By. Neil Williamson, President
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are times when local public policy fails to follow logic.
When we learned in January the 1/3 Albemarle’s Entrance Corridors (EC) are Illegal, the Free Enterprise Forum was convinced Albemarle County supervisors would do the right thing to correct this code by reducing the number of roads designated as “Entrance Corridors”. Imagine our shock to learn that this week, the Supervisors have a Resolution of Intent (on the consent agenda) to ADD a twenty-second road to the bloated EC list.
Please let me explain.
Late last year, according to a member of county staff, during a routine preapplication meeting, a question came up regarding the posted speed limit on the entrance corridor. Staff researched the issue and determined both the speed limit and that the roadway was not an “arterial street”.
Virginia Code §15.2-2306 enables localities to establish entrance corridor districts encompassing parcels contiguous to arterial streets and highways found to be significant routes of tourist access to the county and to designated historic landmarks, structures, or districts within the county
This revelation, led staff to research each of the current twenty-one entrance corridor designated roadways and found eight did not meet the state “arterial” requirement.
To their credit, staff prepared a resolution of intent for the Board of Supervisors to consider in their February 7th meeting. The purpose of this resolution is to revise the Entrance Corridor Ordinance removing those roadways that do not qualify as arterials.
In the first action of the February 7th meeting, Board Chair Ann Mallek asked that the Resolution of Intent be removed from the consent agenda:
so some technical items can be worked out before it is brought back for further discussion.
Despite multiple requests of staff and supervisors, we have not received any update regarding these “technical issues”.
As of last month, the staff indicates they are not enforcing entrance corridor regulations on those roads that do not meet the state definition of “arterial” roads. This is not a fix, it is a band aid.
Meanwhile in February, the Planning Commission was flummoxed by its inability to mandate architectural review on proposed changes to City Church on West Rio Road. Therefore they passed a resolution of Intent to bring West Rio Road/John Warner Parkway as the twenty second road on the bloated list of “Entrance Corridors”. This is the true origin of the Resolution of Intent the Supervisors have on their consent agenda this week.
The Free Enterprise Forum believes any changes to the Entrance Corridors MUST FIRST fix the illegal Entrance Corridors – If not, we are left to ask
How long will Albemarle choose to ignore the law?
Neil Williamson, President
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
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