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March 31, 2012

Citizens review plans for protection of historic and scenic resources

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.

Continue reading "Citizens review plans for protection of historic and scenic resources" »

March 30, 2012

Soundboard 3-30-2012 - Charlottesville's news straight from the source

Soundboard

Soundboard: Charlottesville's news straight from the source

A collaborative local news radio program by WTJU 91.1 FM, Charlottesville Tomorrow, and C-Ville Weekly.

Each Friday from 4-5 PM, tune in to hear area journalists and guests discuss local news, culture, and community issues in the Charlottesville area. Whether we're talking about city politics, scientific innovations, or the local music scene, you'll get to hear in-depth discussion about stories that matter.

Soundboard is co-hosted by WTJU's Lewis Reining and Charlottesville Tomorrow's Jennifer Marley.

Podcasts may be downloaded from this website, via RSS, and via Charlottesville Tomorrow on iTunes.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20120330-Soundboard

The March 30 show features contributors Giles Morris & Laura Ingles (from C-Ville Weekly) and Sean Tubbs (Charlottesville Tomorrow) discussing: 

  • Charlottesville residents celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the health reform law
  • VDOT’s change of plans for the Western Bypass construction
  • Guest Toan Nguyen on the innovative project between the Community Investment Cooperative and Tom Tom Founders Festival
  • land use planning in Charlottesville
  • Guest Kevin Pujanauski on the first Startup Weekend in Virginia for entrepreneurs
  • the upcoming weekend of music with Soundscapes of Jefferson’s America
  • Guest John Donnelly on PVCC’s associate degree program for the inmates of the Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Facility
  • Guest Paul Hughes on the Virginia Food Heritage project
  • and the 10-miler that kicks off tomorrow morning

We hope you enjoy it, and we look forward to your feedback!

 
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Community gets engaged on West Main's past, present and future

 

On Thursday night at Charlottesville Tomorrow's monthly News n' Brews, about 70 community members packed into Zinc to talk about the evolution of the West Main Street area.

Curious about who owns property there?  So were we...

Here's how we captured the conversation...


March 28, 2012

MPO remains concerned about changing transportation laws

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Metropolitan Planning Organization policy board is urging Gov. Bob McDonnell to amend legislation that its members say will take decision-making powers away from localities.
 
HB1248 and SB639 passed both houses of the General Assembly earlier this year.
 
20120328-MPO
The MPO on March 28, 2012
"They require that localities prepare transportation plans to submit to the Virginia Department of Transportation for review, and once [localities] adopt a plan, [they] have to submit that to VDOT as well," said David Blount, legislative liaison for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.
 
VDOT's review would determine whether local transportation plans are consistent with the state's six-year transportation plan. If not, the Commonwealth Transportation Board would have the power to withhold funds from localities.
The MPO voted Wednesday to send a letter to McDonnell calling for him to veto or amend the bill.
 
"The proposed language presents a scenario where one side always holds the winning cards, rather than one that promotes a more collaborative partnership," reads the letter signed by City Councilor and MPO Chair Kristin Szakos on behalf of the board.
 
"Since the CTB also has the ability to designate project routes, these provisions seem to usurp local control and to give the state the power to force the insertion of projects into locality plans," the letter continues.

Continue reading "MPO remains concerned about changing transportation laws" »

Charlottesville leaders ponder future land uses

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nearly 1,800 new homes have been built in Charlottesville since 2001 when the City Council adopted a comprehensive plan that encouraged mixed-use and dense residential development. 
 
The Charlottesville Planning Commission and the City Council were asked Tuesday if they wanted to continue policies supportive of that approach as the comprehensive plan is reviewed this year. 
 
“There are a couple of high level questions we need answered to make sure we’re on the same page,” said city planner Brian Haluska.
20120327-CC-CPC
NDS Director Jim Tolbert briefed the commission and council on land use policies since 2001
 Neighborhood Development Services Director Jim Tolbert said the city planned for high-density development by amending its comprehensive plan in 2001 and then changing the zoning code in 2003 to encourage development along key corridors. 
 
“In many communities, when you see their planning commissions meet, there are always re-zonings on the table,” Tolbert said. “We said, ‘Let’s make everything we can permitted [by-right] so we don’t have to go through the debate of what we want every time.’” 
 
Commissioners and councilors were generally in agreement that the city’s growth policies should proceed. 
 
“I think the idea for strengthening corridors is still a valid idea and should continue,” said Mayor Satyendra Huja.
 
However, Councilor Dede Smith said if the city continues to encourage growth, there would be an effect on city neighborhoods. 
 
“As we bring in more industry and jobs and density, we also need to be very cognizant that we need to protect our neighborhoods from cut-through [traffic],” Smith said. “We already have a big problem.” 

Continue reading "Charlottesville leaders ponder future land uses" »

Event discusses past, present and future of locally grown food

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Increasing awareness of how closely Central Virginia’s history is tied to farms and produce was the topic of discussion at the first Central Virginia Food Heritage Gathering.

20120326-Food-Heritage-CTMonday’s event welcomed those invested in increasing local food efforts to share stories and recipes, and to even swap seeds.

“The hope of this project is that by building what we know about our food heritage we will be able to grow a local food system that promotes our food-based heritage,” said Tanya Denckla Cobb, associate director for the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia and one of the founders of the Virginia Food Heritage Project.

