Monthly Archives: November, 2013

Fluvanna Supervisors Explain Aqua Vote

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

On November 20th the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to support moving forward in a public private partnership with Aqua Virginia [click here for Free Enterprise Forum story].  The  three supervisors who voted for the Aqua deal each had different aspects to discuss immediately following the Nov. 20 meeting.

The motion was made at approximately 8:20 p.m. by Joe Chesser (Rivanna District) and seconded by Mozell Booker (Fork Union District). After about 20 minutes of discussion, the supervisors voted to pass the public-private partnership with chairman Shaun Kenney joining Chesser and Booker.

Don Weaver (Cunningham District) was very upset on the procedure of how the vote took place. Before the meeting was adjourned, Weaver said, “I’m appalled that this board would tarnish this board at the end of the meeting.”

The vote occurred after the majority of agenda items were completed but the meeting still had over another hour of items discussed that were not included on the agenda. The Aqua vote and one other required funds being spent. The second, appropriating money for signs in Columbia came in at $5,000.

The Aqua vote happened during the unfinished business section of the meeting. The section of the meeting did not have any pre-announced items. The unsolicited PPEA involving Aqua to provide water to Zion Crossroads and sewer lines back to the Department of Corrections had a public hearing in September.

While negotiations over the deal broke off in October, the supervisors never officially rejected the deal leaving it always open to action either in favor or against. The only state requirement is a vote for approval cannot occur until after 30 days from the public hearing.

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Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors Chairman Shaun Kenney

The vote to approve included four amendments that changed language regarding venue of a possible lawsuit for both the water and sewer contracts from specifically identifying the Western District Court of the federal court system to “as permissible by law”.

The reasoning being if it was a state issue it would be argued in Fluvanna Circuit Court. It was debated if a lawsuit happened, would there be a case specifically to determine venue because the language was not specific to the circuit court.

The other two amendments lengthen the deposit period from 45 days after signing to 75 days for two contracts.

The final portion of the amendment instructed the county administrator to pay $500,000 and $50,000 for part of the initial deposit no later than noon on December 1st.

Fluvanna County already has already accepted an offer with the Department of Corrections to use up to 75,000 gallons of water per day of extra capacity from the Fluvanna Correctional Facility. the county would have to build, maintain and service the water and sewer lines if it only used the DOC option.

“When we talk about 75,000 gallons, all that does it takes care of one or two organizations coming in.” In the post meeting interview Chesser continued, “75,000 gallons takes care of 200 to 300 homes plus a few commercial — like a strip mall. That’s not the type of economic development we need.”

Mozell Booker

Fluvanna Supervisor Mozell Booker

She had been looking over the Aqua documents for quite some time as well. Booker said after the meeting, “I just couldn’t see how this one little legal issue is going to keep us from moving forward. There’s been one stalling after another.

“We’ve had public hearing, we’ve been talking about this, Aqua Virginia is in our community. It is a water company in our community. Why can’t we be partners with them and be successful?”

The ‘one legal issue’ still hasn’t be cleared by the county legal adviser and attorney Fred Payne. He said he had a number of concerns previously and could not discuss them at the Nov. 20 meeting because he had not looked at the file in almost two months. He could not say with certainty if the change of language cleared his legal concern.

He also added he had other concerns but would have to look at the contract the supervisors approved and his notes.

Questions regarding where the contract is as of Nov. 25 were directed to county administration. Steve Nichols, county administrator, declined to comment.

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bryan-rothamelThe 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 covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum.

Greene Planning Commission – Cell Tower vs. Rural Views?

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Greene County Planning Commission’s November meeting was dominated by a wireless facilities application.  AT&T’s representative, Cheryl Taylor from Velocitel, Inc. requested a Special Use Permit (SUP 13-006)  to construct a cell tower in western rural Greene County.

Bart Svoboda explained that the requested location is off Route 810 near the town of Geer on the property of John and Barbara Hayes. The SUP is for a tower with a height of 199 feet, just below the 200 foot level that requires lighting be included. The proposed location is 40 feet into the woods and the proposal is for either a silver or brown pole. Below is an applicant generated photo representation from Route 810 as to what the appearance of the tower would be. Svoboda explained that the smaller picture in the lower left hand corner is the view from the road. The larger picture is a magnification of the same picture in order to show the tower.

clip_image002Taylor addressed the Planning Commission explaining their company (Velocitel, Inc) has been contracted by AT&T to find a location where coverage is currently missing (a radius of .5 mile is diameter). Currently Route 810 is not a scenic highway  although the process is underway for it to be considered one.

