On October 23, 2007, the three candidates for the Scottsville
District on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors appeared at a
candidate forum co-sponsored by the Free Enterprise Forum and
Democratic incumbent Lindsay Dorrier and
independent challengers Kevin Fletcher and Denny King answered ten
questions on land use, transportation, and growth in the County. The
candidates also answered several questions submitted by members of the
audience, ranging from ground water quality, the ethics of meeting with
developers privately, and the amount of time it takes per week to serve
on the Board of Supervisors.
About twenty-five people attended the
forum, which was held at Monticello High School. The event was
co-moderated by Neil Williamson of the Free Enterprise Forum and Sean
Tubbs of Charlottesville Tomorrow.
Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo
Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20071023-Scottsville-Forum.mp3
Watch the video below:
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “When people ask me why in the world I was running for public office, I simply said that I had been so fortunate throughout my business career and I felt that it was time for me to give back to my community... At the urging of my many friends and neighbors and business associates, they had been terribly concerned about the changes that have happened over the past ten years in our County. And they were very concerned about representation... When I looked at the questions tonight, the first thing I thought about was “Why weren't some of these questions asked ten years ago?” That was the time in which these questions should have been asked. The horse is now two counties away and we're playing catch-up. We have been reactive rather than proactive...”
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “There's been quite a bit written in the papers and different things about that I'm really not that interested in trying to get elected, because I have only raised $575 for my election, and I'd like to try to explain that in the sense that I ran for Board of Supervisors as a write-in four years ago, and I received quite a bit of support financially... When I lost, it hurt me deeply, because a great many people had not only invested their time, but they invested a lot of money... I felt that I had let them down, and that bothered me for quite some time... I'm not a politician. I do not like letting people down, so I made the determination that I'm not going to take a bunch of money... People have offered me money, but I've not spent any time at all soliciting money...”
Lindsay Dorrier (D)- Incumbent: “I'm running for Board of Supervisors because I guess I've got a genetic disposition to do so. Both of my grandfathers served on the Board of Supervisors in the 1940's and 50's. My great-grandfather served on the Board... I think it's probably the local governments where the action is, where people can get something done and you can do it yourself... I'm proud of the fact that I'm representing the Scottsville district because I draw my strength from you the people who give me ideas about ways we can improve our government. Albemarle County is going through changes now. We're seeing a lot of growth in Albemarle County, but I think we have some processes that we are applying in Albemarle County that are going to reap fruit in the near future. We've got a master planning process that we are using to plan communities... We are taking proffers from developers for infrastructure. Those amount to millions of dollars. For example, Biscuit Run project is 41 million dollars from the developer...”
Question 1: How would you assess Albemarle County’s growth management strategies? What other steps would you advocate be taken to discourage development in the rural countryside and encourage development in the growth areas? Are the existing incentives adequate?
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “I believe that the growth management strategies are beginning to work. I think that we've got a master planning process. I helped develop the strategic plan in 2001 and 2002 that's we're implementing, and that we used to redo the comprehensive plan with. The strategic plan sets the goal of development in 5% of the area of the County, which is the growth area. 95% of the County is going to remain rural. And we have implemented those strategies to deal with growth... So I think that these growth strategies will work, they are working. We've got to manage future growth by master planning... By master planning I mean we're bringing County planners into meetings and dialog with citizens of the area, so the citizens working with the County design he plan for the area of the County.... Crozet had some problems at first but we're on the right track out there and we're getting a lot of input from Crozet residents.
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “I think we've had very poor growth management strategies... And Mr. Dorrier speaks about the Master Plan. The Master Plan wasn't even in effect before the County approved 15,000 homes... I believe that the citizens have been marginalized and the developers have been catered to. The developers appear to be in charge of the County. It is my desire and my goal to give the County back to the people, once again, to hear the voices of the people. I believe the whole growth system, the whole growth plan is totally, totally out of balance. We've seen secret private meetings discussing these matters. When we go to public hearings, we see the Board of Supervisors get up and go back and have their own mini-meetings. It's simply time that we make the Supervisors, your Supervisors, accountable to their actions, to make it transparent. You deserve that, you require that, and that is your right. We speak for you, we speak for the will of the people, and I believe the will of the people simply has not been heard...”
