Monthly Archives: June, 2013

Fluvanna Park & Ride Advances

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer PALMYRA — Fluvanna will get a new ‘Park and Ride’ at the Jefferson Centre.

The location is closest to the Falcon Hills Entrance (on Turkeysag Trail) of Lake Monticello. The owner, CB Richard Ellis, is permitting 15 spaces of the vacant lot for the park and ride parking lot.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) :

Park & Ride lots are parking lots available for use when commuting to work or school, or when sightseeing, shopping, running errands, etc. P&R lots allow commuters, particularly long-distance commuters, to park their vehicles at a convenient location and then finish their commute using alternative transportation modes – carpool, vanpool, bus, train, bike, or walk. P&R lots provide an essential service – a place to meet other commuters to facilitate ridesharing.

As part of the agreement, the county will empty county placed trash receptacles twice a week. Fluvanna will also install signs at the location. CBRE will keep maintenance of the property including timely snow removal.

The lot is currently used as a Goodwill drop off location. The new Goodwill store is under construction behind the current shopping center.

At the June 19 meeting, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved rezoning of a portion of property in the Fork Union area.

The property is south of Fork Union, located is located at the intersection of James Madison Highway and Creasy Town Lane. It was previously completely zoned B-1.

There are two buildings located on the property. The front half will remain B-1 while the land around the second building was approved to be rezoned I-1.

The property owner proffered the industrially zoned building will not be a shooting range, which is by-right in I-1. The front facility, staying zoned B-1, was recently approved for a religious gathering place. The church renting it hopes to have 100-member congregation according to the owner.

The building in the rezoned area is not leased yet.

The buildings were previously part of Home Source.

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

bryan-rothamel

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.  He is the founder of the Fluco Blog.  Additional writings can be found at www.Flucoblog.com

Barkley Announced as New Greene County Administrator

John Barkley linked In

New Greene County Administrator John Barkley

FROM STAFF REPORTS  — STANARDSVILLE– After an eleven month search, the Greene County Board of Supervisors will introduce their newly hired County Administrator at tomorrow night’s (6/25) regularly scheduled meeting. John Barkley, most recently Town Manager of Round Hill, Virginia, will officially assume his new duties on July 8th.

Board Chairman Jim Frydl said, “The Board was impressed with Mr. Barkley’s experience, management style, communication skills and his proactive engagement with citizens and businesses. Fulfilling the position of administrator in a county as diverse as Greene is challenging, but the Board firmly believes Barkley will execute the job well and is confident that the community will come to appreciate his leadership”.

As Town Manager of Round Hill, Barkley was responsible for Operational and Capital Budgeting, Planning and Zoning, Investments, Human Resources, Economic Development, and the operation of a regional Water and Sewer Utility.

“Throughout the interview process, I have been taken by Greene County’s beauty and charm”, Barkley said. “My family and I are looking forward to making Greene our home”.

After Barkley received an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland at College Park and later earned a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Schaefer Center for Public Policy, University of Baltimore, he began his career as a Management and Program Analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, DC. He then spent four years as Special aid to the Mayor, City of Baltimore, Maryland.  Barkley learned personnel and finance skills as Director of Finance and Human Resources, Baltimore Metropolitan Council, Baltimore, Maryland.  Barkley then held positions of increasing responsibility starting as the City Administrative Officer, City of New Carrollton, MD and progressing as Town Manager of Dumfries, VA, Colonial Beach, VA, and finally for the past five years as the Town Manager of the Town Of Round Hill, Virginia.

Image Credit: Linked In

Stanardsville Announces VDOT Approval of Streetscape Project

stanardsville streetscapeFROM STAFF REPORTS -The Town of Stanardsville has received final government approval for construction of new sidewalks, crosswalks and other improvements along Main Street that will be built over the next few months.  The downtown Streetscape Enhancement Project got its final okay on June 19th when it received Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)  approval for award of the construction contract to Linco, Inc. of Waynesboro as general contractor for the project. 

A pre-construction meeting with Linco, Inc. and other principals will be held in early July to spell out a timetable and finalize other details before construction gets underway.  The project includes new crosswalks on Rte. 33 west of town between the schools and shopping center that will be built first this summer while school is out of session.

