Charlottesville, VA – As the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors prepares for the final public hearing on the Places29 Master Plan, one advocacy group suggests the process has gone on long enough.
The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization, conducted an extensive review of the recently released Master Plan and, based on that review, is calling for the Albemarle Supervisors to veto Places29. The Free Enterprise Forum found that while the plan contains many good elements, on the whole it creates an unfunded planning mirage that will only create false citizen expectations and fails to address the core needs of the community.
Among the Free Enterprise Forum’s concerns is the Places29 plan still contains consideration of the so-called “SuperTax” where property owners along and near US 29 may be charged up to an additional $.25 per hundred to fund specific transportation improvements with in the Places29 footprint. At a time of economic challenge, the Free Enterprise Forum believes this could have a chilling impact on the economic vitality of the North U.S. 29 corridor.
Calling the plan “a Planner’s Plan” Free Enterprise Forum President Neil Williamson said, “If it were not so serious it would be laughable, the plan going forward to public hearing fails to provide answers to important questions of access instead saying such issues will be resolved in ‘Small Area Plans’. Looking at the maps, you can’t tell what ‘jug handle’ roadway you have to take to get to the airport.”
The Free Enterprise Forum cites other issues within the Places29 Master Plan:
· Use of current project dollars (2008) rather than “project year dollars”
· Costs that dramatically disagree with previous VDOT cost estimates (see the 29/H/250 Corridor Study) for comparable tasks.
· Lack of an economic impact analysis for a corridor that is the commercial lifeblood of our community where more than 20,000 jobs are located with an annual payroll of more than $800 million and along which a large percentage of local real estate, sales, meals and business license tax revenues are generated.
“As one who has been involved with this process from the very beginning (2005), the final version of the ‘Places29’ Master Plan is a misguided, improbable pipe dream that the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors should vote down,” Williamson said.
The Free Enterprise Forum is a privately funded, public policy organization. More information about the Free Enterprise Forum can be found on their website www.freeenterpriseforum.org and their blog www.freeenterpriseforum.wordpress.com