Comments from the public were adamant against the cell tower in the specific location proposed by Velocitel. Nine speakers commented on the SUP, all opposing the request for a variety of reasons. Several speakers, including Pastor Gordon Merryweather of the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church , spoke in opposition stating that the tower would be directly in the view from their church. He further explained that the church is constructing a meditation area that looks directly at the area where the tower is proposed and asked that the view be maintained as it is.

Beth Lane, whose house is in the lower right corner of the picture above, is not against improving cell reception in the area, but asked that other locations away from the neighborhood and church be looked at before a decision is made. Another speaker noted that Albemarle County approves shorter towers and that may help the issue. A final citizen proposed that the tower be located further up the mountain, therefore requiring less of the tower to be exposed in order to get the height being requested.

The Planning Commission discussed several options such as moving the tower up the mountain. This however would require a roadway to be cut out and a level pad be created which would be more visible. The option of having the tower shorter prohibits other cell providers from attaching to the tower and therefore may generate more request for towers from other providers and the need for more towers since a shorter tower provides a smaller range of service.

Chairman Jay Willer  suggested that Taylor meet with the church members and others that live in the Geer area to see if an agreement could be reached that would be satisfactory to both parties. With that agreement made, the Commission voted unanimously to defer the SUP until 2/19/14, leaving enough time for the two parties to meet and hopefully come to an agreement.

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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.

Stanardsville Streetscapes Project Going After Phase II

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

At the October 22nd Greene County Board of Supervisor meeting, an update of the Stanardsville Downtown Streetscapes Revitalization Project  was given by *STAR* Executive Director Roy Dye. He reported that Phase I is halfway done and the target completion date is by the first Saturday in December for the annual Parade of Lights.

He also updated the BOS on the submission of Phase II which is due in by the first of November. While there is no funding from the county required by the grant request, Mr. Dye came to the BOS asking for their support to go with the application for Phase II. This application also requests funds for the engineering of the west sidewalk extension, from Celt Road to Pioneer Bank. This stretch of roadway is a priority over the proposed east sidewalk extension and has been selected for construction for three reasons: 1) It is one of the most unsafe sections of Main Street and most frequently traveled by pedestrians, who now share the roadway with heavy trucks and other vehicles; 2) It connects the new sidewalks in town to the existing sidewalk at the Pioneer Bank and to a new crosswalk, thereby closing a glaring gap in the sidewalk network; and 3) It provides safe, uninterrupted pedestrian access to the shopping center, the public schools complex, and the Greene County public transportation system.

Vice Chairman Davis Lamb questioned the width of the sidewalk and how the wall would be constructed. Stanardsville Mayor Gary Lowe  stated that with width would be five feet and that the materials for the wall would depend on the height required and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) approval. Mr. Lamb recommended a stacked block wall to avoid cracking of a poured concrete wall. Supervisor David Cox asked what is the time requirement for snow removal off the sidewalks. Mayor Lowe stated there has never been a time limit at the request of the residents.

The final issue discussed was the bump outs and the limitation of the width of Main Street. Supervisor Cox expressed some concern given the width of some equipment that is moved through Main Street. Mayor Lowe stated that VDOT had approved the width of the roadway.

With no further discussion, support for Phase II was approved on a 3 – 2 vote with Mr. Peyton and Mr. Cox voting no and Chairman Jim Frydl, Vice-Chairman Lamb and At Large Supervisor Eddie Deane voting yes. [The full application can be accessed at the end of this post].

Since the October 22nd BOS meeting and the submission of the request for the engineering study for Phase II, VDOT has come back saying that there are very few requests for funds and suggests going ahead and requesting funds for construction for the west end of the project. The construction costs for this portion will be $230,100 and Roy Dye will submit this request by November 25th. VDOT would fund 80% of the project leaving the remaining 20% to be funded locally from a combination of the EDA, Stanardsville Town Council, Greene County and private citizens.

