PEC’s “Clarion” Opposes Sprawl

Homes throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle County have recently received a four page newspaper-styled anti-growth mailing, entitled “The Albemarle County Clarion,” released by the Piedmont Environmental Council. The first of a few planned mailings on the topic, The Clarion describes itself as “sounding the alarm” on growth, warning of “the suburbanization of the rural area” in the county. The publication argues that sprawl can be stopped, and that preservation of rural areas is necessary, pointing out that county zoning plans for 50,000 new homes and 120,000 new people in Albemarle. Developer Wendell Wood says that the publication is factually inaccurate, and Chamber of Commerce president Timothy Hulbert dismisses it as a fund-raising piece. Given all of the developments planned in Albemarle, it’s clear that dramatic change is the plan for Albemarle; is this a bad thing? Are efforts to end growth a good idea? David Dadurka has the story in today’s Progress.

121 thoughts on “PEC’s “Clarion” Opposes Sprawl”

  1. Thank god for PEC, I totally agree with the Clarion. We need to stop any ideas for growth.

  2. The goal should be "slow, thoughtful growth." The evidence is there that sprawl development, with its attendant large parking lots, are not good for the environment or over the long-term, the economy either. That doesn’t mean that businesses such as Target and Wal-mart don’t have their place, but their overall design and placement must be drastically improved. Why can’t the Charlottesville area be a model for this kind of design (ie. incorporating these types of businesses into the community in a well-planned, non-sprawl way)? However, my comment doesn’t mean I endorse the construction of Target and more McMansion subdivisions…

    The question still remains: is there is a demand for more Wal-mart-like businesses here anyway? These types of companies are predatory in nature–meaning they don’t neccessarily build here b/c they see ample market demand. They are designed to steal market share. If Target is built, I predict K-mart will go out of business, leaving a big vacant asphalt hole in the city.

  3. ‘If Target is built, I predict K-mart will go out of business, leaving a big vacant asphalt hole in the city. ‘

    Wishful thinking but highly unlikely. K-Mart needs some type of presence here in Central Va. With the addition of Target, it won’t put the Big K out of business. If anything, it will put some little dent into the monster called Wal*Mart.

  4. I know this sounds horrible, and I’ve rapped people’s knuckles about being biased against fast food workers, but when I have to go to Wal-Mart (’cause I never ever go there if I don’t have to) I get physically grossed out by the people. Gross men walking around in net shirts with hair simply everywhere, and you can see the greasy buildup on the skin they show so much of due to their failure to bathe regularly. I’ve had to hold my nose because I’m stuck behind this thing giving off horrible B.O. that’s taking up the whole aisle walking at .01 miles per hour. God, if you’re listening, can you build us a Target in an already developed area of town? Why waste time with all the controversy of a new shopping center?

  5. Okay I am God! Where in Cville do you want a Target? Hummmm, every place you might choose people will protest it to no ends. You can never make everyone happy especially in this town. The only place I have heard which would be a ideal location is where K-Mart is currently at. But hold the phone, K-Mart is still there! Wait you can put it next to K-Mart. No No No, there will be a pile up of cars trying to get in. Hey, what about the new Albemarle Town Center, why couldn’t Target be there. No No No, then there will be hordes of traffic along with the people trying to go to Best Buy and now you got Target oh the humanity.

    I think the real problem about this issue is it is a county vs. city. The city doesn’t want it out in ‘the middle of nowhere’. Yet, the people who are the ‘Gross men walking around in net shirts with hair simply everywhere’ who don’t live in city wouldn’t mind a Target out here. Come on people, it is going to be like 2 miles beyond Wal*Mart but closer to Greene which I take it will be the majority of Target shoppers anyhoo. Stop complaining if you ain’t going to shop there anyways.

  6. Okay so K-mart isn’t moving anytime soon (or so it appears). You mention the place beside K-mart, the old drycleaners and theater. Perfect place for a Target!!! Plenty of room for one, too. Parking on the bottom and Target on top, two stories. This has been done before and could work here. (For example, Atlanta’s Target on Peachtree Rd.–very compact and includes an Office Depot and two other chains, all in a very compact area–they just built *up* instead of *out*.)

  7. the only problem is that people from Target do not want to be that close to K-Mart. Does anyone here remember Gateway? They were right next to Circuit City and just what happen? According to my friend who work there, people would go there and then go to Circuit City and get the computer there. With Gateway being so close, it allow shoppers to compare. Why do you think Best Buy is where it is at. They don’t want to be anywhere near Crutchfield or CC.

  8. That’s why I said it sounded terrible. But it’s not really because it all comes down to hygiene. If I’m a snob for preferring people to be clean, then by all means call me a snob. If regular bathing is exclusive to Charlottesville, then I’m awfully glad that I live here. It must be a stinky country out there.

  9. "Why do you think Best Buy is where it is at. They don’t want to be anywhere near Crutchfield or CC."

    Yeah, they’re REAL FAR away from Circuit City and Crutchfield. No predatory location positioning at all.

    Okay so Target may not want to locate right next to K-mart. But the design I mentioned would work in other places in the city.

    "Build up! Not out!" Let that be Charlottesville’s new mantra.

  10. I don’t want to pave the entire County – but one little K-Mart and a little WalMart just isn’t sufficient for over 100,000 people in the metro-Albemarle area.

    Don’t give me that "shop locally" crap either. Local shops are more expensive, have less selection, and are hardly ever open.

    Message to local shop owners: "If you are not open weekends and after 7pm, you’ll never survive. Some of us actually work during the day, and I shouldn’t have to take time off from work to shop at your store."

  11. ‘"Build up! Not out!" Let that be Charlottesville’s new mantra. ‘

    That would fine but the only problem again is that you have City Vs. County. We have two different forms of local govt. working here. And so you got two different types of thoughts working here. Maybe the county wants the tax dollars more then the city. Remember, Charlottesville is not the same as Albemarle County and you shouldn’t be saying they are.

  12. So only clean people shop at Target? Perhaps that should be their tagline – "Target – Serving clean people nationwide!"

