On January 11, 2006, the

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

held an afternoon worksession to review the entire community development process, the method by which such things as site plans, proffers, rezonings and special use permits are handled in Albemarle.  In the Podcast available below (9MB audio download), you can listen to the staff report from Mark Graham and the Board’s entire discussion, including a presentation by Supervisor Ken Boyd in which he recommended the formation of a

development process task force

.  The Board and staff are following up on discussions from 2005 at meetings in June, August, and

December

.

The Board reached consensus to have staff bring back a plan in February recommending actions to create the task force recommended by Mr. Boyd.


Listen to Podcast:


Download 20060111-BOS.mp3

New Supervisor David Slutzky made the following remarks which I believe capture many important elements of the discussion:

“…the perception at least is out there in the community, in some parts of the community, that to try and do neighborhood model development inside the designated growth areas, which is clearly an imperative of our comp plan, that the inherent complexities of doing that take too long, are too confusing for some people, and result in a desire to go ahead to the rural areas and do the development out there because it is just plain easier.  That dynamic I think we all recognize is really problematic given the comp plan doesn’t want development in the rural area.”

“As to whether or not there is something broken, I think there is, I can’t put my finger on what it is, but I think that it would be healthy, and I like the idea of this proposal a lot, I like the idea of it having a sunset provision, I like the idea of getting it started quickly and bringing it to a swift and focused conclusion… We should really talk about what is the output of this exercise… the goal of all this should be to see if there are ways in fact to have, I would argue, an accelerated or at least a more efficient process for evaluating and deciding thumbs up or thumbs down on development proposals in the designated growth areas.”

“I think that’s only half of the conversation. I think that outside of this track, there are several proposals that have been floated around and been analyzed and considered over the years to address the other half of that equation, i.e. to explore ways to make it less appealing for development to happen in the rural areas while at the same time we are looking at ways to make it less burdensome to do neighborhood model development inside the growth areas.  I think that we ought to at the same time, but on a parallel track, make a commitment to resolving–Are we going to do clustering? Are we going to do phasing? Are we going to do mountaintop protection?  Because if we do those things that will reduce the pressures on rural area development at the same time we lighten up, which may be the goal of this, some of the impediments to developing in the growth areas, I think we will have a balanced chance… My recommendation is we go forward with what Ken is saying, while at the same time, we  make a commitment to going ahead and sorting out what if any of those three things that we have talked about for years are we actually going to implement, while we’re at the same time considering what changes we might want to implement with regard to development in the designated growth areas.  So that when we come out of this overall process, on these two parallel tracks, we may well have some value.”

Brian Wheeler

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