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March 31, 2012

Citizens review plans for protection of historic and scenic resources

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DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Saturday, March 31, 2012

A workshop this week brought together local planners and the public to discuss updates to the comprehensive plans for the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

20120329-TJPDC-Pfaltz-BurbageThe Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission sought feedback on historic and scenic resources. It also heard about the importance of rural viewsheds and the desire to protect historic sites not tied to Thomas Jefferson.

Attendees of Thursday’s workshop stressed the importance of balancing private property rights with preservation.

“It’s a thorny issue,” said John Pfaltz, a member of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Transportation Plan citizen advisory committee. “Everything that is old is not historic; everything that is old should not be preserved. How do you decide?”

Amanda Burbage, a TJPDC planner who works on the Many Plans, One Community project, named tax incentives and education for homeowners as possible resources.

“I think the goals [of the city and county comprehensive plans] already try to balance protecting private property rights through things like encouragement of historic preservation instead of restriction,” Burbage said.

Members of the Crozet community were also present to ensure that Crozet’s historic and scenic goals were included in the update.

“This is a timely topic for us because we want to designate the downtown Crozet area as a historic district through the state process,” said Tim Tolson, president of the Crozet Community Association.

Tolson also said that Crozet’s main entrance corridor, U.S. 250, needs to have special attention paid to its zoning because much of it lies outside of Crozet’s designated growth area.

“We don’t want that section of 250 West to become another 29 North,” Tolson said. “We need to limit development on 250 West so that it remains a thoroughfare and a pleasant and scenic entrance corridor.”

The workshop, the final in a series of outreach meetings, is part of the TJPDC’s $1 million federal “livability” grant supporting the effort to update the city and county’s comprehensive plans.

City Councilor Kristin Szakos said she recognized the role the grant plays in linking city and county planning efforts.

“Doing the planning process together, even though we’ll come up with separate plans, is really key,” Szakos said. “Because of this grant, we have the resources to staff this sort of event, so that the public can have a chance to really look and be able to know what’s going on.”

The TJPDC will be present the public’s input from the workshops to the city and county planning commissions on April 17. Until then, the TJPDC encourages those who are interested to view the materials and submit comments via the project’s website, 1-community.org.

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