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October 05, 2009

Samuel Miller District Candidates Forum

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On September 30, 2009, the three candidates vying for the Samuel Miller District of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors met at a Candidates Forum sponsored by Charlottesville Tomorrow and the Free Enterprise Forum. Democrat Madison Cummings, Independent John Lowry and Republican Duane Snow answered nine questions on land use, transportation, and growth in the County. The candidates also answered several questions submitted by members of the audience. The event, held at Murray Elementary School in Ivy, was co-moderated by Neil Williamson of the Free Enterprise Forum and Brian Wheeler of Charlottesville Tomorrow.

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Question 1:
According to the Albemarle County Strategic Plan, “the County desires to maintain a strong, sustainable economy, increase business activity in the urban cores of development areas, and ensure all citizens of the County are able to participate fully in a vibrant economy.” How would you assess Albemarle’s economic condition today? As a Supervisor, what specific strategies would you pursue
to generate new jobs and economic vitality? What is your vision for the county addressing economic development opportunities?

Question 2:
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?

Question 3:
Should we start the planning process over on the fifty-year community water supply plan? Why or why not?

Question 4:
Albemarle County has expectations for the development community to build or pay for affordable living choices in new developments. 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?

Question 5:
The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission have both held work sessions on the transportation elements of the Places29 Master Plan. If there is an opportunity to receive a significant developer proffer related to Berkmar Drive Extended in exchange for an expansion of the County’s designated growth area, should that be pursued as part of the Places29 Master Plan?

Question 6:
Do you support the proposed grade separated interchanges on Route 29 as major components of the Places29 master plan? Why or why not?

Question 7:
Do you agree with continuation of the current land use tax program in the rural areas and with the revalidation process that was recently initiated by the BOS? Why or why not?

Question 8:
How do we ensure the community infrastructure—roads, sidewalks, fire/rescue facilities, libraries, etc.—is in place to support our current population, new development and redevelopment in our designated growth areas? To what degree should this infrastructure be funded by the real estate property tax, a gas tax, developer proffers, or new service districts?

Question 9:
An emotional issue that has divided the community is before the Board of Supervisors. How should an elected official balance citizen input, staff input, and the goal of making decisions that are in the best interests of the community as a whole?

Audience question 1:

What is your position on public transportation in Albemarle County, including a Regional Transit Authority with Charlottesville? How would you fund it? Would you support rapid public transit such as light rail or bus rapid transit?

Audience question 2:
A new economic development office and a Regional Transit Authority are two new government agencies I've heard proposed tonight. Where will you cut County government to fund these agencies, or would you propose new taxes during an economic downturn?

Audience question 3:
Would you revise the current barking dog ordinance to provide more restrictions in the entire County, and or the barking of multiple dogs?

Audience question 4:
There has been a significant retail sales tax shift out of Albemarle County. Do you believe the loss of sales tax revenue is a serious issue? How do you view neighboring counties' commercial development activities?


  • 01:00 - Introduction from Brian Wheeler of Charlottesville Tomorrow
  • 01:45 - Neil Williamson of the Free Enterprise Forum reads the rules  
  • 03:00 - Question 1
  • 10:20 - Question 2
  • 18:45 - Question 3
  • 25:00 - Question 4
  • 32:30 - Question 5
  • 40:00 - Question 6
  • 48:00 - Question 7
  • 52:30 - Question 8
  • 1:00:00 - Question 9
  • 1:09:00 - Audience question #1
  • 1:16:30 - Audience question #2      
  • 1:22:45 - Audience question #3 
  • 1:28:15 - Audience question #4    
  • 1:35:00 - Madison Cummings' closing statement
  • 1:38:15 - John Lowry's closing statement
  • 1:40:35 - Duane Snow's closing statement


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