  13. "Message to local shop owners: "If you are not open weekends and after 7pm, you’ll never survive. Some of us actually work during the day, and I shouldn’t have to take time off from work to shop at your store." "

    I agree with your statement. The only problem is that small business owners will have to pay more employees to work those longer hours. And the only way they would stay open if they can do profitable business after the hours of 7. They need to look at ways to control expensives especially in this lousy economy. The problem is that smaller businesses depend on the traffic of the longer businesses. And if you contune to strike down any opportunity for longer business to grow here in this area, then these smaller businesses will not stay open after 7. They will lose money because of their costs.

  14. It’s not like smelly people would never enter a Target, but Target would be the first to tell you that they’re marketing to a slightly different audience than Wal-Mart. It’s common knowledge, so stay cool. Even K-Mart is more upscale than Wal-Mart. And we have a really shi**y K-Mart. I’m just saying that if I had $10 to go spend on a lamp, I’d be way more likely to find something that isn’t butt ugly at Target, and I’d end up with a Ginger jar lamp with paper-towel decor designs at Wal-Mart. That’s why I want a Target, and I’m sad that it’s the store at the center of this latest development controversy. Let’s just put the damn thing in Albemarle Square. It needs it.

  15. ‘Let’s just put the damn thing in Albemarle Square. It needs it. ‘

    Nope, it won’t fit there. Have you seen that ACAC takes up the back there. Plus you got Circuit City. I would say I wish Albemarle Square would take it but it is unlikely. Also I think Target, Giant, and the Olive Garden reallys want their own shopping center. Sorry folks, but I guess they did market research and 29N is where it is at.

  16. Loundoun county grew at 20% a year. Albemarle grows at about 2% to 3% ayear. There is no way you could get projects approve to fuel that growth.

    NEWS Flash: it takes 2 hours to get to DC, that will only get worse. That is why we won’t be Loudoun.

    By the way can ANYBODY tell me how many students were added to Albemarle county public schools in the last 4 years?

  17. Actually, I think it is PEC’s last pathatic (spelling) to scare the general public about growth. I think they are in a losing battle and the only way to get the MAJORITY of the people behind them is to SCARE them. Good One PEC, you got my donations.

    BTW, doesn’t this mass flyers killed a lot of trees to makes. Food for thought.

  18. Loundoun county grew at 20% a year. Albemarle grows at about 2% to 3% ayear. There is no way you could get projects approve to fuel that growth.

    It’s 6-9% in Loudoun each year, not 20%. Albemarle’s growth rate is 2.1%, compared to 1.3% a year for global growth. That puts Albemarle’s growth ahead of India’s.

    Not that it matters — at either 2% or 20%, the end result is the same. It’s just a question of long you wait to wait.

  19. Hey Waldo,

    I would like to do more research on this. Can you provide the link that breaks down this. I am curious on how Albemarle county is growing faster then India.

  20. Don’t give me that “shop locally” crap either. Local shops are more expensive, have less selection, and are hardly ever open.

    Oh come on! Admit it. Even they were open 24/7, you’d still buy at Wal-Mart, right?

  21. Not that it matters — at either 2% or 20%, the end result is the same. It’s just a question of long you wait to wait.

    Oh come on, the end result is not the same. The rate at which growth occurs is quintessential. You don’t need me to point out the obvious reasons, do you?

  22. If I read between the lines, you 2 live to shop. Any time, any day. You wake up in the middle of the night thinking about a lamp! Why don’t you 2 hook up, move to Richmond suburbs, and have lovely consumerized children!!!

  23. I order almost all my things online. Sorry! It would be nicer to move to Richmond. I can go see the Richmond Braves play everyday.

  24. Oh come on, the end result is not the same. The rate at which growth occurs is quintessential. You don’t need me to point out the obvious reasons, do you?

    I’m speaking only of population size. No matter how you slice it, growth at 20% annually or 2% annually will result in the same size of population at some point.

  25. After reading the Progress’ article you have given out, I am really not convience by it. I was reading about ASAP’s views and really can not understand how Albemarle be in the same league of growth as India. I think they are trying to use percentages to demostrate it. Sure you can have a growth rate higher then India, but if you are using to support your smart growth views I don’t really see it. To me, it is a scare tactic and not a informative agruement. ASAP is banking on just like PEC in scaring people about growth with unfair comparsion. You have to take a step back and look at it from the outside. Charlottesville will never be as big as Northern VA and have the same amount of people like India. I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  26. Alas, I don’t have the money to shop, hence my example of a $10 lamp. I’m just too poor. Next time just read the lines themselves, you tend to be off-base when you try to read between them. Are you 2 tired 2 type? Or are you the poster formerly known as Sympatico?

  27. No matter how you slice it, you will die one day. So, is today a good day for you, Waldo?

  28. Aww come on! Try this: Take your tongue and plant it firmly in your cheek. Now how do you feel. See how easy it is to feel gooooood!

  29. Okay, so how many people should live in Albemarle? Is 2,000,000 population the right size? Too many? How about 1,000,000? Still too many? Well, what is the right number?

    I think what the folks at Piedmnot Environmental Council and ASAP are asking is that there, at least, be a public discussion as to what the right number is. I think they’re also suggesting that this is an issue that the citizens of Albemarle ought to think about and make decisions about, rather than have them thrust upon them, as a fait accompli by developers, whose interests are not necessarily the same as residents.

    Citizens have an obligation to consider what they want their community to look like and, once they’ve decided what they want, they’ve got various options to achieve that goal.

    A couple can reproduce in such great numbers that they’re living in squalor and poverty. Or, they can plan what size family they want and offer better living conditions to that family. I believe that the same holds true for Albemarle County.

  30. No matter how you slice it, you will die one day. So, is today a good day for you, Waldo?

    Ah, but I do not have the option that Albemarle has — I cannot choose to live forever. Albemarle can choose to not grow forever.

  31. "Remember, Charlottesville is not the same as Albemarle County and you shouldn’t be saying they are."

