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September 30, 2009

MPO Policy Board discuss Virginia’s master road plan, Hollymead commuter trail

By Sean Tubbs & Connie Chang
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The MPO Policy Board dealt with an unusual number of items at their meeting on September 22, 2009, including an initial discussion of the U.S. 29 Corridor Study. Earlier this year, the group agreed with the recommendation by the new director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) to hold their meetings on a bi-monthly basis. Other topics included the forthcoming Virginia Surface Transportation Plan, plans for a new commuter bike trail to link Hollymead and downtown and whether legislators should join the MPO.

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Locally-desired projects absent from draft Virginia Surface Transportation Plan

MPO pic


Image courtesy MPO/VDOT
Members of the MPO Policy Board were somewhat concerned their priorities might not be reflected in a new statewide transportation document. The Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation are in the process of writing a document called the Virginia Surface Transportation Plan.

This will be a master plan for the state’s primary highways, featuring projects that VDOT officials believe are necessary to meet Virginia’s road capacity in 2035. A version of the plan has been sent to MPOs across the state to get input, including the following eight projects in the MPO’s jurisdiction:


TJPDC Executive Director Stephen Williams noted that several projects considered by the MPO are not on Virginia’s list. Most notably, the plan includes no mention of the extension of Berkmar Drive.

“Although Berkmar Drive is not itself a part of the primary highway system, this improvement will help US 29, an important link in the primary system, to continue to provide acceptable levels of service in the future,” Williams wrote in a letter back to VDOT.  Jim Utterback, VDOT’s Culpeper District Administrator, said any comments about Berkmar were likely be ignored given that it is not a primary road.

Williams also noted that Virginia’s proposed plan includes no references to transit or pedestrian improvements.

Another project absent from the list is the creation of a second ramp near the Best Buy from U.S. 29 to the 29/250 Bypass. That project is called for in the Places29 Master Plan. The City of Charlottesville has applied for VDOT revenue sharing funds to help pay for it.

Albemarle County Supervisor and MPO Chair David Slutzky said he was concerned that VDOT wanted to convert Route 20 into a “throughway”, something he said was inconsistent with the County’s comprehensive plan. He wanted language in the response letter to make sure that any improvements to Route 20 would be done on a spot-basis as opposed to corridor-wide.

The MPO agreed to not endorse Williams’ letter, but agreed to discuss the contents of the letter via e-mail. VDOT wants feedback delivered by October 9. The MPO Technical Committee has revised a draft letter to VDOT which summarizes their concerns.

Planning under way for commuter trail to connect Hollymead to Downtown

The MPO is assisting the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County with plans for a bicycle and pedestrian trail to connect the Hollymead area with Charlottesville. A steering committee has been formed to shepherd the project from design to completion. There are three potential routes from Hollymead to the city, as well as three potential routes from there to the Downtown Mall.

TJPDC Executive Director Stephen Williams said the route will be designed in such a way to encourage commuting via bicycle. Preliminary design of three potential corridors is expected to be complete within six months. Slutzky encouraged them to make sure that work was complete before the City and the County begin the next budget cycle.

Virginia’s top transportation official wants state legislators to join MPO board


Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation, Pierce Homer, wants the MPO Policy Board to consider adding legislators to its membership in order to better inform state politicians about the needs of local communities. The idea has already happened in the D.C. area, where both Delegate Margaret Vanderhye and state Senator Patricia Ticer serve on that region’s MPO.

In response, Williams drafted a letter to local legislators to assess their interest in joining the body.

City Councilor Satyendra Huja said he did not know how having legislators on a local body would provide any value. In response, Williams said he talked to the staff at the Hampton Roads MPO, who said they benefited from having people at the table who could actually make decisions in Richmond. Huja said he could not support that.

“It would be at least three more people on the policy board who are not local,” Huja said.

Utterback said the intent of adding legislators would be to make them more aware of the constraints placed on localities by declining state transportation revenues.

“Maybe that’s the problem. They don’t realize that the transportation nightmare we’re having is their fault,” Slutzky quipped. He said Delegate Rob Bell might have changed his mind on certain issues if he routinely attended meetings.