VDOT will submit a recommendation to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in the spring. If the project is included on the list there is a good chance that the Transportation Board would approve the grant in the summer of 2014.

Click on the image below to read the formal application.

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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.

Fluvanna Supervisors Pass Aqua Contract in Unscheduled Vote

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

aqua-america-logo_thumb.jpgFluvanna County’s Board of Supervisors passed the public-private partnership agreement (PPEA) with Aqua to provide water to the County on a 3-2 vote.  

The motion was made by Joe Chesser (Rivanna District) included amendments to the full agreement. They included changing language of jurisdiction selection in case of a lawsuit and also extending the window for initial deposit. Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) seconded the motion.

It all occurred during ‘Old Business’ as a vote on the PPEA was previously never recorded. The issue was announced as tabled because of the impasse on legal restrictions from both sides. Still a vote to reject the proposal was never taken. https://freeenterpriseforum.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/fluvanna-water-deal-runs-dry/

Ullenbruch-Nov-2012-Web_thumb.jpg

Bob Ullenbruch

Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) and Don Weaver (Cunningham District) took issue with how the motion was made during old business. Because it was an item still without a vote, it was free to be brought up for a vote.

“I don‘t know where this has come from,” Weaver said.

The item not being on the agenda was Weaver and Ullenbruch’s primary defense to the raising objection to procedure of the motion and subsequent vote.

After short discussion Booker compared the Aqua motion to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget vote, where supervisors slashed the school budget over $2 million. She said the procedure was the same.

After it being called ‘under the table discussions’ by Weaver, chairman Shaun Kenney (Columbia District) said, “So we are now addressing it in the light of day and it is wrong?”

County administration and legal staff were not aware the motion would be entertained prior to the meeting. Fred Payne, county attorney, said he could not give a legal analysis without fully reviewing the file again.

He still was concerned after the initial hearing of the jurisdiction amendment. He had concerns it still would not cement a hearing in Fluvanna Circuit Court on any issue of the contract but still leave it open to federal district court.

“I have never seen a county treated fairly in federal court,” Payne said.

Kenney asked if his concerns were because the last time Fluvanna was in court, it lost on a First Amendment case regarding the use of the seal. Payne would not respond directly to the question but said in his experience counties do not receive “justice in federal court.”

Payne said after he conducts a legal analysis he still might not approve the contract. Kenney asked for clarification if the board could override his legal opinion to which Payne responded yes.

After the meeting Chesser said in an interview there has not been direct conversation with Aqua but it is believed the amendments will not stop the deal.

Free Enterprise Forum will have more on the vote and the specific motion language later.  

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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.

Albemarle Apologetic Economic Development

By. Neil Williamson, President

While it is not the role of government to create economic development, government has the ability to create an environment that welcomes suchClosed20Sign_thumb.jpg activity.  Building such an environment requires commitment but recent actions by the Board of Supervisors (BOS) as well as a close examination of the proposed Comprehensive Plan chapters leads some to believe Albemarle may not be “open for business”.

Based on recent discussions, Albemarle seems to be much more likely to hire a planner to preserve the past than a position to help facilitate the jobs of the future.

Please let me explain.

Last Wednesday, just hours after two incumbents (Duane Snow and Rodney Thomas) lost their reelection bids, one of the other “lame ducks” on the Board, retiring Dennis Rooker, raised questions about the responsibilities and accountability of an Economic Development Department. 

Rooker was concerned about creating such a  “cost center” without specific metrics to evaluate its performance.  It would be refreshing to see this same level of accountability to some of the other County expenditures Supervisor Rooker has favored over the last twelve years (including the Historic Preservation Planner below).  While some in the audience saw this as a subtle delaying tactic designed to make the proposal come before the newly elected Board, Supervisor Snow went so far as to call it “a full retreat”.   

This Wednesday (11/13) the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will consider three chapters of their Comprehensive Plan: Economic Development, Historic Resources, Natural Resources.  To be clear, we are appreciative that after 30 years of Comprehensive Planning, Albemarle County has an economic development chapter but  The Free Enterprise Forum believes it is not an accident that the Economic Development Chapter is the shortest of the three (and the shortest in the Plan).

