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June 28, 2012

City and county seek common goals for joint planning

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler & Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, June 28, 2012

Planning staff and officials in the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County will spend this summer identifying joint goals to include in their respective comprehensive plan updates.

Earlier this year, officials identified seven shared priorities: historic preservation, entrance corridors, environment, housing, economy, transportation and land use. In separate meetings Tuesday, each planning commission began identifying specific opportunities for the first three of those topics.

20120626-Frederick_Summer
Summer Frederick, Project Manager, TJPDC

Summer Frederick, a project manager with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, spoke to the Albemarle Planning Commission after giving a similar briefing in the city.

“What we are looking for is for you to discuss these topics and come up with … specific opportunities to work with the city to come up with joint goals,” said Frederick.

The TJPDC is working with the city, county and the University of Virginia as part of a three-year $1 million federal grant awarded in 2010 for what is known as the Livable Communities Planning Project. One goal is to facilitate the comprehensive plan updates that guide local government planning decisions.

Albemarle Commissioner Bruce Dotson noted the results of a community survey from a previous comprehensive plan update.

“The thing that I remember from that … was how many residents of the city said that what they liked about the area were things that are located in the county, and vice versa, how many county residents liked things located in the city,” Dotson said. “The ultimate success in preserving the rural area is when urban people value it, and vice versa.”

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June 21, 2012

Your community, your voice - Fill out the TJPDC questionnaire

 

20120621-TJPDC-surveyAs Charlottesville Tomorrow reported in a story earlier this month, a survey is being circulated by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission seeking feedback on community priorities. 

The survey is available at http://1-community.org (look for blue button top right) and responses are due by July 2.

It is now available as an interactive Adobe PDF which allows online submissions.

The city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County are working in concert with TJPDC and the University of Virginia to coordinate updates of their comprehensive plans.  The TJPDC received a three-year $1 million federal grant in 2010 grant for what is known as the Livable Communities Planning Project.

June 14, 2012

Albemarle says shorter can be better when it comes to comprehensive plans

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, June 14, 2012

As a planner in Albemarle County for the past 15 years, Elaine Echols is one of the most knowledgeable officials guiding the locality’s update of its comprehensive plan. While changes happen each year, a major rewrite hasn’t happened since 1996, shortly before Echols started her job.

However, the plan she was handed as a new employee fit in a single three-ring binder. Today, she can only show community groups photos of the comprehensive plan. That’s because it’s too cumbersome to carry around.

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Elements of Albemarle County's Comprehensive Plan in June 2012
Credit: Elaine Echols

“I took this picture yesterday, and I’m not sure it’s inclusive of everything, but this is our comprehensive plan,” Echols said Wednesday to a meeting of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club. “You can see why it needs to be reduced in bulk.”

“We have master plans, a biodiversity report and recommendations, open space plans … the neighborhood model and historic preservation,” Echols observed of the stacks of material. “We’ve got a lot of plans where the substance doesn’t need to go but the form needs to be changed.”

Albemarle is reaching out to various stakeholders to get them involved in the effort. A similar process is under way in Charlottesville and both localities are working in concert with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. The TJPDC received a three-year $1 million federal grant in 2010 grant for what is known as the Livable Communities Planning Project.

Tom Olivier is the chair of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club. He followed up Echols’ presentation from the perspective of a long time environmental advocate in the community. He said he agreed having a more accessible plan was a “completely reasonable goal.”

“A plan should not be highly specific,” Olivier said. “It ceases to be a plan if it is so detailed that people can’t find the principles readily.

“At the same time, when text is reduced, it’s very easy for nuances and small bits of text which nonetheless involve key commitments, to get changed or eliminated,” Olivier warned. “We need for citizens with knowledge and commitment to be involved and look at the drafts as they are brought before the Planning Commission.”

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