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December 11, 2009

Rooker names engineer to County Planning Commission

Reader comments (0) DailyProgress By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recently re-elected Albemarle County Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) has named Russell “Mac” Lafferty to serve on the county’s Planning Commission. Lafferty, a native of Crozet, will replace Bill Edgerton, who did not reapply for a third term.

“I think he would be a very good addition to the planning commission,” Rooker said while nominating Lafferty to the position. The Board voted unanimously Wednesday to approve Lafferty’s appointment.

20090624-lafferty Mac Lafferty at the June 24, 2009 meeting of the MPO Policy Board

Lafferty, a retired engineer and professor, lived in Crozet for many years before moving to the Jack Jouett District. A 1966 graduate of the University of Virginia, he has taught engineering and physics courses at Piedmont Virginia Community College as well as his alma mater. For a time, Lafferty owned and operated a firm called Deerfield Enterprises.

“My engineering background and the civil engineering experience I have from running a heavy construction company gives me an appreciation for what happens on the ground and how it affects the environment,” Lafferty said in an interview.

Lafferty has a great deal of experience serving the community. His positions in local government include a stint on the Crozet Community Advisory Council and the MPO’s Citizens (CHART) Committee. For the past year, he’s served as CHART’s representative to the MPO Policy Board.

He has also served on the board of the Second Street Art Gallery, the Senior Statesmen of Virginia and is currently active with Charlottesville-Albemarle Robotics.

While on the Commission, Lafferty will be in a position to weigh in on the five-year review of the Crozet Master Plan. He said a priority for him would be finding a way to get the new Crozet Library back into the development pipeline. Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors agreed to defer the project from the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) due to the county’s financial crisis.

“I think [the Crozet Master Plan] has served a good purpose in that it has given some guidelines about growth,” Lafferty said. “Not only has it gotten the involvement of the citizens of Crozet, but the County has taken notice that the citizens want a great deal of input in their living conditions and environment.”

Lafferty, who is also on the board of directors for Bike Virginia, is an avid cyclist who wants improvements to Jarmans Gap Road to be completed as soon as possible.

“If Albemarle County ever gets around to developing a park in Old Trail Village, then more and more people will be walking to that park,  and right now Jarmans Gap Road is certainly not safe to bike,” Lafferty said.

Lafferty said he will reach out for advice and his insight from Edgerton before he attends his first meeting in the new year.

Lafferty will be joined by at least two and as many as three other newcomers. Incoming Supervisors Duane Snow (Samuel Miller) and Rodney Thomas (Rio) will choose their nominees from a list of applicants. Thomas could also re-appoint Commissioner Don Franco, who told Charlottesville Tomorrow last month he would re-apply.

The entire Board of Supervisors will also vote for a new at-large member of the Commission. Marcia Joseph said she would not be applying for a third term.

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