Roy Dye, executive director of Stanardsville Area Revitalization (*STAR*), manager of the project, said, “We’ve cleared the final hurdle in the long VDOT process for any federally-funded streetscape enhancement project.  Now, if this time-table holds, sometime in August Linco will begin breaking-up and removing the old sidewalks on three blocks of Main Street between Celt Road and Rectory Lane.” 

Dye said installation of the new five-foot wide sidewalks, bump-outs on some corners, red-brick patterned crosswalks, colonial-style lampposts, benches, planting of trees and other landscaping will take several months to complete and “will positively transform the downtown streetscape.”

The Town Council of Stanardsville has been directly involved in development of the project.  As Mayor Gary Lowe commented, “The Town Council strongly supports these streetscape improvements and has helped guide their development over the past few years.  This face-lift to Main Street will make downtown safer and easier to walk in, and will help attract new businesses and more visitors to the Town.”   

The streetscape project is being funded by $674,000 in federal grants awarded by VDOT, and matching funds raised through contributions from the Town, County, Economic Development Authority,  and individual donors, for a total project budget of more than $840,000.  The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission is the official Project Sponsor and *STAR* is the Project Manager.  Draper Aden Associates is the design & engineering firm for the project.

Final design plans for the Stanardsville Streetscape Enhancement Project can be found on the *STAR* website:  http://www.stargreene.org.

Image Credit: *STAR*

Fluvanna BOS Approves U-12 Football Funding

By Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

PALMYRA — The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors approved funding a U12 AAU football team in a 3-2 vote.

The money, with a cap at $19,965, will help with startup costs of the program. After the first year, the program will be close to self-sufficient from registration fees. Ongoing costs such as equipment replacement will occur but it is hopeful the program will fundraise to cover such costs.

Don Weaver (Cunningham District) and Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) dissented in the board’s vote. Weaver raised concerns of the issue coming up outside of budget time.

“That’s too much money to pull out arbitrarily, not budgeted,” said Weaver.

The board will use unspent ‘board contingency’ funds. This money was originally appropriated for contracted emergency management services in FY13. The contracted services were less than budgeted. There was $30,000 left in the contingency funds.

Ullenbruch was concerned about the precedent of funding a sports program sets.

“We’ll be obligated morally to accept [another proposal] once we accept this one,” said vice chairman Ullenbruch.

Joe Chesser (Palmyra District) also was concerned with the precedent and was publicly against it until chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia District) and Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) spoke in favor of the proposal.

“I don’t think you are going to open up the floodgate,” said Booker. “I appreciate the fact people see the gaps.”

Booker went on to praise the option of encouraging children participate in athletics, be in engage beyond the classroom and associate with dedicated adults volunteering to coach the team.

Kenney noted the program is mainly self-sufficient once the initial capital expense is met. The ongoing maintenance of equipment can be covered by the program’s fundraising efforts. Already the program tried fundraising as a way to pay but became short on time because of hopes to fielding a team this fall.

“These are one-time costs, by and large,” said Kenney.

The idea of a football team was raised because of a gap in the current recreation options and high school sponsored teams. Fluvanna recreation leagues do not include seventh graders. If they do allow seventh graders, they have to be under 100 pounds. The best option currently is to send the children to Charlottesville.

This past year the high school instituted a ninth grade team to keep eighth and ninth graders together. This created a void for seventh graders. The hope with this new AAU team, children can form relationships to develop better once they start the high school teams.

The team hopes to start in the fall. For information on joining the program, contact the Fluvanna parks and recreation department.

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

bryan-rothamel

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.  He is the founder of the Fluco Blog.  Additional writings can be found at www.Flucoblog.com

TJPDC Technocrat or Trumpeter Swan?

By. Neil Williamson, President

Steve Williams TJPDC Photo Credit Greene County RecordSean Tubbs of Charlottesville Tomorrow reports in this morning’s Daily Progress that Stephen Williams’ contract as Executive Director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) will not be renewed.  While the Free Enterprise Forum has often questioned much of the TJPDC’s work under Mr. Williams, we wish him only the best in his future endeavors.