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “I also believe that the growth management strategies have failed in Albemarle County... Many of the development that has taken place in the County has been done without a Master Plan in place. And, the Comprehensive Plan is very clear that the Neighborhood Model of which we all work upon for our rezoning will fail, it will fail without a Master Plan in place, and that has been proven in Crozet. So much started without that, and then they finally got it going, and mistakes were made in that... We have so much going on. We've had Biscuit Run, we've had Rivanna Village, we're going to be having the shopping centers that's going to come up soon on the other side of 64. There's not a Master Plan in place and one hasn't even begun...…As far as the rural areas, I liked what was brought before the Board I guess it was last week or two weeks ago. The Board failed to vote on it once again – deadlocked – which is sad. Even if they are deadlocked they need to vote so that your vote goes on record, where you stand as far as protecting our rural areas... Are the existing incentives adequate? Certainly they're adequate. I think there's been quite a bit of growth, and I think the incentives for people to develop in the growth areas have certainly been there. But we have failed to manage our growth because we have moved too quickly... We have failed our County.
Question 2: How important is creating new jobs to the future of Albemarle County? Should particular businesses be encouraged or discouraged from coming to or remaining in Albemarle County? Who? How?
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “I think the economic well-being and the health of any community is paramount on job creation. Unfortunately, our County has been losing jobs at a pretty staggering rate. The creation of new jobs, I believe, should be linked to the University. We have a tremendous number of alumni from the University who have created very successful companies and corporations, and I believe that we have to work closely with the Alumni Association, with the University, to encourage some of these alumni to come back to Charlottesville and Albemarle County and bring their businesses back here. The jobs that have been created are low paying service jobs, and once again, requiring this workforce, these employees to live a county or two counties away. Thus again, impacting the traffic problem and all of the other infrastructure, system problems that we experience every day of our lives. We must be, I believe, proactive. I think Albemarle County has just signed on with the economic commission group
representing several neighboring counties, and the County was very reluctant to do that for a great number of years and I think that the County made a great decision in finally joining forces with the Thomas Jefferson [Partnership] for Economic [Development (TJPED)]... Because those people will go around the nation encouraging clean industry and more jobs to come to Charlottesville and Albemarle. And we're beginning to see more and more of that, with the creation of NGIC, the growth factor, we now have over 18,000 employees at the University...”
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “I think that it is very important that we are continuing to try to create new jobs. I think we are going to be facing a bit of a job crisis I believe coming up because of housing market is continuing to slump…I think we will be in a bit of trouble. I think there's going to be some people that are going to be in dire need of looking for work. I think also one of the aspect of business is that we really need to try to push in Albemarle County is agriculture. I think that local agriculture is a very hot topic. People like local agriculture. They like the fact that something is grown local and sold local, keeps money in the economy.... And that also helps to protect our rural areas and it helps to get the people who live in our rural areas, they can live and they can work and live, not necessarily make a fabulous living, but supplement their income... I think that we need to try to attract more technology based businesses... work with the University on that... Another part of the growing segment in our business in our County is going to be the service industry, especially since our population is getting older... Albemarle County is very much a microcosm of America. Manufacturing is gone. Technology businesses have moved in, have done very well, they're very clean, and now the uptick in the surge in America is the service industry, and I think we need to try to pay attention to that and promote that.”
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “We need to work on creating new jobs in Albemarle County... I have been in favor of the Board joining TJPED and the Chamber of Commerce... And the Board only reluctantly came around to that opinion last year. I think it's important that we belong to both of those organizations because they deal with the future of the County. If we don't have a good economy in Albemarle County we're not going to be able to have a high quality of life, and we are not going to be able to do all the things that we want to do... We have a number of underemployed people in Albemarle County. We've got PhDs waiting tables and we've got a number of people who have to leave the community because they can't get jobs... I think businesses should be encouraged to come here and if they are manufacturing type businesses, we would probably discourage them from coming here. We have lost some major industries in Albemarle County.... We need to look at the computer-type industries, the Silicon Valley type. Non-invasive, non-smoke belching industry is what we want. We want research parks. We need to work closely with the University of Virginia to bring the right businesses here and to encourage research and biomedical areas...”
Question 3: How will you deal with neighborhood opposition to rezonings in our growth areas that are in line with the goals of Albemarle’s Comprehensive plan?
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “Once again we go back to the master plan. I think that if we utilize the master plan the way it was intended I think it would cut down on a great deal on public unhappiness with rezonings... There should even almost be a community input team. Let's say Biscuit Run... There might have been a couple people from Mill Creek, Mill Creek South, Lake Reynovia, Foxcroft. Those people all work together and they are creating, they are working within the community to come up with ideas and plans that can be presented to the Planning Commission... There is a sense that you do not get your say in this county. The mere fact that they voted on [the Biscuit Run] rezoning at 1:00 AM, that also helps to set, the mindset, of the general public that you do not matter... That is why when you go and you walk through the neighborhoods and you try to to talk to them and they talk about growth, and they say, “You know, there's nothing you can do about it. It is hopeless. It is hopeless.” And that is something I want to try to bring to the Board...
