YASC Approved: North Pointe

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors has overruled planning commission and approved the North Pointe developed this evening, NBC 29 reports. North Pointe was unanimously rejected by the planning commission in 2002, and again shot it down in 2003, each time finding the plan untenable. The Board of Supervisors clearly disagreed, with Dennis Rooker and Sally Thomas being the two dissenters. (David Slutsky has some explaining to do, I expect — he was elected on a platform of opposing this sort of thing.) The 270 acre development will go on the corner of Proffit and 29, across the street and just north of Wal-Mart.

The addition of North Pointe will bring us one step closer to realizing our dream: continuous sprawl running from Barracks Road clear up to Ruckersville.

25 Responses to “YASC Approved: North Pointe”


  • I’m not surprised. The BoS hasn’t seen a development they don’t like.

    I remember this quote from a past Daily Progress article about the Crozet development:

    At the conclusion of that meeting, the supervisors discussed ways to better convey the county’s point of view to Crozet residents, and appeared to jointly agree that the plan was clearly set with a 20-year view in mind.

    In my opinion that pretty much says it all about their attitude toward development. My translation of the excerpt: “we’ve made up our mind you just haven’t come to terms with the fact that we are going to do this the BoS way not the voter way.

  • Podcast and summary on Charlottesville Tomorrow’s blog covering North Pointe decision plus Cascadia & Westhall.  The Westhall podcast captures one of the most interesting discussions on the challenges of transportation funding and developer proffers we have heard by the Board of Supervisors. Brian Wheeler

  • With regard to Mr. Slutsky, it’s now clear to see why he got the backing of the Charlottesville Real Estate group. With his vote on North Pointe they should mark his bill “Paid in full”. This is not to mention that including yesterday’s vote on the development in Crozet he has stated on three occassions that he would not vote against a development despite the obvious fact there is either not the actual infrastructure or the money to pay for the infrastructure to support the development. One would think that as the only supervisor who lives in a growth area and one that supports a district where the majority of the voters live in the growth area he would be more sensitive to the needs of growth area residents. His votes show he cares little about the quality of life for growth area residents and it appears that, with the exception of Mr. Rooker, that’s the prevailing sentiment in the board room.
    Next election it’s time for a change!

  • CrozetResident
    I think you’re onto something. I guess the hope is that Mr. Slutsky will help put the breaks on some of the growth in the rural area. Without some new regulations (i.e. phasing, clustering, MOD), Albemarle’s rural area will continue to be lost to suburban scale residential development.

  • I wasn’t at last night’s meeting, but it’s interesting to hear about Slutzky. Afterall, he ran for supervisor on a no-new-development platform. OK, I’m hyperbolizing it a bit, but he did want to bring his “background and experience [as an environmental policy consultant] to the Board of Supervisors and help them figure out an even better way to deal with growth.” (as quoted in “Slutsky to run for supervisor,” by Annie Johnson of the Daily Progress, June 9, 2005). The article went on to say Slutzky wanted to “focus on sustainable growth” and “preserve green space in growth areas.”

    Another interesting read, where he stood on the issues during his campaign. His positions are still available on the web: http://www.davidslutzky.com/Issues.htm.

  • Waldo, What does YASS mean? Your Albemarle Supervisors Said?

  • What does YASS mean? Your Albemarle Supervisors Said?

    “Yet Another Shopping Center,” back by popular demand. Except, of course, that I’m an idiot — that would be “YASC,” not “YASS.” “YASS” stands for…nothing. Think of it as a symbol of my illiteracy. :)

  • YASS, seems like a freudian slip to me ;)

  • is it me or does half the people who protest these developments don’t even live near the area? Heck, I remember the outcry of the HTC were coming out of Cville and the people for it were living actually near it. I don’t know. But with higher real estate forcing the common folk to move outward and higher gas prices, why do these shopping centers surpises everyone.

  • ‘The addition of North Pointe will bring us one step closer to realizing our dream: continuous sprawl running from Barracks Road clear up to Ruckersville.’

    Well, that is exactly right. We have achieved our dream. We might have had some alternative dream, like holding all that space sprawl-less. But, what have we done to realize that dream.? What have we provided the landowners that would encourage them to hold it sprawl-less for us?

    If we choose to dream realistically, we can raise our taxes enough to buy the land we wish to see undeveloped. I have never heard anyone say that they desired a lack of sprawl sufficiently that they would actually pay to get what they want.

    I guess that would be a dream.

