook in the original version, but I had a tight deadline to meet. 

So this morning as I opened up Audition to go back and find that section for the second version, I decided why not go ahead and create something for this website as well? After all, this website is what launched my presence in this community back in 2005.  

There’s no transcript for this one as I don’t want to transcribe all of this. I want people to hear the voices of the people who make decisions on our behalf. So this year I hope to offer more on this website because it’s very much part of the Town Crier Productions world.  

The first meeting each year of legislative bodies in most of Virginia’s localities starts a little bit different than all of the others. The community’s executive leader or another top official starts begins as presiding officer because one hasn’t been selected yet. 

That was the case on January 2, 2024, when Charlottesville City Manager Sam Sanders opened the meeting followed by the calling of the roll by Clerk Kyna Thomas. Take a listen to see how it went!

CCE: Charlottesville City Council adopts new zoning code after hours of debate

On December 18, 2023, Charlottesville City Council unanimously adopted a new zoning code intended to make it easier for developers to build more housing. The idea is that increased supply will bring down the overall cost. Another idea is to increase requirements for developers to build affordable units.

This is a topic I’ve been covering extensively on Charlottesville Community Engagement, a newsletter and podcast I created in the summer of 2020 as a way of getting back to journalism.

I don’t cross-post the show here because it has its own distribution channel through Substack. However, the December 22 edition of the program went out without the podcast version for various reasons. So before it goes out to the full list, I’m posting it here as a final edition for 2023.  Here’s the newsletter version if you’ve not seen it before.


Charlottesville prepping for more work on Downtown Mall trees

Hello! I’m Sean Tubbs, the creator of this website. Last year I got the website back but I’ve not really done too much with it.  But say hello in the comments if you read this! 2023 is the new 2005.

This is an audio story created as part of November 11, 2023 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. That’s a newsletter and podcast that is only possible because of the existence of what would go by the acronym CPN.

I’m not sure of this website’s future, but I know its past is where I was able to experiment. I am grateful to Dan Gould for his maintenance of the site over the years.

And here we are, with this quick story about upcoming maintenance on trees on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. In an attempt to be even more confusing about where my content is published in late 2023, here’s the article as it appears on Information Charlottesville