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “The way to deal with neighborhood opposition is to have the developer meet with the opponents and try to deal with their particular concerns. Also, the Supervisors should be involved in that process. I think that in the Biscuit Run situation, the developer met with citizens. He appeared before the Planning Commission and he appeared to answer every question that people had concerning that development. Now, the Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of it, and so did the Board of Supervisors. I think that neighborhood opposition has been dealt with...
Now the process takes a little different stand and we need to make sure that the developer is doing what he said he's going to do and what's required of him by the proffers. We've got some road situations we need to work on with Biscuit Run and infrastructure. We need to make sure that everything is done correctly and it's not going to be built for five or ten or probably twenty more years, so there is some time to work on these things... Neighborhood opposition is probably going to occur with most rezonings, but if the rezoning is in the development area, that's the way the County plans to put the growth...”
Denny King (I)-Challenger: ““I think much of the neighborhood opposition today comes from the lack of disclosure by the County. The whole plan is inherently imbalanced. There have been so many residents who have moved here and had no idea they were moving into an area or a neighborhood that someday could become another Northern Virginia… I believe once again in being upfront with the citizens. We have that responsibility as Supervisors... We have to make those disclosures up front and not on the back end... Because the County and the developers have not been forthcoming about plans, residents feel like they have been duped, they have been cheated, they have not been treated honestly... I have had nearly 3,000 responses [to surveys on my website] and inherently all of those surveys that have come back have said they feel that they have not been represented the way they feel they should have been represented... As I travel around the neighborhoods, I see this apathy and it is sad...
Question 4: Albemarle County has dedicated $2 million towards priority transportation projects. With the state unable to fund critical road projects, what do you see as the responsibility of local government bodies to fund road projects?
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “The state government has opted out of funding our local roads and the federal government has stopped funding anything other than an interstate... So we've got no choice but to have the locality try to fund the road projects. What type of funding is the big question. We all know we need to improve the roads... , the question is how we are going to pay for it? I still think we can get more from state if we can put some pressure on our delegates and our senators and get the government to commit to building roads in Albemarle County, but we are probably going to have to take care of a lot of this ourselves... Albemarle County enjoys a AAA bond rating…with that good bond rating we ought to be able to issue some transportation bonds that will produced enough funds to do some serious building of local roads and improvement of local roads in our area.... I think the local government bodies are going to have to work with the City, the University, and going to have to work with private businesses to fund roads... Some people have proposed a gasoline tax, I'm a little hesitant to do that because but I don’t think we need another tax... I think a bond is something that is concrete and citizens can vote on the bonds...”
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “Currently, I believe it is the responsibility for the state to fund local road projects. But we have to remember we live in a Dillon Rule state... I don’t think the Dillon Rule has been challenged aggressively enough... We have to go twist some arms. We have to go to Richmond. I see all of this earmark stuff coming out of our nation's capitol with our Senators and Congressman. It's deplorable! And we can't get out roads fixed? We need somebody who is willing to go there and fight hard... This funding should not be placed on you as an additional burden… I think the Board of Supervisors missed an incredible opportunity when they approved Biscuit Run and the Rivanna Village in Glenmore, and the Board did not hold out for the necessary road proffers... Those were millions and millions of dollars and they folded under to the pressures of the developers... If we're going to fund these roads ourselves, which I don't perceive happening and I don't want this to happen, but I have to agree.. Someone mentioned to me a SPLAT Tax... it's by referendum, and it's adding 1% to our sales tax for a period of five years, but we have to know where that revenue is going to be spent...”
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “Many people had gone to the state and had fought for the ability to have an impact fee to pay for roads, and the Board has failed to use that tool... I hate the fact that it looks like one of the best ways to have to pay for our roads is through a bond referendum. That's basically the County going into debt. When we have had an incredible increase in County revenues over the past eight years, our County revenue has increased by $144 million dollars, and the fact that we have set aside $2 million dollars for roads is unconscionable. Where does all of our money go to?... We never set the money aside. We never are planning. We are never thinking forward...
Question 5: Albemarle County has expectations for the development community to build or pay for affordable housing. Do you agree with that approach? How do you believe the County should address the need for not just affordable housing, but also workforce housing?