  • But, what have we done to realize that dream.? What have we provided the landowners that would encourage them to hold it sprawl-less for us?

    If we choose to dream realistically, we can raise our taxes enough to buy the land we wish to see undeveloped. I have never heard anyone say that they desired a lack of sprawl sufficiently that they would actually pay to get what they want.

    We? Ray, you aren’t exactly in the neighborhood. :) If you were, I imagine you’d be familiar with our ACE program, which buys conservation easements from rural landowners.

    Your dreams have become reality!

  • You are right Waldo, I’m not in your neighborhood. But there are more than 13,000 jurididctions across the nation that have some kind of growth restrictions. When there is permanent growth restriction everywhere, then what? Thoseof us in rural areas can deny growth and force it to occur in more urbanized places, but who is to say they want the growth, either? Indeed many of those juridictions are more urbanized areas whose growth restrictions are designed to cause what is happening around C’ville. This is an issue that transcends neighborhoods.

    This is an issue that touches on ethics and fairness, among other things. Consider the conservation easement programs. I could sell some easements, and get $30,000 apiece for them. My neighbor might choose to take his easements and build a couple of rental units. In two years he will have collected $36,000 for each of them at average rents in this area. In four years his investment will have doubled in value at current rates.

    Meanwhile, I still have a one time payment of $30,000 plus whatever I can earn by investing that money. And I have a conservation easement that reduces the value of my property and invites all kinds of future problems, not the least of which it is difficult to borrow against property that has a cloud on it. That cloud is perpetual.

    And, I still get to pay property tax on the land. And althought the present regs are that the property tax is at a reduced rate, the county is not party to the easement. There is nothing to prevent them from removing that break at some time in the future. The $30,000 payment is a capital gains event, so I pay tax on that, too, and it reduces the basis in the property. But, in some areas, the easement does not actually reduce the value of the land, so that when the land is sold that reduction in basis disappears, and you could pay capital gains on what is essentially the same money, again. Net tax on your $30,000 payment would then be $9000.

    Compared to the alternative, the net present value of that conservation easement is near zero. Unless you just don’t need the money and the easement is really altruistic in nature, you would have to be financially crazy to take a deal on an easement: ask any lawyer or banker.

    This deal is a sham and a rip-off, and it is a perfect example of what I mean when I say that we, as conservationists, are getting a reputation for wanting something for nothing. Yes, I consider myself to be a conservationist, and yes, I don’t like ugly sprawl any more than the next person.

    But i refuse to believe that it is in our interests to try to get what we want at below market rates, or by means that are devious and not truthfully advertized.

    It is unethical and counterproductive. While we are attending meetings trying to get what we want by regulation, fiat, delay, or denial, the developers are getting what they want with money.

    I think they have a more realistic plan, and probably one that is less costly. Kelo is a case where developers got what they wanted by force of law, and you can see what a fuss that caused. I f we continue to press our case through subterfuge and multiple overlapping regulation, how long will it be before we are subject to the same kind of backlash? Look at what happened in Oregon and Loudoun County.

  • When there is permanent growth restriction everywhere, then what?

    You pose an impossible hypothetical. It’s like being opposed to building decks because when there are decks everywhere, then what? Or being opposed to planting trees, because when there are trees all over the place, then what will we do? It’s not going to happen.

    Thoseof us in rural areas can deny growth and force it to occur in more urbanized places, but who is to say they want the growth, either?

    Charlottesville City Council has repeatedly declared that they want the growth, while the Albemarle Board of Supervisors has increasingly taken to declaring they don’t. Problem solved.

    This deal is a sham and a rip-off

    No it’s not. Many people have happily taken part in ACE. If there have been any complaints from those who have done so, I haven’t heard it.

    You don’t seem to understand that land is not always a financial investment. My in-laws bought land years ago in order to give to their children. They’ve had some impressive offers to buy that now-valuable land, but they’ve turned them all down, because the land wasn’t a financial investment, it was an investment in their children’s futures. Consequently, they’re happy to have put a conservation easement on their land. Having married their daughter, ten of those acres will be the site of my home in the next year. I intend to live in that home for the rest of my life so, likewise, I’m happy to participate in ACE, because I’m never going to sell it. And even if I did, I’d want the easement on it — if I sold this land to somebody who subdivided it, my Stony Point neighbors would never forgive me.

    For those of us who value our land as something other than a financial investment — and there are a lot of us like that down here in Albemarle — ACE amounts to free money. Why not participate?