The event featured interview stations to capture locals’ food-related memories and displayed maps where attendees could mark historical food production sites such as farmers’ markets and mills. The Virginia Food Heritage Project will use this information to create an interactive map that will be posted online, allowing anyone to contribute knowledge of historical food sites.

Denckla Cobb stated that the positive impacts of food heritage on the local economy are significant. She briefly named cider, tomatoes and beans as local products that possibly could increase economic vitality of agriculture in the region.

Continue reading "Event discusses past, present and future of locally grown food " »

March 27, 2012

VDOT adjusts bypass requirements as bid deadline nears

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Virginia Department of Transportation has removed a reference promising to keep open the Ashwood Boulevard interchange with U.S. 29 as part of a new design for the Western Bypass.

VDOT says the change adds clarity about where the bypass connection will take place and that the agency stands by its promise to keep the entrance to the Forest Lakes South neighborhood open.
 

A promise to retain the entrance was detailed in writing in September when VDOT issued the first revision of a request for proposals for firms to design and build the 6.2-mile, four-lane highway. Yet last month in the RFP’s second addendum, VDOT removed a sentence that specified that the “existing access to Ashwood Boulevard shall remain.”
 
“The removal of the sentence referring to Ashwood Boulevard resulted from more specific definition of the project limits in response to questions from the project bidders,” said Lou Hatter, public affairs manager for VDOT’s Culpeper District.
 
Hatter said Ashwood Boulevard is just outside the bypass project’s limits following inclusion of new language that defines the scope for the northern terminus.
 
“VDOT remains committed to building the northern terminus to the west side of the existing Route 29 and to maintain as much separation as possible from the residential properties east of the highway,” Hatter said.

Continue reading "VDOT adjusts bypass requirements as bid deadline nears" »

Soundboard 3-23-2012 - Charlottesville's news straight from the source

Soundboard

Soundboard: Charlottesville's news straight from the source

A collaborative local news radio program by WTJU 91.1 FM, Charlottesville Tomorrow, and C-Ville Weekly.

Each Friday from 4-5 PM, tune in to hear area journalists and guests discuss local news, culture, and community issues in the Charlottesville area. Whether we're talking about city politics, scientific innovations, or the local music scene, you'll get to hear in-depth discussion about stories that matter.

Soundboard is co-hosted by WTJU's Lewis Reining and Charlottesville Tomorrow's Jennifer Marley.

Podcasts may be downloaded from this website, via RSS, and via Charlottesville Tomorrow on iTunes.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20120323-Soundboard

The March 23 show features contributors Giles Morris, Graelyn Brashear & Laura Ingles (all from C-Ville Weekly) and Sean Tubbs (Charlottesville Tomorrow) discussing: 

  • the resignation of Charlottesville’s communications director
  • recent developments in the George Huguely trial
  • the Ragged Mountain Dam project 
  • UVA’s OpenGrounds project
  • guests Sarad Davenport and Quinton Harrell from the “City of Promise” Neighborhood action team
  • guest Kevin McFadden with the Virginia Festival of the Book

We hope you enjoy it, and we look forward to your feedback!

 
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March 26, 2012

Charlottesville Parks Board takes input on McIntire Park’s future

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, March 26, 2012

Members of Charlottesville’s Parks and Recreation advisory board listened Monday as organizations and individuals presented their vision for the future of the eastern half of McIntire Park

The panel will make recommendations on the park’s master plan to City Council
 
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“This is your chance to give comments to them so that they can, over the next 30 days, meet and discuss and recommend what they might come forward with,” said Chris Gensic, a city parks planner, in his remarks to a crowd assembled in the Buford Middle School auditorium. 
 
The 61 acres that make up the eastern half of the park are going through the city’s master planning process. The park’s use today is primarily for the McIntire Golf Course, which has lost two of its nine holes due to the construction of the Meadow Creek Parkway
 
Three concepts are under consideration. Two envision a park in which a smaller golf course shares land with passive recreation activities, such as a potential botanical garden. A third concept was introduced by supporters of a botanical garden that envisions the majority of the park being dedicated to that use. 
 
Advocates of a botanical garden said it was time for the city to move the golf course out to give others a chance to view sights currently only visible by golfers. 
 
“The city has looked at four master plans since 1972, and each one opened the park to a series of trails to connect parts of the park to each other as well as to connect the park to the city’s entire park system,” said Helen Flamini, the president of the nonprofit McIntire Park Botanical Garden. “Plans to move the nine-hole golf course have been in place since 1992 when a second municipal golf course was built at Pen Park.”
 
However, golf proponents said they were willing to share the park with other uses. 
 
“We need some of the park to continue the [youth golfing] program,” said Wayne Hall, the chairman of the First Tee of Charlottesville, a youth development program. 

Continue reading "Charlottesville Parks Board takes input on McIntire Park’s future" »

March 25, 2012

Meet Your Government: Donovan Branche

20120321-Donovan-Branche

Donovan Branche  

Acting City Engineer, City of Charlottesville

Where were you born (and raised, if different)?

I was raised in Orange, VA. 

When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?

I came to Charlottesville in 2008 after working in Washington, DC and Harrisonburg, VA. It's good to be back home and with my family.

What neighborhood do you live in now?

I live in Ruckersville, VA.

Family (spouse, kids, etc)?

I am married to a handsome Englishman, I have 2 children, 3 dogs, 1 cat and 1 rat. I've tried (unsuccessfully) to convince my husband that we need chickens and a goat.

Continue reading "Meet Your Government: Donovan Branche" »