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “Sadly I don't think the affordable housing is a concept that's going to work in Albemarle County without the help of the University. Currently there are only about 40 percent of the students that are housed on Grounds, and the rest live in condos and apartments. Because those apartments reflect the market price, whatever the market will bear... most of these University students can afford to pay more for their housing than our average work force person. I believe until the university houses most of its own, we’re going to have this problem of affordable housing. It's not going to happen with forcing developers to build 15% of the dwellings and earmark those as affordable housing units and when they're not sold within 90 days, they go back on the market at fair market value... We love all the amenities that the University has provided to the community over the years, but I believe they have to really start looking again at housing their own. I don't believe that there's been any new student housing built for years...
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “I do believe that it’s the responsibility of the people who are developing the county to try to provide affordable housing... We have had over 700 affordable houses proffered in Albemarle County, and none have been built yet because the Board was never forward thinking enough to think of phasing, in which you are required, let's say you build the first ten percent of your houses and of that first ten percent, a certain number have to be affordable housing. That concept never came up until Biscuit Run... We move so quickly in our re-zoning that before we realized that actually there was a problem with our affordable housing program, we had already approved 10,000 houses before we realized, wait a minute, there's a flaw in our system... [the 90 day housing clause] was something that was inserted between the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors for Old Trail... Basically, what that means is that you can hold back all of your affordable housing until the very last moment. If you have 1,000 houses, you can hold back 150 houses and then release all 150 houses. Whatever those 150 houses that do not sell within 90 days, can be sold for whatever the developer wants to sell them for… It is now boiler plate in all re-zonings... It's a crime, it really is... I like the idea, there's a new idea that's come up, as far as a Land [Trust], in which you buy some houses... and they are sold at a low rate, and they continue to stay on the market at a low rate... It has not really been done yet in this state, but I like the idea, but I think that affordable housing should be dispersed throughout the neighborhoods...”
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “I’m in favor of working with the developers and the banks to come up with a trust fund, like they have in North Carolina, that has money which is used for affordable housing… In the County we have decided that at least 15%, 14% of the homes will be affordable housing... I think that the development community is just going to pass on the cost to the people who buy the houses and if it costs more than they project, then there's a problem there... We need to work on affordable housing because the service workers in the County are moving to Buckingham, Fluvanna, other places to get away from the high cost of living in Albemarle. We've got an affordable housing task force that's being sponsored by the County and we also have a church group, a 25 member Church group called IMPACT that also has an affordable housing group. We’re looking forward to getting their recommendations…”
Question 6: “The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission have both had work sessions on the, transportation elements of the Places29 Master Plan. Will you support Berkmar Drive Extended from the Sam’s Club to Hollymead Town Center and grade separation on Route 29 as major components of that plan? Why or why not?”
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “I do support the bridge, but it all comes down to the situation of how are you going to pay for this bridge? I think that Wendell Wood has said he will pay for it, for 31 million dollars. But I guess you know, you’re playing with the devil there and you got to determine as to exactly is he going to want?... Perhaps maybe he might like to expand the growth area... I would even support a bridge even for the extension of the Meadowcreek Parkway… I really don’t think that I support the, I guess I call it an overpass on 29. I think the cost of that is going to be quite high, and I think that once you take that other traffic off, you create much more of a thoroughfare for people who are going from the northern part of the County straight down to the University...”
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “I think the studies have shown that about 70-80% of the traffic on that 29 section of road is local traffic. I think that we need to support a new bridge over the Rivanna, and we need to support Berkmar Extended from Sam’s Club to Hollymead Town Center. We need to get as much out of the developers as we can for that road. Whether or not it should be grade-separated or not, I don't believe I'm in favor of that...
29 North is probably never going to be the perfect place for biking or walking, but I think we can make it better than it is now. We definitely need to work on making it safe... Finding the money to pay for these projects is always going to be a problem...That's where the Board of Supervisors is going to come up with a plan to improve a number of roads in the urban area, urban ring, and that could include 29 North...”
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “If Wendell Wood spends $31million on a bridge over a river, you can be assured that the land north of the river will be re-named and reclaimed “Wood County...” I do support the extension of Berkmar, and I simply feel that grade-separation right now, and grade and elevation changes now are totally, totally unaffordable to the County. I just read recently that pedestrian accidents are on the increase on 29... I do support the creation of a pedestrian overpass, especially with the creation of Places29, the growth area further out on 29 North around the Hollymead Town Center. I believe that we're going to have to take some very creative approaches to moving traffic, to improving the traffic flow in these areas, and I believe it can be done for tens of thousands rather rather than tens of millions…”
Question 7: Do you support a limited access bypass for Route 29 around northern Charlottesville and, if so, where would that be located?
