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October 25, 2011

Task force seeks impact on Western Bypass design

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A committee convened by Albemarle County Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker has further refined a list of recommendations its members want included in an addendum to the request for proposals for design and construction of the U.S. 29 Western Bypass.

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VDOT engineer John Giometti and task force member Scott Vande Pol discuss a conceptual drawing for the southern terminus

"I intend to present the committee's final list to the Board of Supervisors for a resolution," Rooker said.

The Virginia Department of Transportation released an RFP for the project in late September and will issue an addendum on Nov. 8. A second addendum will be issued in February. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will award a contract to the lowest qualified bidder.

Rooker said it was important for the addendum to be very specific.

"One of the challenges we have here is that this is a low bid design contract and if [a request] is not required, there's no reason they would put something in there that would cost them money," Rooker said.

At a meeting Monday, the committee spent three hours discussing a total of 29 requests ranging from one that the road be designed with a speed limit of 50 miles per hour to one that construction noise not exceed 70 decibels.

Continue reading "Task force seeks impact on Western Bypass design" »

October 24, 2011

City takes input on future of McIntire Park

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, October 24, 2011

Bikers, hikers, golfers and botanical garden fans were among the many enthusiastic contributors at Monday’s planning meeting for the eastern portion of Charlottesville’s McIntire Park.

Ten organizations and 30 individuals signed up in advance to make their pitch for utilizing the 75 acres between the railroad tracks which divide McIntire Park and Schenk’s Branch creek. It is currently home to a nine-hole golf course, a wading pool and the Dogwood Vietnam Memorial.

“The goal is to let the public and various organizations, with any ideas about uses they want to see at the park, tell us what they want,” said the city’s trail planner, Chris Gensic, in an interview.

“It is effectively a blank slate,” Gensic added. “Given that it’s a regional park, and it’s one of the biggest, basically any use could be proposed.”


 

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20111024-McIntirePark-East

Some opponents of the Meadow Creek Parkway, which would pass through the park, encouraged planners to wait until federal litigation is resolved and to make an extra effort to get more residents involved in the process.

 

Continue reading "City takes input on future of McIntire Park" »

October 22, 2011

City’s central park seen as home for botanical garden

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Saturday, October 22, 2011

Woodland walks. Wildflower meadows. Waterfalls and native plants. Wetland gardens with raised paths. A winter sledding hill. Convenient access to the heart of downtown Charlottesville.

20111021-MBG-concept-sqNew design concepts for a proposed botanical garden made their debut at a gathering Friday evening. The McIntire Botanical Garden will be one of several projects competing for consideration in the city’s latest McIntire Park planning effort.

“We are envisioning this beautiful, free-flowing, open area in the center of the city,” said Helen Flamini, president of the McIntire Botanical Garden. “It will act as a hub … and people will be able to come into this park from every direction.”

Flamini said trails would access the park from along the new Meadow Creek Parkway, from Melbourne Road and from a new pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks connecting it to the western side of McIntire Park.

“We came to Charlottesville and we thought of its character as being very human, and [the botanical garden] would bring this back in a way we are starting to lose,” said Kat Draego, a resident of Albemarle County and self-described “Charlottesville girl” after she reviewed the garden plans.

“We are getting away from that small city that was the ‘best place to live,’ into a really raggedy, urban, dirty place,” said Draego. “This says, ‘Let’s be for people.’”

Continue reading "City’s central park seen as home for botanical garden" »

October 21, 2011

Download the Charlottesville-Albemarle Voter Guides


Thanks to a generous gift from Dominion Virginia Power and the support of our news partner The Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow is once again providing in-depth voter guides for the local 2011 elections.

2011-county-voter-guide Download the
2011 Albemarle Supervisors Voter Guide
2011-city-voter-guideDownload the
2011 Charlottesville City Council Voter Guide

 

Since 2005, Charlottesville Tomorrow has provided non-partisan voter guides for each local election for Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.  We don't make endorsements, we help you make an informed choice. 

Citizens have given us very positive feedback about our voter guides in past election years.  Here is one voter’s note:

"I'd like to take a moment to thank you and your co-workers for producing and distributing the Charlottesville Tomorrow Voter Guide....Perhaps your thoughtful, apolitical approach will inspire others to work toward a democratic process which brings people together to discuss our commonalities, and at the least, you have empowered citizens to vote."

Make sure to visit our 2011 Election Center website where you can download copies of the voter guide, review candidate bios, listen to candidate interviews, and even watch videos of recent candidate forums.  We appreciate your support!

Audio and video of Albemarle Supervisor candidate forum - North Charlottesville Business Council

2011-election-DPx476

The North Charlottesville Business Council held a candidates forum on October 19, 2011 for the five candidates seeking election to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. The event was held at the Doubletree Hotel and sought responoses on economic vitality, the Western Bypass and the community water supply plan

Read this article for complete coverage by the Daily Progress

 Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20111019-NCBC

The candidate forum participants: 

Watch the forum video

Questions

  1. The North Charlottesville Business Council has long been an advocate for the US 29 Western Bypass.  Albemarle County and the MPO have now approved the project. Considering where we are today, what is your position on the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved (and funded) Western Bypass and widening of US 29 from Polo Grounds Road to Hollymead?  And as a Supervisor would you vote to reconsider the project?
  2. The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is seeking a revised permit for a 30 foot earthen dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir.  What is your position on the community water supply and other RWSA infrastructure needs (sewer, treatment plants, etc.)
  3. In January 2010, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors passed an economic action plan (4-2).  What are your thoughts on this action plan?  Has it been successful?  Should the plan be renewed?  Are there elements that should be added?  What, if anything, should local government do to increase the economic vitality of the region?

