Monthly Archives: June, 2014

“Snob Zoning” Request Returns to Charlottesville City Council?

By. Neil Williamson, President

In a blog post just under a year ago, Is the Lorax Guilty of Snob Zoning?, we raised concerns of so called snob-zones-640-for-web-194x300“Snob Zoning” in Central Virginia.  Included in that post was a quote from Councilor Dede Smith about new residential developments.

[City Councilor Dede] Smith also wanted to know what population was being attracted to Charlottesville based on the nature of the new developments.

“Who is going to live at City Walk?” Smith asked. “Our number of families is declining in the city and it has been stated as a priority that we would like to at least maintain or grow housing for families.”

Well, she is at it again.

Last week, Smith  strong armed the panel into considering a proactive downzoning in opposition to the wishes of the property owners.

Despite a majority of Councilors indicating their opposition to the rezoning, they were bullied into a public hearing process that will likely result in significant staff work, unrealistic citizen expectations as well as potential legal liability.

In The Daily Progress article written by Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Sean Tubbs, Jim Tolbert, Director of the city’s Neighborhood Development Services is quoted:

“Essentially, they are asking for the properties on Stribling, Crestmont and Shamrock to be downzoned,”

The reality is this is not a new issue.  The neighborhood association has been attempting to get these properties rezoned since at least 1999.

DEDE_portrait_200Perhaps most troubling was Councilor Smith’s dismissive attitude regarding the property owners wishes (and their property rights).  According to the Daily Progress:

Tolbert said the rezoning is opposed by 16 out of 23 residents of Crestmont Avenue.

Councilor Dede Smith, a Fry’s Spring resident, said that half of those owners do not live in Charlottesville. [Emphasis added-NW]

Property rights are NOT dependent on the owner occupying the property NOR their domicile.

The Free Enterprise Forum tends to agree with the opinion of City Attorney Craig Brown in describing this action as a downzoning.  He indicated that to initiate such an action there would be a need for the Council to have a finding of some change (since 2003) that

“materially affects  health, safety and welfare to justify that downzoning.”

We also concur with Councilor Szakos who indicated her belief that the holding of these hearing will create a false expectation of the citizens that the Council is prepared to downzone these properties.

We are also concerned that one councilor suggested the research phase of this process “may uncover a legal reason why the rezoning could be permissible”.

The ultimate motivation for this move, which was approved 4-1 (Szakos opposed)  may however also be an activist litmus test to expose the reluctance of some members of Council to reach beyond their legal authority and downzone the properties. 

There are some politically active community members that have suggested this is the first salvo in the next city council election (AKA Democratic primary).  To those fully engaged in these issues, it is not hard to see how supporting illegal “Snob Zoning” may win votes in an at-large City Council primary campaign.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson

 

 

Fluvanna/JABA MOU Fails to Advance (but does not fail)

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

What seemed like a routine Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors meeting and an even more routine item became a battleground for the two most conservative supervisors.

Fluvanna BOS_group2014_smDon Weaver (Cunningham District) and Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District) used the opportunity of a smaller board to allow a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) and Fluvanna County to go without action.

The MOU is for Fluvanna Parks and Recreation department to handle the nutritional program provided twice week for less than 25 participants. The proposed MOU would set the guidelines for the program that is administered by JABA but served by a Fluvanna staff member.

Currently, the program is administered and served by JABA but Fluvanna’s FY15 budget cut funding for serving the program because the plan was to handle it in house in an effort to expand Fluvanna’s senior programs.

That FY15 budget won’t begin until July 1 and it passed on a 3-2 vote, with Ullenbruch and Weaver not voting for it.

In order for JABA to operate with due diligence, it would need the MOU to show the program is being served correctly.

Mike Sheridan (Columbia District) moved to pass the MOU. Chairwoman Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) called for a second. Weaver and Ullenbruch stayed quiet.

Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) was not at the meeting. Sheridan, O’Brien and Booker voted for the FY15 budget.

“I think people are tired of increase services and cost,” said Weaver after the motion died without the required second.

The move shocked the very small audience, including county staff.

“I’m a little mystified,” said county administrator Steve Nichols.

Weaver also noted he doesn’t like MOUs in general, it was mentioned the county attorney does not like MOUs either.

“I’m satisfied this does what it was intended to do,” said county attorney Fred Payne in response to his dislike of MOUs.

“It lays out the two responsibilities of the two parties.”

Payne said the county could proceed without the activity, take it over without JABA’s support or abandon the whole process.

Because the JABA budget was decreased, Booker asked what they were to do with the activity.

“If we want them to continue what they have been doing, we need to transfer the money [back],” said Booker.

