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October 31, 2007

Planning Commission Summary for October 30, 2007

20071031pcview
The Albemarle County Planning Commission has voted 5-2 to recommend rejection of a rezoning that would further expand the Glenmore community. The applicant has requested several parcels of land southeast of the existing Glenmore development be rezoned as Planned Residential Development.  KG Associates seeks to build an additional 110 homes  on the property.

The item was first reviewed at a public hearing on August 21, 2007.
While the Commission recommended approval at that meeting, a second hearing had to be held because a discrepancy was found in the legal advertisement. One of the tax parcel numbers had been omitted from the ad, and others were incorrect.   
After the first public hearing, the Planning Commission made three specific recommendations:

  • the applicant should make cash proffer contributions  and or construct affordable units
  • the applicant should  amend the plan to show a pedestrian connection
  • the applicant should proffer an area for a greenway

County Planner Elaine Echols said the recommendation of staff was to approve the rezoning if the developer met those recommendations. But, at the October 30 public hearing, the applicant had not  made the first two changes, though Echols said she had been talking to the developer’s representative, Don Franco, about the cash  proffers. 

“There were changes to the proffers, but there were not changes to the plan,” Echols told the Commission. “But the proffers were just changed in some ways to make it clear what they were proffering and certainly to provide the greenway information.”

20070821glenmore2The applicant’s representative, Don Franco, told the Commission that the requested changes to the plan were graphical in nature,   and that he would be taking up the affordable housing proffers issue when the item goes before the Board of Supervisors on November 14. The developer wants to base the affordable housing contribution on 76 units, and feels that a credit should be granted for environmentally-sensitive design.

Planning Commissioner Eric Strucko (Samuel Miller) said he could not support the rezoning because he was concerned about the extra density in the location, which is within the County’s growth area. “Given the fact that we don’t have rural preservation policies in place, I cannot support this,” he said. He also said he was opposed to the applicant’s request for any credits.

Commission Chair Marcia Joseph (At-Large) said she was disappointed that nothing was changed on the plan.  “I feel as if it doesn’t really matter what we say or what kind of approval or what kind of recommendations we give to the Board,” she said.  “We needed all 110 units within the proffers.”

Assistant County Attorney Greg Kamptner said the applicant wants the chance to explain why they feel they need a credit to the Board, and that’s why they’ve not made the change.

Commissioners Cal Morris (Rivanna) and Duane Zobrist (White Hall) voted for approval, while Commissioners Joseph, Strucko, Bill Edgerton (Jack Jouett),  Pete Craddock (Scottsville) and Jon Cannon (Rio) voted against.

Another expansion at Glenmore, the Livengood parcel, was approved earlier this month.


OAKLEIGH FARM

20071030oakleigh The Commission also recommended rejection of a rezoning of 8.82 acres of land off of West Rio Road from R-6 the Neighborhood Model District. The owner of the property, George Ray, wants to build a mixed-use community called Oakleigh Farm that would feature 109 housing units arranged as well as 28,000 square feet of commercial retail space.

Two of the buildings fronting Rio Road would have the commercial space on the first level, with residences located on upper floors. Behind that, the development would open up into a series of multi-family units arranged around a grove of trees, as well as two single family cottages. The property is bordered by the Berkmar Crossing, Heritage Hall and a business called the Garden Spot. Fifty-three percent of the project would be either open space or some other amenity, according to the applicant’s attorney, Valerie Long.

County Planner Claudette Grant told the Commission the proposal meets with most of the principles of the Neighborhood Model, and that the applicant will preserve 39 existing mature trees.  However, she also listed several factors that are unfavorable to rezoning. For instance, she said the impacts on public facilities are not appropriately offset through proffers, a buffer with Heritage Hall has not been finalized, as well as several issues with the plan identified by the Architectural  Review Board. Grant said the applicant has agreed to resolve the issues and is working with staff.

There are no affordable housing provisions in the plan, but Grant said the developer may change this before it goes to the Board.  If not, Oakleigh may pay an additional cash proffer to meet the County’s affordable housing.

Long said the applicant is requesting proffer credits based on two provisions in the County’s recently adopted cash proffer policy.  First, she said the policy allows states that the Board of Supervisors “has the discretion to give credit for existing lot yields if the application provides substantial upgrade over current design development standards.”  Second, she says the policy allows for credit to be given “if there are unique circumstances about a project that mitigates the development’s impact on public facilities.”

Long said Oakleigh  qualifies for both of those credits because it would build a mixed-use community in Neighborhood Model, and because the County will receive tax revenue as a result of the commercial space.  The developer could build between 52 and 78 residences by-right, and Long estimates that the project will generate $ 65,000 per year in tax revenues. She asked the Commission to consider granting a proffer credit of $325,000 based on five years.