    I’m not saying they are the same. Let me clarify: when I say "the city," I mean the densly populated area. As opposed to the country/rural area. Albemarle and Charlottesville need to be working together on the idea of building up, and curbing sprawl. Just b/c the C-ville and Albemarle disagree on some things I believe they both share an intense interest in putting an end to ill-planned development.

  32. Albemarle Sqaure! Yes! That is another location that should be considered for a Target (seriously).

  33. IamDaMan, you are shooting down every suggestion for an alternate, city-proper location for Target. One can see you feel strongly about promoting sprawl, at least in this situation. How do you know there isn’t any retail space available for a Target at Albemarle Square? Or near K-mart? I believe there is some undeveloped (read: places with trees still on it) space near both complexes that could accomodate a Target. So county and city planners need to be actively promoting infill, that’s why I don’t see a big probelm with the Best Buy location, although I’d like to see more locally owned business, and not absentee owners.

  34. How do you know they aren’t using recycled materials to produce the flyers? Food for thought.

  35. Lets start with how many companies are base out of here and are base out of NoVa. And I am talking about the major ones. I can only count the number of major companies using my fingers. NoVA has a countless companies base out of there. Plus, NoVA is closer to the nation capital, we have nothing here. Charlottesville will always be the littlest big city or the bigger small town. If you take a look at all of the major cities in VA, they are all near something important. Richmond is our state capitol and Hamptom Roads you got all a major navy base. Charlottesville has the University so does Blacksberg. We will never as big as a Richmond, Fairfax or a Newport News.

  36. You don’t know that a major company, bigger and more attractive than UVa, could move here!!!!!! A major car company could move its operations here. Or a company that builds planes, or Target could move its national headquarters here!! How do you think Charlotte, NC keeps growing? Because companies are looking to cut corners, and maybe they think that Albemarle’s or C-ville’s taxes are more favorable to them than where they were before!! It all adds up!!!!!

  37. Think about it, if you people worry about us turning into NOVA because the county will allow one or two shopping centers, then where was the fess about the research park? The park is looking more like NOVA buildings with big business looking to operate out of there. Plus, they will contune to grow within 10 years. I didn’t see a public out cry for them to stop growing. I didn’t see protesters out complaining about the damage the park will do againist nature. Plus, where you guys when NGIC decided to open a big complex near YOU GUESS IT north of Charlottesville in the county. Where you guys and why didn’t you protest back then? NGIC got out of the inconviece downtown mall and went to north of Charlottesville.

    You know what I really think. I believe PEC went to Mr. Wood (ironic name) and told him if he didn’t ‘contribute’ to their cause they would do a FULL BLITZ ATTACK on his development. Mr. Wood probably told them to take their request and stick it. Think about it. There was no fess againist the park (maybe having the UVA in the front help out). There was no fess againist NGIC. Yet, Mr. Wood decides to put a shopping centere where he believes will be the most profitable place and that is on 29. PEC is running these newspaper to scare people. A shopping center will not make hordes and hordes of people move here. Again, that makes no sense.

  38. Yeah, I am sure with our famous welcoming wagon, a company would be looking to move here. Yeah, you are right that some companies are looking at cutting cost but this area would surely make it tough for anyone to relocate here.

  39. Lets start with how many companies are base out of here and are base out of NoVa. And I am talking about the major ones. I can only count the number of major companies using my fingers. NoVA has a countless companies base out of there.

    You’ve addressed half of what’s really going on. They have lots of big companies because it’s a populous area. It’s a populous area because they have lots of big companies. They didn’t go from being a happy countryside to a 0-population neverending office park, followed by population. It was a gradual, frog-boiling process.

    Plus, NoVA is closer to the nation capital, we have nothing here.

    See the above.

    If you take a look at all of the major cities in VA, they are all near something important. Richmond is our state capitol and Hamptom Roads you got all a major navy base. Charlottesville has the University so does Blacksberg.

    “Near something important” is an ever-expanding concept. 20 years ago, who in the world would live in Culpeper to be near D.C.? That would have been insane — Culpeper is an hour and a half from D.C. Now they have a population explosion, and they’re no longer central Virginia — we’ve divorced them, and ceded that territory to northern Virginia. That development is slowly working its way southward, as the urban ring of D.C. works its way outward, and the businesses follow, and the services follow, and the housing pushes out ever further.

    If you’re so certain that Charlottesville will never be affected by sprawl and growth like northern Virginia, presumably you support smart growth and anti-growth initiatives? I mean, what’s the harm, then?

  40. Yeah, I think you’re onto something. It probably was extortion. PEC was holding up Wendell Wood. Why don’t you investigate and get back to us on that?

    Or, if that’s too much trouble, just make the charge and see if it sticks.

  41. So you are saying Target, Giant, and the Olive Garden are major companies? I am taking about AT&T, Verizon, or whatever company you would find that employs over 300 people.

  42. You know what I really think. I believe PEC went to Mr. Wood (ironic name) and told him if he didn’t ‘contribute’ to their cause they would do a FULL BLITZ ATTACK on his development. Mr. Wood probably told them to take their request and stick it. Think about it.

    You know what I think? I bet that PEC never really landed on the moon. They faked it on a sound stage in Arizona.

  43. ‘You’ve addressed half of what’s really going on. They have lots of big companies because it’s a populous area. It’s a populous area because they have lots of big companies. They didn’t go from being a happy countryside to a 0-population neverending office park, followed by population. It was a gradual, frog-boiling process.’

    Let me repeat, he wants to build ONE SHOPPING CENTER. Granted they are going to have some housing there.

    There will never be a time where Charlottesville will become part of Northern VA. I cannot see any other city being so far as being part of a region. People will not move here and commute to work in DC. That would be crazy. I know in some parts of New England people work in NYC. And they take the train for a hour, but allow me to repeat, we will not have a growth increase as a results of spill over from NOVA.

    What I do think is that this town prides itself as being too important. We have no real major companies here except UVA. Heck State Farm will be leaving us soon. We have no real major employer. If this was Austin TX, everyone would be working at Dell computers.

