Survey: Protect Rural Areas

Charlottesville Tomorrow released a survey on Monday that shows very strong support for rural preservation in Albemarle County. Both The Daily Progress and The Hook report on it, highlighting the finding that 78% of us support the “phasing” concept, which would limit the rate of growth. Just such a proposal failed 3-3 before the BoS last year.

18 thoughts on “Survey: Protect Rural Areas”

  1. The frustrating thing for me is that developers and people with development interests make a point to attend these meetings to make public comment. That’s both because they’ve got paid staff, or because it is in their direct financial interest. I know it’s a pain, but average citizens really need to submit public comments and attend meetings when important issues come up, otherwise we aren’t represented. While I think the BOS should have shown some reproductive organs and done the right thing, it’s understandable that they caved in to developers and land barons when those were the majority of people that showed up to comment on the Phasing and Clustering.

    I think the second way that we make a difference is by voting. All three people that voted against Rural Preservation are up for reelection. If we are serious about preserving rural areas then we should boot all three of them out. Wyant, Dorrier, and Boyd should all be removed and replaced with people that reflect the public opinion on Growth issues. Of course, it isn’t too late for any of the current BOS to “see the light”. There’s an important meeting about Critical Slope coming up next week that will have a siginificant impact on rural preservation. Maybe BOS incumbants can use this as an opportunity to show that they aren’t just representing the developers after all.

  2. Oh and in response to Paul Wright’s comments in the hook

    “They claim [Charlottesville Tommorrow is] nonpartisan, but I don’t recognize a single local Republican on their board. I recognize a number of Democrats,” says Wright, who is involved in several local Republican races.

    He wonders about the lack of survey questions about property rights and “Should we compensate people for taking their property rights?”

    I think we’ve discussed the first point ad nauseum, but I’d also like to point out that Dorrier’s seat is also up for grabs. So Charlottesville Tomorrow’s timely message for voters may indeed apply to incumbants, but it’s also relevant that it applies across party lines.

    As to the second point, did residents of Crozet write a check to Albemarle County when they gained additional development rights? Where were the property rights folks when that happened? Sure, they have no problem taking tax breaks and free money for development worth hundreds of millions, but somehow when the county wants to restrict, using the same zoning that granted rights elsewhere, then there is a storm of protest from developers and land barons. Most of them knew they were in the rural area when they acquired their property, so it seems disingenious that when the County tries to actually put some teeth into zoning that they complain that they aren’t allowed to thwart the taxpayers will by making their rural parcel suburban. Until houses become a “crop” like corn, then restricting development in the rural area has nothing to do with property rights.

  3. One of the most interesting points found in the survey was the fact 80 percent of those who responded said they would support using tax dollars to support rural preservation if that preservation was in the form of permanent easements. On the other side of the coin, the survey showed that 40 percent of those who responded stated they were opposed to spending money on the Land Use tax rip off for wealthy land owners and developers. I did contact Brian Wheeler and found out that when the question was asked, they did not exclude those who were getting the tax break, so it’s fair to assume if they asked only those who were paying for this scam, the number of those opposed would have been higher.
    The good news is that despite double digit tax increases over the past two taxes years, residents are still willing to invest in rural preservation as long as it’s not in the form of Land Use tax breaks to the rich. It’s good to see this issue is getting some traction and I hope it will be part of the debate in the upcoming elections.
    As for the elections, it will be interesting to see if this survey is an indication for voting trends, since the 3 incumbents appear to be on the wrong side of many of the issues, phasing and clustering being just one. Only time will tell.

  4. I don’t put much stock in anything Charlottesville Tomorrow says. It’s a stridently anti-growth organization masquerading as some sort Everyman representative under the flag of nonpartisanship. So I’m shocked, shocked, that a survey run by them should yield these results.

  5. It’s a stridently anti-growth organization masquerading as some sort Everyman representative under the flag of nonpartisanship.

    I’m trying to figure out what part of that is bad. Do you mean that you’re pro-growth, so you just mistrust them because their interests are counter to yours? Are you opposed to nonpartisanship?

    These findings on protecting rural areas are in line with prior surveys. Albemarle’s own survey found last October that:

    The County’s policy of concentrating growth in areas designated for development while restricting development in rural areas continues to enjoy solid support, with approximately 72.6% of residents saying they are in favor of that approach.


    Nearly two-thirds of County residents (63.6%) indicated that slower growth was in the County’s best interest. Just over 30% preferred the County to grow at the same rate.

    It appears to me that not only do Charlottesville Tomorrow’s findings go hand in hand with the county’s, but that a substantial majority of the county would appear to agree with Charlottesville Tomorrow’s stated mission of planning and controlling growth.

  6. They’re not nonpartisan and they’ve got a specific anti-growth agenda- that was my whole poorly expressed point. Their executive director recently played the foil to developer Wendell Wood on a local radio show. Can anyone imagine him on the other side of a land use issue from the folks at zero-growth ASAP?

    Look, if a group of wealthy locals wants to get together and pool their resources to start an organization whose express purpose is to limit development, i.e, to tell other people what they may and may not do with their own property, that’s fine with me. This is America. Go First Amendment! Just don’t try to sell me on the open-minded, nonpartisan nature of the enterprise. Be proud of what you are rather than hiding behind what is a very thin veil.