The MPO Policy Board agreed to send a letter to area legislators asking if any would be interested in becoming more involved. Huja called the letter a “waste of time.”

“I don’t think in my mind it will change anything,” Huja said.
 
RTA to be beneficiary of leftover budget money

Williams said that the MPO had around $15,000 in unspent transit planning funds. The MPO Policy Board voted to put that money towards planning for the Regional Transit Authority, even though they are not sure of the specifics of how it will be used.

Williams reminded the MPO that the previous consultant, Frank Spielberg, had said his time to continue assisting with the implementation of the RTA would be at least $40,000. A decision on how to proceed will be made at the MPO’s next meeting in November.

OTHER NEWS:

  • VDOT has completed a new model that can help predict traffic movements in the Charlottesville area. The MPO will now be responsible for maintaining and updating the system, which will be used to guide future transportation decisions.
  • The MPO’s two subcommittees will follow the MPO Policy Board’s lead and will meet bimonthly. Additionally, the MPO Technical Committee and the Community Mobility Committee will hold joint meetings with an eye towards possibly merging
  • UVA has signed a contract with a “nationally recognized” car-sharing service, but representative Julia Monteith was not willing to share which one. The service will begin with six cars and will be open to the general public. Last year, UVA entered into an agreement with Zipcar, but the deal fell through. Monteith said the vehicles will be stored throughout the University’s Grounds.
  • The MPO has rescheduled its next meeting to Monday, November 23. Previously the meeting was scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving
  • Albemarle County Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) will continue to serve as chair of the MPO Policy Board for the remainder of the calendar year. The MPO will amend its bylaws to move officer elections to January.

September 29, 2009

New VDOT study of U.S. 29 recommends use of Western Bypass route and new elevated connector in City’s Hydraulic Rd area

DailyProgress By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) report on the future of U.S. 29 will recommend the consideration of two new roads in the Charlottesville area. The first would extend the University of Virginia’s Leonard Sandridge Road using some portions of the right-of-way previously purchased for the U.S. 29 Western Bypass.  The second would connect U.S. 29 to the 250 Bypass via a partially elevated roadway near the Kroger at Hydraulic Road.

VDOT hired the Parsons Transportation Group earlier this year to conduct the study, which examined the 219 mile U.S. 29 corridor between the North Carolina border and Gainesville. Joseph Springer, project manager for the study, showed conceptual drawings of the two projects to the local Metropolitan Planning Organization board last week.

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Springer said the idea of a four-lane limited access Western Bypass is “no longer an effective option to serve corridor-wide trips.”  However, he said the study would recommend that the right-of-way, currently owned by VDOT be considered as a possible transportation corridor to serve local traffic.. He suggested this could take the form of an extension of Leonard Sandridge Road.

“The idea is to extend the parallel road system that comes out of Places29 and taking that down to Route 250,” Springer said.

20090929-Map

(Click for a larger image)
Use by permission of Daily Progress
Springer said the study will recommend three potential alternatives for the extension. Alternative 1 would connect Leonard Sandridge Road to the intersection of Georgetown Road and Barracks Road along a new route. Alternatives 2 and 3 would both follow portions of the Western Bypass route, with one connecting at Hydraulic Road near Albemarle High School and the other connecting onto Earlysville Road.

‘It would not function as a bypass but would serve local traffic,” said Charlie Rasnick, a retired VDOT engineer who is working on the study. He said the idea was to extend the parallel roads concept.

VDOT began purchasing parcels of land along the bypass’s route in the mid-1990’s and has spent $33.7 million to acquire at least some of the right-of-way. State law requires the agency to begin selling back those parcels twenty-years after the original purchase date if they are not used.

Jeff Werner with the Piedmont Environmental Council said he was disappointed that this latest study recommends the Leonard Sandridge Road extension because two previous studies in which VDOT was involved did not recommend it.

“Given VDOT’s participation in both Places29 and the 29H250 study, the community should be wondering why VDOT is coming in and presenting something which is contradictory,” Werner said. “My feeling is that VDOT was absolutely determined to find some use for the right of way they acquired.”