  44. Where do you get your facts? State Farm isn’t going ANYWHERE.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the issue isn’t "will our sprawl join up with NoVa’s?" The issue is will our sprawl expand as much as theirs, and the answer looks to be yes. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday. The comparison with NoVa is useful b/c their poorly laid out development contributes to all kinds of socioeconomic and environmental ills.

    You have used NGIC and the Research Parks as an example of sprawl earlier, and now you are refocusing your arguement on ONE SHOPPING CENTER, when the arguement is about ALL of the past, present, and future developments that contribute to sprawled-out urban design.

  45. Where do you get your facts? State Farm isn’t going ANYWHERE.

    Well, i guess when they are relocating 2/3 of their work force to Texas, I don’t believe that is a good sign.

    ‘You have used NGIC and the Research Parks as an example of sprawl earlier, and now you are refocusing your arguement on ONE SHOPPING CENTER, when the arguement is about ALL of the past, present, and future developments that contribute to sprawled-out urban design.’

    What I am saying, if people allow those developments to accord, then why the fess over ONE SHOPPING CENTER. That is my whole point. I didn’t see a outcry againist UVA or NGIC to build in Albemarle county yet I see people up and arms because Wood wants a town center close to where the potential is at.

  46. Yes I do know. No national HQ would relocate here. There have been many company who looked but haven’t come here. Motorola, a bicycle maker, and others. Because of high land cost, tight labor markets, and water concerns. And your tax aguement is a laugh. When you look at the COST of an acre here vs greene, orange, and some others, we are very expensive.

    You don’t come to Albemarle to cut cost

  47. It has had 20% in the past in terms of schools for one year. By the way your are taking about recent figures, short timespans. India has slowed down and having the same growth rate means we will NEVER be as big as India. The mistake of straight linear projections go back to Malthus. He was wrong, your stats while interesting but have low correlation to future. Look back 20 years Charlottesville and Albemarle used to be the same size. Please cite someone who thought we would be at our current levels now. Basically no growth for Charlottesville and a double for Albemarle.

  48. Okay, so Albemarle Town Center has a link to PEC. So what? You think that’s evidence that PEC is extorting Wood? I’d say you’re jumping to conclusions.

    First of all, since when does a link imply endorsement? I’d suggest that the developers of Albemarle Town Center are trying to paint themselves as "green" and "sustainable" by associating themselves with PEC. It’s a good marketing angle. I’d be much more suspicious if PEC had a link to Albemarle Town Center.

    Further, in the initial issue of The Clarion, I don’t see that PEC is either promoting or criticizing any single particular development. Their focus is a much broader questioning of growth and sprawl and its consequences.

  49. You’ve missed my point — the growth rate doesn’t matter. My concern does not lie with how quickly that we’re growing. Whether at 2% or 20%, we’re going to have 500,000 people in Charlottesville and Albemarle County unless we decide not to. What I want to know is how big that we want to be, and I want some assurance that we’ll stop there. 250,000? 500,000? 1,000,000? How big is big enough? Can we stop then?

  50. no it’s was not missed. The current no growth crowd will keep growth low for the foreseeable future. My point is that past performance is not a straight line to the future and to say so is misleading (i.e. India growth rate is really meaningless and adds little to the conversation about Albemarle.)

  51. I agree. But I’m not holding my breath citizens would make the "right" choices even if they had the opportunity. Lastly, I have not met a community in Virginia which majority would even be given to considering their options.

  52. You are a born politician. Me, even after studying in one the finest political science universities in France, I could never master the art of double-speak.

    What can I say? YOU WIN.

  53. Maybe I’m not being clear. What I’m trying to say is Virginia is more southern than southerners. "Things just happen" in Virginia, there’s very little political will other than the easy stuff. Yeah, sure, they’ll vote a moron governor to suppress car property taxes. Virginia is the most reliable republican president vote in the union. Look at the countryside: old barns are left to crumble over time, rather than taking them down when it’s time. Drive through Vermont and see the pride. Virginians, ‘dem dare folks’ are proud to be lazy. In fact, they’ll shoot you if you try to take away their porch couch full of fleas!

  54. no it’s was not missed. The current no growth crowd will keep growth low for the foreseeable future. My point is that past performance is not a straight line to the future and to say so is misleading (i.e. India growth rate is really meaningless and adds little to the conversation about Albemarle.)

    It doesn’t matter if growth is low if we don’t establish a ceiling. Whether at 1% or 20% annually, the end result is identical. Regardless of what that rate might be (including whether or not it varies), as long as growth is not negative, Albemarle will eventually end up with a huge population.

  55. You seem to be separating yourself from Virginia. It’s not "they"; it’s you and me and everybody else who’s proud to be living here and wants to wants to work to maintain and improve their community.

    I’m (generally) not lazy and, on those occasions when I do fall into a state of sloth, I’m sure not proud of myself. If you come to my house to pick up any flea-ridden furniture, I won’t shoot you. I may offer you a cold glass of lemonade, though.

    I think you might be happier, if you could see yourself as part of your community, rather than separate from it.

  56. Well then you must be one of the “good” Virginians, and they do exist! Idem, should you come to my house, you will find cleanliness, hospitality and respect for nature and people. A couple of my direct neighbors are likewise. But all around us, there’s a prevalence of lazy-ass no do-gooders that are a real drain on any community. My problem is not that they exist, it’s that they are so numerous in Virginia in that they completely set the tone.

    My very-well learned neighbor, who moved to UVA and Central Virginia when he was 20, 60 years or so ago, explains to me it’s all historical geo-politics. When the south lost the civil war, squatters / rednecks took whatever land they could. By now, I figure, it must be a tradition.

    Indeed, harry, “our” portion of the Appalachians could be so much more than it is. Overall, the climate is welcoming, the natural beauty very much present, the proximity to coast, bay and rivers always a plus. But the population… If you’re near the coast, you are 87% likely to be directly linked to a military family (the most transient type after students, and certainly no free-thinkers there). The Bible belt, conservative approach to life annihilates all hopes of a useful body politic and the historic prevalence and sheer quantity of low-lifers seals the fate.

    I think you might be happier, if you could see yourself as part of your community, rather than separate from it.

