Albemarle’s Comprehensive Disappointment

By. Neil Williamson, President Free Enterprise Forum

Adapted from comments made at the June 10th Public Hearing on Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan

happy New Year HatMy new year’s resolution was to be more positive. The current draft of Albemarle County’s  Comprehensive Plan has made this mission difficult.

There are good things in this 4 years long gestating plan including recognition of rural area farming conflicts with development and the right to farm, an enhanced chapter on economic development, as well as a plan condensing and reorganization that makes the formerly unwieldy tome slightly more user friendly.

But the Free Enterprise Forum must stand opposed to the current draft. We believe this plan should be vetoed.

Ultimately, we fear that the restrictive growth tenor and regulatory direction of this comp plan will be harmful to Albemarle’s advancement and will significantly jeopardize the ability of our children and grandchildren to afford to live and find work in this great community.

While we believe the vast majority of the citizens may not be in favor of this plan, but I can count noses and I believe the majority of the Board of Supervisors is prepared to move forward.

This opposition is based on (but not limited to):

  • providing Monticello veto power over development in its so called viewshed
  • apologizing rather than fully embracing economic development
  • increasing the cost and complexity of providing housingVETO-stamp
  • mandating residential densities the citizens and market does not want
  • seeking to move people out of cars rather than moving cars
  • falsely declaring Natural Resource protection the County’s number one priority
  • makes false promises about infrastructure investments while threatening to restrict property rights based on your failure
  • removing specific rural area recreational uses without considering others.

The Free Enterprise Forum has been an active participant in this process for the last four years, we are disappointed that the final document speaks to more government expansion, reduced property rights and less flexibility.

While we can not support this plan, the Free Enterprise Forum is disappointed but not disheartened.

If you choose to pass this plan, we look forward to working with you and continuing our fight for increased flexibility, economic advancement, reduced regulation and increased respect for property rights as you and staff attempt to move forward to implementation.

I really wish I could be more positive, at least I made it to June – thank you for the opportunity to comment.  Thank you to staff for their hard work on this project.  I know at times I have been a burr in their side.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson


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

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