In April, a study of the extension was taken out of the MPO’s long-range transportation plan at the request of Albemarle County Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett). At the MPO meeting, Rooker told Springer he had concerns with what he called a $100 million project.

“What you’re recommending be studied is that we build a parallel road to the parallel road,” Rooker said. He added that drivers can already travel from Barracks Road to the Airport without ever touching U.S. 29 by using Georgetown, Hydraulic and Earlysville Roads.

Springer said the intention was not necessarily to take traffic off of U.S. 29, but was instead to expand the County’s parallel network of roads.

The idea has at least the preliminary support of business policy organization.“Any alternative to U.S. 29 will provide a measure of relief,” said Neil Williamson, director of the Free Enterprise Forum. He said the extended road would make it easier for people to get to the University of Virginia, and could pave the way for additional transit options.

The proposal to extend Leonard Sandridge Road straight to Georgetown Road led residents in one County neighborhood to call a community meeting Sunday evening.

“We are very concerned about those proposals, especially Alternative 1, because of the negative impact it would have directly on our neighborhood,” said Bob Garland Jr., secretary of the Canterbury Hills Association.

20090929-VDOT-250-Hydraulic

(Click for larger image)
The other road called for in the study would be a new connector road linking Hydraulic Road with the 250 Bypass via a new interchange. An image included in the MPO’s presentation depicts the road as passing through the existing Kroger and the Quality Inn.

“The key assumption of that is that the area is redeveloped,” Springer said. The objective would be to remove traffic from the bottleneck at the current U.S. 250 and U.S. 29 interchange. 

On the subject of the entire corridor, Springer told the MPO that the main goal of the study is to improve access management.

Here are some of the major recommendations for the entire corridor:

  • Long-term goal is to only allow access to U.S. 29 at secondary roads, restricting or prohibiting access via driveways and entrances
  • VDOT should consider purchasing development rights along corridor
  • VDOT should give incentives to creating parallel roads in urban areas
  • VDOT should develop a master plan for access management throughout entire corridor, with VDOT serving as “steward” of this key transportation resource
  • Rail capacity should be increased with double tracks along corridor
  • Grade separated interchanges should be built at bottlenecks
  • Traffic signals in urbanized areas should be re-timed at least every three years
  • Where possible, “side-street acceleration lanes” should be constructed

Parsons said VDOT should strive to eliminate traffic signals on Route 29. He said each signal puts pressure on communities to develop around them, and the short-term benefits to that local community of that development are outweighed by the long-term impacts to the region as a whole.

The final report will also recommend that localities seek new sources of revenue to help pay for improvements to U.S. 29, including the creation of service districts which assess additional property taxes.

Citizens can review the plans and the draft study from 5:00 to 8:00 PM on September 29, 2009 at the Virginia Department of Forestry building near the University of Virginia’s Fontaine Research Center.

September 28, 2009

Scientist explains ASAP research on impacts of population growth on local ecosystems

By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, September 28, 2009

Trees capture carbon dioxide from the air. Open space helps filter groundwater to make it safer for drinking. These are two examples of “ecosystem services” that can be affected by population growth, but until now there has been no attempt to study what links there may be between the two.

The group Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population (ASAP) recently raised $112,000 to conduct a series of studies to establish an “optimal sustainable population size” for Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The City contributed $11,000 and the County contributed $25,000 towards five studies, one of which was to analyze how different levels of population growth would affect the ability of the landscape to provide ecosystem services.

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20090922-ASAP-Board-CommissDr. Claire Jantz briefs the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission

ASAP hired Claire Jantz, a land use expert from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, to conduct the analysis into the area’s ecological carrying capacity. She was in Charlottesville this week to give briefings to the City Council, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the League of Women Voters of Charlottesville-Albemarle.

In her research, she first identified the current level of ecosystems services, then came up with several population scenarios for how population would grow. She then compared how population demands would affect the ability of the landscape to provide the services.

Her work began with a combined City-County population of 124,285 based upon the 2000 U.S. Census. She then used a program called CityGREEN that measures the environmental benefits of trees and green space, and cross-examined the effects on those benefits as population increases. The land cover data is from 2001.

