By. Neil Williamson, President
Adapted from comments provided to Albemarle County Board of Supervisors virtual meeting April 15.
Good evening. My name is Neil Williamson I serve as President of the Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization focused on Charlottesville and the surrounding municipalities.
Earlier tonight Sean Tubbs of the Piedmont Environmental Council shared his admiration for Albemarle’s decision that government operations (including land use applications) are important and should move forward during the COVID-19 emergency. Not all localities have made this choice.
We sincerely appreciate Supervisor Price’s concern regarding the balance of property rights and the proper ability for public engagement. Mr. Tubbs and Travis Pietila’s comment that “this application is appropriate for virtual review” suggests some applications might not be appropriate – the Free Enterprise Forum disagrees with this contention — ALL applications and applicants are created equal.
With that being said, we believe this critically important decision reflects Robert Frost’s 1916 poem.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Free Enterprise Forum share Mr. Tubbs admiration of staff working to virtually continue government operations and public engagement. We are appreciative of Albemarle County Board of Supervisors choosing to take the more challenging path for we believe, as Frost wrote, we doubt we will ever go back and take the other path and that will make all the difference for the betterment of our community.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
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