    You are right! But I cannot and will not lower my standards to “fit in”. It’s a question of intellectual survival. I have a history of resisting brain-washing. Unfortunately, if I were not morally bound to this area for the next decade, I would be very far from here. And this is indeed not a happy situation. Thankfully, the great restaurants, the trails and other natural activities do help me keep my spirits up in the meantime.

  57. Waldo, I’m sorry, I enjoy your site, but this is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen.

    You can’t just say "well, it doesnt matter how fast you grow, only that you grow" or that it doesn’t matter when the growth occurs. That’s ludicrous. If your threshold for "too many people" is X, and we’re currently at Y, and Y grows at 20% annually, you’ll reach X a hell of a lot quicker than if it were 2% annually. Perhaps you’ll be long dead before Albemarle would reach this threshold, if the growth were slow and steady.

    Do you mean to imply, therefore, that 10000% growth is the same thing as .00001% growth? Because if you randomly choose numbers, you have to choose all of them.

  58. That’s an idea… give everyone a computer and internet access. And I’m not sure that I’m kidding when I say that.

    Seriously though, even though some are into instant gratification, internet shopping is great. I can find anything I want, even if it’s highly unusual, save time and gas and it shows up on my doorstep a few days later… amazing…

  59. It is making them laugh uncontrolablely. I feel sorry for anyone who actually believes this garbage. The Clarion is having the opposite effect to a lot of people whom I spoke to over the last week. Instead of getting people againist growth, it is making their cause look dumb and a losing attempt to get the public on their side. Also, I do find it interesting that the Hollymead Town Center was suppose to be discuss in mid June but the county delayed it till July. Not the developers, but it was the county. I strongly believe that Supervisor Sally Thomas (who seems to be ANTI-EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD) is join at the hip with the PEC. I bet my dollar she helped to get the delay so that the Clarion could be sent outt. My thinking is that she wants a public outcry. She wants everyone to be up and arms againist the developers. And frankly, it ain’t working.

    The county contunes to ‘blackmail’ anyone who wants to develop here. Case in point, I did some research about Lowes on 29. When Lowes appoarch the county to rebuild their store, the county said fine but you are going to have to build a brick wall on the side of the mountain. Okay WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THE BRICK WALL?!?! I am sure it wasn’t needed. It was a tactic to scare Lowes into not expanding. That brick wall cost 1 million to construct. Yet, Lowes came back and said ‘No problem’. I find that also interesting. The county contunes to ‘blackmail’ anyone who says "I would like to develop here".

  60. I think it’s for folks like me who want something to beat their head against.

    I don’t know where to start…

    How about your belief that Sally Thomas is "anti-everything in the world"? I’d suggest that she’s pro-environment, pro-sustainable community, pro-family, pro-planning, pro-preservation, pro-education, pro-agriculture, pro-good government…

  61. "

    How about your belief that Sally Thomas is "anti-everything in the world"? I’d suggest that she’s pro-environment, pro-sustainable community, pro-family, pro-planning, pro-preservation, pro-education, pro-agriculture, pro-good government… "

    Well she is anti-business which means as long as you don’t want to make a living in cville then she is the one fighting for your right to live in a nice environment, sustainable community, good family, great planning, perservation, great education, agriculture, ‘good’ government if there is such a thing either way, by golly just as long as you don’t want to grow and earn a living, I am with her.

  62. "And frankly, it ain’t working."

    Yeah, I’m sure based on the people you know, your pro-sprawl friends are gonna agree with you. Your arguement here is pretty melodramatic. "Sally Thomas (who seems to be ANTI-EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD)…"

    Would you care to give a better, more evidentiary example of blackmail by the county against the business community? So what if they asked them to build a brick wall? A brick wall does not a blackmail case make. If that’s your best example, it is pretty useless.

    There must be a majority who oppose sprawl and thus support Sally Thomas’s views of development, or she wouldn’t have got elected, no?

  63. Okay, I am just wondering what the brick wall besides Lowe is for? The county told Lowes that in order for them to approve their expandsion, they need to built a brick wall on the side of the mountain. Normally, a company would just say ‘the heck with it’ because it would cost them an additional 1 million dollars to build a USELESS wall because the county demanded them to do so. Why? It made no sense. Maybe it was easier on the eyes who knows? But that type of blackmailing businesses to comply to the county’s special interest makes me sick.

    ‘There must be a majority who oppose sprawl and thus support Sally Thomas’s views of development, or she wouldn’t have got elected, no?



    Well, I didn’t vote for her. That is my simple response to you.

    BTW, I am not pro-spawl and I am PRO-BUSINESS. With more business comes more tax dollers, a better opportunity for everyone to succed. Not everyone in this area are doctors, lawyers, or professors at UVA. When you shoot them down because they hurt your eyes, I don’t agree with that.

  64. You still didn’t offer concrete evidence as to your claims of blackmail, therefore, I ain’t buying.

    I’m all for good business as well, but when is enough enough? Shall we just fill up every square inch of Albemarle and C-ville with business? Based on your line of thinking, the more the better, right? Let’s just pave it all over and put a business there! More tax dollars for the county to use to support the increasing number of people that move in to work for the businesses, which will actually turn out to never be enough. And then what are you gonna do? You can’t annex more land onto Albemarle! (this is melodrama for you).

    The community should be responsible for paying for some of the infrastructure needed to support their business, such as side roads, entrances, landscaping and the like, such is the catagory the brick wall likely fell into. I don’t have the answer to that. If you want a definitive answer, you need to do more investigation at the county office building.

  65. Although I live in the city, I have driven by the Lowe’s and have seen the brick wall. So I don’t know anything official…

    But I’m guessing this: maybe it was required to prevent soil erosion and/or to reduce pollutants from the store. (Keep in mind that even though that side has mostly plants, there are a lot of fertilizers, etc. that could be washed down more easily without that brick wall. ) It might have a lot to do with aethestics but that’s always a situation with many businesses in many communities. I can remember a Howard Johnson’s in Alexandria which didn’t have an orange roof because of zoning laws. It was the only one in the country at that time without an orange roof. I don’t think it’s the end of the world.