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Different sections of the community were assigned different “land-consumption” ratios based on different zoning and allowable densities. Each time a new theoretical person moves to the area, Jantz’s work assumes that a certain percentage of forest is cut down.

“For every new person that went into Charlottesville, we had to convert .16 acres of forest or open space into development,” Jantz said. People moving into rural areas used even more land per new person
Jantz’s research assumed that these densities would not change over the course of population build-out. She further assumed that when one area reached “build-out,” population would automatically spill over into neighboring areas.

Slideforasap

This slide depicts how the amount of undeveloped land decreases as population increases, potentially limiting the ability of the land to perform valuable "ecosystem services"

According to Jantz, Charlottesville and Albemarle’s urban ring will reach a “build-out” with and added population of 111,882. She said the ability of rural areas to provide ecosystem services will deteriorate when population growth reaches 125% of current levels. However, her work does not offer any time horizons for when the development would occur.  “I did not look at growth rates over time, and I’m actually not 100% sure what the growth rate is for the region,” Jantz said. “When the growth areas run out of space, that’s when we start to see a lot more development pressure in the rural areas,’ Jantz said.

And with that pressure would come more forests being lost to development, according to Jantz. At all three presentations, she demonstrated how that would reduce the ability of the land to sequester carbon, scrub carbon monoxide, protect from erosion, as well as other services.

 “The rural areas are very important for maintaining ecosystem services for the whole study area, but what’s happening is the [growth areas] are the areas that experience the most loss of services up until we see growth pressure in the rural areas as well,” Jantz said.

Jantz said this baseline study provides a tool that can be adjusted as conditions and policies change. She stopped short of offering recommendations, but appeared to indicate that Albemarle County was moving in the right direction.

“The strategy of directing growth into the developing areas has the best chance of offsetting community wide impacts on ecosystems services,” Jantz said. She said the urban areas should work towards installing green roofs, implementing urban forestry management practices, and incorporating low-income development strategies. Both the City and County have begun installing green roofs on their administration buildings. The City recently announced it has attained a tree canopy of 45%.

However, Jantz said after the population reaches a certain point, the landscape’s ability to provide ecosystem services will degrade.

“Given what we found, that seems to happen at about 300,000 people,” Jantz said.

Duane Snow, a Republican candidate for the Board of Supervisors, asked if her analysis took into the amount of land that had been placed into conservation. Jantz responded that her study assumed that no additional lands would be placed into easements because otherwise it would have been too complex an analysis for this initial study.

“This is a first broad brush approach where we used the simplest assumptions that we could so we could move forward with the study,” Jantz said.

ASAP plans four more studies as part of the first phase of its project. The next to be released will look at what resources Albemarle County and Charlottesville are currently using, as well as projected demands as population grows. Additional studies include an air quality report, a report on stream health, and a report on how groundwater is affected by population growth.

A second phase, which will not be paid for with City and County money, will examine the socioeconomic issues related to growth, including a report from Meadowcreek Parkway opponent and ASAP Board member Rich Collins on how the character of a community changes as it increases in size.

September 27, 2009

Duane Snow - Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview

Snow

As part of Charlottesville Tomorrow's coverage of the 2009 local elections for City Council and the Board of Supervisors, we have interviewed each candidate to discuss topics related to water, land use, transportation, their priorities, and their qualifications.

Excerpts from these interviews will be included in our upcoming non-partisan 2009 Voter Guide which will be mailed to each household with one of these races on the ballot.  In the meantime, we are publishing the complete audio recordings and transcripts of our interviews. 

Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch 2009 website for even more detailed information on the candidates including, bios, campaign finance reports, other videos and podcasts, and the schedule of upcoming candidate forums.

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2009 Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview
Candidate: Duane Snow (R)

Download Download the transcript

On November 3, 2009, voters in the Samuel Miller Magisterial District go to the polls to elect their representative on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.  This recording is Brian Wheeler’s September 1, 2009 interview with Duane Snow (R).  Mr. Snow’s opponents are Madison Cummings (D) and John Lowry (I).