Commissioner Pete Craddock said he thought it was up to the Supervisors to answer the proffer question. Commissioner Cannon lauded the project for taking tree preservation seriously, but said he did not feel it’s the Commission’s role to make exceptions to the “strict terms” of the proffer policy.

“I don’t understand how they expect us to exercise their discretion,” Cannon said.

Commissioner Edgerton said he could not support the project because not enough had been done to push for a buffer between Oakleigh and Heritage Hall.  He also said he felt it was not appropriate for the Commission to weigh in on cash proffer credits.

The Commission voted unanimously to recommend rejection. The item will go before the Board of Supervisors on December 12, 2007.


LIBERTY HALL

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to amend a previous rezoning of the Liberty Hall project, 8.01 acres that were rezoned in June 2006 to Neighborhood Model District. The change allows for construction of a total of 51 residential units off of Radford Lane in the Crozet area. The language in the original rezoning did not include language that would have allowed the developer, Weatherhill Development, to rent out the 8 proffered affordable housing units. The amendment now includes that language.  No other changes were made to the rezoning, and the project is nearing final site plan approval.  Valerie Long, who represents the developer, says the amendment was requested to provide flexibility once the units are built. The item goes before the Board of Supervisors on December 12


OTHER COMMISSION ITEMS

The Commission also held a work-session on the rezoning of Downtown Crozet, as well as a work-session on a proposal to rezone a parcel of land to the south of Liberty Hall to Highway Commercial to accommodate a landscaping business. Charlottesville Tomorrow will publish stories on those topics in the near future.

Sean Tubbs

October 30, 2007

City Council Candidates on creating a regional transit system

As the community gets ready for election day on November 6th, Charlottesville Tomorrow is preparing to mail our non-partisan voter guides featuring the results of interviews with each of the candidates for Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

Over the next few weeks, this blog will feature some of the questions that did not make the cut for the voter guide, but which still offer important insights into the candidates' views on local growth and development issues.

Allcandidates546x182  

Our Election Watch 2007 website includes the complete audio and written transcript for each candidate interview.  Subscribe to our e-mails to get immediate notification of the availability of the 2007 Voter Guides.  The content below are excerpts pulled from the verbatim transcripts.

CITY COUNCIL, THIRD IN A SERIES

ClogosmWhat are your views on working more closely with the County and the University of Virginia to jointly operate a regional transit system?  What will you do to promote the use of public transportation, pedestrian trails, and bicycle paths?


David Brown (D)-Incumbent: I think that working more closely with the County and University is critically important to expanding transit and I think that we’re moving in that direction with the Regional Transit Authority.  I think the trade is that the City be willing to give up sole control over the transit system but in return, the County has to dramatically increase funding… 

The University of Virginia may or may not be part of a regional transit authority but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the University and the City Transit System currently work very well together…

The second question—to promote transit transportation.  You know, I think the best way to promote the use of public transportation, pedestrian trails and bicycle paths is to improve them…. I think we need to expand bike lanes so people feel like they have a safe commute on their bike and not a mostly safe commute on their bike and we need to have more sidewalks and we need to make sure our crosswalks are safe and I think we’re taking strides in that direction…

Holly Edwards (D)-Challenger: As I mentioned in the previous response, a joint transportation [system] ideally will only work if all the key players are at the table.  And I think that promoting the use of public transportation, pedestrian trails, bicycle paths, is consistent with the health and wellness message that I like to promote to encourage more physical activity.  If people would just get out of their car they would increase the amount of time that they would just be moving which would be a plus.  Even if people never change their eating habits, just moving more will make a big difference.

Barbara Haskins (I)-Challenger: …[T]he Meadowcreek Parkway should be having bike and pedestrian trails so that will open up some miles of usage, and I just talked about intersections where non-vehicles have no clear access lanes…  UVA is sort of like the big castle on the hill, and it has a drawbridge and it lets that bridge up and down as it sees fit and… right now I can understand UVA saying we have a system that works well, and what, what is the guarantee that by joining a larger system we’re not just hurting ourselves?...

…I think you have two different populations you’re talking about.  One are the people that lack access to a vehicle and for them, buses or taxi cabs are their main way of wheeled transport.  For those people, the goal would be to give them enough access to their destinations in somewhat of a user-friendly fashion including Sundays, which I know they’ve just started, which is a good thing… 

Now you can punish people by really making parking more expensive, or you can incentivize it by having really juicy parking spaces for car-poolers…   

And lastly, if I were going to do a pie in the sky thing, I would wonder about jitneys, because when you go to foreign countries there’s always jitneys which are just like minivans run by private individuals, and they just cruise a road, and if you stand on the corner, you know a jitney is going to be here within five or ten minutes...

Satyendra Huja (D)-Challenger: Well, we are one community in many ways, so I think a joint transit system would be very useful and very good, because then you don’t have to have three systems running around, and it can be one community. But a joint system needs to be a system in which each jurisdiction has an equitable share of revenues and costs for operation.  There is a major expense, and we can get a lot of money from capital equipment, but not for operations, so we need to share equitably…

As to the bike and trails and sidewalks, I support those also, but also not only support in philosophy and principle, but also in support of the funding for those facilities so that we could have a network, an interconnected network, of bikeways and sidewalks.

Peter Kleeman (I)-Challenger: …We do have a Metropolitan Planning Organization of which the City is a member and we have two City Councilors that sit on the policy making board of that and I would certainly be a strong promoter of actually expanding that body to have much more cooperation.  Right now, the University is not a voting member of that body….  The University has some influence, so my feeling is clearly all of these parties would have to get together and work out a meaningful relationship within their own charters and their own objectives, but I would like to see some real active partnership where there’s more of a discussion. 

…I am a strong believer in looking at new technology as it becomes available… when I was part of the ACCT, the Alliance for Community, Choice and Transportation, there was a Blue Moon Foundation-funded project to look at a transit option which is the Downtown Trolley, a rail-based system that was originally designed or considered to link the city center and the University… I certainly would support expanding coverage of transit in the community and I would also certainly link the notion of walk-ability and bike-ability to transit, so all of those I think enhance the use of transit for people who want to get to places in the City.

Some of the other things that I would do… Well, I think that, again, the idea of using some of the flexible dollars to enhance some of the trails and to maintain them.  One of the things that we don’t do a very good job of probably anywhere in the United States is to build in the cost of maintaining facilities.  I am an avid walker and I know a lot of the infrastructure is challenging and if you were a handicapped individual or a special needs person, some of the City streets and sidewalks are not really passable...

Kendall Singleton

Supervisor Candidates on County Budget

As the community gets ready for election day on November 6th, Charlottesville Tomorrow is preparing to mail our non-partisan voter guides featuring the results of interviews with each of the candidates for Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

Over the next few weeks, this blog will feature some of the questions that did not make the cut for the voter guide, but which still offer important insights into the candidates' views on local growth and development issues.

Allcandidates546x182  

Our Election Watch 2007 website includes the complete audio and written transcript for each candidate interview.  Subscribe to our e-mails to get immediate notification of the availability of the 2007 Voter Guides.  The content below are excerpts pulled from the verbatim transcripts.

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, THIRD IN A SERIES

ClogosmIn the last County budget, significant attention was paid by the Board of Supervisors to finding new sources of revenue and to lowering the real estate property tax rate.  Some proposed new initiatives were scaled back or eliminated.  No reductions were made to existing local government operational expenses for fiscal year 2008.  What improvements would you make to our budget process, our allocation of tax dollars, and the funding of new strategic initiatives?


RIVANNA

Ken Boyd (R)-Incumbent: I think that our biggest problem is that our budget needs overhauling…  At my urging, we are now finally after eight years of me advocating this… we’re setting up joint meetings with the School Board and with the Board of Supervisors to discuss how we can better do a job of our budget.  In essence, for years, our budget has been based on the appraised value of property and whatever it comes in at and those were good years because those property values were going way up.  During those years, I was also instrumental in having the tax rate dropped and on two different occasions, from 76 cents down to 68 cents, and I think that was necessary to provide tax relief for our citizens.  I think that’s the balancing act that we have to do with our budget process.  We have to make sure we fund the needs of this community but that we don’t overwhelm the taxpayers so that they can’t afford to live here.

Marcia Joseph (D)-Challenger: … Again, I’d like to hear from people what their needs are.  Then I’d talk to school principals.  I think it’s important to be connected with the schools.  The biggest portion of the budget is going to the schools.  I’m real excited that Ron Price is running for School Board in the Rivanna District….  I think that when elected I would form a relationship with Ron…

Allocation of tax dollars—that’s always something that people say is where’s the money going….  That’s another aspect [to] sitting down with staff… in conjunction with working with the School Board, you find out what’s going on and whether it is appropriate where they’re allocated.

Funding of new strategic initiatives—that may go back to your referendum question again…. People have talked about gasoline taxes.  They have talked about some sort of tax on very expensive homes…. That isn’t very popular in some areas and it’s popular in others, but the point is that I think there are people out there who do have some ideas that might work…


SCOTTSVILLE

Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: I favor some form of zero-based budgeting in which agency of local government has to justify its existence each year. Special scrutiny should go to new initiatives and new programs. I am willing to consider sunset laws or ordinances, in which each program has a cut-off time or year. Also, we need to review each program to eliminate duplication and to cut red tape.  Our government should be lean and courteous. Restrictions on local government operational expenses will be considered by the Board next year and in the future. Strategic planning has helped our budget process and I want to continue to use strategic planning in everything we do in Albemarle County.

Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: …Over the past eight years, our budget has grown by $140 million which also means our revenue has increased by that much… we need to possibly go back and [conduct] an audit of where the money is being spent.

…I’ve sat in on the process, you know, some and I think that the whole idea that we set a budget and then we start to, you know, whittle away from that…makes it very contentious, very argumentative and I think that we need to maybe change that…

Denny King (I)-Challenger: I think the Board worked diligently on the creation of the budget… You can’t please all of the people all the time.  You have various departments and various entities of County government who are always asking we need more money…. I think it’s all about running the County as a business.  And also as a home…   

…I think that this dialogue happens every 15 or 20 years and that is simply what services—City and County—could be combined and if so, how much money would be saved?…. I believe that it’s certainly worthy of exploration…

Another area that I feel has been neglected or not looked at carefully enough and those are the agricultural, forestry, horticulture tax credits on farms.  As I mentioned earlier, we have an abundance of faux farms in our County…. I’ve never seen soybeans or corn growing but yet I understand that these farms are getting tremendous favoritism in taxes by claiming agricultural use…. If somebody comes in and buys 500 acres or 100 acres or 30 acres and they’re going after agricultural tax credits and there is nothing there but fields looking like a golf course, that’s wrong and I think that that has to be policed a little bit more effectively… 

I think that there are millions of dollars, millions of tax dollars out there that simply aren’t being collected…we could raise substantially the County’s revenue by policing some of the issues that simply fall into the cracks.


WHITE HALL

David Wyant (R)-Incumbent: Our budgeting process… it’s keyed to our real estate and that’s an unfair tax.  I’ve looked at other localities… and how we could come up with a really fair tax.  Also, on the other side of it, there’s the expenditures.  Sitting on the CIP Oversight Committee the last year when I worked with the Oversight Committee, I got $39 million out of the CIP budget and I see us looking at being more efficient, more effective.

…In the past [we’ve] done value engineering…. We did it when we did the north fire station.  We reduced some funds in that.  I worked recently with the Stony Point Fire Company to reduce that down to be within budget…

I expect for our government to be effective and efficient and look at the possibility of where they can trim.  Our budget process… did not look at the past budget…. I would like to see that done.  I have asked for that to be done and that’ll be a requirement to changing the budget process.

The funding of new strategic initiatives—it would be maybe through bonds….  We have not taken advantage of it, but I have held that up for us to do the analysis…

Ann Mallek (D)-Challenger: We need clarity in the budget process, with open meetings held in the evenings so that working people can attend, and a lot more information made available well in advance of meetings and decisions.…  We must decide what our communities and residents need, and then decide how to pay for it.  Last year the Board of Supervisors did it exactly backwards…. The result: needed firemen and policemen were not funded; needed classrooms, teachers and education programs were not funded; needed and long promised road improvements were not funded…

We need to look more carefully at local government operating expenses.  County personnel costs are going up each year, and to say that no changes are needed is a disservice to taxpayers.  It is vital that we return to one essential fact: the customers of the County are the taxpayers, not the developers who seek permits and zoning changes.  Yet, at a Development Review Task Force meeting, Mr. Boyd and Mr. Wyant described the developers as their customers.

Developers must provide professional, certified plans with their applications, and not rely on County staff to do their work for them….  Developers who want to meet with a supervisor one-on-one should pay for a clerk to take notes at the meeting, and those notes need to be made public….  Lack of transparency corrupts public confidence and our quality of life.

Kendall Singleton

Largest local campaign contributions as of October 29th

The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) will soon release the final pre-election campaign finance data for our local elections.  The online VPAP database will include the October 29th financial reports covering fundraising activity for early October 2007.  On the VPAP website you can get contribution profiles on all the Charlottesville City Council and Albemarle County Board of Supervisors candidates. 

In the most recent reports, the largest donations of $2,000 and above are as follows:

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

White Hall

  • $5,000 - Monticello Business Alliance to Supervisor candidate David Wyant (R-White Hall). This is the third donation from this group bringing the campaign total to $9,500.
  • $5,000 - Barbara J. Fried (Crozet resident and according to VPAP, chairman emeritus of the Fried Companies, a real estate development and management firm in Northern Virginia) to Supervisor candidate David Wyant (R-White Hall). This is the second donation from this individual bringing the campaign total to $5,250.
  • $3,000 - Leo Mallek (candidate's spouse) to Supervisor candidate Ann Mallek  (D-White Hall). This is the second donation from this individual bringing the campaign total to $3,100.
  • *$2,500 - Blue Ridge Homebuilders Association to Supervisor candidate David Wyant (R-White Hall)
  • $2,000 - Democratic Road Back PAC to Supervisor candidate Ann Mallek  (D-White Hall)

Scottsville

  • $4,500 - Monticello Business Alliance to Supervisor candidate Lindsay Dorrier (D-Scottsville). This is the third and fourth donations from this group bringing the campaign total to $8,500 [NOTE: Dorrier's report indicates the total received is $6,500, but elsewhere his reports detail 4 contributions totaling $8,500].