Weaver was content for JABA to continue the program with the budget that was granted without an additional transfer.

“Just leave it where it is before they came before us,” said Weaver when asked what county staff should do. He later said, “They live within the budget.”

Ullenbruch raised issue the program was too far from the majority of Fluvanna’s seniors.

“You are 13 miles from 50 percent of the senior population,” said Ullenbruch referencing Lake Monticello as the epicenter of senior domiciles.

He later kept counting the meals served, at 22.

“I understand you arguing for this, it is for your district,” said Ullenbruch to Booker.

Sheridan responded to Ullenbruch, “Most of my district is further than that (13 miles). Putting a senior center at Lake Monticello would make it further.”

Sheridan suggested using county buildings such as fire stations for senior events throughout the county. Booker and Nichols said the county is starting to do more senior events at various county locations, not just in Fork Union.

“I would readdress it if [county staff] follows through on what you just said,” Ullenbruch said to Nichols on the plans to expand senior outreach to beyond just the Fork Union Community Center.

Booker continued the discussion beyond the agenda item on how the board wants the program to continue. As it wound down she said, “I’m glad we had the discussion we’ve had because it has opened my eyes that we need more education [for the board].”

The interesting aspect of the item is it did not fail but failed to gain a second; it was not outright rejected.

“Might be something we address next time,” Sheridan said at the end of discussion.

The MOU could be readdressed with a full board and it would be expected to pass, if it could get O’Brien’s support. More than likely it would because the JABA budget was decreased specifically because the county planned on bringing the program in-house, a budget O’Brien supported.

In a follow-up odd move in the same meeting the next item on the agenda, re-appointments to the Economic Development Authority, had a prolong time to get a second too. It eventually was seconded and passed unanimously.

The motion for adjournment, hours later, had no issue getting a second and unanimous vote.

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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

The Who Has the Answer to New US29 Panel

By. Neil Williamson, President

pete-towsend-2_thumb.jpgIn 1971, long before the US29 Bypass was proposed, Pete Townshend wrote and his band The Who recorded a song that aptly captures the political reality of today’s US 29 transportation projects.  Don’t Get Fooled Again

Please let me explain.

Yesterday, (6/18) the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) endorsed the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Six Year Improvement Plan that included the “Shucet Solution” Package to US29.

In remarks before the CTB, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe cited the work of the US29 Advisory panel and suggested the result was a compromise where no one was entirely happy.  He highlighted the group’s transparency and opportunity for public participation.

While the Free Enterprise Forum appreciates the successful political word smithing, the fact is the so called “advisory” panel never voted on anything. This was, as we called it months ago, a charade.

McAuliffe’s remarks also touted the soon to be enacted House Bill 2 that requires prioritization of transportation projects.   Later in the same speech, he expressed how pleased he was that the US29 projects were in the plan and how he decided that this issue needed to be resolved.  Only the most informed would understand that if the US29 projects were not in the plan (and acted on prior to July 1) they would have to go through the prioritization process and would likely not get fully funded.

The timing, delivery and positioning of the US29 projects was expertly handled.pete 3

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me

The Shucet Charade was in fact so successful that there is going to be a second act.  Yesterday, we learned that Shucet will be staying on as the lead consultant for the “Project Delivery Advisory Panel”.

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Yesterday was the first we had heard of the US29 PDAP (yet another unwieldy government acronym), and like when we heard of the “US29 Solutions Advisor Panel” we are encouraged but this time based on our experience with the other “advisory” panel our joy is mixed with more than a sprinkling of trepidation.

To be fair, Shucet and I had a most positive conversation prior to the last meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).  He is a highly capable executive who has significant political skills to focus individuals and groups on the deliverables he has been charged to achieve.

Therefore, it is the charge of those on all sides of the US29 issue incumbent on the community to better define those deliverables and the level of public input.

Will the citizenry and elected officials be actively engaged in setting the membership and the success parameters for the US29 Project Delivery Advisory Panel?

Or will the process, membership and predetermined outcomes be again be dictated by forces outside of the community?pete_townshend

Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
No, no!

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson

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20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a 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: Allgoodseats.com

Greene Supervisors Address Surplus School Funds Policy

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

At the end of the June 10th Greene County Board of Supervisors meeting there were six items on the consent agenda and the motion was made to approve them all at one time.

davis_lambBefore a vote could be taken Supervisor Davis Lamb (Ruckersville District)  said he had some questions about item f. – Approval of Greene County Public Schools Surplus Funds Policy. So, the Board of Supervisors approved the first 5 items with one vote and then came back to item f.