Beyond the mere number of pages dedicated to economic development,  much of the document reads like an apology.  By means of comparison here is the Objective 1 of the Natural Resources Plan:

Protect the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater resources in the County.

A crisp, measurable objective without conditions.  Objective 1 of the Historic Resources Plan is equally clear:

Continue to identify and recognize the value of buildings, structures, landscapes, sites and districts which have historical, architectural, archaeological or culture significance.

But the tenor of the Economic Development Objective 1 is completely different:

Ensure that economic development efforts are supportive of the County’s Growth Management Policy and consistent with the other Comprehensive Plan goals.

Taken independently, one might find the Economic Development Objective 1 to be without objection but when compared side by side it is clear some chapters are more equal than others.

The Natural Resources Chapter speaks at great lengths regarding habitat fragmentation (including the below chart):

 

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If it is important to educate citizens about the negative impacts of a fragmented wildlife habitat, is it not as important to educate citizens of the perils of underemployment (see chart below) and impact such underemployment has increasing the number of chronically unemployed youth?

Why wouldn’t the Comprehensive Plan seek to identify how this lack of good jobs is impacting the different segments of our population differently?

If it is an Albemarle County  strategy to “re-establish the full-time Historic Planner Position to assist in the implementation of the Preservation Plan”, is it not equally important to actually have at least one person’s full time job to be focused on the jobs of the future? 

Wednesday’s question for the lame duck BOS (and its newest member Jane Dittmar) is whether together they will fight to make economic development, and jobs, a priority in Albemarle County.

Looking at the tea leaves, I am not optimistic.

Respectfully submitted,

Neil Williamson, President

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20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded non partisan public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and  Nelson County.  For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Chart credits:  www.econbrowser.com, www.thinkprogress.org

Asking the Albemarle Supes to Consider Cash Proffer Reform

Comments delivered to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, under “Other Matters from the Public” November 6th, 2013

Good Morning.  My name is Neil Williamson and I work for The Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization focused on Central Virginia’s local governments.  As this is likely his last meeting, please let me join the chorus thanking Supervisor Petie Craddock for his service.

In classic government fashion, your agenda today includes an item where you will discuss if you are willing to discuss the cash proffer policy.

Back in May, you invited me to present our cash proffer research titled “Contradictory Consequences”.  I have provided each of you with an additional copy.  Note the subtitle

  A Free Enterprise Forum White Paper exploring how cash proffers negatively impact economic advancement, create false hope and hinder implementation of community supported comprehensive plans.

Then a few months back after the Planning Commission recommended an adjusted cash proffer, this Board refused to consider the application with such an amended cash proffers and asked the applicant to defer their request to allow the Board to consider the Cash Proffer policy in a larger setting.  This action was in conflict with your existing cash proffer policy that reads:

“This cash proffer policy must meet a “reasonableness” test, which requires the Board to determine for each rezoning whether the amount proffered is reasonably related both in nature and extent to the projected impacts of the proposed development on public facilities”.

Now, the staff report prepared for your discussion of potentially discussing suggests hitting the snooze button and maintaining the current six year old policy for another two years.  This is unacceptable.

Recently, this Board has been approving Special Use Permits with a review after just one year of operation.  If one year is good enough for an SUP, six years is long enough to wait for cash proffer reform.

The Free Enterprise Forum respectfully requests that you review your current cash proffer policy and resolve the negative economic development impacts at your earliest convenience.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson, President

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20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded non partisan public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and  Nelson County.  For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Fluvanna Elects O’Brien and Sheridan

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

PALMYRA — A slight shift in the political landscape, Mike Sheridan and Tony O’Brien have won their respective elections to serve on the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor elect Tony O'Brien

Fluvanna Supervisor Elect Tony O’Brien

The biggest surprise of the night was O’Brien’s sizable victory of 321 votes over Republican candidate Rick Kelly in the Rivanna District. The seat is currently held by Joe Chesser who did not run.

O’Brien campaigned on infrastructure investments to attract businesses. Kelly took a more conservative approach to growing the business community and finding what Kelly deemed ‘fat’ in the budget. Kelly had support of local Republicans including delegate Rob Bell.

O’Brien had strong support of Focus on Fluvanna’s Future group. Many members of the group hosted campaign events for O’Brien who is a senior partner of a Charlottesville business, Helix Systems.