    As for anti-business and pro-business sides, one reason I have seen for businesses not coming to Albemarle is that many of the people who live in the general area do not want a big business up on top of them. There was the battle of Home Depot and Carrsbrook on Route 29. How many people who live in Hollymead really want more traffic? There are many pockets of NIMBYism within Albemarle. How close could Target be built to YOUR house before you say, "Hey, that’s too close."

    Personally, I don’t mind going to Short Pump to go to Target. It makes a fun day and with the new mall, it will be more fun. I do hate our Kmart but then now much stuff do I really need to buy on a daily or even weekly basis except for groceries?

    (BTW, whoever in this very long thread moaned and groaned about Motorola coming to Albemarle; you’re wrong. It was supposed to be in Henrico County. Then Governor Allen pretty much gave away many tax incentives for them to move but the bottom fell out of Motorola’s core business & they decided not to relocate to Virginia. Many people opposed to the Motorola plant [including the local papers] had long assumed Motorola wasn’t in a position even in the initial stages to build a big plant and thought it would never really be built.)

  66. When I go bowling, I always think how cool and different that brick wall is. I, for one, say it was a good decision to build it. I’ll say this too: I like Lowe’s cville pretty well in no small part of what I think of a business willing to build such a wall. It says to people: hey, we’re willing to spend some big bucks just for the look and ecological care for your community.

  67. ‘Shall we just fill up every square inch of Albemarle and C-ville with business? ‘

    Again, you people look at the extreme. There is no way in heck we could paved this whole area. Why would we? We will never be like a New Jersey or Ohio. Your thinking is the ‘way out there what if?’. I would like to invite you to something called reality. My agruements is that the county set aside areas for growth which includes 29N. If the county says ‘hey just build here if you want to develop’, and someone says okay. What are you blackballing them into not developing in fear of becoming a Northern Va. I think the mean problam is that you have people like Mr. Wendall Wood who wants to develop this area. And it scares you.

    I would laugh at people’s reactions to any ideas of growth. Their fear is that the flood gates of people and traffic coming in because of a few shopping centers will make Cville unbearable. Get over yourself, Charlottesville and Albemarle are NOT THAT IMPORTANT for millions of people to move here and make your life miserable. I am saying people on 29 would like a Target, a Giant, and Olive Garden. Just because you won’t be able to reach it in your new Vespa, stop complaining about the people who want it.

  68. ‘As for anti-business and pro-business sides, one reason I have seen for businesses not coming to Albemarle is that many of the people who live in the general area do not want a big business up on top of them. There was the battle of Home Depot and Carrsbrook on Route 29. How many people who live in Hollymead really want more traffic? There are many pockets of NIMBYism within Albemarle. How close could Target be built to YOUR house before you say, "Hey, that’s too close." ‘

    -well, where ever you turn there is some type of business there. Sure some people in Hollymead might not want it but I ask you this why did they decide to put it there in all places. I am sure if the developers did their research and found out that the majority of people in that area didn’t want a Target here then wouldn’t have been good business sense NOT to build here. I really don’t think traffic will be THAT bad. I am sure when Wal Mart was being built everyone back then said we were turning into a Northern VA because of the traffic.

    ‘Personally, I don’t mind going to Short Pump to go to Target. It makes a fun day and with the new mall, it will be more fun. I do hate our Kmart but then now much stuff do I really need to buy on a daily or even weekly basis except for groceries?’

    Yeah, good call, but however some people in this area do mind going to Short Pump. Before Wal Mart was built, people had to go to Waynesboro or Richmond. I hate to tell you this but some people in this don’t want to drive to Short Pump.

  69. Well I guess we all can take comfort that when you bowl your eyes won’t be hurt by the nothingness of a side of a mountain. Did you know that Lowe not the county had to pay for that wall. Again, if you want to build it you have to jump hurdles left and right then they will come.

  70. India only conducts a census every 10 years. So to compare apples to apples, you’d have to calculate the population growth of albemarle county over the course of 10 years.

    Also, the majority of people in india live on less than a dollar a day, and many are homeless. This makes it extreemly difficult to count them. Also, many people die of disease and malnutrition before they can be counted.

    If those figures for albemarle county are accurate OVER TIME (not just accounting for the short term effect of people who are scared by terrorism and want to move out of the big cities) that would mean that albemarle’s population will double in less than 30 years. What do you suggest instead of growth? Bunk beds? Everyone works 1/2 time at their job? OOOOh, maybe summary execution?

  71. Thousands of people commute to NOVA from cville, I’ve met several of them. You can make twice as much money up there, and it more than makes up for your gas and time spent driving.

    Have you ever been on 29 north at 4-5am? Its more packed than it is at rush hour.

  72. Albemarle CANT choose not to grow.

    Population will grow no matter what you try to do to stop it. What will we do? Erect fences with armed gaurds?

    If population grows and the county/city refuse to allow any development, we’ll be living in a ghetto. A very very smelly ghetto. Enjoy.

  73. Lower your standards to live here? You must be amazing dinner company.

    Pray tell us what part of this world lives up to your very high standards?

    Are you trolling just to argue or are you really the elitist, judgemental,snob that would like to rid the world of people not worthy of your concern. I doubt that someone who is able to determine that so many virginians are lazy, drains on the countyside cannot be the same person who proclaims" should you come to my house, you will find cleanliness, hospitality and respect for nature and people"

    Respect for those "worthy" or just people in general? Certainly not anyone connected to the military, less educated, or republican.

  74. (not just accounting for the short term effect of people who are scared by terrorism and want to move out of the big cities)

    YOU FORGOT THE Y2K BUG!!!

  75. Nope, people who think we will turn into Northern VA are the naive ones. SCARE TACTIC SCARE TACTIC!!!

  76. what if the brick wall is there to prevent soil erosion and polluted run-off from making its way into the Rivanna? I don’t know that that’s the reason, but you don’t know that it’s not the reason. But if it IS the reason, then why the hell SHOULDN’T Lowes have to pay for it, and not they county? If your business is going to have a negative impact on the environment, shouldn’t that be the business’ problem and not the problem of county taxpayers?

