Streamlining Albemarle’s ARB Process?

By. Neil Williamson, President

There are times a picture is worth a thousand words. 

The chart above was a part of Albemarle County Planning Commission’s work session last night (11/17).  With a stated goal of streamlining the review of Architectural Review Board Applications (ARB), this chart (page 49 in the staff report) documents the significant hurdles each and every ARB application must face. 

The Albemarle County website outlines power of the ARB over properties located on Albemarle’s 21 Entrance Corridors.   

The Albemarle County Architectural Review Board (ARB) is appointed by the Board of Supervisors and is charged with the responsibility of regulating the design of development within the County’s Entrance Corridors. The goal of this regulation is to ensure that new development in these corridors reflects the traditional architecture of the area and that development within the corridors is orderly and attractive.


Proposed development projects must be reviewed by the ARB if they are located upon parcels within a designated Entrance Corridor (EC) and if:

  • The project requires County approval of a site plan or approval of an amendment to a site plan before development can begin (generally only commercial, industrial, or multi-family development projects are required to have a site plan), or
  • The project requires a building permit (for commercial, industrial, or multi-family developments) before development can begin, or
  • The project requires a special permit from the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors because it involves outdoor storage or display within an Entrance Corridor, or
  • The project requires a special permit, rezoning, or comprehensive plan amendment and a request has been made for advice from the ARB.

The Free Enterprise Forum has raised concerns over the years at the proliferation of “entrance corridors”.  Perhaps by dropping the number of roads designated as entrance corridor, the process could be improved? 

The Free Enterprise Forum asks if Albemarle County (and applicants) are receiving value equal to the cost of the ARB review (both in fees and associated costs).

The chart speaks for itself.  The process review will go to Planning Commission public hearing on December 15, 2009.

A PDF of the chart is available at the following link:  arbflowchart.


20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Nelson County.  For more information visit the website


One response

  1. When I see stuff like this produced by government, I wonder whether the person who did it is actually proud of their work or LTAO.

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