BoS Tables Growth Tool Proposals

The Board of Supervisors is evenly split on the topics of phasing and clustering, so they decided to not even hold a vote, reports the latest addition to the Progress lineup, Jeremy Borden. The two growth tools have been under discussion for years now, and would slow and focus growth in the rural-designated portions of the county. Dennis Rooker, David Slutzky and Sally Thomas supported them, while Kenneth Boyd, Lindsay Dorrier and David Wyant opposed them. It’s not clear what can or will happen from here, but Thomas wisely points out that “the public will have something to say about that in the next elections.”

18 thoughts on “BoS Tables Growth Tool Proposals”

  1. Phasing makes little sense except to say “Hey you can build one a year until we get enough anti-growth supervsiors to really slow growth down.”
    Why one a year, it’s pulled out of thin air with no basis in anything but anti growth bias.

  2. It can be extraordinarily difficult to maintain the pace of school construction, expansion of police and fire services, and build/maintain roads at the clip at which unrestrained development can occur. That’s how problems develop, such as school overcrowding, increases in crime rates, higher home insurance rates because of slow fire service response time, and, in particular, rising traffic. It takes a long time to build a road or a school properly. It’s only logical to restrain growth at least enough that core public services can keep pace.

  3. What school growth are you speaking of Waldo because the Albemarle school system hasn’t grown almost at all in the last 6 years. The fire house are being built and the crime isn’t signifcant.
    Your reasoning has little to do with Albemarle growth issues.

    Roads and water; that is all that limits Albemarle current growth rate. And roads never seem to keep up with any locale that has growth. Crozet is a growth area because it has a lot of water.

  4. Clearly I was speaking in the abstract, and not of Albemarle in specific.

    It’s clear that growth is outstripping our ability to deal with it. Look no further than the “Pantops Master Plan” that the county is working on. The place is just about as built up as it can be, and they’re just now getting around to planning it? But the fact is that growth has come quickly, just in the past five years or so, which is faster than such planning generally functions. So we’ve got totally unplanned sprawl, tossed up without regard for the ability of public services to handle it.

    Cart, meet horse.

  5. It is true that the county school population has not been rapidly expanding in recent years. So, who is buying all these large new houses? I’m guessing that these new homes are being bought by young professionals who will have children, and retirees who will eventually want to downsize or who will die, and then who will move in? People with children, perhaps? Especially if we should have a real buyers market in the next few years? I am not convinced that even in Albemarle specifically, that the only issues relating to growth are roads and water, though certainly those issues are at the top of the list.

  6. I don’t know about other areas, but in Crozet 50 more children showed up for school then expected. With regard to phasing and clustering being turned down, I glad because it finally takes away the BS about protecting the rural area. The residents of the rural area didn’t like it because they said they needed their property rights to fund their retirement, their children’s education and medical expenses. That being the case it’s time for the BOS to take their collective hands out of the wallets of growth area residents to pay for the land use tax rip off. In the last three years it’s cost growth area residents 34 million dollars. The land use tax rip off represents 10 cents of the 74 cent tax rate. I’m sure that growth area residents are having enough trouble funding their own retirement, children’s education and medical expenses without subsidizing the wealthiest land owners in the County. I say give their rights, but let them pay for them like everyone else.

  7. Just to clear up what Perlogik wrote, it’s actually two development rights every 10 years, not one a year.

    No matter how you feel about phasing/clustering/mountaintop protection, it’s clear Albemarle officials need to do something to either curb population growth or protect the rural acreage that defines the Charlottesville area.

    Couldn’t pay me enough to try to figure it out.

  8. So, who is buying all these large new houses? I’m guessing that these new homes are being bought by young professionals who will have children, and retirees who will eventually want to downsize or who will die, and then who will move in? People with children, perhaps?

    That’s a great point. The fact that the people currently buying these houses do not currently have children is really just disguising the fact that it’s inevitable that they will eventually be occupied by people who will reproduce. Here’s hoping that these homes aren’t being purchased by a monoculture (ie, couple between the ages of 65 and 75), because then there’s the danger that they’ll all age out at once and we’ll have a boom of kids in these homes shortly thereafter.

