By. Neil Williamson, President
Did a calendaring error cause Albemarle County’s Architectural Review Board to hold an invalid meeting?
According to County records, the terms of two ARB members, Chuck Lebo and Paul Wright, expired on Sunday, November 14, 2010. Yet the ARB held its regular meeting on Monday, November 15th, 2010. While we understand there was some discussion at the start of the meeting regarding potential reappointment, no one removed themselves from the meeting due to term expiration.
There was only one regular item on the November 15th agenda:ARB-2010-96: Clover Lawn Comprehensive Sign Review Revisions. At the opening of the meeting, all five members of the ARB were in attendance, prior to the vote, one current member left the meeting. This left two expired members and two current members who voted unanimously in support of the application before them.
With the support of only two “proper” ARB members, is this action valid?
Did staff advise the impacted ARB members that their terms expired 11/14/10?
It is important to note, The Free Enterprise Forum does not take positions on projects and thus has no opinion on ARB-2010-96.
In addition, while we feel the meeting was inappropriate, we do not believe any ARB member knowingly acted inappropriately.
We do believe the entire ARB may have been let down by both staff and the Board of Supervisors. Considering Albemarle’s in house legal team, is keeping such calendars too much to ask?
Perhaps the even larger question, considering these positions expired on 11/14, why have we not seen advertising requesting applicants for these important positions?
The Free Enterprise Forum has confirmed that these now vacant positions have not been yet advertised as the Board of Supervisors has not yet decided how to move forward.
Albemarle County spends a fair amount of effort, via e-mail and PR to publicize openings for citizen engagement (see http://www.albemarle.org/department.asp?department=bos&relpage=3206). Yet they chose to remain silent on these openings – Why?
According to Albemarle County website, the members of the Architectural Review Board are paid ($45/meeting) and are responsible for:
The Architectural Review Board shall administer the provisions of Section 30.6 Entrance Corridor Overlay District of the Albemarle County Zoning Ordinance in accordance with duties as set forth in such district, and shall promulgate appropriate design standards for such districts for ratification by the Board of County Supervisors.
The Architectural Review Board may, from time to time, recommend areas for designation as Entrance Corridor Overlay Districts.
The Architectural Review Board shall be advisory to the Planning Commission, Board of County Supervisors, and Board of Zoning Appeals in rezonings, special use permits, site development plans, subdivisions, variances and other matters within Entrance Corridor Overlay Districts.
Within limits of funds appropriated by the Board of County Supervisors, the Architectural Review Board may employ or contract for such secretaries, clerks, legal counsel, consultants and other technical and clerical services as the Board may deem necessary for transaction of its business.
Considering the importance of these four year appointments, the Free Enterprise Forum calls on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors to advertise the now vacant ARB positions.
We are not opposed to the reappointment of the current members but we believe such appointment should be made as a active choice by the BOS.
Finally, we hope the Board of Supervisors (or staff) provides direction to the expired ARB members prior to their next scheduled meeting (December 6).
Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Nelson County. For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org