Woolen Mills residents want new sewage pump station out of their neighborhood

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, October 21, 2011

Members of the city's Woolen Mills neighborhood spoke out Thursday against one of the scenarios that would replace a sewage pump station at its existing location near Riverview Park.

"I'm appalled that we're still talking about this," said Karl Ackerman, a member of the Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association's board of directors. "We will fight it and fight it and fight it."

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is currently weighing three options for the replacement of the Rivanna regional pump station, which does not have the capacity to handle the large amounts of stormwater that infiltrates the sewer system after heavy rainfall.

"Under storm conditions there are discharges from manholes," said Janice Carroll of Hazen & Sawyer, an engineering firm hired to develop options for the station's replacement.

The RWSA must decide on an option by Dec. 31 in order to comply with a consent agreement it made with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

Continue reading "Woolen Mills residents want new sewage pump station out of their neighborhood" »

Albemarle water authority asked to prepare for expansion areas

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, October 21, 2011

The executive director of the Albemarle County Service Authority told his board of directors Thursday they may be reviewing seven service area expansion requests in the coming year.

"These seven areas could comprise up to 2,500 housing units, 350,000 square feet of commercial development, and two potential industrial sites," said Gary O'Connell, the ACSA's executive director.

 

Listen using player above or download the podcast:  Download 20111020-ACSA-Meeting

Earlier this month, the Planning Commission voted 4-2 to end consideration of several requests to expand the county's designated growth area for residential and commercial developments.

However, the current Albemarle Board of Supervisors is expected to review those requests more favorably.

"Some of these areas have readily available water and sewer services, while for others it would be difficult and likely very expensive to get service to the proposed development area," O'Connell said.

ACSA board member Jim Colbaugh asked who would be responsible for paying to connect to the system.

"Most of the ones they are talking about now, if it's not adjacent to [the system], it would likely be at the developer's expense," O'Connell said. "There are a couple places where it could be an exception to that."

 

Continue reading "Albemarle water authority asked to prepare for expansion areas" »

October 20, 2011

Charlottesville City Council candidates report latest fundraising numbers

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, October 20, 2011

With less than three weeks until Election Day, candidates for Charlottesville City Council are reporting their most recent campaign contributions. Three Democratic nominees are outpacing four independent candidates by a margin of almost eight-to-one.

Democrat Kathy Galvin leads all council candidates, having raised $14,553. Almost three-fourths of those donations came before the Aug. 20 Democratic firehouse primary. Democrat Dede Smith follows with $11,701, two-thirds of which was raised before the primary. Democrat Satyendra Huja, the only incumbent in the race, has raised $10,527.

Continue reading "Charlottesville City Council candidates report latest fundraising numbers" »

October 19, 2011

Water authority finalizing plans for protecting interstate with reservoir expansion

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Consultants working for the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority say an embankment on I-64 can be safely inundated by an enlarged Ragged Mountain Reservoir as part of the approved 50-year community water supply plan.

20111019-embankment
Interstate 64 embankment at mile marker 116
Photo credit: Schnabel Engineering/Volkert/RWSA

Schnabel Engineering said the existing embankment can be protected with additional riprap material, the reinforcement of an underground culvert, and that the water supply will be protected from potential spills via the highway by a floating absorption boom.

Critics of the plan to build a new earthen dam, scheduled to start next year, used a public information session held Wednesday to share their concerns that an expanded reservoir would actually add unnecessary risks to the community’s drinking water.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20111019-RWSA-I64

Continue reading "Water authority finalizing plans for protecting interstate with reservoir expansion" »

Albemarle grants preliminary approval for Dunlora Forest

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Albemarle County Planning Commission has approved a critical slopes waiver and preliminary site plan for a 90-home development off Rio Road despite concerns from neighbors that it would further deteriorate traffic conditions on the road.

Dunlora-forest-location
Dunlora Forest would be located at the corner of Rio Road and Pen Park Road

“You’re taking a beautiful place and you’re creating a traffic disaster,” said Anne Williams, a resident of nearby River Run. “If you don’t live there then you don’t know what we will be giving up if you approve of all of this.”

The Dunlora Forest development would include townhouses, single-family dwellings and duplexes on 22 acres at the corner of Rio and Pen Park Road.

Southern Development had originally hoped to build more homes as part of the project, but scaled back the density on the site following a meeting in July when it appeared the commission was unwilling to grant the critical slopes waiver.

The land is already zoned for high residential use and the Places29 master plan calls for dense development at that location.

“The property is located in the development area which has been identified by the Board [of Supervisors] and the Planning Commission as an area where development should occur,” said senior planner Megan Yaniglos.

The project’s primary entrance would be on Rio Road and its secondary entrance would be on Pen Park Road. This entrance is currently envisioned as being a right-in, right-out entrance, but engineers at the Virginia Department of Transportation will need to approve it.

Continue reading "Albemarle grants preliminary approval for Dunlora Forest" »