Where does the TJPDC go from here?

In selecting its next executive, should the TJPDC Board seek out planning professionals who have rich resumes filled with writing, securing and administering grants?

Should the Board focus on the significant transportation component of the job and look to transportation and transit professionals with a litany of studies and reports under their belt?

MN09 trumpeter swan 107_4185Or should this regional planning organization consider seeking out a “Trumpeter Swan” who may or may not have the planning credentials but has a resume filled with assignments that required leadership, consensus building and risk management?

Please let me explain.

The “Trumpeter Swan” moniker is attributed to advertising giant David Ogilvy who in seeking new Creative Directors wrote a space advertisement seeking “Trumpeter Swans who combine personal genius with inspiring leadership – we have an opening for one of these rare birds”.

Such talented individuals tend to be long on world experience and short on academic credentials.  In addition, the most successful trumpeter swans are self aware of their own shortcomings, as such they tend to surround themselves with high level talent without fear of being out shined.  

But the question remains would such a rare bird have an chance of survival in the TJPDC environment?

The safer choice is a technocrat; someone who has worked their way up through the planning ranks perhaps with a smaller region.  Such an individual would know ‘how to play the game’.  This is the lens which was used to select the past two TJPDC leaders.

Which direction will the TJPDC Board go?

Stay tuned.

Respectfully submitted,

Neil Williamson

clip_image0024_thumb.pngNeil Williamson is the President of the Free Enterprise Forum, a local government public policy organization located in Charlottesville.  www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Not Inside Baseball – C’ville PUD Opportunity

By. Neil Williamson, President

Mark and Coach P April 2013

When you are provided your opportunity at the plate, make the most of it” – Anonymous Coach 

Later this month (June 25) the Charlottesville Planning Commission will have a work session to discuss potential reforms to the Planned Unit Development regulations (PUD). The Free Enterprise Forum applauds the review of the PUD regulations and hopes to work with the commission to create new flexibility and reward ingenuity while ensuring future PUDs are an asset to the community.

While this may look like inside baseball to many, the reality is this issue is a critical question regarding future economic vitality, employment opportunity and redevelopment potential.

Please let me explain.

It has been said that development is much like water and electricity; it takes the path of least resistance. Therefore those parcels in the city that are/were naturally prime for development due to topography, location or zoning are mostly built out.  The remaining parcels, including redevelopment opportunities, will likely require significant engineering, creative approaches and flexibility of PUD regulations.

What is a Planned Unit Development? According to the Cooperative Extension Service:

Compared to other types of zoning approvals, the PUD process is a flexible application of zoning. Through the PUD approval process, there is often great flexibility in siting and design regulations for buildings and land uses with the PUD project site. Density requirements, setbacks, and building height restrictions may be relaxed, and the mixing of land uses may be allowed in order to improve the design of the project as a whole and its integration with the surrounding community. In return for greater flexibility in the design of planned unit developments, local government zoning ordinance provisions often require the developer of the project to provide public benefits, such as the preservation of open space for public use.

But all PUDs are not created equal.  According to Stuart Korfhage of The St. Augustine Record:

The St. Augustine City Commission chose maximum flexibility over stringent property use standards in its recent revision of the planned unit development (PUD) ordinance.

At Monday’s Commission meeting, commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of a new ordinance that does not severely limit applications for PUDs in the city’s historic district. The commission considered three options in recent months and chose the plan with the fewest restrictions.

The Free Enterprise Forum hopes the Charlottesville Planning Commission June 25th work session produces this kind of deep examination of their ordinance applications.  Frankly, we are concerned with the low level of questions the staff report seems to be asking.

Is this really about reform or merely housekeeping?  None of the staff proposed changes encourage ingenuity or allow flexibility with the subdivision ordinance or design guidelines.

Considering PUDs were designed to provide the opportunity for flexible application of siting and design requirements (see above) we ware dismayed that no parcel under two acres could qualify as a PUD.  While we anticipate most parcels would exceed two acres, it is not difficult to imagine an infill project that might need regulatory relief in order to achieve the community vision.  We suggest that this limitation be lifted.

