Land use expert traces connection between community image, economic vitality

Charlottesville Tomorrow held its first ever “community conversation” on January 10, 2011. Land use expert Ed McMahon with the Urban Land Institute delivered an hour long presentation about the connection between a community’s self-image and its economic performance. Read more at Charlottesville Tomorrow.

Neil Williamson calls for reform of ARB

A report from the Free Enterprise Forum is calling for reform of Albemarle County’s Architectural Review Board (ARB). The non-partisan organization has released a 21-page report documenting what it describes as the ARB’s “unchecked expansion of regulatory power” in its nearly 20 years of existence.

[read more at Charlottesville Tomorrow]

Charlottesville Tomorrow: MPO Policy Board December 2008

At their meeting on December 22, 2008, the MPO Policy Board heard the details of a comprehensive study being conducted by the Virginia Department of Transportation on the entire US 29 corridor in Virginia, from the North Carolina border to Gainesville in Prince William County. The MPO also made further adjustments to the UNJAM 2035 transportation plan, endorsed a grant application for the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center, and heard updates from area transit agencies.

For more detail as well as a timeline of the meeting, please visit Charlottesville Tomorrow.

“Four Boards” convene to discuss future of water supply plan

The four boards with jurisdiction over Charlottesville and Albemarle County’s public water resources have met to discuss City Council’s concerns about the cost of two major components of the adopted community water supply plan. In a resolution passed November 3, 2008, Council called for a full review of the plan and its cost estimates. That prompted the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) to seek a joint meeting to find out the nature of Council’s concerns. The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority’s Board of Directors hosted the four-way meeting on November 25, 2008 in the CitySpace Meeting Room in the Market Street Parking Garage.

(Read more at Charlottesville Tomorrow)


* 1:12 – RWSA Chair Mike Gaffney calls RWSA to order, and explains reason for meeting
* 4:55 – Gaffney details what Gannett Fleming discovered in the geotechnical data collected in the borings
* 9:17 – Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris explains Council’s reasoning for calling for further study
* 14:12 – Albemarle County Board Chairman Ken Boyd
* 15:12 – Albemarle County Supervisor Dennis Rooker
* 19:00 – RWSA Executive Director Tom Frederick shares information about cost estimate for cost estimate studies
* 22:12 – Rooker asks Frederick about scope of work for dam panel
* 26:42 – Councilor David Brown asks if panel of experts can address both dam and pipeline
* 28:12 – Mayor Norris asks for cost estimate on expert panel
* 29:00 – Boyd asks Councilors to describe why they are concerned about the plan, Norris responds
* 31:27 – Comment from Liz Palmer, ACSA Board Member
* 32:12 – ACSA Chair Don Wagner asks Norris to list questions people have with the pipeline, Brown responds
* 34:12 – Frederick addresses why cost estimates are so volatile in this economy
* 36:12 – Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier asks a question about dredging
* 38:42 – Boyd says that dredging by itself will not meet the projected 50-year demand, Frederick talks about safe-yield analysis
* 40:12 – Councilor Satyendra Huja said he does not expect pipeline to be redesigned
* 42:12 – ACSA Board Member John Martin asks City Councilors what specific evidence they have to question the adopted plan
* 43:42 – Councilor Julian Taliaferro responds
* 45:42 – Liz Palmer makes two points; one in support of dam expert panel, second to discuss pipeline options
* 48:12 – Norris responds to Martin’s request
* 51:12 – Comments from Albemarle County Supervisor Sally Thomas
* 53:12 – Councilor Brown asks for more information on the pipeline route
* 56:22 – Boyd seeks consensus on what the four boards agree on
* 58:42 – Gaffney suggests conservation study be conducted by the
* 1:01:12 – Rooker asks if challenging the demand analysis would affect the DEQ and Army Corps of Engineer permits
* 1:03:52 – Brown points out that he is the only one of five sitting councilors to have participated in developing the plan
* 1:08:42 – Frederick answers Rooker’s question about how permitting process might be affected
* 1:10:12 – Rooker challenges assumptions that water supply plan alternatives could be easily approved
* 1:11:22 – Martin says he’s been involved with the water supply planning process since 1998 and discusses demand
* 1:13:47 – Thomas says the community will need to produce a conservation plan by 2011 as part of the state water supply process
* 1:15:22 – Palmer details her letter to City Council that lists the ACSA’s conservation efforts
* 1:18:42 – Comments from ACSA Board Member Clarence Roberts, who says much of the work requested by Council has already been done
* 1:21:42 – Comments from Satyendra Huja about wanting to see the dredging feasibility study going through
* 1:22:12 – Councilor Brown says water usage is on the rise
* 1:24:42 – ACSA Member Jim Colbaugh says a conservation program is needed to help the community attain the 5% figure
* 1:26:42 – Boyd seeks consensus on the matter of having both ACSA and the City conduct the conservation study
* 1:30:12 – Slutzky asks Norris for clarification over City’s desire to forward
* 1:31:00 – Sally Thomas reports on the progress of the task force
* 1:33:20 – Martin reports on the progress of the task force and warns against conducting feasibility study prematurely
* 1:34:20 – Gaffney seeks an opinion from the four boards on whether new demand analysis needs to be done before moving forward
* 1:38:50 – Norris asks for Council’s opinion of whether demand analysis and
* 1:40:50 – Palmer recommends RWSA move forward with panel of dam experts
* 1:41:55 – Huja says he wants panel of experts to address pipeline as well
* 1:42:20 – Bob Tucker reminds four boards of DCR deadlines
* 1:45:16 – Gaffney seeks direction from Frederick on whether panel of experts could address pipeline; Wagner answers in detail
* 1:48:20 – Brown explains how citizen pressure has lead to City Council’s concerns
* 1:50:00 – Palmer asks for more details on Council’s concern over the pipeline
* 1:52:10 – Rooker describes the merits of the South Fork pipeline and
* 1:54:00 – Norris says he thinks the South Fork pipeline “makes more sense” but the public doesn’t trust it
* 1:56:00 – Rooker asks Frederick to describe how Sugar Hollow pipeline would fill Ragged Mountain
* 1:58:20 – Supervisor Ann Mallek says there may be more migitationmitigation issues involving the Sugar Hollow pipeline
* 2:01:10 – Gary Fern says he hears a mixed message from City Council
* 2:04:45 – Frederick reviews what he has heard regarding the pipeline study
* 2:08:23 – Gaffney summarizes the decision made about the pipeline study
* 2:12:00 – Gaffney repeats the conclusion reached by the four board with regards to the $25,000 pipeline study
* 2:13:17 – Gaffney repeats consensus point that a decision on dredging feasibility will wait until task force makes its report
* 2:15:20 – Frederick answers question from Rooker regarding cost estimate for fixing dam rather than replacing it
* 2:19:20 – Rooker asks Frederick is dam experts will be looking at dam height
* 2:21:00 – Boyd asks for clarification from Council about last sentence of resolution
* 2:23:00 – Motion to adjourn from all four boards