  9. Actually, in Crozet, many of the people buying houses DO have children. As CrozetResident said, Crozet Elementary is way over projected enrollment and capacity this year. All of their 5th grade classes are in trailers now. I was told yesterday by a Brownsville teacher that they are also at capacity. And many Henley parents recently got notices that buses will start coming 10 minutes earlier because the traffic has gotten so bad that they can’t get the kids to school on time otherwise.

    So here in the growth area we are feeling it right now. The BoS has to do something to slow down growth. They’re letting it happen way too fast in Crozet. Less than 2 years into a 20 year Master Plan, they’ve already approved enough rezonings to take us to 12,000 population once everything that has been rezoned is built out, and even the BoS admits that Crozet is not intended to grow beyond 12,000 in 20 years. It’s kind of ironic that the whole intent of growth areas was to preserve the rural areas. But because the BoS is letting it happen so fast and with such poor planning, they run the risk of making the growth areas an undesirable place to live, and people may just end up choosing to live in the rural areas anyway. Who wants their kid going to school in a trailer and sitting on a school bus for who knows how long?

    To perlogik’s statement that “Crozet is a growth area because it has a lot of water”, a few comments. Crozet has alot of water, but we don’t have alot of treatment capacity. At the current rate of growth, they will be needing to look at upgrading treatment capacity soon. And if Crozet grows to 24,000, “alot” of water may not be enough. RWSA hasn’t even begun to think about a population beyond 12,000 in Crozet – because the County never told them it was a possibility. And as to why Crozet is a growth area, I was told by a Principal Planner with the county at the beginning of the Crozet Master Planning process that the reason Crozet is a growth area is because the county made an investment to run a sewer line out to what used to be Morton Frozen Foods, then ConAgra, because the plant was beginng to have problems. Once it was in, they wanted to capitalize on that investment and designated Crozet a growth area.

  10. Here’s hoping that these homes aren’t being purchased by a monoculture (ie, couple between the ages of 65 and 75), because then there’s the danger that they’ll all age out at once and we’ll have a boom of kids in these homes shortly thereafter.

    That is mere wishful thinking. I have heard that there is going to be growth in the enitre school system for almost a decade. The esitmates have ALWAYS been wrong. Even capacity of school is based on bad information- it is usually the homeroom class that has alot of students not anything after.

    I tell you what just try and find out how many classroom teachers there our. It’s never listed, I not talking about how many they list since it includes all sort of people who never enter a classroom.
    Albemarle is even listing home schooled kids in their students counts.

    Growth in Ablemarle is not a problem by any reasonable metric when compared to real growth areas. This is not to say it should not be controlled or considered. It should first be put into perspective.

  11. At last Thursday’s School Board meeting, we learned our September 6, 2006 enrollment is 12,441 students. That is an increase of 8 students over last school year. Our enrollment numbers like this do not include home school students.

    Perlogik, in December 2005 we exchanged comments on the enrollment and staffing issue and I would refer you back to that conversation. In that post I shared that we staff to the actual enrollment. Also, see this posting from my blog on our track record of enrollment projections.

    While we have only added 8 students, the students we have have shifted within the division. In the material provided to the Board, staff stated that, “This year there has been an unpredicted fluctuation of enrollment, either over or under projection in some schools.” We have 6 schools more than 15 students under projection and 4 schools more than 15 students over projection.

    The schools over projection include: Crozet, Greer, Red Hill, and Stony Point. Crozet was projected to grow, but it leads the pack among elementary schools with 35 new students over last year (not including schools that had an influx from redistricting).

    In your recent comment you also indicated that Albemarle County does not share the number of classroom teachers. That is incorrect. That material is well documented in the annual budget. It is also reported as actuals for the current school year in the annual class size report and in many reports by our Principals at Back to School and State of the School presentations.

    If people need any more data on enrollment or staffing, pelase let me know. We will get a more detailed enrollment report in early October that reflects the September 30th actuals. That is the number we use for budgeting next year.

    Brian Wheeler
    At-Large Member
    Albemarle County School Board

  12. Brian thanks for commenting. You have done an excellent job of talking about the numbers on your blog. I’m sure many people would be shocked to find out that Albemarle school system has added only 20 students in the last 5 years.. If all our public official were as candid the public arena would be better for it

    I am not sure your “cone of probability” is accurate given recent growth rate trends. But it proves that the School board has been on the high side with enrollment projections.