  • I think some of the comments that have been made about David Slutzky on this blog are unfair. He did not run on a “no-new-development platform” as was suggested earlier in this thread. Slutzky has always said that he supports concentrating development in the urban areas of the county and protecting the rural area.

    The county designated the north pointe (and cascadia) areas as high growth areas in the comprehensive plan. He fears that not allowing development area development will force more rural area development. Already this year 59% of single family detached homes have been built in the rural area.

    You don’t have to agree with Slutzky. But, from what I have seen of him, I think that Slutzky has been the most consistent in his positions than any other board member.

  • Waldo, your case just proves my point: Unless you just don’t need the money and the easement is really altruistic in nature, you would have to be financially crazy to take a deal on an easement.

    Essentially the family has given themselves an easement, for their own enjoyment. And they get to pat themselves on the back for having done a good public deed, which, however, they can keep private. Whether they sold or gave away the easement, the returns are primarily to themselves. They bought and paid for the land and they provided the easement that prevented, some, sprawl.

    They have turned away investments that other people offered so that they might provide for THEIR childrens future. That is a right and proper choice for your in-laws, and one they are free and empowered to make, BECAUSE THEY OWN THE LAND.

    In your case your predecessors put up an easement that you can live with. That being the case there is no need for the easement since you will not develop anyway. Maybe your family winds up staying there for generations, as mine has. I’m happy for you.

    But maybe your children or grandchildren decide they want to work in Hollywood or New York some day, and maybe by then the entire area around you has changed. Maybe they would like to sell, but they can’t find someone who wants to pay for a big piece of land they can’t do anything with. Maybe by then big wealthy landowners enjoying tax benefits are viewed with derision and scorn. Who knows?

    Either they will sell at a discount compared to neighboring properties, or they won’t sell and just abandon the place. Eventually it becomes a clandestine junkyard, as has happened to at least one other conservation sit. Or, maybe by then preserved sites are rare and valuable, and they get a premium.

    In any case, we can’t tell how far into forever the easement is valuable to your future family, or the neighborhood.

    The flip side is, what if your in-laws had opted to sell the property: that they thought it was not as valuable to their daughter’s future as some other investment. And what if they had been prohibited from making that choice because we as a community decided we wanted open space: even if it belongs to someone else.

    Your family is happy because they chose to exercise a choice that was open to them. But what raised my interest was the way in which the original poster referred in the collective to our dream of continuous sprawl, as if we had the collective power to enforce some other vision without costs incurred to ourselves.

    Your family has incurred the costs themselves, and they have made a choice locked in stone for perpetuity. I sure hope that they and no one in the family ever wants to change their mind.

    It might very well be that your family’s choice will have lasting benefits to all of their neighbors and the surrounding neighborhood at large. It seems to me that they should be willing to make a continuing contribution commensurate with the benefits they get and that your family should get a continuing benefit in return, not just the one-shot benefits that come from an easement. For now, maybe that comes in the form of lower tax rates, and the deal is OK and fair all around.

    I’m just skeptical that the tems of the agreement will remain in balance in perpetuity. I’m not opposed to preserving land, but I think we should expect to pay the price, just as your family has.

  • The flip side is, what if your in-laws had opted to sell the property: that they thought it was not as valuable to their daughter’s future as some other investment. And what if they had been prohibited from making that choice because we as a community decided we wanted open space: even if it belongs to someone else.

    Nobody’s proposing prohibiting the sale of property. I’ve never heard that suggested by anybody, ever.

    I’m not opposed to preserving land, but I think we should expect to pay the price, just as your family has.

    We — Albemarle — are paying the price. With the ACE program. You say it doesn’t pay enough, I say the market is bearing it by taking every dollar that the county allocates. I don’t understand the problem here.

  • With regard to Mr. Slutsky’s position on growth, I heard him on at least 3 different occassions at 3 different rezonings state he would vote for development whether or not there was adequate supporting infrastructure. To me that means he has no problem approving growth that will degrade the quality of life in the growth areas. His excuse for his votes is, if he doesn’t approve the growth it will go to the rural area. This is plain bogus. It’s like saying someone whose looking to spend 200 to 250 for a townhouse, if they can’t find what they want will run out to the rural area and buy a home at 2 or three times the amount. It’s clear to see why he got the support of the real estate machine when he ran for office.