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “One time there was a recommendation for a western bypass, but the Board didn’t support that for a number of years... It's in too close to be workable. It looks like I would support a bypass around Route 29, around northern Charlottesville. I guess I would probably favor it running from Airport Road to Route 64 on the eastern side....That would probably be less expensive than it would be to try to build it on the western side of 29. But we do need some bypass for Route 29... Warrenton has a bypass, Lynchburg has a bypass, Danville has a bypass, and eventually Charlottesville is going to have to have a bypass....Once again, paying for this is going to be problematic and I don’t have any answer for that… We need to make darn sure we put it in the right place and we know what we're doing... We're still talking about Meadowcreek Parkway and it's been thirty years we've been talking about it, and I don’t expect we’ll have any bypass for Route 29 in the near future...”
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “I disagree... I believe the bypass should run from out near the airport west, towards Crozet, and have the access on Earlysville Road and Garth Roads and intersect at 250, east of the 240-250 intersection, and then continue southward down 29 near Plank road... To even consider building the Meadowcreek Parkway today I think would be totally ludicrous. It's antiquated. Why, why attempt to spend that money today when the results won't be would they have been had it been built when it was originally talked about?... We have to let infrastructure guide growth...I would love to see a bypass. I think all of us would love to see a bypass... But how many of us in this room would be able to enjoy the 29 bypass when it’s completed 35 years from today?
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “I think it’s interesting that the Attorney General recently came down with a ruling that was brought up by a delegate from Lynchburg that says Charlottesville owes the state something like $45 million if they do not move forward on this plan that has been sitting idle for a number of years... I would not support it just because I do not believe it's ever going to happen. I think by using the bridge network we just discussed before I think we do an adequate job of moving quickly down 29…”
Question 8: The county’s water and sewer infrastructure will need upgrades and expansion. How do you propose to fund our water and sewer infrastructure and over what time frame?. What changes, if any, would you make to the boards of the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority or the Albemarle County Service Authority?
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “I attended yesterday the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority board meeting and I learned a great deal. Indeed we do have antiquated infrastructure, some of which is a 100 or a 100 plus years old. Infrastructure has to be the engine for growth. I believe a lot of developers are getting off scot-free, and we simply have to be more forceful and we have to make sure that if there are developments, these issues must be addressed. It's going to be very costly. Should the users be forced to pay for this? You know, we have 100 percent water increase ready to go at any given time. It's already approved. All they have to do is say it's in place. When the RWSA pays for the 50 year water plan, some of those costs will certainly be passed along in the rates charged to the [Albemarle County Service Authority] and I find this very interesting, too. We have one entity in our county wholesaling our water to our retailer. I find this very strange... I think we should find a way to make these one. Why have all these various levels, and I think when you have those multiple layers and levels of decision making, I think we’re asking for problems...”
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “Certainly, our water and sewage is going to need upgrades. I think that we are still waiting for the report from Rivanna Water and Sewer as to exactly what upgrades need to be made... We continue to rezone without this information... As far as how we're going to pay for it. It's going to come down to, I think it was the head of the Rivanna Water and Sewer, on the board there, said basically it all depends on how bad the citizens want it, and how much they're willing to pay... I think that once again, as far as proffers go, we have missed the boat as far as trying to pass this cost on to developers... A great deal of concern to me was the Biscuit Run development, that the park was a wonderful thing, when they donated the park. But if you read that carefully, by accepting that proffer for the park, the county is now responsible for paying for the new [water] trunk line that will have to go into that development...I think also another way we’re going to have to look for paying this is going to have to be a bond referendum. I'm sorry to say that it seems like, we have such a good credit rating and we’re going into debt. Basically, we've made so much money over the past eight years in our revenue, and we have squandered it.... Once again, when you look at how much money has been set aside for our water problem, for paying for our water, $2 million dollars. This is a problem that we have known was coming along for quite some time....
