Comments to the Albemarle County Planning Commission Comprehensive Plan Update Public Hearing April 2, 2013
Mr. Chairman, members of the Planning Commission my name is Neil Williamson and I work for the Free Enterprise Forum a public policy organization based in Albemarle County.
We find many positives in this revised Comprehensive Plan. The inclusion of a chapter on Economic Development is a welcome shift. The plan length, while still too long, is probably half the size of the previous iteration. We also applaud the use of appendices to catalogue important supplementary material.
Even with those positives, throughout the Comprehensive Plan Update the Free Enterprise Forum has raised significant concerns with the general direction of the plan. It is only now, when viewing the plan in total that we have identified a critical flaw in the Plan’s development.
While we remained concerned about several of the proposed changes in the Plan, we are most concerned that the entire plan has not been fully vetted by this commission.
Staff has continued to highlight the changes to the Comprehensive Plan but has this body fully evaluated those items that remain in the Plan?
Did this commission hold a vote to retain the Historical Preservation Ordinance and related Architectural Review Board expansion to cover all parcels within or adjacent to the historic overlay? It’s in there
Has this Commission been briefed by counsel on the legal standing or lack thereof regarding the word Viewshed? It’s in there
Speaking of viewshed, prior to this hearing had you even seen the new land grab language that The Thomas Jefferson Foundation strong armed into this draft document? It’s in there
Does this Commission really believe in the next 50 years there will be the population density required to support light rail? It’s in there
Does this Commission believe the Comprehensive Plan should demand the hiring of an environmental planner? It’s in there
Unlike the special interest groups that have drafted much of the proposed comprehensive plan, the Planning Commission is charged with representing the entire community.
This plan lacks a unified voice that balances community needs with property rights. Previous plans did not fully meet this standard.
The Free Enterprise Forum is asking the Planning Commission not to accept the Current Comprehensive Plan as the baseline but to practice zero based planning.
Examine the whole document.
Albemarle’s Comprehensive Plan Update Deserves a Comprehensive Review.
Thank you for your service to the community.
Neil Williamson is the President of the Free Enterprise Forum, a local government public policy organization located in Charlottesville. The full Contradictory Consequences report can be found at www.freeenterpriseforum.org