    It’s time growth area residents got out of the rural protection business. At the recent board meeting to discuss phasing and clustering one rural land owner after another got up to demand their property right stating they needed them to pay for their retirement, their children’s education and medical expenses. So I say give them their property rights, but I no longer want to subsidize them. I have enough problem paying for my retirement, my children’s education and my medical expenses without paying for someone else’s. Get rid of the Land Use tax break and let rural land owners pay at the same assessment rate that the lowest income home owner in the county pays. Let rural residents Master Plan the rural areas the same as the growth area resident are doing.

  • I think there has been a good bit of miscommunication with growth area residents by the county and that needs to be publically acknowledged. This miscommunication has lead to a lot of emotion and anger by Crozet area residents especially. I understand why residents feel betrayed.

    However, I am a little concerned about fissures that I see between different groups of people in Albemarle County–the rural vs development area owners, the people who have been here for a few generations vs. those, like myself, who have moved here more recently. As one speaker said at the phasing public hearing, we are all immigrants. Not one of us has any more or less right to live in this county than any other citizen.

    The whole phasing discussion has deepened these divisions. I am sorry that high emotion and anger has prevented people from thinking constructively protecting the rural area.

    I don’t envy the Board’s situation, caught between angry citizens, conflicting priorities, and the ordinances which are the law of the county. It must be very difficult for the Board to do their job– rationally apply a standard set of criteria for evaluating proposals. And truthfully because of the emotion involved, this doesn’t always happen. However, to the best of my knowledge, legally, lack of adequate public facilities are not grounds for denying a rezoning.

    Slutzky is doing what he is supposed to do. He is following this community’s comprehensive plan and acting within the legal limits of his office.

  • Not one of us has any more or less right to live in this county than any other citizen.

    But. Those of us who live here have more of a right to do so than those who do not. Albemarle County’s first obligation is to the citizens of Albemarle County. Those who desire to become citizens of Albemarle come second.

  • But, Waldo, wasn’t the point of the comment that started this – we now are reacing our dream of continuous sprawl- basically a complaint that we have not preserved enough land? If the market for easement really is taking every dollar the county allocates, is the allocation enough?

    Yes, there are people who have given easements and were later distressed with the results.

    Yes, there are people who would like to sell a piece of land and cannot. You may not have heard of it, but I assure you it happens. Maybe they woulod like to sell five acres or one, but are required to sell ten. Maybe they can technically sell, but practically speaking not. Maybe they would like to use the land for something else, but cannot. there are a thousand variations on the theme of someone else telling you what you can and cannot do.

    My only point is that if we want to prevent continuous sprawl, we should increase the incentives for people to take action as your family and mine have. Right now, the better incentive is for sprawl, and that is what we get.

  • Natasha Wrote:
    However, to the best of my knowledge, legally, lack of adequate public facilities are not grounds for denying a rezoning.

    Slutzky is doing what he is supposed to do. He is following this community’s comprehensive plan and acting within the legal limits of his office.

    To Respond:
    I think you should look at Cvilletomorrow.org and see the data on the Westhall development in Crozet, which was turned down exactly because the Supervisors felt there was not the infrastructure to support the development.
    Mr. Slutsky I believe was the only supervisor to vote for the rezoning and did so for the reason I have explained in my prior note. I find this odd because I believe the bulk of the Rio district is composed of growth area residents. I hope they wake up and realize they have a supervisors who has no problem approving development that will have a negative impact on their quality of life. It may be legal, but for a growth area resident to vote for such a supervisor is like shooting yourself in the foot.

  • But, Waldo, wasn’t the point of the comment that started this – we now are reacing our dream of continuous sprawl- basically a complaint that we have not preserved enough land?

    No. It’s a complaint that we have too much bad development. If 29 was continuous downtown-style development, that’d be just swell.

  • At the Westhall public hearing the county attorney cautioned the Board that a lack of adequate transportation is not grounds for denying a rezoning.

  • Waldo, Iagree we have a lot of bad development, and I don’t tend to think there is any excuse for ugly. At the same time I’ve got some bad developments here on the farm, but they were the best I could do at the time with the money and labor available.

    Are you saying that people should be able to build whatever they want, as long as you and other agree that it isn’t bad? Whose property is it anyway, yours or theirs? Aren’t you free to form a company, sell stock, and raise the money to buy the land and build something better, if you want? All you have to do is find enough like minded people.

    Doesn’t this come down to telling other people what to do? Usually when I want to direct people, I find I generqally have to pay them. If we are not getting what we want, whther it is conservation or development, it is because we are not willing to pay enough.

    I’ve said before, whether it is good conservation or good development, the price is the same.

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