Rivanna

  • $9,000 - Monticello Business Alliance to Supervisor candidate Ken Boyd (R-Rivanna). These are the fourth and fifth donations from this group bringing the campaign total to $13,500.

Once VPAP has the data online (by Monday, November 5th), the links above should reflect all of the contributions shown.

Brian Wheeler

*UPDATE 12/14/07: A $2,500 contribution which was originally reported by the Wyant campaign as coming from "Shelter PAC" is now being reported as coming from the "Blue Ridge Homebuilders Association."  This post has been adjusted accordingly to match VPAP's database.

October 29, 2007

Albemarle County candidates state positions on Route 29 bypass

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Charlottesville co-sponsored candidate forums for Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors races.

In the County, candidates were asked about their position on a limited-access bypass for US 29 around Charlottesville and Northern Albemarle County.

Our Election Watch 2007 website and this blog feature comprehensive coverage of our local elections.  The verbatim responses below are excerpted from the candidate forums.

Clogosm

Do you support a limited access bypass for Route 29 around northern Charlottesville and, if so, where would that be located?


David Wyant (R) – White Hall – Incumbent: “I prefer probably not to call it a bypass, but it's that parallel road again. I think we ought to really seriously consider that. I know folks say it's a large amount of money... The design of that road is critical... VDOT has already replaced everybody in the right of way, acquired all the right of way. It’s pretty disturbing that we have a large amount of tax base, out of our tax system, for non-collection. VDOT rents the parcels that are there.  So I am very supportive. Like I said [in response to another question], we have 82 percent of the local traffic getting to UVA. The alignment might need to be just a little bit different, but we need to be able to figure out a way to get the traffic around to the University and even those 18 percent that goes through town.”

Ann Mallek (D) – White Hall – Challenger: “My response is aimed at the design which is currently before the community... and no, I do not support that...In the environmental impact statement prepared years ago in support of its construction, disclosure was made that within 50 years, at least one truck carrying chemicals harmful to our water supply would wreck and discharge its contents into the water. Not if, but when. That concept is not compatible to me with a location providing water to over 60,000 residents of Charlottesville and the urban ring of Albemarle County. The road is already outdated due to its location and to growth on the northern end. At $287 million dollars, it would require all the money we might get from the federal government for the next twenty years for all road projects. That is not a reasonable investment in my opinion for a road that might carry eight to 12 percent of the traffic. Route 29 is busy because we as a community of drivers need to be in the area for our business use. Not because of travelers from DC to Lynchburg. Commonwealth Transportation Board has taken the road off of the state transportation improvement plan. The only local dollars on the [Transportation Improvement Plan] are for completion of right of way negotiations and purchases. At some point that right of way might be used for transit or it may be returned sooner to the market. That’s a decision that will have to be made by the local elected officials and the state highway department coming up.”

Marcia Joseph (D) Rivanna – Challenger: “I really don’t.  I think that the Places29 [Master Plan] has determined that we don’t need that. I mean, I haven't heard that as part of their recommendations, and again, I'm relying on experts but I'm not an engineer and haven't done any traffic modeling, but they say we don't need it, so I don't support it.”

Ken Boyd (R) – Rivanna – Incumbent: “Well, just so everybody understands, the so-called Western Bypass as it is more commonly referred to was not, was taken out of the [Places 29] study group, so they were not allowed to look at that as an alternative, so that was the recommendation, that was a majority of the Board that did that. I in fact do support a connector road. I would rather call it a western connector rather than a western bypass. I think that if we follow the route of the existing, proposed bypass, by which they've bought most all of the land already for that, and then if we had a road that would dump in right across from Leonard Sandridge Road, that this would be an excellent help to us to route traffic off of 29 and we could then possibly have 29 become truly that main street that we want it to be because people that want to pass through to get from Greene to the University or Forest Lakes to the University or Hollymead to the University, taking a limited access road allowing them to do that, I think it would be a tremendous benefit  for this area.  But, for right now, there's not enough support on the Board to do that so that's not a road that's even being considered as part of Places29.”