  77. I figured as much – just giving you a hard time. :)

    I prefer Target myself and travel to Fredericksburg or Richmond once or twice a month to do the housewares and clothing shopping. I love spending my money in another city, too. Yes, that’s sarcastic.

  78. Unfourtunately, those of use who are fortunate enough to be gainfully employed at an 8-6 job do not have employers who would appreciate people taking time off during the day all the time to shop. It’s wonderful for some hip, trendy, "on the cover of Cville" shop to be "tastefully" open from 10-4, Monday through Thursday, but not if they want my business. Or the business of other employed people, for that matter.

    Stores are here for us, not the other way around. They need to be OPEN when the majority of people are not at work.

    I am not a business expert, but I can tell you one thing. If you’re not open, people can’t buy your stuff.

  79. ‘what if the brick wall is there to prevent soil erosion and polluted run-off from making its way into the Rivanna?’

    I just want to know why was that brick wall erected? Simple question. Why did the county force Lowes to build it only after they wanted to expand? The only logic is that the county wanted to post hurdles for them. The erosion theory makes no sense. If it did, then why wasn’t it there in the first place?

  80. Well, yeah. But EVERYWHERE is growing to some degree, at some point. As population continues to rise thoughout the nation, where are all these poeple supposed to live? Anywhere BUT Albrmarle?

    Perhaps Albemarle should just charge an initiation fee to live here. $5000 per person to move here. Turn the county into a sort of liberal social club. That would curb growth.

    The County could even issue little ID cards and wear funny hats at meetings. Perhaps we could call it the Royal Order of Snobby Liberals? They could build some Jeffersonian, column-ridden building with grass on the roof and no parking lot for anything other than bicycles. The juice bar is to the rear, folks.

    The real question is, will UVA students be charged $5000 each year, or just once?

  81. "I just want to know why was that brick wall erected?"

    um, then why are you asking people on this board?

  82. I’d love to be part of community. But, when stupid idiots tell me that if I support the Target, and am tired of driving to Richmond or Fredericksburg to shop, then I should move, how can I not help but feel adversarial to the community?

    You’re welcome, as long as you agree with them.

  83. And you are very, very stuck on an overinflated image of this area.

    I’ll bet if they wanted to build a 100,000 sq. foot performing arts center yuo’d be all for it. WIth plenty of Vespa parking.

    How about if Target put a big Oak tree in front of it, that you could hug before you went in? Would it be OK then?

  84. It IS a valid point that neither the Research Park or NGIC raised much fuss. In fact, I didn’t even know they were being built until they were quite underway.

    I guess UVA sprawl is OK. Federal sprawl is just probably going to happen, anyway.

  85. My whole point is that you can’t pick and choose your fights againist spawls. If you are againist itthen that means you must be againist any notions of it like UVA or the Federal govt. You can’t say "we will let UVA construct a big development that might attract businesses and growth which might increase traffic but we are going to be UP and ARMS with a shopping center that might have Target". Oh my god, people might actually shop there. That is why I always believe it is so double standard. The research park and NGIC were one of the main reasons why everything is growing in that area. I just feel the ones who are complaining are the ones who live INSIDE the city and don’t want to travel beyond Wal*Mart for anything.

    PS, I always like the term ‘smart growth’. WTF does that mean anyways? Everytime I hear ‘smart growth’, it is usually followed by ‘we need to conduct more traffic studies’. Okay, HOW MANY TRAFFIC STUDIES DO WE NEED? Here I can save the county millions. When the Hollymead Town Center, and it is a pain with hordes and hordes of people trying to get into it. Then we build more lanes. However, if it isn’t a problem then why do we need more studies? It is because we are delaying delaying delaying until they give up. Then some other developers comes up. And the process is started all over again.

  86. ‘and it is a pain with hordes and hordes of people ‘

    AND IT IS HAS HORDES AND HORDES OF PEOPLE TRYING TO GET IN

    sheesh (note to self: use the preview buttom first)

  87. I’d suggest that name-calling ("stupid idiots") isn’t the best start to community-building.

    I wonder (I really don’t know, but I do wonder) if the key might be whether you frame your arguments in terms of your personal comfort ("I’m tired of driving to Richmond to shop…"), rather than community values ("Target is a responsible employer that pays living wages and medical benefits that can lift Albemarle and Charlottesville working families out of poverty" or whatever the argument might be).

    Your neighbors may be more willing to enter into a civilized discussion with you when the trade-off that you offer for permanently changing the landscape of their home is something more than your shopping convenience.

    Just a thought.

  88. It’s interesting that you catagorize those who are interested in preserving the status quo (i.e. limiting growth) as liberal. It seems to me that that position would be the epitome of conservative.

    Conservatives are those who want to maintain things as they are.

    So, you could still have the little ID cards and wear funny hats, but you’d have to call it the Royal Order of Snobby Conservatives. I like the "Royal", too. Conservatives are, historically, known for being fond of monarchies.

  89. ‘Your neighbors may be more willing to enter into a civilized discussion with you when the trade-off that you offer for permanently changing the landscape of their home is something more than your shopping convenience. ‘

    Well, the landscape has already changed. Did you ever drive by where they want to build at? Hardly anymore trees there. Goodbye Pretty Trees!

    I believe the ANTI growth’s arguements are:

    -Albemarle will become a paved entity. Highly unlikely. Who in the world would pave over land in the county? I mean they want to put the Town Center on 29 not next to the Earlysville Corner Store.

    -We will turn into Northern VA. Again, I don’t see it happening. If we do get bigger, chances are so will Northern VA. We will never catch up to them even if we tried. They got high rise buildings left and right and we got the ugly Lewis and Clark building They got more people. Plus ONE SHOPPING CENTER will not open the flood gates of people moving here.

    -If we allow one big box shopping center, then we must allow more. Again, Charlottesville isn’t that big to allow more. Cville is just enought to be a big small town but no where like Fairfax. I believe some people here have in their minds that we are THAT important. Gimme a freakin break. We don’t even have a minor league baseball team.