Fluvanna Supervisor Elect Mike Sheridan

Fluvanna Supervisor Elect Mike Sheridan

Sheridan, a school teacher, beat Elizabeth Franklin in the Columbia District. Sheridan captured 58 percent of the vote with over 1,200 votes placed. Shaun Kenney currently serves the district and did not run.

Sheridan grew up in the county. His brother is the Commissioner of Revenue but this is Mike’s first campaign.

In the other Board of Supervisors race was Cunningham District. Don Weaver (Republican) ran unopposed.

The only contested School Board race was Cunningham. Charles Rittenhouse beat William Hughes for the second consecutive year. This will be Rittenhouse’s first full term after both candidates served one years to fulfill the term for the late Doug Johnson.

Camilla Washington beat write-in candidate Claudia Thomas in the Columbia District. Carol Tracy Carr won the Rivanna District in her uncontested race.

All elected candidates terms will begin Jan. 1, 2014 for four years.

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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.

 Photo Credits: NBC29, Fluvanna Review

Why 2013 is a “GOTV” or “Turnout” Election

FORUM WATCH EDITORIAL

BY. Neil Williamson, President

One day left.

Citizens and candidates alike look forward to the end of the election season. As one local incumbent described the process to me recently, “There’s two ways to run, unopposed or scared”.

Regionally, we have one of the most robust ballots in recent history.  While we do not have opponents to our sitting state legislators (which is regrettable), the vast majority of the local elections are contested.  Simply put contested elections make candidates explain and defend their positions thus making the public better informed and generates better policy after the election. 

By virtue of reading this post, you tend to be one of the more engaged community members.  By now, you likely know who is running for local office in your locality.  Hopefully, you know where they stand on issues that are important to you and you have selected the candidate that best represents your views. 

Here in Virginia we like elections so much we hold them every year.  This year is an “off-year” election meaning there are no Federal offices on the ballot but there is a gubernatorial race. By means of contrast the 2012 presidential election year saw 71.78% statewide voter turnout compared with the last “off” year the 2009 Gubernatorial election turnout of 40.4%.

Based on early absentee voting and historical averages, the Free Enterprise Forum anticipates the 2013 statewide election turnout to hover near 40%.  Locally, we may see higher than state average but we do not believe it will exceed 50%.

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Based on this projection, roughly half of registered voters likely will not vote this cycle.  Therefore, regardless of the locality, this year’s campaign will come down to which campaign motivates their voters to show up at the polls.

Ballot BoxGet Out The Vote, known as “GOTV”, campaigns have been underway by the major parties, and special interest groups, for a number of weeks.  Likely voters are being contacted via mail, phone, and in person by party operatives and candidates.  Historically, this type of “ground game” can make the difference.  We have seen the amount of shoe leather candidates put into the campaign can have a higher return than signs and advertising in many of the local races.

Every vote matters as evidenced by several recent close elections.  In the 2009 Samuel Miller District Race in Albemarle County, Duane Snow won a three way Board of Supervisors contest by 264 votes. The same year, Shaun Kenney won his Fluvanna Supervisor race by 33 votes. In 2011, Supervisor Davis Lamb won his Ruckersville seat by just 15 votes (with 41 votes going to a candidate who had dropped out of the race). 

Typically turnout elections favor those candidates with well defined and energized constituencies.  While there are a multiplicity of local constituencies with varying levels of organization, the question of election day is which of these constituencies are both motivated and energized.  Put succinctly, what half will show up?Badge

The Free Enterprise Forum is a non partisan public policy organization, as such we embrace elections as the political marketplace for ideas.  We sincerely thank the candidates who are making the sacrifice to run for public office.  We strongly encourage everyone to make your voice heard by voting. 

The candidates have done their job by running now it is up to you – Polls will be open Tuesday from 6 am to 7 pm.—VOTE

If you do not know where you vote, click here for your polling place.

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Neil Williamson, President

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20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded non partisan public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and  Nelson County.  For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Final Free Enterprise Forum Candidate Question Albemarle’s Proffer Policy

By. Neil Williamson, President

As a part of the Free Enterprise Forum mission to inform the public, we posed five questions to the eight candidates for Albemarle Board of Supervisors.  Other than minor formatting, the candidate answers are reprinted exactly as they responded.  One question will be answered by each of the candidates each day this week. 