Lindsay Dorrier (D)  Scottsville Incumbent: “It’s an interesting question. 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... 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. I think it probably has to come on the eastern side and that it would be probably the least built up area would be on the other side of Keswick, or at least, I don’t know where the road would go. You’d have to look at the configuration, but I think that would probably be less expensive than it would be to try to build it on the west 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 for the northern part of the city that’s right now a bottleneck for the thirty percent of the traffic that goes through on a regular basis.  Once again, paying for this is going to be problematic and I don’t have any answer for that, and it’s a multimillion dollar, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of money involved. So I think we do need to talk about it.  We need to make darn sure we put it in the right place and we know what we're doing, but all the time we spend on traffic matters and, 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) Scottsville Challenger: “I’m glad you mentioned the Meadowcreek Parkway Lindsay because every time I travel up or down Rio Road I look at that great tombstone there that says ‘Meadowcreek Parkway Rest In Peace’ – 30 years? More like 35 years. And we’re talking about a bypass for 29. Is this going to be another 30 or 35 years? We have to start making decisions.  I disagree a little bit Mr. Dorrier. 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 what they would have been had it been built when it was originally talked about thirty or thirty-five years ago? Once again I have to say that we have to have a vision, we have to understand how we’re going to pay for these visions, and we have to let infrastructure guide growth. And infrastructure and roadway systems and adequate water supplies have not guided growth. We’ve reversed everything, and it’s time that we get back and do things the proper way, and not backwards.  We have to approach it in a forward positive method. 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) Scottsville 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,  it’s been looked at in many different ways and I would say that 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 discussed before I think we do an adequate job of moving quickly down 29. There may have to be some sort of extra work, a ramp work done at Best Buy to get the traffic, to get tractor trailers and things moving quickly up through there, an extra lane. It might be the nearest fix for the problem, but like I said, I don’t foresee it ever happening. Certainly it probably will happen at some time in the future but as of right now, I don’t think that I could support that because I think we have much greater traffic needs that need to be funded right now. “

     
According to the transportation analysis in the DRAFT Places29 Master Plan, VDOT believes that only 12% of the traffic on Route 29 North is through traffic.  These are trips where "both the origin and destination are outside the urbanized portion of Albemarle County.

Sean Tubbs

Drought warning to continue despite rain

A drought warning declared by the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority in August will continue, despite heavy rainfall that occurred last week.

“The streams in our water supply watershed did respond positively to the rainfall,” said RWSA Executive Director Tom Frederick in a statement.  “But as of Monday morning, they are already diminishing rapidly back toward levels that are below normal for this time of year.”

The South Fork Rivanna Reservoir filled up after the rains, and the RWSA reported it as being full as of midnight.  The Totier Creek Reservoir, which serves Scottsville, is also full. However, the Sugar Hollow reservoir is more than 12 feet below its full level.  Frederick said that means it is storing half of its total capacity of 316 million gallons.

“We need a couple of more rain events like what we experienced last week to complete the recovery of this drought,” he continued. “The 4 inches of rain last week is a big help, but still leaves us with a significant rainfall deficit of about 11 inches.”

The RWSA is concerned that Sugar Hollow may not refill over the winter. Computer modeling being used by the RWSA has led Frederick and his staff to recommend that the drought warning not be lifted until Sugar Hollow is at no more than six feet below capacity.

Frederick urged area residents to continue to conserve water.  The drought contingency plan in place is counting on users of public water to keep consumption to less than 10 million gallons per day.

No significant rain is in the forecast for the next week, but meteorologists are watching Hurricane Noel, which is currently on a course towards the Bahamas.

Sean Tubbs

City Council Candidates on the Meadowcreek Parkway

As the community gets ready for election day on November 6th, Charlottesville Tomorrow is preparing to mail our non-partisan voter guides featuring the results of interviews with each of the candidates for Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

Over the next few weeks, this blog will feature some of the questions that did not make the cut for the voter guide, but which still offer important insights into the candidates' views on local growth and development issues.

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Our Election Watch 2007 website includes the complete audio and written transcript for each candidate interview.  Subscribe to our e-mails to get immediate notification of the availability of the 2007 Voter Guides.  The content below are excerpts pulled from the verbatim transcripts.

CITY COUNCIL, SECOND IN A SERIES

ClogosmDo you support the Meadowcreek Parkway which VDOT plans to advertise for construction in 2008?  Why or why not?


David Brown (D)-Incumbent: Well, I do support the Parkway.  Since I’ve been on Council, I’ve been more convinced of the need for this road.  I think that [Route] 29 is going to get worse before it gets better with the development of Albemarle Place and we need to make sure that people coming from the north side of Charlottesville can access Downtown.  I think the Meadowcreek Parkway will help allow that.  I think that it also helps lessen the impact that’s currently being borne by a number of neighborhoods, the Park Street neighborhoods in particular, and I also think that what’s important about supporting the Meadowcreek Parkway is that it be part of a plan, that it not be the only road that we build, that we find ways to build other roads that connect the City and the County and connect one portion of the County to another and that the Meadowcreek Parkway enhance pedestrian and trail access both into the Park and also from the northern side of Charlottesville into Charlottesville.

