By. Brent Wilson, Greene County Field Officer
At their August 14th meeting the Greene County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to decline the invitation to join the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The Board had asked a number of questions regarding membership in the organization. As the reply to those questions came in after the Board packet had been prepared for the public, the Board requested Planning Director, Bart Svoboda read the answers into the record.
The answers were provided by Stephen Williams, Executive Director for The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) . The key answer that impacted the decision was that Greene County would not have voting rights initially and it might take years before such voting rights would be granted.
In addition, the increased demand of limited county resources was also a factor in the supervisors’ decision. Supervisor Jim Frydl calculated that close to one month’s cost of the administrator would be the cost Greene County could incur when the annual meeting time for a Board Member, Planning Commission Member and staff was calculated.
The five current voting members of the MPO Policy Board are Charlottesville (two), Albemarle County (two) and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) (one). These five would be deciding policy until Greene County was given voting rights. Chairman Buggs Peyton also wanted to keep the Greene County Transit System separate. It operates on an as needed basis as opposed to a regular schedule. Both Supervisors Lamb and Deane raised concern over the inability to get the US 29 Western Bypass accomplished.
It is generally believed at the next census – in 2020 – Greene County will have grown in population to mandate inclusion into the MPO. The BOS unanimously agreed that they would prefer to not spend the money required to join the MPO and deal with the MPO in 10 years when Route 29 has been expanded northbound. Greene County has been studying the Route 29 corridor as it passes from Albemarle County into Greene County as part of their 20 year comprehensive plan .
As the Free Enterprise Forum stated in our July 23th editorial, we believe that the Greene County Board of Supervisors considered the pros and cons of joining the MPO and made a decision in the best interest of Greene County.
Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.
The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you. To support this important work please donate online at www.freeenterpriseforum.org
Photo Credit: Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission