By Sean Tubbs

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Thursday, November 19, 2009

There will be at least three new members of the

Albemarle County Planning Commission

when it convenes for the first time in early January.  The changes are a result of the recent local elections and decisions by some commissioners not to seek reappointment.  That could mean big changes in the commission’s approach to master planning, zoning regulations, and other key issues.

Rodney Thomas and Duane Snow

in May 2009 at the Albemarle County Republican caucus

Each newly elected member of the

Board of Supervisors

has the option of either nominating a candidate or advertising for applications.

Duane Snow

, elected in the Samuel Miller district, and

Rodney Thomas

, elected in the Rio district, have both chosen to advertise planning commission positions to the public.

Applications will be accepted on the County’s website through December 16


The Rio District seat on the commission is currently held by developer

Don Franco

, who was appointed to a vacancy earlier this year. Franco, a principal with the firm KG Associates has already applied for the position, and says he thinks his experience as a developer qualifies him for continued service as a commissioner.

Thomas, a former Chairman of the Planning Commission, said in an interview that he will keep an open mind as he wades through the applications.

“I would rather someone come in with no agenda,” Thomas said. “I would like someone who knows a lot about the area and has knowledge about planning.” He said he would not rule out reappointing Franco.

Duane Snow will select someone to replace

Eric Strucko

, who won election to the Samuel Miller seat on the county school board. Snow could not be reached for comment .

The entire Board will also vote on the planning commission’s seventh member, an at-large representative. That seat’s current occupant,

Marcia Joseph

, has decided not to reapply. Joseph has served three two-year terms and said she wanted to give someone else a chance at representing the entire county.

“What I’m hoping is that the person they select will have the knowledge and history and has been here long enough to understand the workings of the community,” Joseph said.

Outgoing Planning Commissioner Bill Edgerton


Bill Edgerton

(Jack Jouett) has declined to be reappointed to a third term. Supervisor

Dennis Rooker

said in an interview that he has a candidate in mind, but is not ready to make the name public. Rooker said he wants to make sure that his choice shares his same planning philosophy.

“With Bill Edgerton, I had that for eight years,” Rooker said. He will talk with his candidate about master planning, transportation and the County’s designated growth areas.

After the last county election in 2007, Supervisor

Lindsay Dorrier

advertised the Scottsville seat that had been held by William Craddock and selected Linda Porterfield’s name from a stack of applications. She will serve two more years, as will

Tom Loach

(White Hall) and

Cal Morris


Since being on the Commission, Porterfield has advocated positions that at times were at odds with her colleagues. For instance, she has called for the County to change its rules that limit development at exits off of Interstate 64.

“I’m on the record as wanting to see the county of Albemarle try to attract as much business industry as possible because it helps us with our tax base,” Porterfield said.

Joseph, who in 2007 ran as a Democrat challenging Supervisor

Ken Boyd

for re-election to the Rivanna seat, said she is not too worried about the upcoming changes in the composition of the commission.

“Whatever your political leanings are, some times [commissioners] rise above that and look at the community as a whole and what’s good for the community,” Joseph said.

Rooker said he hoped that the new commission will be efficient.

“The planning commission can save the Board of Supervisors immense amounts of time if they are doing a thorough job of vetting the planning issues before they get to us,” Rooker said.

Edgerton said he hoped the newcomers would be well acquainted with county issues.

“I think [we need] somebody who has had some experience in the development arena in Albemarle County, but is also willing to try to figure out how to balance community needs against property rights,” Edgerton said.


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