Holly Edwards (D)-Challenger: The decision to move forward with the Meadowcreek Parkway will have been decided before the November election but at least it’s called a parkway, indicating that it will remain a scenic pathway.  This has the opportunity to be a crown jewel for the City if it’s done well.  If the Parkway’s built, the least we can do is spend a small fraction in a parallel effort to improve our public transportation.  I believe that the transportation part should include continued promotion of public transportation, employee incentive car pools, community and satellite lots.

Barbara Haskins (I)-Challenger: …There are pros and cons to it, but I think the pros outweigh it… The downtown business owners and merchants… want the Parkway. They believe it will be important to have some kind of reasonably unfettered way to get downtown.  I would like to defer to their preference in this regard because I want to support them…

You know, other people would say it’s not going to be [for traffic] to come downtown, it’s going to go county to county…. But the harder it gets to travel on every other road, that is a disincentive for people who did want to come downtown… 

From what I understand VDOT now has guidance that they’re supposed to include bicycle and pedestrian access on these new roads that they’re putting in, and I think that those bicycle and pedestrian pathways running that distance are a wonderful asset to the community. You just have to look at the GW Parkway up in Northern Virginia that goes from D.C. to Mount Vernon. They have a bike path, and on the weekends you practically need stop lights it’s so used…

…I think that from what I saw of the Meadowcreek Parkway plans, it’s a curving road, it has a very low speed limit on it.  There’s a lot of opportunity for aesthetic potential as roads go, which is actually a plus.  A lot of roads are built with zero aesthetic in mind, and I think we’re going to have a high aesthetic factor…

Satyendra Huja (D)-Challenger: Yes, I do support the Meadowcreek Parkway, two-lane parkway, with pedestrian and bicycle and transit access to the parkway. Because, I think it provides good access to our downtown, which is an important part of our economy and the heart of our community. We need to be able to get to that. It also provides access to northern parts of the City. I also support the replacement of open space lost due to parkway, so that it’s truly a parkway, and not just a road through the heart.

Peter Kleeman (I)-Challenger: …The Meadowcreek Parkway is a project I don’t support in its current design and I’m not really sure how much of it I could support if it was redesigned.  Certainly, I do not support the portion that runs through McIntire Park and the interchange that would also be added to try to fix some of the problems with the originally designed Meadowcreek Parkway.

…I don’t believe [the Parkway] meets our vision of the community that we would like to be.  City Council’s Vision 2025 is looking for us to be a much more pedestrian-oriented, locally-contained community where people do not have to do as much commuting, driving, as they do now, so we’re building infrastructure that we may not need.  All the improvements that is claiming to make in the rest of our network I don’t necessarily believe can be realized…

Now, the consultants have never demonstrated, at least to my satisfaction, that this meets our long-term transportation needs without having to make other major investments that would complement this, so my feeling is this is a project that was conceived based on demands in the 1960s to meet the needs of the ’80s, but we’re sitting here in 2007 and…it does not work…. I would recommend and have recommended on many occasions that we revisit the idea of what our transportation needs are…

Kendall Singleton

October 25, 2007

Scottsville candidates face questions at forum

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 Charlottesville Tomorrow.

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.

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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:

OPENING STATEMENTS

20071023king 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...”

20071023fletcher 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...”

20071023dorrier 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...”

CLOSING STATEMENTS

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

October 24, 2007

Business Council hosts the County Supervisor Candidates

20071017ncbc
Tim Hulbert of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce moderated the forum

The seven candidates running for three seats on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors took questions from the North Charlottesville Business Council (NCBC) at a forum held on October 17, 2007, at the Doubletree Hotel. The NCBC is a division of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, and many of its members are concerned with how the Places29 Master Plan might affect their business. Among other questions, candidates were asked to describe their vision of the role Route 29 plays in the community.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20071017-NCBC-Forum.mp3

Watch the video below:

In his introduction of the candidates, NCBC Chairman Michael McGowan cited his group's Workplace29 report, the results of which shows that $800 million in salaries are paid to the 20,000 people who work along the 29 corridor. McGowan wanted candidates to comment on the study, and also told them about a University of Virginia class project on low-cost pedestrian safety alternatives the NCBC commissioned earlier this year.

“We'd like to see things like that done by the County and done by the community to promote the local character of 29,” he said. “Because we see 29 as being the main street of the County, the central focus of our mixed-use urban area, and we're concerned about plans that make it into more of an expressway.”