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5. Albemarle County has an aggressive cash proffer policy on top of an inclusionary affordable housing mandate that requires 15% of any new development be “affordable”  What is your opinion of these “voluntary” proffers?

Scottsville District

Burket campaignCindi Burket – I think proffers are too high. We should at the very least go back and crunch the numbers that determine the cost of proffers, but should analyze the effect that proffers have on the cost of affordable housing and perhaps the unintended consequences of builders skipping the rezoning process because of the proffer fees. I think we should look at the entire process

dittmar campaignJane Dittmar:   Cash proffers pass through to homeowners or leases of commercial space. When we began using them here in Albemarle County, they were $3,500 per housing unit and now hover around $17,500. For perspective, Fairfax County now charges $35,000. The question that I ask is should all property owners subsidize the cost of growth or should individual projects help defray some of it? We need to study this carefully.

Some have suggested that cash proffers may result in less density than we want in certain projects and others suggest that they may be impacting affordable housing in a negative way. I know of many police, fire, nurses and teachers who can’t afford a home in the County they serve. I will be study this issue if elected to arrive at the most beneficial formula for the county.

Samuel Miller District

Snow campaignDuane Snow: I would hardly call them voluntary. The more proffers required, has the adverse effect of making the house less affordable. However, I do understand the necessity of those that are doing the development and those that are moving here to share in the responsibility to fund the infrastructure that is required.

I believe that we should review the proffer requirements periodically with public input.

Palmer campaignLiz Palmer:  I’m certainly open to suggestions for changes to the proffer policies and system.  However, my history at the Service Authority shows that I favor having “growth pay for growth.”  The fiscal impact analysis is easier to do on additions to a water and sewer system than on the entire spectrum of county responsibilities, I realize.  But a similar policy of shared responsibility for the fiscal impact of new development should direct the proffer system.

Generally, I favor tax or fee systems that are fair and that are uniformly applied so that every developer, for example, knows the rules about affordable housing before he/she considers a development and is certain that every other developer faces the same requirement.  Requirements should be clear and predictable.

Rio District

Sheffield campaignBrad Sheffield: The requirement of affordability has been constantly debated nationally at all levels of court. I am not sure how effective the County’s requirement has been, so I would want to first assess the impacts. Given the down turn of home construction in 2008 and the shift in types of desired developments, I believe we need to take a short term look at the impacts and possibly revise our policy on those findings.

As for “cash proffers,” I can understand both sides of the discussion. I do believe we need to have a serious discussion of proffers. I have worked on many projects related to all types of development fees. There are a lot of other options we could explore. I believe the market for developing homes has shifted significantly. We need to adjust our policies accordingly.Thomas campaign

Rodney Thomas: I personally feel that 15% designated to the affordable housing is fair. By doing this, add more density for the developer.

 

Jack Jouett District

McKeel campaignDiantha McKeel:  Proffers have unintended consequences and I do not believe growth pays entirely for growth, especially in the shorter term. We must support reasonable and smart economic development and take the pressure off property taxes.

We have a need in our community for workforce housing and it is conceivable that creative public private partnerships (proffers) offer a solution. This is an area that is ripe for additional research and study that would include an analysis of best practices in Virginia and around the country. 

This is an important public policy area where a broad diversity of expertise can lead to solutions that solve and not create problems. One approach I strongly favor is to utilize my Common Ground Council, which includes business and community representatives, to discuss how we can best address the need for affordable housing and how public private partnerships can be constructed to meet this vital community need.

seay campaignPhillip Seay: I am still researching this issue. Question if current guidelines define what is equitable or excessive.

Does it adjust to overall economic changes?

Where does this work best? Why used for certain projects and not others?

Can we legally defend using for one but not another? Does it prevent needed economic growth?

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Ballot BoxThe Free Enterprise Forum thanks the candidates for taking the time to provide answers to our Free Enterprise Forum Five. 

The candidates have done their work – now it is up to you the voters.  Please vote on November 5th.

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20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded non partisan public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and  Nelson County.  For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Photo Credits : Candidate Websites, Facebook, Newsplex