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September 21, 2007

Supervisors schedule public hearing on rural area critical slopes and family sub-division rights

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Sqrural1bw The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has scheduled a public hearing on zoning ordinance changes related to rural area critical slopes, family sub-division rights, and stream protection measures. On September 11, 2007, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposed ordinance changes for critical slopes and family sub-divisions.

At yesterday's meeting of Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population (ASAP), Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) told the audience that the October 10th meeting, "may be one of the most important evenings since I have been on the Board of Supervisors."

[Read more about the proposals on the County's website]

Rooker was a panelist for an ASAP discussion on the policy implications of Charlottesville Tomorrow's Survey 2007.  Rooker predicted the Board would receive a lot of feedback at the October 10th public hearing about property rights issues as the Board reviews these three remaining proposals to protect Albemarle's rural countryside.  He said the environmental community had provided very little input at past public hearings and he urged audience members to participate.  "Members of the Board are very swayed by the people in the room at the hearing," said Rooker.

In his reflections on the survey results related to rural area protection policies, Rooker said past stalemates on the Board of Supervisors have prevented adoption of proposals like the mountaintop protection ordinance.  He said that led the Board to form an advisory committee to make recommendations about how to best protect environmentally sensitive resources in Albemarle's mountain areas.  Late last year, mountaintop protection proposals were the last surviving initiative of three proposals being considered by the Board to advance the goals of the Rural Area portion of the Comprehensive Plan.  Proposals related to phasing and clustering in the rural area failed to receive the Board's endorsement last September.

During 2007, the County has steered the committee's mountaintop protection recommendations towards measures that could be applied universally in Albemarle's rural areas.  On May 2, 2007, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved resolutions of intent to modify the zoning ordinances related to critical slopes and family subdivisions. That action led to the Planning Commission's review of the ordinance changes which are now before the Board for a public hearing and action.

Brian Wheeler

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