We are aware of concerns raised regarding the level of transparency regarding PUD applications and the public’s right to review plans.  The Free Enterprise Forum believes such sunlight is good and any formally filed documents should be readily available for public review.  However, we also recognize pre-application discussions with City staff are often required to determine the potentiality of such an application, such meetings should not require public notice.

mark newport news 3 2009The Free Enterprise Forum hopes Charlottesville City Planning Commission will make the most of their time at the plate and expand the lens of this PUD review and refocus staff energy on improving PUDs as a tool to get better development.  A refined PUD process will increase the use of the PUD and foster innovative development and redevelopment of the City core.

We stand ready to assist in this important Charlottesville economic vitality effort.  As John Fogerty said, “Put me in Coach; I am ready to play”

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson, President

clip_image0024_thumb.pngNeil Williamson is the President of the Free Enterprise Forum, a local government public policy organization located in Charlottesville.  www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Photo Credits: Free Enterprise Forum

Fluvanna Board to Evaluate Industrial Wells

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

PALMYRA – The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors approved analysis and appraisal of wells at the old Thomasville Furniture plant after a lengthy closed session on June 5th.

The wells to be studied have been discussed for possible inclusion to the Fork Union Sanitary Department (FUSD) system since the Thomasville plant closed.  The county has discussed adding the wells to FUSD for at least three years.

FUSD is a water system for the Fork Union area. It depends on a system of wells and holding tanks. The wells have been recondition because of possible failure or lower production. One long term solution is connecting FUSD to the James River Water Authority intake.

Years ago, county officials discussed at preliminary levels selling FUSD.

Pre-2010, the county had surveys saying the Thomasville wells were producing better than the current FUSD wells but the plan at the time was to recharge the FUSD wells for better production. The Thomasville wells are not a part of the system and the cost of annexation would have to be discussed.

The supervisors approved Joyce Engineering to analyze and appraise the Thomasville wells, 5-0. The appropriation for the work was limited to $5,575.

While closed sessions routinely do not have actions coming out of them, the supervisors more than likely were meeting about multiple issues. Multiple staff members were included in the meeting at different times signaling issues could be from investment funds, real property, personnel or legal matters.

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

bryan-rothamel

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.  He is the founder of the Fluco Blog.  Additional writings can be found at www.Flucoblog.com

What a Difference A Day Makes–New Math in Albemarle

FORUM WATCH EDITORIAL

By. Neil Williamson, President

100_0648Over the weekend, with the news that the Republican Party was not running a candidate in the Jack Jouett District and the window for independents to get on the ballot closing soon, I started to think of the Albemarle County Board Election as “dormie”. 

In golf match play, a match is said to reach “dormie” when one of the golfers achieves a lead that matches the number of holes remaining (i.e., three holes up with three holes to play). The best the trailing player can do is tie the match.

The resignation of Scottsville Supervisor Chris Dumler from the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors changed that analogy  and opens up a number of new mathematical realities.

Albemarle BOS June 5 9 amFirst, and most obvious, the new majority. Now acting as a five member board, the Republicans (Ken Boyd, Duane Snow, Rodney Thomas) will have a voting block that could overpower the balance of the Board.

The new five member board conceptually could take up the  failure of the prior six member board to agree on a chair (3-3).  Currently, Ann Mallek serves as chair until the Board appoints a new chair.  It is unclear politically is such a somewhat transparent power play would be politically beneficial or detrimental to those Supervisors that are up for reelection in November (Snow, Thomas). 

While the chairmanship may or may not be in the near future, the Board must continue to do their work.  It will be interesting to see how much consensus building will occur with the 3-2 split.

The five member construct will be short lived as the Board is looking to agree on a replacement supervisor (to serve until Mid November) by July 10th.   Both Dennis Rooker and Boyd agreed one of the attributes they were looking for in their “temporary” appointment was someone who was not interested in running for the seat in November.  County Attorney Larry Davis indicated such a consideration could be a part of the vetting process but could not be made a requirement.

