As Albemarle County’s review of a revised Comprehensive Plan moves forward, the Board of Supervisors is going to work overtime to ensure the process gives the public an opportunity to voice its concerns.
The review process begins with a look at the vision statement and then each of the chapters’ vision statements before digging into the details of those chapters.
“We would like to get a good idea of the vision, because everything in this plan is connected to the vision,” Wayne Cilimberg, the county’s director of planning, told the board at a recent meeting.
The decision to review the plan chapter by chapter was made last month after a public hearing. At the time, the board heard from groups such as the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Jefferson Area Tea Party and residents of the Glenmore area.
The board will meet twice a month for about two hours in the late afternoon, a time that they hope will allow more people to attend.
“We want to hear [the people’s] opinions,” said Supervisor Brad Sheffield. “People are interested in the planning of their communities. Meetings during the day prohibit people from attending.”
The board opted to meet twice a month rather than once a month in hopes of finalizing the plan this summer rather than by December.
“Some of these items have budget implications,” Sheffield said.
One local resident, David Arrington, said he was worried the lengthy review process already has taken a toll on public engagement.
“I’ve been following this since the first neighborhood meeting,” Arrington said. “There were probably 100 people at the first meeting from neighborhoods four and five … By the first Planning Commission meeting, there were about half a dozen.”
Although the presence of people at meetings has dwindled, board members say they continue to receive public feedback.
“We have gotten a good amount of emails since January,” Sheffield said. “I have received quite a few about transportation.”
Transportation is one of many topics supervisors will discuss in depth as they review the plan.
Arrington told the board that issue was his primary concern.
“Something needs to happen with infrastructure,” Arrington said. “Let’s see what develops from the Avon connector, Meadow Creek Parkway and the Avon shopping center before casting the die of what neighborhoods four and five are going to look like.”
A Wegmans Food Market is planned for the Fifth Street Station development, which includes a connector road joining Avon Street Extended in the county and Fifth Street Southwest near the Willoughby neighborhood.
Neighborhoods four and five are in Albemarle’s urban ring south of Charlottesville.
Other topics to be reviewed include additional master planning efforts and natural resources.
“If you were to leave the area and come back in 50 years, what would you want it to look like?” Elaine Echols, Albemarle’s senior planner, asked the board. “What would your expectation be?”
The board will meet at 4 p.m. May 7 to begin its review.