County Supervisors put Eastern Connector study on hold

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has put the study of the Eastern Connector on hold for a few years until more data can be collected about how County residents move around. They made their decision after viewing a presentation on the final recommendations of the Eastern Connector Corridor Location Study. The matter has been referred to the Metropolitan Planning Organization for further negotiations between the City and the County.

Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow for a full write-up on this story, including a detailed timeline. If you have an opinion on the Eastern Connector, let us know in the comments.

Natural Heritage Committee seeks funding, staff support for biodiversity efforts

The Albemarle County Natural Heritage Committee (NHC) was formed in July 2005 to advise the Board of Supervisors and other County officials on how the County can preserve its biological character. Since then, they have added information to a biodiversity database, created several data layers in the County’s Geographic Information System (GIS) which depict the location of natural resources, and are in the process of creating a forest monitoring network in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service. Another project involves creating a biodiversity action plan to inform landowners of resources that could be on their property.

(Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow for more information)

City Council approves $700K program to address pedestrian safety concerns

City Council has approved a slate of specific recommendations to improve pedestrian safety in several key areas of Downtown Charlottesville. Up to $700,000 will re-allocated from the City’s budget to help pay for the improvements. Funding will come from the City’s capital budget reserve ($300,000), the City’s existing sidewalk fund ($200,000), and traffic improvement funds ($200,000).

(Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow for the rest of the story)

Town hall meeting held on Route 29 North safety

The Forest Lakes Community Association held a town hall meeting at Hollymead Elementary on July 1, 2008 to discuss the safety of the Route 29 intersection where a fatal accident occurred earlier this year. A 16 year old Albemarle High School student, Sydney Aichs, was killed on May 9, 2008 turning out of Forest Lakes South from Ashwood Boulevard onto Route 29 South when a tractor trailer driver on Route 29 North failed to stop at the red light. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has investigated the circumstances of the accident, and presented their findings and recommendations to the community at the meeting. Afterwards, over 20 residents asked questions about a number of issues relating to the intersection. There were over 150 members of the public in attendance.

For full coverage, see Charlottesville Tomorrow’s article here.

Land use taxation program to remain unchanged; revalidation to come back for a vote

An Albemarle County program that grants a reduced tax assessment to property owners who use their land for agricultural purposes will remain unchanged. At their meeting on July 9, 2008, the Board of Supervisors declined to make any changes to land use taxation. Staff had prepared a report that explored the effects on County revenue and staff-time if land use taxation only applied to property that qualified as “open space” under state law.

For a full writeup and timeline, see Charlottesville Tomorrow’s coverage here.

Public pours in to comment on Mall renovation plans

Over two hundred people took advantage of an important opportunity to comment on the near final design for the proposed renovation of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. They crowded into the CitySpace meeting room overlooking the Mall to view details of the plans created by MMM Design, and to give feedback on key details of the Mall redesign.

For a full writeup and a timeline, see Charlottesville Tomorrow’s coverage here.

Council holds three-hour work session on water supply plan

The Charlottesville City Council will vote on the City’s water and sewer rates at its first meeting in June. It may take them that long to digest the presentations made this week at a three-hour work session. Mayor Dave Norris scheduled the event to explore one main question: Should dredging of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir (SFRR) be part of the solution to address the community’s water supply needs?

“This is a chance to consider a variety of options with this plan,” Norris said. The City’s water and sewer rates will reflect how much money the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) needs to start implementation of the Community Water Supply. The plan has already received approval from the Department of Environmental Quality and Federal approval by the Army Corps of Engineers is pending and expected by the end of the May 2008.

Councilors heard a history of the efforts to secure a long-term community water supply plan, received an overview of the assumptions that factored into the plan adopted in 2006, and heard presentations on how dredging would work and how effective it might be in creating extra capacity for the community’s water system.

Read more at Charlottesville Tomorrow, including a timeline. Please comment and let us know your opinion.

Charlottesville Tomorrow: Butch Davies updates area officials on transportation projects

Top officials from Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia have been briefed on the status of various transportation projects in our area. Butch Davies, Culpeper District Representative on the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), spoke for about forty minutes to the Planning and Coordination Council at their meeting on May 1, 2008.

For details, visit Charlottesville Tomorrow.