Ballot BoxPerhaps even more interesting than the five member board is the reality that for the 2013 election will mark the first time ever (we think) Albemarle County will elect a majority of the Board of Supervisors.  While the Free Enterprise Forum has questioned the wisdom of an even number of supervisors, we are strong proponents for staggered elections.  Such staggered terms provide continuity and tend to foster better relationships between the elected officials.

Based on the nominating/election calendar, the Free Enterprise Forum anticipates that party affiliations may not be a part of the Scottsville race.   Considering the importance of the issues ahead for the Albemarle County Board, we anticipate at least two “independent” candidates will emerge to compete for the Scottsville seat in November.

It s likely the new BOS math in Albemarle may generate create a significant amount of energy in the 2013 races.  Based on the political chatter we are hearing, we anticipate the ballot will be full this November and voters will have choices.   The Free Enterprise Forum strongly believes contested races makes better public policy. But I wouldn’t fill out your scorecards just yet.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson, President

clip_image0024_thumb.pngNeil Williamson is the President of the Free Enterprise Forum, a local government public policy organization located in Charlottesville.  www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Photo Credits: Free Enterprise Forum,

Fluvanna PC Considers Revamped Development Plan

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

PALMYRA — Debate swirls about the proposed Walker’s Ridge development at the old Rivanna Resort, the alternative is to keep what the Rivanna Resort had planned and approved.

At the May 22 Planning Commission meeting, Justin Shimp, representing the developer, did not add many new specifics of the Walker’s Ridge proposal.  In addition, he did not fully answer some of the questions  by the chairman Barry Bibb. Shimp did provide concepts, but no actuals.

The exchange brought a lot of emotion to the second public comment section.

“You are looking for a disaster,” said resident James Gibson.

Gibson wasn’t alone in those feelings. None of the residents in attendance spoke in support of the Walker’s Ridge plan after the informative meeting.

The development is a proposed rezoning of 232 acres from R-3 to Plan Urban Development. The current zoning allows over 230 units. The proposed zoning change would allow 1,180 residential units with 180,000 square feet of commercial space.

The proposed development would use a series of localized central water and sewer systems. The water would come from a well system with storage tanks, similar design to Fork Union Sanitary District. The sewer system would consist of a drip system to filtrate the used water back into the ground water supply.

“What we propose is to take the water out of the ground and put it back into the ground,” said Shimp, who serves as the civil engineer for the project.

The current zoning status was approved in 2009 for the once proposed ‘The Point at The Rivanna Resort’. The proffers included as a part of that rezoning include:

  • traffic improvements to the road as designated in the 2009 study
  • $50,000 for construction of traffic light at the main entrance if required by VDOT within five years of successful site plan approval
  • restriction of the golf course as a public golf course
  • $5,000 cash proffer per residential unit to be used for the new high school or development of the then-proposed Pleasant Grove Community Center
  • $1,000 cash proffer to the Fluvanna/Louisa Housing Foundation for emergency repairs to low income county residents’ houses
  • provision to provide water and sewer connection for the Palmyra Fire Station
  • provision to provide water and sewer connection for expansion of sewer services in the Fluvanna area
  • various exterior architectural guidelines for both residential and commercial buildings

The water and sewer connection provisions are nearly void because the Palmyra water system could only provide enough water for less than 75 more residential units, per a report by the public works director in the Walker’s Ridge planning documents.

Walker’s Ridge will not use the golf course but have building throughout the property. The plans call for fairways and golf cart paths to be used in calculating trail and open space in the PUD.

The PUD proposals divides the land into 47 percent open space, 35 percent residential and just six percent commercial. The proposed commercial space would be 180,000 square feet.

The proposed residential unit break down is 560 multifamily units, 318 townhomes, 205 single family detached homes and 97 single family attached homes. Proposed amenities include ponds, trails, playground, athletic facilities and possible swimming and fitness facilities.

If Walker’s Ridge does not get approval, the current zoning for what was the Point at The Rivanna Resort would still apply.

Walker’s Ridge could have the Planning Commission public hearing at the next meeting, June 26.

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The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

bryan-rothamel

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.  He is the founder of the Fluco Blog.  Additional writings can be found at www.Flucoblog.com