Item f is a Board of Supervisors Policy Statement titled Greene County Public Schools Surplus Funds to be Designated to Capital Projects. The concept was discussed by the Board at a previous meeting but no formal vote was taken.  As there was general agreement among Board members about the policy it was brought forward as a consent agenda item.

”As a policy of the Greene County Board of Supervisors, any Greene County Public Schools operating budget surplus funds may be specifically designated to Greene County Public Schools capital projects on an annual basis, subject to Board of Supervisors approval.”

Supervisor Lamb raised concerns about public involvement asking if there should be a public hearing prior to taking the action.

Chairman Jim Frydl (Midway District) said that the Board of Supervisors will have the final decision each year.

Lamb’s other issue was equality among departments.  He asked why no other departments were able to retain their unspent funds?

Frydl answered no the other departments do not retain their funds but the schools have by far the largest demand for capital.

[In addition, the Free Enterprise Forum notes, the schools are the only department with a separate elected body to manage their expenditures.  Under Virginia law, the Board of Supervisors allocates funds to the schools division but once allocated the School Board determines spending decisions.]

Supervisor David Cox (Monroe District) reaffirmed that each year the Board of Supervisors will have the ability to decide if unspent funds should go to the capital budget or not.

Lamb’s final question was to the County Administrator John Barkley asking if this action was legal and Barkley gave a positive response since there would be no impact to the budget since the funds had already been approved.

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to approve the Funds Policy.

In order to see how much the unspent funds have been in the recent past, Director of Business and Facilities Kim Powell from the school system provided the following data.

Year School Budget Unspent / (Overspent) % Variance

2007 $28,788,523 $188,823 .66%

2008 $29,796,723 ($155,504) (.52%) $650K state revenue shortfall

2009 $31,307,854 $301,738 .96%

2010 $31,584,354 $314,111 .99%

2011 $29,708,744 $410,960 1.38% VRS “holiday”/decrease

2012 $30,574,549 $ 81,710 .27%

2013 $32,464,492 $305,481 .94%

TOTAL 7 YEAR $1,447,309

AVERAGE ANNUAL UNDERSPENDING $206,758

 

FY 2014 is still not finalized but Powell expects another favorable variance despite having abnormal expenses of up to $2,000 per day to feed either the high school or middle school students the days their school had to be evacuated for the 16 bomb threats. In addition, since the school has started hiring substitute teachers to help monitor bath room usage and verify that no bomb threat has been left after each student exited the rest room, this has cost close to $900 per day. Superintendent Andrea Whitmarsh  said that the schools cannot afford this expense next year and hopes that the bomb threats have stopped.

Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.

Albemarle’s “Protection Measures”

Adapted from remarks provided to Albemarle County Board of Supervisors June 11, 2014

By. Neil Williamson, President

The Free Enterprise Forum has been an active participant in the Comprehensive Plan discussions over the last 36 months.  We continue to find the Historical, Cultural and Scenic Resources chapter is fundamentally flawed in so much as it continues to reference the County’s 2000 Historic Preservation Plan. While the Free Enterprise Forum believes in incentivizing historic preservation we balance this desire with property rights. Several items in the 2000 plan have been rejected by this Board and the community at large.

Specifically, the property rights trampling Mountain Top Ordinance as well as a proposed historical preservation ordinance have repeatedly rejected. Should these flawed ideas from the 20th century continue to be referenced in this document?

As is often the case with Comprehensive Plans, this chapter seems to focus significantly on creating new regulations, often called “protection measures”. We firmly believe voluntary measures along with incentives are a better methodology to achieve historical preservation. Specifically we oppose Strategy 2b on page 5.9 calling for new regulations including a historical overlay district in the zoning code.

The concept that every property under such an overlay would be subject to additional regulation is a less than subtle attack on property rights.

We also take issue with the idea that the community has a “common responsibility for these resources” as mentioned in the third objective. Privately held homes [historic or not] are just that privately held, the community does not have a responsibility or relationship with these private properties.

On a positive note, we are happy to see our active work with the Planning Commission and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation resulted in significant changes to now voluntary Monticello viewshed strategy. We do request the word “voluntary” be added for clarity in the last sentence of Strategy 4c.

Just as we often worry about expansion of government, the Free Enterprise Forum is concerned that via this Comprehensive Plan Albemarle County is actively seeking “Greater ability to regulate aesthetics” on page 5.11

Specifically under Strategy 5b: Albemarle County is seeking “enabling legislation… to provide for a scenic protection and tourist enhancement overlay district”, the Free Enterprise Forum is opposed to the inclusion of this language in the Comprehensive Plan and will work to defeat any such legislation in the General Assembly.

Just as we said in our discussions with Monticello, if you want to preserve the view – BUY IT.