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 00:50 - Introduction from Brian Wheeler
  • 01:30 - Question 1 - Describe your past experience.
  • 02:42 - Question 2 - Plans for transportation and Regional Transit Authority.
  • 03:15 - Follow-up question
  • 03:30 - Question 3 - Views on what Places29 Master Plan should contain.
  • 04:33 - Question 4 - Views on expansion of county growth areas.
  • 05:05 - Question 5 - How he would direct budget process.
  • 05:30 - Question 6 - Should Board explore capping population growth?
  • 06:20 - Question 7 - Views on water supply and Lower Ragged Mountain Dam.
  • 06:50 - Question 8 - Area of improved partnership with the City.
  • 07:15 - Question 9 - Priorities in economic development and growth areas.
  • 07:48 - Question 10 - Do you support the 1990 Three Party Agreement (transportation)?
  • 08:36 - Question 11 - Views on revisiting past Board decisions.
  • 09:45 - Question 12 - Views on revision of 1982 revenue sharing agreement with City.
  • 10:25 - Question 13 - Do you support 50-year water supply plan?
  • 12:00 - Question 14 - Top priority if elected.
  • 12:45 - Question 15 - Views on strategic plan and necessary steps in meeting goals.
  • 15:00 - Question 16 - Primary responsibility of Board.

John Lowry - Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview

Lowry

As part of Charlottesville Tomorrow's coverage of the 2009 local elections for City Council and the Board of Supervisors, we have interviewed each candidate to discuss topics related to water, land use, transportation, their priorities, and their qualifications.

Excerpts from these interviews will be included in our upcoming non-partisan 2009 Voter Guide which will be mailed to each household with one of these races on the ballot.  In the meantime, we are publishing the complete audio recordings and transcripts of our interviews. 

Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch 2009 website for even more detailed information on the candidates including, bios, campaign finance reports, other videos and podcasts, and the schedule of upcoming candidate forums.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20090903-Lowry-Interview


2009 Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview
Candidate: John Lowry (I)

On November 3, 2009, voters in the Samuel Miller Magisterial District go to the polls to elect their representative on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.  This recording is Brian Wheeler’s September 1, 2009 interview with John Lowry (I).  Mr. Lowry’s opponents are Madison Cummings (D) and Duane Snow (R).

Download Download the transcript

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 00:50 - Introduction from Brian Wheeler
  • 01:33 - Question 1 - Describe your past experience.
  • 03:26 - Question 2 - Plans for transportation and Regional Transit Authority.
  • 06:00 - Question 3 - Views on what Places29 Master Plan should contain.
  • 07:56 - Question 4 - Views on expansion of county growth areas.
  • 09:00 - Question 5 - How he would direct budget process.
  • 10:31 - Question 6 - Should Board explore capping population growth?
  • 12:08 - Question 7 - Views on water supply and Lower Ragged Mountain Dam.
  • 13:44 - Question 8 - Area of improved partnership with the City.
  • 15:27 - Question 9 - Priorities in economic development and growth areas.
  • 17:37 - Follow-up question from Wheeler
  • 18:21 - Question 10 - Do you support the 1990 Three Party Agreement (transportation)?
  • 20:08 - Question 11 - Views on revisiting past Board decisions.
  • 21:52 - Question 12 - Views on revision of 1982 revenue sharing agreement with City.
  • 24:00 - Question 13 - Do you support 50-year water supply plan?
  • 25:04 - Question 14 - Top priority if elected.
  • 26:26 - Question 15 - Views on strategic plan and necessary steps in meeting goals.
  • 28:38 - Question 16 - Primary responsibility of Board.

Madison Cummings - Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview

Cummings

As part of Charlottesville Tomorrow's coverage of the 2009 local elections for City Council and the Board of Supervisors, we have interviewed each candidate to discuss topics related to water, land use, transportation, their priorities, and their qualifications.

Excerpts from these interviews will be included in our upcoming non-partisan 2009 Voter Guide which will be mailed to each household with one of these races on the ballot.  In the meantime, we are publishing the complete audio recordings and transcripts of our interviews. 

Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch 2009 website for even more detailed information on the candidates including, bios, campaign finance reports, other videos and podcasts, and the schedule of upcoming candidate forums.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20090901-Cummings-Interview


2009 Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview
Candidate: Madison Cummings (D)


On November 3, 2009, voters in the Samuel Miller Magisterial District go to the polls to elect their representative on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.  This recording is Brian Wheeler’s September 1, 2009 interview with Madison Cummings (D).  Mr. Cummings’ opponents are Duane Snow (R) and John Lowry (I).

Download Download the transcript

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 00:50 - Introduction from Brian Wheeler
  • 01:32 - Question 1 - Describe your past experience.
  • 04:08 - Question 2 - Plans for transportation and Regional Transit Authority.
  • 07:17 - Question 3 - Views on what Places29 Master Plan should contain.
  • 10:00 - Question 4 - Views on expansion of county growth areas.
  • 11:23 - Question 5 - How he would direct budget process.
  • 15:55 - Question 6 - Should Board explore capping population growth?
  • 19:36 - Question 7 - Views on water supply and Lower Ragged Mountain Dam.
  • 23:20 - Question 8 - Area of improved partnership with the City.
  • 26:15 - Question 9 - Priorities in economic development and growth areas.
  • 28:45 - Question 10 - Do you support the 1990 Three Party Agreement agreement?
  • 31:00 - Question 11 - Views on revisiting past Board decisions.
  • 32:45 - Question 12 - Views on revision of 1982 revenue sharing agreement with City.
  • 35:10 - Question 13 - Do you support 50-year water supply plan?
  • 38:05 - Question 14 - Top priority if elected.
  • 38:55 - Question 15 - Views on strategic plan and necessary steps in meeting goals.
  • 40:50 - Question 16 - Primary responsibility of Board.

Rodney Thomas - Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview

Thomas

As part of Charlottesville Tomorrow's coverage of the 2009 local elections for City Council and the Board of Supervisors, we have interviewed each candidate to discuss topics related to water, land use, transportation, their priorities, and their qualifications.

Excerpts from these interviews will be included in our upcoming non-partisan 2009 Voter Guide which will be mailed to each household with one of these races on the ballot.  In the meantime, we are publishing the complete audio recordings and transcripts of our interviews. 

Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch 2009 website for even more detailed information on the candidates including, bios, campaign finance reports, other videos and podcasts, and the schedule of upcoming candidate forums.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20090910-Thomas_Interview


2009 Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview
Candidate: Rodney Thomas (R)

On November 3, 2009, voters in the Rio Magisterial District go to the polls to elect their representative on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.  This recording is Brian Wheeler’s September 10, 2009 interview with Rodney Thomas (R).  Mr. Thomas is challenging incumbent David Slutzky (D).

Download Download the transcript

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 00:46 - Introduction from Brian Wheeler
  • 01:26 - Question 1 - Describe your past experience.
  • 02:30 - Question 2 - Plans for transportation and Regional Transit Authority.  
  • 03:41 - Question 3 - Views on what Places29 Master Plan should contain.
  • 04:50 - Question 4 - Views on expansion of county growth areas.
  • 05:50 - Question 5 - How he would direct budget process.
  • 07:00 - Question 6 - Should Board explore capping population growth?
  • 08:11 - Question 7 - Views on water supply and Lower Ragged Mountain Dam.
  • 09:10 - Question 8 - Area of improved partnership with the City.
  • 10:03 - Question 9 - Priorities in economic development and growth areas.
  • 10:50 - Question 10 - Do you support the 1990 Three Party Agreement (transportation)?
  • 11:37 - Question 11 - Views on revisiting past Board decisions.
  • 12:30 - Question 12 - Views on revision of 1982 revenue sharing agreement with City.
  • 13:32 - Question 13 - Do you support 50-year water supply plan?
  • 14:20 - Question 14 - Top priority if elected.
  • 14:54 - Question 15 - Views on strategic plan and necessary steps in meeting goals.
  • 15:55 - Question 16 - Primary responsibility of Board.