  7. They’re not nonpartisan and they’ve got a specific anti-growth agenda- that was my whole poorly expressed point.

    Again, the latter concern of yours is simply expressing the purpose of their existence, at least as I understand it. It would be like complaining that the Free Enterprise Forum has “a specific pro-growth agenda.” Well, yeah. The former concern, though, is the sort of charge that requires support, as we’ve discussed here before You might find it helpful to re-read that discussion before considering on what basis you believe Charlottesville Tomorrow to be partisan in nature.

  8. I think society has become so divided that some people draw these distinct boundaries about which party owns which issue. If you speak about the environment, then people aasume that you’re a Democrat (or Green party?), but if you’re speaking about “Family Values” then you’ve obviously got to be a Republican. This is why our federal government has become increasingly ineffective. There doesn’t seem to be enough candidates in the middle any more that can reach across party lines to address the full range of issues affecting Americans. It seems like politicians these days have to wait before their party takes a side on an issue (which always has to be the logical opposite of their opponent) before they can decide what to do for themselves.

    Falstaff’s unstated assumption that Republicans are always “Pro-Growth” and Democrats are always “No Growth” is a pretty good example of this larger symptom affecting American politics. It’s almost as if most people don’t even believe in the concept of anything being nonpartisan anymore. After all, what would Falstaff or Paul Wright expect a non-partisan Charlottesville Tomorrow to look like? Perhaps, one where it was mandated that they had to have a certain percentage of people equally representing all parties on their board of directors at all times? Would they also have to mandate to their members what charities they were allowed to donate towards and how much?

    To make this a little more productive, Falstaff, if you could nominate one other Republican to be a member of Charlottesville tomorrow, then who would that person be and why? I’m kind of curious to know what who you know who actually feels that they’ve been “left out” in helping to advocate for sensible growth in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area?

  9. Could Falstaff’s position be explained by a clarification of “partisan” as used in this context? While Charlottesville Tomorrow is clearly interested in planning and controlling growth (and is, I would venture to say, “proud of what (they) are”), they are not partisan in the sense of aligning themselves with a particular political party. They have a very specific zone of interests, and I don’t believe they particulary care whether their supporters are Republican, Democratic, Green or Libertarian.

  10. Would you trust a suvrvey conducted under the auspices of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Homebuilders’ Association that showed 4 out of 5 residents favored unbridled growth? It’s the same thing.

    The fact that like-minded liberals on this site have come to the defense of Charlottesville Tomorrow merely reinforces my point.

  11. With regard to the CvilleTomorrow survey, I believe they published not only the results, but the methodology they used. I would be interested to hear what problems were found either with the method used or the questions asked. It seems to me they were very open about how and why they went about their survey. It seems all too often that because they report on growth and development and there is certainly a lot to report that they are anti growth. Again, site specific examples that show a pro growth bent.

  12. Would you trust a suvrvey conducted under the auspices of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Homebuilders’ Association that showed 4 out of 5 residents favored unbridled growth? It’s the same thing.

    No, I wouldn’t trust it, because those results fly in the face of the county’s own survey. The results from Charlottesville Tomorrow’s survey are very much in line with the county’s survey, as I’ve explained, so there would be appear to be ample cause to trust these results.

  13. Yeah, and the Commissar’s, er, County’s staff is completely nonpartisan itself. I wonder how many Bush and Allen voters populate the precints of the Albemarle County Office Building.

  14. Let me get this straight. It would appear from your statement you believe County Staff are really subversive “no growthers”, even though their jobs, to a very large extent, are dependent on a continuing flow of developers coming through their door. I’m sure there some logic in this, but God knows where.

  15. Falstaff, your logic has gone off the tracks here. You’re saying that Albemarle County is staffed by liberal Democrats who falsified a survey in order push an agenda. That would be an enormous, enormous scandal. I’m going to assume that you don’t actually have any evidence of this, in which case your entire chain of logic here about partisanship and Charlottesville Tomorrow has just crumbled.

  16. So you’re saying you’d trust an organization whose members are uniformly ideologically hostile to what you believe? Funny, it seems to me you don’t put much credence in what the WH says or the Allen campaign did back in the day (peace be upon them). You’ll extend me the same courtesy for not taking as the gospel truth what a bunch of no-growthers and their left-wing allies in county office building who’ve tried to shitcan almost every development they see and were the authors of the very proposals they now purport to show have overwhelming community support. Whatever. And you honestly wonder why I’m skeptical?

  17. Being skeptical is one thing, facts are another. You talk about those left wingers trying to shitcan every development they see. Name all the developments your referring to that were voted down by the board in the past four years? I can tell you in Crozet the BOS has voted for every development that came before them. With Boyd, Dorrier, Wyant and now Slutsky the developers know they always have 4 votes for their new developments. Not only have they continued to vote for new development, but have done it asking virtully nothing in proffers. In Old Trail, million dollar homes paid 2,000 dollars per home in proffers. Finally, when organizations like CvilleTomorrow, Cville Weekly and The Hook start to show what developments like Biscuit Run are going to cost the public and the fact it’s an election year do they start to become more receptive to the public.

  18. Falstaff, you’re dodging the question: Are you are you not able to provide any evidence to back up your claim that Albemarle County falsified their survey results?

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