  90. That’s not true. I think it’s time you looked at your motives. You asserted the red brick wall was a senseless hurdle the county created for Lowe’s and then you feign all you are doing is asking. That’s a no-go. Be honest about your reasons. I can respect a pro-business position if the logic is sound, however subjective. But don’t play games like this. There are enough demagogues in here already.

  91. Tell you what. On Monday (or maybe this weekend if I feel like being put on hold for 30 minutes), I’ll call Lowe’s and speak with the store manager and ask the $64000 question of the brick wall.

    But I bet you that whatever answer I will find, you will call me a liar or make fun of it or some reason not to believe anything about it (unless, of course, the manager says that the county made Lowe’s do it under duress).

    But I’ll check.

    As for how it would keep the soil from eroding, you might benefit from a good book on landscaping. You can use all kinds of timber, brick, and other materials to keep the soil from washing down a hill (and this hill was artificially created with the new construction of the Lowe’s, remember, there was Lowe’s I). On small hillsides (note SMALL), you can use plants. A good example is the junipers down near the Federal Executive Institute (across from Arby’s) near Barracks Road. These junipers were TINY little bushes but after 10 years, they grew quite nicely together. (Probably if Lowe’s had some sort of super growing plants, perhaps that would have worked on a small hillside.)

  92. I maintain that even it the decision for a red brick wall was forced upon Lowe’s, as long as the reasons are sound (I believe they are), the county did their job.

  93. You know, you have the right to your opinions. This is what makes a nation a free land. But I can’t help but wonder where you are in your life. I mean, you obviously have complete disdain for anything that isn’t materialistic. Having a Target and Best Buy within a stone’s throw seems paramount to your way of life and you think, your happiness; you don’t consider historical sites of much value.

    Well, here’s my opinion: It is this hyper-materialism that allows for America to be so tacky. Everything looks and is constructed with the "facade" mentality (except for mega-city buildings). Look at a 7-Eleven. There’s often some brick on front, maybe even a white-painted doodad attached for form. But the buildings from every other view are built to 15 year cash flows standards. After 10 years, they’re considered as "salvage value". Utter, pure junk.

    Everything is consume and throw-away. Way too many people have no respect for their environment. All they care about is that their A/C unit is working in their “vinyl castles” and their 500W amplifiers are hooked up to THX-surround speakers through their 36 HDTV Sony.

    The throw-away attitude is so entrenched that even commercials on TV show folks glorified throwing stuff out of their cars without a second thought (although I must admit the one in the car commercial where the young couple take their clothes off in the cabriolet was HOT, but they could have just thrown their garments in the backseat, not in the wind).

    By now, I’m sure most readers know I’ve spent a good portion of my life in Europe (France, Germany, England). One of the things I miss most is the “realness” of Europe. Whether you’re in a city, a village, a personal residence or an apartment, things are solid, made to last. How can Americans not have the transient mentality if everything is so ephemeral? My grand-parent’s home in New-Hampshire, although understandably built American-style from wood, was using 6 by 6 studs and 8 by 8 pillars. A house like that is still standing today, 80 years later. How long do you think those homes in Forest Lakes are going to last? 25, 30 years? There are 2 ways that community can go: either it’s prime real-estate in 20 years and renovations will be worth their high ticket price, or, what is likely and starting to show throughout Virginia already: suburban ghettos. Now, if you let Wal-Mart and 7-Elevens move in indiscriminately right next to suburban neighborhoods, I guarantee they’re become ghettos. This is why it is the local government’s absolute responsibility to plan-out over 50 years, not just for the supposed boost in tax revenues a big box can offer.

    Where my problem is with our own local government is that they don’t seem able to be visionary. They like to make references to Thomas Jefferson et al, but they forget TJ was a revolutionary visionary. My point is there are original solutions to our modern problems, all while satisfying the needs of consumers and conservationists. But these solutions require first a vision, and then an implementation plan involving business. And my vision is not compatible with anything I hear and read right now. There’s the infill crowd, although well intentioned, is dead wrong. Strict infill only works in hyper-dense areas. The downtown mall is a success story but that worked because of some unique characteristics of downtown Cville. That will not work along the Route-29 North corridor. Let me be clear: it’s not because there’s something on Aunt Sarah’s lot already that it is okay to rebuild something else there. A traffic facilitator / park would be far better there. Outfilling in designated commercial areas would be far smarter. You would move traffic to where the county could better plan for it, while increasing the livability along the corridor. Now, of course, the merchants around that intersection would moan and complain, but with progress comes some growing pains.

  94. This would be an interesting discussion in its own right: are "conservatives" pro-growth or no-growth? Why is "liberalism" used today to characterize all lax-thinking today? When is a "liberal" more *disciplined* in fact than a "conservative"?

  95. I hate labels myself

    isn’t conservations mean doesn’t like change while liberals’ meanings is all for change. Which is ironice since it is more of ‘liberal’ thinking not to have growth while ‘conservative’ attitude is for it.

    I am so confused. That is why if you any of you label me either way, I will go mid-evil on your but-tocks :P.

  96. ‘the county did their job’

    I agree with your statement, they did their job of being pain in the a$$ for local businesses.

  97. Just returned from NoVa where to meet with my mom’s doctor about things. So I hadn’t called; there were more important things taking up my time. I’ll be busy at work but when it is quiet (ha!) I will ask. Of course, there’s nothing to stop anyone else from picking up the phone either and asking.

    Personally I don’t have a stake in whether Lowe’s did or didn’t have to build the wall. From the location, it would seem that they might have had to build some sort of erosion control barrier (if nothing else, to keep the store from sliding down the hill) and because of their products, the county might have an interest in keeping nitrogen, fertilizer, etc. in its place (wherever that might be).

    So I’ll get around to it when I can, but it’s not a burning issue for me at the moment. Gotta keep working and taking care of things. Thanks!

  98. hey I just drove by the area and noticed they were flatten the area. I mean I know they got rid of the trees but it appears they are now working on it more.

    Hummmmm, looks like they going to go with it.

    OH NO we are turning into Northern VA.

Comments are closed.