David Slutzky - Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview

Slutzky

As part of Charlottesville Tomorrow's coverage of the 2009 local elections for City Council and the Board of Supervisors, we have interviewed each candidate to discuss topics related to water, land use, transportation, their priorities, and their qualifications.

Excerpts from these interviews will be included in our upcoming non-partisan 2009 Voter Guide which will be mailed to each household with one of these races on the ballot.  In the meantime, we are publishing the complete audio recordings and transcripts of our interviews. 

Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch 2009 website for even more detailed information on the candidates including, bios, campaign finance reports, other videos and podcasts, and the schedule of upcoming candidate forums.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20090909-Slutzky-Interview


2009 Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview
Candidate: David Slutzky (D-Rio)

On November 3, 2009, voters in the Rio Magisterial District go to the polls to elect their representative on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.  This recording is Brian Wheeler’s September 9, 2009 interview with, David Slutzky (D).  Slutzky is seeking re-election and is being challenged by Rodney Thomas (R).

Download Download the transcript

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 00:48 - Introduction from Brian Wheeler
  • 01:26 - Question 1 - Describe your past experience.
  • 02:54 - Question 2 - Plans for transportation and Regional Transit Authority.
  • 05:49 - Follow-up
  • 08:01 - Question 3 - Views on what Places29 Master Plan should contain.
  • 13:11 - Question 4 - Views on expansion of county growth areas.
  • 15:55 - Question 5 - How he would direct budget process.
  • 19:20 - Question 6 - Should Board explore capping population growth?
  • 23:42 - Question 7 - Views on water supply and Lower Ragged Mountain Dam.
  • 27:06 - Question 8 - Area of improved partnership with the City.
  • 30:09 - Question 9 - Priorities in economic development and growth areas.
  • 32:54 - Question 10 - Do you support the 1990 Three Party Agreement (transportation)?
  • 34:54 - Question 11 - Views on revisiting past Board decisions.
  • 36:11 - Question 12 - Views on revision of 1982 revenue sharing agreement with City.
  • 38:02 - Question 13 - Do you support 50-year water supply plan?
  • 47:00 - Question 14 - Top priority if elected.
  • 48:16 - Question 15 - Views on strategic plan and necessary steps in meeting goals.
  • 51:25 - Question 16 - Primary responsibility of Board.

Dennis Rooker - Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview

Rooker

As part of Charlottesville Tomorrow's coverage of the 2009 local elections for City Council and the Board of Supervisors, we have interviewed each candidate to discuss topics related to water, land use, transportation, their priorities, and their qualifications.

Excerpts from these interviews will be included in our upcoming non-partisan 2009 Voter Guide which will be mailed to each household with one of these races on the ballot.  In the meantime, we are publishing the complete audio recordings and transcripts of our interviews. 

Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch 2009 website for even more detailed information on the candidates including, bios, campaign finance reports, other videos and podcasts, and the schedule of upcoming candidate forums.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20090903-Rooker-Interview


2009 Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Candidate Interview
Candidate: Dennis Rooker (I-Jack Jouett)

On November 3, 2009, voters in the Jack Jouett Magisterial District go to the polls to elect their representative on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.  This recording is Brian Wheeler’s September 8, 2009 interview with Dennis Rooker (I).  Rooker is seeking re-election and is unopposed.

Download Download the transcript

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 00:45 - Introduction from Brian Wheeler
  • 01:27 - Question 1 - Describe your past experience.
  • 04:45 - Question 2 - Plans for transportation and Regional Transit Authority.
  • 12:30 - Question 3 - Views on what Places29 Master Plan should contain.
  • 18:15 - Question 4 - Views on expansion of county growth areas.
  • 22:33 - Question 5 - How he would direct budget process.
  • 25:00 - Question 6 - Should Board explore capping population growth?
  • 27:15 - Question 7 - Views on water supply and Lower Ragged Mountain Dam.
  • 30:31 - Question 8 - Area of improved partnership with the City.
  • 34:03 - Brief follow-up
  • 34:21 - Question 9 - Priorities in economic development and growth areas.
  • 39:50 - Question 10 - Do you support the 1990 Three Party Agreement (transportation)?
  • 42:05 - Question 11 - Views on revisiting past Board decisions.
  • 45:05 - Question 12 - Views on revision of 1982 revenue sharing agreement with City.
  • 48:34 - Question 13 - Do you support 50-year water supply plan?
  • 56:00 - Question 14 - Top priority if elected.
  • 57:36 - Question 15 - Views on strategic plan and necessary steps in meeting goals.
  • 59:30 - Question 16 - Primary responsibility of Board.