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “The water and sewer infrastructure is critical to the system. To make it work, you have to fix the infrastructure. The question is, how is it done, and who pays for it? For new development, proffers have to be put on there that are adequate, make the developer pay for it. We need to shore up that system and make sure it's working properly. If this old infrastructure that’s located in the county, it’s going to be located in that 5% of the county that's in the growth area. We need to determine it may have to be a sharing of the cost, and there may have to be a bond issue dealing with the cost of that infrastructure. Many of these developments were built before we really had a good planning staff and before we were requiring the developers to pass on, to pay for the items for the customers they had. Now we’re taking a harder approach, a more cost effective approach to collecting the money from the developers and having them pay for infrastructure. So we're playing catch-up to a certain extent because of our past policies, before I got into the Board in the 80's, 90's, 70's, and the question is, what will be the total cost? We need to work on making the Boards of the [RWSA] and [ACSA] more responsive to the needs of the people and the needs of the Supervisors... I think that with water in such a shortage now throughout the country, we need to work on coming up with a single water authority that is responsive to the public will...”
Question 9: Does County government have the appropriate resources, financial and personnel, to achieve the objectives in our comprehensive plan?
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “They should have the money, but obviously they don’t, because we have to keep talking about bond referendums... The money was there and it’s been set aside for other things… I think an interesting fact that someone brought up when I was at the night of the public hearing for Biscuit Run that, I'll just call them the white collar version of county government, people who are staff, secretaries, assistants to assistants, and things of that nature, has grown by 15% on average every year I think he said for the past 8 years. We’re building an incredible group of people who are paper-shufflers...
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “I believe we do. We need to pay close attention to the comprehensive plan...It’s really just a guide, a guide to the future of Albemarle County… Our objectives are to funnel growth into the growth area and to preserve our rural areas… We need to look at more joint endeavors with the City and see if we can save some money by combining services... “
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “The county does not have the appropriate financial resources to achieve its objectives, whether its the comprehensive or the strategic plans... I believe that the county has certainly not allocated the appropriate personnel resources to achieve the necessary objectives in the current plans... And at this point, expending any resources on the county’s current comprehensive plan in my feeling would be a total waste of money... I want to know what we get for the revenue sharing with the City of Charlottesville... I believe that we pay them $14 of $15 million dollars annually...”
Question 10: The Board of Supervisors has recently endorsed the concept of prioritizing areas for new development and community infrastructure within our growth areas. Do you think this prioritization is a good idea? Why or why not?
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “I guess I don’t think it’s a good idea because I think prioritizing within the growth area is getting into the private marketplace and determining who goes ahead of somebody else. It seems to me we need to come up with a comprehensive plan for the whole growth area that integrates sewer and water and roads into that area...”
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “Prioritization should have been part of the implementation formula from day one. Prioritization is a good idea because the infrastructure cannot be provided in a scattered, disjointed function. With these 15 or 16 thousand housing units already approved, and no phasing requirements, and inadequate proffers, the ship has already clearly sailed...”
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “I would have to agree with Denny.... To me, prioritizing is just another name for Master Planning, and that is something that we failed to do. Prioritizing is planning for the infrastructure and I think that it's interesting, as Mr. Dorrier rattles off all our master plans... Once again, here we are in Scottsville district and we have nothing... We are open season for quite some time from Biscuit Run, to Rivanna Village, to coming up, the Leake properties and things of that nature...”
Audience Question #1: If the county’s water well monitoring results suggest that new wells can impact a neighboring property, will you be willing to tighten the county’s well ground water ordinance to make well water availability a reason to deny new development?
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “Yes. I believe that water is the single most important factor in the sustainability of our quality of life...”
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “Yes, of course... If something that is going on on a neighboring property is impacting the quality of life of someone else, then certainly, you have to tighten that up because all water is ground-water, even if it’s captured, at some point in time it’s coming from up Sugar Hollow, coming up out of a spring, somewhere...”
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “I agree with both of the other speakers... We need water and we need to make sure that it’s properly licensed before a building permit is issued, that you have to have a water well line that works. So I’m in favor of ensuring that our new development does not take other people’s water and does not impact neighboring areas...”
Audience Question 2: Will you pledge not to participate in private two-by-two meetings with members of the Board of Supervisors to discuss public matters in order to avoid the public meeting regulations?
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “Yes.”
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “As a practical matter, the process would grind to a halt. The Supervisors need to meet with people who are bringing new projects to Albemarle County. If you're saying we can't meet with those people, then that would be cutting out some important meetings. You need to know exactly what’s going on in your district... It’s rare that two supervisors meet with an applicant. So I think that process would be controllable, but three people can't meet because it would be a meeting, it would classify itself as a meeting. But two people and an applicant, I would say there are going to be times when it's necessary to do that, but infrequent.”
