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May 17, 2006

Podcast of North Pointe discussion on WINA

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Yesterday, I made my weekly visit to Coy Barefoot's radio show on WINA.  The topic of the day was the proposed North Pointe rezoning under review by Albemarle County.  Sean Tubbs and the Charlottesville Podcasting Network have the podcast available here:

http://www.cvillepodcast.com/2006/05/17/rightnow-northpointe/

As I described on the show, I took some time last weekend to listen to the 3 hour recording of the March 10, 2006 North Pointe public hearing.  My goal was to scorecard each of the 39 public speakers and distill out of the evening's discussions the major themes of the public's current assessment of this large rezoning request.

My assessment is that the public feedback was evenly split between those for and against the project.  When I make that assessment, I eliminate the feedback from people who stated they had a direct economic interest in the project (nine speakers that were consultants, realtors, builders, investors, attorneys, etc.).  I include the advocates representing various constituent groups (Chamber of Commerce, Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors, environmental groups).

If you look at all thirty-nine speakers, the following themes were most commonly shared by those for and against North Pointe:

  • 33% of all speakers expressed support for growth being channeled into the County’s designated growth areas.  This support was strongest among those in favor of the project.
  • 31% of all speakers stated something positive about neighborhood model.  This support was found to be equal among those for and against the project.  The only concern expressed about the neighborhood model was from those in nearby areas who did not want their neighborhood streets interconnected to North Pointe.

Note: This doesn't mean the remaining 67-69% of speakers were necessarily against these two concepts, it is simply an indication of the most popular themes expressed in the public speakers' remarks.

Strongest themes among those supporting North Pointe:

  • 48% of all the supporters said retail development in North Pointe was needed or a positive aspect of the development.
  • 38% of all the supporters said they thought the North Pointe development would create affordable living choices.
  • 29% of all the supporters said they thought development in North Pointe would help protect the rural areas of Albemarle.

Strongest themes among those opposed to North Pointe:

  • 64% of those opposed to the project cited traffic congestion concerns.
  • 57% of those opposed to the project indicated retail development in North Pointe was not needed or a negative aspect of the development.
  • 36% of those opposed to the project expressed concerns about the environment (quantity of available drinking water, impact on sedimentation in river, air pollution related to automobiles)

Brian Wheeler

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