As school begins and autumn approaches, the Board of Supervisors begins preparations for another budget cycle. There have also been a number of exciting issues of interest that occurred during the last meeting on September 5th, and many more that are scheduled for the upcoming meeting on September 12th. Please continue reading below to learn more about the issues facing the Board, in addition to information about the votes affecting you and your family that occurred over the past month and are slated for the next meeting:
Albemarle County Issues:
* As part of the Board’s ongoing effort to reduce unnecessary and burdensome regulations, the Board took up two policies on September 5th: the Personal Wireless Services Facility policy and the Site Plan Approval policy. The former pertains to the permitting requirements for cell phone towers, and the Board reviewed and streamlined (among other items) requirements about the number and size of radio arrays permitted on any individual tower and simplified permitting in Rural Historic Districts such as the Southern Albemarle Historic District (which covers most of the Scottsville District). The latter involves the elimination of excessive delays and clarification of submittal requirements for final site plans, and the simultaneous issuance of other required permits in an attempt to speed up the application process generally. These two modifications together will make government in Albemarle County more streamlined, reducing the administrative burden on small business owners and those companies that seek to bring cell service to our citizens.
* I’m pleased to report that Albemarle County Fire & Rescue (ACFR) has received a 1.3 million dollar Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). SAFER was established for fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to ensure there existed enough “front line” firefighters trained and available in communities across the country. This funding will ensure that the new Ivy Station will open on schedule and that the Seminole Trail Station (which covers most of the U.S. 29N response area) has the ability to fund a second daytime crew, essential for responding in a timely fashion to rush hour calls. These staffing scenarios fulfill NEPA requirements, as well as the Board’s strategic goal of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Albemarle County without having to raise taxes.
* This past week, I was invited to attend a roundtable/information session hosted by Virginia Clean Cities, a non-profit organization with the mission of assisting in the improvement of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s air quality, increasing U.S. national energy security, and promoting economic opportunity in Virginia mainly through facilitating increased use of alternative fuels and vehicles. The purpose of the meeting was to gather stakeholders together to determine the viability of and path forward for the placement and construction of a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area. In addition to being produced predominantly in the United States and burning cleaner, natural gas is currently priced at less than 50% of what traditional gasoline is, and the transition of local fleets and personal vehicles to compressed natural gas would be a huge boon to air quality as well as economic vitality and job creation in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area. I will keep everyone updated on this project moving forward.
Scottsville District Issues:
* At the Board meeting on Wednesday, September 12th, the Board will be voting on the proposed 5th Street Station project which I have mentioned in several previous e-mails. This project – which includes a proposed Wegman’s grocery store, as well as several other retail outlets – will bring thousands of permanent jobs to the Southern Albemarle area, as well as millions of dollars in tax revenue to Albemarle County to help pay for roads and schools. The rezoning will also result in the completion of a top priority road project for Albemarle County (the Bent Creek Parkway), the remediation of an old landfill, and the completion of a greenway/bike trail project along Biscuit Run Creek and in to the City. This project – which, by virtue of being in the growth area and close to I-64 will not result in excessive new sprawl or degradation of our rural environment – will be of great benefit to the citizens and voters of Southern Albemarle, and I’m proud to have worked closely with County staff and the developers of this project over the last nine months to ensure that the end result is an amenity for all who might take advantage of it.
* The County, under the guidance and leadership of the Board, continues to implement a variety of strategies pertaining to economic vitality, and this month, there will be two roundtables to discuss recent ordinance changes within Albemarle County and the Scottsville District. Objective 2 of the Economic Vitality Plan is to increase industrial land options within the County. An important part of that work is amending the zoning code to provide additional flexibility and location options to better meet the evolving needs of modern industry. As this work is being prepared for the Planning Commission’s final consideration later in September, we want to give stakeholders an opportunity to hear and react to what the Board is proposing. I hope you will attend a roundtable discussion on September 12, 2012, 10:00am to 11:30 am, in Room 241 of the County office building at 401 McIntire Road, to hear the recommendations and provide feedback that can be shared with the Planning Commission. Additionally, as part of the County’s Economic Vitality Action Plan, and in response to suggestions from rural area business owners that led to the passing of an Ordinance earlier this year allowing rural area landowners the ability to use auxiliary units for Bed & Breakfast (B&B) purposes, the County will be conducting a roundtable on September 19th from 1:00 to 2:30 in Room 241 at the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road to brief those interested individuals on this ordinance change plus additional information regarding health department regulations and safety measures of importance to lodging establishments. Please RSVP to Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your attendance at either or both informational sessions.
Other Events & Items of Importance:
* I recently added a new feature to my website – every month, I will feature a poll on an issue that will be before the Board soon for consideration and would strongly encourage you to vote and express your opinion if the issue is of importance to you. Citizen outreach and involvement has always been one of my top priorities, and I would truly like to hear from as many folks as possible on the critical issues that come before the Board. You can visit my website here to vote!
* As always, every Thursday at 9:00am, I will be co-hosting “City/County on the Corner” morning show with Charlottesville City Councilor Dede Smith on 106.1 “The Corner.” The show gives us an opportunity to chat about important issues regarding City/County cooperation and relations, as well as update listeners about important events happening in the County, City, and the region. Tune in!
* With the November 2012 elections just months away, the Registrar’s Office and the Electoral Board are in need of extra workers this November to help staff the polls, assist people with voting, man the machines, etc. If you’re interested in serving, please reply to this email and let me know, and I’ll get your information to the appropriate officials.
* Albemarle is still taking applications for Board and Commission vacancies. Please find a list of opportunities here. The more Scottsville District residents that apply to these Countywide Boards and Commissions, the more our voice will be heard in County processes. If you have questions about what it would entail or how I can help make the process easier for you, please let me know!
Board meetings usually take place on the first Wednesday of each month at 9AM and the second Wednesday of each month at 6PM, and I would love to see you there to make your voice heard. As always, I would be very interested in hearing your opinion about the above issues and any other issues that may be of concern to you and your family. Please don’t ever hesitate to get in touch with me at any time via phone at 434.260.1123 or e-mail me at email@example.com. Finally, if you know of anyone interested in recieving these updates or learning more about local government, please forward this email along to them.