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “Mr Dorrier, that’s certainly not been my observation... It’s about accountability and it's about transparency and it’s due time that all supervisors are accountable and totally transparent and begin working with integrity. I have seen these little two-by-two meetings and I know they take place. And I know that more than one supervisor will meet with an applicant at the same time. And I vow to you that that will not happen on my watch.”
Audience question 3: Everyone agrees that affordable housing is in short supply in Albemarle County. For county residents making less than $20,000 a year, the shortage of affordable rentals is what it important. What portion of the funding that the county sets aside to solve the affordable housing crisis should be dedicated to affordable rentals?
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “That's a critical area. I think I believe 20% of the people in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area are below the poverty level... We need to deal that problem... I don’t know whether affordable housing funds should be used for the rentals for these people, but we need to address that problem. I think the IMPACT group, the church group, is looking into solving that
very specific problem... I don't have the answers right now, because we don't have a community trust fund set up for affordable housing. That would be the first step. And perhaps we could use some of that money for payment of rent for low income housing....”
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “Certainly in the Scottsville magisterial district I see tremendous pockets of wealth, and on the flip side of that coin I see many, many many of my constituency living at or below the poverty level... I also attended that IMPACT meeting last week and I listened intently to those assembled 25 or 30 congregations who were going to solve the affordable housing problem. And I salute them for addressing this issue. But I don’t envision them going out into the county with hammers and nails and saws and boards and building houses. I believe that they’re going to come to us... and say, okay guys, we want you to fix it. And I salute their efforts. I know they mean good. But come to us with a plan. Don't say we just need affordable housing. Help us. Help us. Come with us. Come with a plan....
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: I believe 100% of the assisted living, that type of rental units that they're talking about, is all located within the city. We have none in the county. That's an important aspect that I think we need to work with the City a great deal and try to work with them. They’re very knowledgeable in the subject... I think by creating a partnership with the City we can also get a similar type of assisted housing...”
Audience question 4: How should the rural areas pay for their protection, and what is your position on land-use taxation?
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “I believe that the current comprehensive plan is totally outdated. It simply doesn't work. I think we have to make some major, major changes...I believe that land-use taxation, when it's used honestly, is a wonderful thing especially for the farmer, that person that’s totally deserving. But I have also seen in the 15 or 16 years I’ve lived here seen an abundance of faux-farms. Many many acres of white four-board fencing, that I don't see a cow or a crop on, yet I know those people are receiving land-use taxation... Look at the amount of revenue that this county is losing by not properly policing this...
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “I approve of the land-use tax credit as long as you’re farming, as long as you're doing something. We need to create some sort of paper trail... Something that the tax assessor can follow up on... There are people who abuse it... As far as how they should pay? Certainly we would propose some of the things that were not voted on this past two weeks ago to try to help to preserve our rural areas...”
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “If you talk to people in the Farm Bureau, they will tell you that they can’t farm without the land-use taxation... The true farmers are the ones that really need this. I guess there are some abuses of it... I've seen the roll-back work and require the previous owner pay the past five years of taxes at the regular rate, so that's some small help. If there are abuses, let's root them out and be done with them, but I don't think you throw out the land-use taxation.
Audience question 5: “How much time per week do you believe is necessary to do a proper job as Supervisor, and what unique skills do you bring to the job?
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “I think I bring unique skills as far as my knowledge in the rural areas... I have farmed, I make my business in the rural areas...I think that I bring that unique aspect to the Board... I often like to say that I am a man of the people, for the people, in the sense that I own property in Albemarle County. I know how you have to set your money aside to pay your tax bill.. As far as time, it's been brought to me that it should take 60 hours a week to be on the Board of Supervisors.. I disagree with that... I think that if you donated, I'll say, 16 hours a week. That may seem low, but if you are efficient that should be enough
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “I’ve been doing this job now for about 11 years, and I guess I spend an average of 30 hours a week on the job. You often go past midnight. It’s not an easy job. It's not an easy calling but I think it is a calling and it’s a very important calling. I believe that I bring to the Board certain characteristics. I don’t tend to come in with a pre-conceived notion about something. I learned in the law that you need to look at the facts and follow the facts where they take you. Not to come up with a solution before you know what the problem is... I think everything can be solved because I’m an optimist and since I was born and raised here I think I know the pulse of the community and I think that makes me unique for this job.”