The Free Enterprise Forum respectfully asks that you reconsider Strategy 7f calling for adding roads to your existing list of 21 Entrance Corridors. When does it stop?  When all roads are under ARB review?

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson

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20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a 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

Building Late Night Life Rafts on the Titanic

FORUM WATCH EDITORIAL

By. Neil Williamson, President

titanic sinking credit redbubbleTomorrow night (6/11) the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will be considering how to best assist businesses negatively impacted by the 2+ years of construction of the Rio/US29 grade separated intersection.

The Free Enterprise Forum is somewhat conflicted regarding “government help”.  We firmly believe in the free enterprise system and that a critical part of that system is business failure to make room for new innovations.  While we believe in the “creative destruction” concept, we prefer it is the market not the government doing the destruction.

We have also documented our belief that Albemarle County’s 22 Entrance Corridors (including US29 and Rio East)  are over regulated by the Architectural Review Board(ARB).  Given these realities we believe the best way for government to help the impacted businesses is to get out of the way, a least a little, for the construction period + six months.

While we continue our opposition to this project, we call on the Albemarle BOS to respectfully request VDOT coordinate the projects so that the planned parallel road network is available during construction of Rio/US29.

We also ask the BOS to consider a new Rio/US29 construction zone overlay to their zoning maps.  This overlay would be as wide as the Entrance Corridor overlay and will run from Woodbrook Drive on the north to Hydraulic Drive to the south.

Jiffy Lube Linton HallWithin the newly created district:

Sign ordinance relaxation – businesses would be granted double the existing draconian signage allowance.  Such signs could be internally illuminated including logos.  Sign colors would not be limited by the ARB approved color wheel.

Advertising/PR support – a “ramp up” campaign will educate the public regarding alternate routes to reach existing business.  County employees and Supervisors will take part in the education campaign with outreach into the community.

Sponsor Monthly “We’re Still Open” events at impacted businesses – such after hours events can help fight the logical tendency to avoid this important commercial corridor

The Free Enterprise Forum continues to believe the best thing for the Titanic’s maiden voyage would have been to simply not hit the iceberg and the best thing for Albemarle is to not move forward on the Expressway concept phase one.

We recognize that on June 18th the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will likely endorse the “Shucet Solution” and we will be set on atitanic-survivors credit www.titanicuniversen unavoidable collision course with the iceberg.  The cynics among you will describe these actions the same as instructing the band to continue playing as the ship sinks.

I believe these reasonable reductions in over regulation measures might save some, but not all, of the impacted businesses.

Given the choice, shouldn’t we work to increase the number of survivors?

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson, President

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20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a 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: Free Enterprise Forum, Red Bubble, Titanic Universe

Fluvanna Space Utilization Plan May Include Sale of School Buildings

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors heard a briefing of usage of county space for how the government operates at the June 4 meeting. One item not discussed during the session was what to do with the two closed schools.

In the fall of 2013 the School Board relinquished control of Columbia and Cunningham district schools to the Board of Supervisors. Just before, it was publicly announced the school system was approached about selling at least one of the buildings.

Now, sources close to the situation, say the county has been working through preliminary discussions with a non-profit to purchase both buildings. One known hurdle has been how the towers used for technology will transfer; both are leased.

It is expected the county will further the negotiations to the Board of Supervisors level soon.

County government is moving around to better utilize space. The first major wave of changes involves moving pottery from the Carysbrook Gymnasium basement to the Fork Union Recreation Center. Then moving MACAA’s thrift shop from behind the original Carysbrook High School (now Social Services) to the Carysbrook Gymnasium basement.

That will allow public works to move from the basement of the Treasurer’s Office to the old MACAA building. The facility was originally built for shop class when the county used Carysbrook as a high school.

The county is also considering tearing down the white building (old school transportation headquarters) near the Carysbrook Gymnasium. The forestry department is interested in using the space for a building to house a bulldozer. It could be a lease option.

A secondary wave being discussed is moving the Commonwealth’s Attorney office into the County Administration Building if the county could move Extension Services. Currently, the county rents a building for both the Commonwealth’s Attorney and Sheriff’s investigators. Moving both out of their rented space would save $2,000 a month.

The ultimate dream would be to build a county administration building at Pleasant Grove, next to the library and Sheriff’s Office. That would eliminate the use of the current facility and allow the courts to expand into it.

It would also free up the buildings used by the registrar, Treasurer, Commissioner of Revenue and others. The county could look to sell the buildings or tear them down to build a park. The goal would not be to add to the county’s building list.

Also, the county will need to consider renovation or replacement of the school administration building, the old Palmyra School, in the future. The building is not in the best of shape.