County sewer authority considering special rate district for new pump station

DailyProgress

By Sean Tubbs & Tarpley Ashworth
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Albemarle County Service Authority (ACSA) is considering a special rate district so that new development will help pay for a $11.3 million sewer pump station to be located in the county’s northern growth areas.  The North Fork Regional Pump Station will replace the Camelot Wastewater Treatment Plant which does not have the capacity to meet future demand.  Wastewater will be pumped south to the Moores Creek facility in Charlottesville for treatment.

“Initially the overall plan was to have the developers [pay] up front the money for this overall project,” said Gary Fern, the ACSA’s Executive Director. “Unfortunately with the economy and all, the developers are saying they don’t have the money to do that.”

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Camelot

The Camelot Wastewater Treatment Plant will be decommissioned once the North Fork Regional Pump Station is operational


However, in a new plan shared with the water authority’s board earlier this month, the ACSA announced it is considering paying for the project through the sale of bonds which will be paid back through future connection fees. Fern is proposing two special districts, one serving the affected areas north and one serving the affected areas south of the North Fork of the Rivanna River. Properties in the north will be assessed more because two pumping facilities will be required to move their wastewater through the ACSA system.

According to a fee schedule proposed by Fern, each new residential, commercial, and industrial connection requested in the northern district would pay a $1,310 connection fee, and new connections in the south would pay the $1,012 fee. Developers will pay the fees based upon the number of “equivalent residential connections,” a formula which varies by the type of development.   

The fees would be levied on top of those that would normally apply for a new connection.  The ACSA raised its existing connection fees on September 1, 2009 . At a meeting in August, developers lobbied successfully to postpone an even greater fee increase until March of next year.

Jay Willer of the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association told Charlottesville Tomorrow that he preferred the pay-as-you-go system that Fern is recommending.

“The development community understands paying our share of the costs,” Willer said. “We  prefer approaches that let us put our money on the table as we have it to put on the table.”

Major developments in the area include the University of Virginia North Fork Research Park, the Rivanna Station military facilities, and North Pointe.  The nine-hundred home North Pointe development was approved in 2006 but has been delayed, in part, because of the absence of sewer capacity.

Fern estimates that the ACSA will raise approximately $10.15 million by imposing these connection fees. The projections are based on the 14,782 estimated new equivalent residential connections the ACSA expects to add over the next twenty years in this area alone. Fern said that if the actual number of new residential connections exceeds this total then the charges would be adjusted accordingly.

Fern also said the ACSA might need to keep the fees in place longer than twenty years if the number of new residential connections falls short of projections.

ACSA board member Jim Colbaugh suggested to Fern that the fee schedule should also include a 25% contingency charge to cover for additional land, construction, engineering, and inspection costs that could be imposed during the planning and construction process of the new pump station.

“My honest suggestion is not to surprise anybody at the tail end,” said Colbaugh. He warned that if this contingency charge is not built into the plan, then these hidden fees could disrupt the financial planning of the project. Fern said the fees could rise once the design for pump stations is complete.

The ACSA board will hold a public hearing later this year to vote on the proposed connection fees and rate districts. The pump station is expected to be complete in late summer of 2011, after which the Camelot Waste Water Treatment Plant will be decommissioned.

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 02:24 – Staff report from Gary Fern, Executive Director of the ACSA
  • 17:42 – Colbaugh suggests implementing a 25% contingency charge
  • 18:57 – Palmer asks if these charges would be reevaluated annually
  • 20:22 – Palmer asks how long fee will be in place
  • 21:31 – Colbaugh asks what happens if there are more new connections than anticipated
  • 23:14 – Martin asks Fern to clarify the statutory basis for the levying of special rates