    I have been told that homeschooled kids have been used in some enrollment figures. If you say it is otherwise I accept that.

    In terms of enrollment I have been talking about total system and you address each school. I think we agree that some school are crowded but some school are not. This will change from year to year. It is the reason that student populations have to be reallocated, which is the school boards most difficult and thankless activity.It has also shown how building permits do not equal more public school students.

    As to teachers I simply said that the amount of teachers listed (which I mentioned) is not the amount in the classroom. Many people that are included in the teacher count never spend a day teaching class, they work in adminstration.

    What percentage of the teachers listed are classroom teacher?

  13. I’m not sure these are the metrics you ask for, but from 2002 to 2004 in a poll done by the county the level of satisfaction of growth area residents dropped by 17 percent . I assume this is a relection of how people view their quality of life. This is not to mention that that as far as assessments are concerned here is the data:
    1997 2.26%
    1999 3.51%
    2001 12.79%
    2003 18.74%
    2005 27.21%
    And finally, as least for Crozet residents the time to get into town has gone up steadily over the last five years with the addition of 6 new stop lights, with the last one added just this month to handle Old Trail. I’m sure things haven’t improved for the 29 or pantops commute either and all can be attributed to growth. And with no money for road projects in sight and in fact a cut in funding I’m not sure how you can say there are no metrics to show problems from growth.

  14. Perlogik – I am not sure where you got the 20 student estimate over 5 years. In 2001-02, our enrollment was 12,140. Today’s enrollment is 12,441. That is growth of 301 students over the last 5 school years. Even if you go back six years (01-02 saw a drop), we have growth of around 200 students during the period.

    Brian Wheeler
    At-Large Member
    Albemarle County School Board

  15. The previous 5 year projection, which ended in 2009, showed a total gain of 20 students over 5 years : source SchoolMatters
    I left the word has added to a projection out the quote from your blog. The enrollment of 12,411 is a fall figure which will drop by the March census as it has for the last several years.

    What about the classroom techer percentage?

  16. O.k., but you are citing information that I identified was old. Let’s be clear that was a forward looking projection. Here is a more complete quote from the 12/31/05 post: “In the 2010 school year, we are now projecting to have 129 more students in our public schools, in the entire county, than we have today. Staff have warned the School Board that ‘projections that are 5 years into the future may have significant variance.’ The previous 5 year projection, which ended in 2009, showed a total gain of 20 students over 5 years. Looking backwards over the previous 5 years at ACTUAL enrollment, we have grown by 298 students between 2001 and 2005.”

    Here are some staffing numbers from pages F218-F220 in the 2006-07 funding request (available at I think this will get us in the ballpark and you tell me if it answers your question:

    Base classroom teachers = 733.64
    (K-12 classroom teacher Full Time Equivalent FTE units requested. This is formula driven based on enrollment and includes “differentiated staffing” which adds teacher units to schools with higher free and reduced lunch populations)

    Other instructional staff = 177.73
    (This adds TAs, literacy specialists, media specialists, gifted, guidance, art, music, PE, testing specialists)

    Special Instructional Resources = 190.07
    (Special Ed, ESOL, Intervention Programs, Alternative Ed)

    Non-Instructional staff = 151.23
    (Principals, Asst Principals, Nurse, AD, Guidance Dir, Clerical)

    These are not the actuals for this school year, but I hope it gives you a sense as to the overall allocation of our staff in the school division based on the budget.

    Brian Wheeler
    At-Large Member
    Albemarle County School Board

  17. ….I appreciate the school numbers and ackowledge that the situation is complicated, but the title of this blog was “BOS Tables Growth Tool Proposals” and I think the takeaway should be that the County/BOS just lost out on a huge opportunity by choosing to table phasing. There are over 10,000 housing units under construction/in the pipeline in the County’s growth areas, so why would it not move to protect the rural areas from continuing suburban fragmentation that’s turning Albemarle into a sea of mcmansions and “any place USA” suburbia. If you haven’t noticed, Ryan Homes has opened a retail office on the Downtown Mall…..chop chop chop….drip drip drip…..death by a thousands cuts from a plastic axe.

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