The rearranging of offices takes far less money but keeps the county services spread between Palmyra, Carysbrook, Fork Union and Pleasant Grove. Fiscally, the county isn’t prepared to build a centralize facility like Albemarle has with its county administration building yet.

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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

Fluvanna Plans to Survive Government Shutdown

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

According to staff, Fluvanna County could survive multiple months if the General Assembly standstill shuts down the commonwealth.

The county would have to hold back on several projected items to keep county reserves high.

Fluvanna currently operates with committed and uncommitted money in the bank. The county collects taxes twice a year, June and December. After the June tax date, the county could have around $20 million in the bank to pay for various expenses until the December collection.

Uncommitted funds are known as the ‘Fund Balance’ or the county savings. The FY15 fund balance has to stay above $7.2 million, according to Board of Supervisors policy. The FY15 fund balance will be about $1 million above that.

The issue with a state government shutdown is it holds up major cash flow for the county and not just appropriations from the state. Federal funds that pass through the state, like education dollars, will be delayed, at best.

“Obviously, this is a worst case scenario that I’m showing you but it is something we want the board to be aware of,” said Eric Dahl, finance director, told the Board of Supervisors in a June 4 meeting.

He projects the county could make it through the 2014 calendar year but that would require holding off on signing the E911 radio contract. The county has $7.1 million committed to that.

Later in the meeting E911 radio contract came up for action but the matter was deferred until the next June meeting so supervisors could review the contract. There is a savings if the county signs the contract before the end this fiscal quarter but it could possibly affect the county’s money in the bank.

Staff did recommend on holding off on all Capital Improvement Plan projects that were planned in cash until a state budget is passed, implementing a temporary hiring freeze, hold off on paying staff raises, develop a plan across the county government in cuts in non-personnel costs and defer all non-essential staff training or travel.

The secondary concern beyond the shutdown is what the state budget will look like. The past biennium budget has resulted in a shortfall and making up that difference could be spread across the board in FY15’s budget, thus altering the county’s project revenue budget.

“We just don’t know,” said county administrator Steve Nichols.

He did say things like holding off staff raises will be retroactively applied once the county knows the effect of the pending FY15 state budget.

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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

Playing Chicken with Albemarle ARB

June 2, 2014 Public Comments to the Albemarle County Architectural Review Board (ARB)

By. Neil Williamson, President

My name is Neil Williamson and I serve as president of the Free Enterprise Forum a public policy organization in Albemarle County.

As each of you know, Albemarle County has over twenty entrance corridors and the Planning Commission has recommended additional corridors be added via the Comprehensive Plan.  Albemarle’s number and geographic footprint is far beyond what I believe was the General Assembly’s legislative intent when it created Entrance Corridors.

By code, the properties in these corridors are subject to the additional review of the ARB.  Generally when a project comes before this board for approval it is granted with a number of conditions regarding landscaping, building materials or other ascetic measures.

The Free Enterprise Forum is growing increasingly concerned at the new level of detail that the ARB is now requesting from some but not all applicants.  Specifically, the need for three dimensional (3D) computer renderings seems to be above and beyond the reasonable requests from this  Board.

The concept of “requesting” is interesting considering the powerful dynamic of the ARB’s conditional approval.  I tend to consider these requests more akin to a game of chicken to see who will bend to the others will.

The game of chicken is an influential model of conflict for two players in game theory. The principle of the game is that while each player prefers not to yield to the other, the worst possible outcome occurs when both players do not yield.  In the applicants case this is a lopsided version of chicken as the ARB has very little to lose. While the applicant has often already put thousands (if not millions) of dollars at risk to get the application to the ARB.

Generally  these “requests” are made during the preliminary discussion of an application when a voting member of the ARB states “it sure would be nice if we could see the 3D renderings for this project”.  As an aside, while I have been in the room several times when such requests have been made to applicants, I have yet to find such requests formally recorded in the ARB minutes.

At any rate, at this point applicants find themselves in a position of either accepting the additional time and cost of preparing such 3D models as Albemarle County’s Cost of Doing Business or put their project’s approval at risk if they were to refuse this “request”.

Much like a child with desires for a shiny new technological toy, this Board, absent any expanded authority, has significantly increased the cost and complexity of development.

As applicants generally do not want to play chicken with the ARB, the Free Enterprise Forum “requests” that the ARB formally consider when three dimensional computer modeling is truly needed to understand an application versus simply nice to have.

If the ARB can not clearly delineate between when the pretty pictures are nice to have rather than truly and needed, such “requests” should be eliminated.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

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20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a 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: readthehook.com, USA Today