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 1:05 – Opening remarks from Michael McGowan of the NCBC
  • 4:03 – Opening statement from Ken Boyd (R) – Rivanna District – Incumbent
  • 7:44 – Opening statement from Lindsey Dorrier (D) – Scottsville District – Incumbent
  • 11:20 – Opening statement from Marcia Joseph (D) – Rivanna District – Challenger
  • 14:12 – Opening statement from Denny King (I) – Scottsville District – Challenger
  • 16:45 – Opening statement from Ann Mallek (D) – White Hall District – Challenger
  • 20:03 – Opening statement from Kevin Fletcher (I) – Scottsville District – Challenger
  • 22:39 - Opening statement from David Wyant (R) – White Hall District – Incumbent
  • 25:34 – Question 1: What is your vision for what Albemarle County should be in the future?
  • 42:00 – Question 2: What is your vision for the character of US 29, a national highway? Should it be an expressway or a main commercial boulevard? Do you think it can be both?
  • 52:19 – Question 3: The North Charlottesville Business Council has shown ways to make pedestrian safety improvements on Route 29 that would cost tens of thousands of dollars, as opposed to millions of dollars. As a supervisor, would you be willing and prepared to have the County make those capital investments beginning in 2008?
  • 59:11 – Audience question 1: “Could you share with us your thoughts on the recent report from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition on racial discrepancies in mortgage lending rates?”

Kendall Singleton and Sean Tubbs

 

October 22, 2007

Conservation efforts keep area water demand below 10 MGD

20071022rwsa_4 Mandatory conservation measured designed to reduce demand for public water are helping the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority in its efforts to prolong the area's water supply. That's according to Tom Frederick, the RWSA's Executive Director. Frederick gave an update on the drought at the October 22 meeting of the RWSA Board of Directors.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20071022-Drought-Update.mp3

The area received its first significant rainfall in some time late last week, with reports ranging between a half-inch and six-tenths of an inch of rain. Frederick said the impact on stream flows was minimal, because though the rainfall was steady, it was not intense.

“None of our reservoirs are higher today than they were Friday morning,” he said. He added that Sugar Hollow is the reservoir with the most critical status, at 41 percent of usable storage volume. South Fork Rivanna Reservoir is down a foot

Part of the RWSA's Drought Management Plan (.PDF) includes limiting the output of the Observatory Water Treatment Plant to one million gallons per day (MGD). In order to do that, demand needs to be below a certain threshold. Otherwise, Observatory has to pump more water, in order to keep sufficient water pressure in the southern part of the RWSA's service area.

Frederick says the public is continuing to conserve, allowing demand to remain below 10 MGD. This time last year, during a similar dry period, average demand approached 12 MGD.

“This year we've been able to keep it down to 9.9 MGD as of today, going back to August 15, which is the date the drought warning took effect,” Frederick said. If the warning, with its mandatory restrictions, had not been issues, Frederick told the Board that things would be much worse.

“Were we not to have imposed a drought warning, and not to have asked for the conservation that we've achieved in this community, the Sugar Hollow Reservoir would be down to 20 percent of usable storage.

Frederick said his staff will continue to monitor the weather, and will also continue to study historical records as a way of predicting whether the area's reservoirs will fill before next spring. The RWSA's computer modeling is currently using the very dry winter of 2001-2002 as a basis for its forecast.

“October 2001 stream-flow data is remarkably similar to the stream-flow data that we're seeing right now,” he said. “Every indication is that South Fork will refill without too much difficulty, because we are moving into the time of the year where nature tends to recover. We also have confidence that Beaver Creek will refill. We have enough capacity in the pipeline between Sugar Hollow and Ragged Mountain that through transfers, we can refill Ragged Mountain by April.”

However, the Sugar Hollow Reservoir may not refill if the winter is as dry as in 2001-2002. “That is a deep concern to the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority in the event that next summer is a very dry summer. We feel like every possible precaution needs to be taken in our drought management programs and policies to try to bring us to the point where Sugar Hollow will refill.”

Frederick recommended keeping the drought warning in place, and did not recommend moving to drought emergency status at this time. That would mean a mandatory conservation of 20 percent. The Board voted to approve his recommendation.

Albemarle County Executive Bob Tucker, who sits on the RWSA Board, said he hoped Frederick's comments would go a long way towards convincing people who may consider the drought restrictions alarmist.

“I would say for those who were questioning our actions as early as we did, now see the validity of that, and the prudence of that,” Tucker said. “I think those in the deep South wish they had started early as well,” referring to communities around Georgia that have only three months water supply in their reservoirs.

Sean Tubbs