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “I think the record will show my high degree of respect for the man on my right [Mr. Dorrier]. With that said, I believe that change is absolutely necessary. I believe that there needs to be new energy, new ideas, and a tremendous amount of work. And I'm willing to accept that task... I've worked hard for nearly 35 years in the corporate world and have enjoyed success. And I believe that that experience in the corporate world has prepared me for these challenges... I have spoken to the other Supervisors, and I know that it requires far more than that. I know the number of committees that they sit on and chair. I’m ready for that task. I’m ready and willing and able to work hard and fight hard for the citizens of Albemarle County. And I believe that I am prepared to join the Board of Supervisors because of my business experience... And when you realize that Albemarle County is a business, it is a $350 million dollar a year plus business, and it has to be operated accordingly. I encourage you to think about those issues and the necessary efforts that it’s going to require...”
Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: “I think I can do the job in Albemarle County to run this $350 million business. In the year 2001 and 2002 I brought strategic planning to the Board of Supervisors. Before that time we really hadn't had a strategic plan for the County. Now we have a strategic plan for not only the Board of Supervisors but we have a strategic plan for the school board... If we plan strategically for everything we do in the County, we’ll have the money to pay for it and we will look down the road for ten to twenty years. We’re going to a new five year spending plan. We're going from one year to five years, so we're trying to take the long view... I work with the other Supervisors and I think we've got a good working relationship. You can’t do anything on the Board of Supervisors alone. You don't get anything without three other votes. You have to be able to persuade three of your colleagues to come along with you. The off-the-wall ideas may be appealing but they won’t go anywhere if you can't get three other votes. I think I can come up with the solutions for affordable housing, the infrastructure, roads, and the problems that we have in general. I think I can forge a compromise and come up with solutions to these problems... It's no accident that we live in the best place in America to live. It's no accident. It's a result of a lot of hard work from a lot of people...”
Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: “...Albemarle County is no longer the best place to live in America anymore, it's now 17 and falling rapidly, I would have to say... My thought is that we have a problem with affordable housing... The opportunity has been there to take care of these problems. We've had our other meetings, in which all the people who are running for the Board are speaking, all of them talk about how we could do a better job, we could do a better job, and I think that they have had their opportunity, and I think I could do a better job. I think that one of the things it takes is resolve, and that we need to make decisions. And that is something I think we need to press for. That we need to make a decision and act on it. When we have these continued deadlocks, especially when it comes to the rural areas... that is not compromising or working together. That is just a constant stalemate. As far people in the growth areas. You deserve the same quality of life as the people who live in the rural areas. To me there is no sacrificing the growth area to preserve the rural area. Everybody deserves a quality of life that is often promised in Albemarle County.”
Denny King (I)-Challenger: “We’ve all heard a lot of talk tonight from all three of us. I believe that change is not only healthy, but I think it's absolutely imperative for an effective and ethical government. And I think you have to have that change to ensure that effectiveness and the ethicalness of government. No matter whether it's local, state, or federal. We have to have change. That’s why we have elections. To give the voters a chance. To make a decision on whether their leaders have led well or not so well. And you will have that choice to make, two weeks from today. On November 6 ... You have heard. You have engaged. You have made the effort to learn about each and every one of us up here. And I believe that we all offer certain values. I believe that we all have good ideas and I believe that we all have good intentions. But I think you must ask yourselves when you go to the voting booth... who would you like to represent your interest? And there are many, many many challenges that I know I’m going to face... I vow to work hard and I have that ability. I have a work ethic and I’m ready to meet those challenges and I'm ready to meet the tasks at hand. And I ask for your confidence, and your votes of confidence two weeks from today. Thank you.”
TIMELINE FOR PODCAST
1:19 – Introduction and ground rules from Neil Williamson of the Free Enterprise Forum
3:30 – Opening statement from Denny King (I)
5:50 – Opening statement from Kevin Fletcher (I)
7:27 – Opening statement from Lindsey Dorrier (D)
9:38 – Question 1
16:41 – Question 2
24:44 – Question 3
32:50 – Question 4
41:48 – Question 5
49:33 – Question 6
56:00 – Question 7
1:02:24 – Question 8
1:10:50 – Question 9
1:16:52 – Question 10
1:21:06 – Audience question 1
1:24:14 – Audience question 2
1:26:47 – Audience question 3
1:31:09 – Audience question 4
1:37:55 – Audience question 5
1:44:11 - Closing statement from Lindsey Dorrier (D) – Incumbent
1:46:50 – Closing statement from Kevin Fletcher (I) – Challenger
1:48:49 – Closing statement from Denny King (I) – Challenger
Sean Tubbs & Kendall Singleton