County Explains Differences in Survey Results

There were a lot of similarities between Albemarle County’s citizen survey last year and Charlottesville Tomorrow’s survey last month, but there were some differences, too. There was a lot of overlap in the questions about growth and rural protection, and that’s where some results deviated. In response to that, UVa’s Center for Survey Research, who ran the county’s survey, put together an explanation of why the results differed (PDF), which the county made public in an e-mail announcement today. It’s actually a pretty interesting read, with the differences in the questions and the survey methodologies appearing to explain the contrasts.

47 thoughts on “County Explains Differences in Survey Results”

  1. What has never been explained is the use of focus groups by Charlottesville Tomorrow. How were they picked and what method was used. It seems obvious that CT wants to replace the incumbents with supervisors who will vote their way.

    Bias study = Bias results

  2. I don’t see much evidence in the response that casts doubt on the CT survey results. If anything it points out that the CT survey was more likely to interview people who are less transient, more often home owners, better educated with higher incomes. The biggest difference seemed to be the CT survey is it dealt directly with the BOS instead of County government and was more specific in the questions it asked about rural preservation.
    As for your statement that CT wants to replace the incumbents you should at least give some evidence of your conclusions. It would appear that too many people equate the fact CT exposes what goes on with growth and development as being anti development. Maybe your conclusion is based on the fact that the three incumbents are without a doubt the most pro growth supervisors on the board. Take a look at the most recent data on who getting money from where to see why they vote the way they do.

  3. better educated with higher incomes

    What you mean to say is nonrepresentative sample making this survey suspect. Questions formulated by “mystery” focus groups help make a survey bias.

    CT’s survey has been taken to task by Thomas M. Guterbock, PhD, Director, Center for Survey Research who said:
    “In sum, the large differences between the surveys are readily accounted for when we consider that the questions and the question context are different, the study populations and the sample selection methods differ, the demographics of the final samples differ”

  4. That’s not “taking it to task” — it’s simply explaining that the surveys are different. It would be equally valid for Charlottesville Tomorrow to make precisely the same statement about Albemarle/CSR’s survey.

  5. Let’s see, you want to ask questions about rural preservation and land use and the survey according to Guterbock is weighted toward rural, land owners, who are better educated and have higher incomes. You call it bias, I call asking the right people the right questions.
    It should also be pointed out that Guterbock doesn’t make any comments about the validity of the data from CT.
    I assume we’ll see the value of the survey in November.

  6. If the demographics of a poll are not representative of Albemarle county then the results cannot be either. CrozetResident you actual are supporting an elitist viewpoint as better than one representing the population as a whole. The noblesse oblige view of politics harkens back to arguments used to justify the poll tax. The CT poll is biased toward homeowners and against minorities according to Guterbock. The study by Guterbock takes issue with word choice and what are leading questions. The CT poll is more like a push poll looking for a result than a honest assessment of the state of the county. With a push poll the data is correct but the assumptions are tainted.

    Waldo your logic doesn’t support the facts. If there was nothing wrong with the CT poll why would the county put out this letter. It is very obviously a rebuff to the CT poll. If CT wants to argue that the county poll is bad or that Guterback is wrong than they should do so.

  7. Perlogik, there are only two ways that a poll can be bad: if it’s internally inconsistent or if it’s externally inconsistent. If it’s internally inconsistent, that means that it does not represent the opinions of the individuals that it purports to measure. If it’s externally inconsistent, that means that the results cannot be extrapolated to the larger group that the poll is attempting to measure.

    We can rule out internal inconsistency, since nobody has made any claims that Charlottesville Tomorrow’s poll is internally inconsistent.

    Your complaint seems to be that Charlottesville Tomorrow’s poll is externally inconsistent, and you’re basing that on the contrasts drawn within the Center for Survey Research’s memo. But, in fact, CSR doesn’t state that. CSR simply says that Charlottesville Tomorrow and CSR are measuring different things.

    As CSR points out, CT set a higher bar in the question of citizen participation (“genuine public participation” vs. “opportunities for public input”). Likewise, CT set a higher bar in the question of rural protection (“well-considered decisions” vs. “efforts”).

    Also, as CSR points out, CT is interested in the opinions of voters, while Albemarle County is interested in the opinions of the general public, so while CT polled registered voters, CSR polled random citizens.

    And the county was asking people to participate in a survey about “how satisfied people are with [government] services” on behalf of Albemarle County, while CT was asking people to participate in a survey about “growth and development issues.” Quite different people are likely interested in each opening pitch.

    The only thing approaching criticism of CT’s survey presented in the entire letter from CSR was topic 5, in which CSR points out that CT’s survey began with questions about rural preservation before asking questions about public policy, which presumably puts people in a frame of mind to consider rural preservation when answering those questions about policy.

    I just don’t know how to make this any clearer than CSR’s Thomas Guerbock did in his memo: Both of these surveys appear to be both internally and externally consistent. They each measure what they claim to measure, but they’re each measuring slightly different things. Many of the criticisms that you’re leveling at CT’s survey could be turned around on the county just the same, by somebody who simply happened to prefer CT’s results or methodologies.

    Having taken only Statistics 101 and Political Research 201 in college, I don’t know much about polling. But I do know this much.

  8. Well said Waldo. Perlogik has taken to using the words push poll, which is the approach the Republicans have taken to a respond to county residents who gave them news they didn’t want to hear. Does anyone know who in the county and why they felt a response was needed? Like I said, the validity of the survey will be either proved or disproved in November in as much as the CT survey dealt directly with the performace of the BOS, a performance we can only hope doesn’t get any curtain calls.

  9. In sum, the large differences between the surveys are readily accounted for when we consider that the questions and the question context are different, the study populations and the sample selection methods differ, the demographics of the final samples differ, and that factors like non-response effects and context effects may be operative in one survey more than in the other. These surveys were conducted for quite different purposes, and each should be understood and interpreted accordingly.

    What I know is this is the end of the Guterback letter. It couldn’t be any clearer that he found large differences between the studies. He is being critical of the CT survey and its results. You never answered why the county would bothered to have such a report prepared if the County only found minor differences with the CT poll. I’ve read enough academic articles to know that CT is being called out in higher ed. speak. How else to you view the statement These surveys were conducted for quite different purposes What I learn about survey science in college was best covered in the book “How to Lie with Statistics” You sometimes only need to make something slightly biased to get a desired result.

    The CT poll has been called into question as to wording, question order, demographics, and context not by me but by the Director of the Center for Survey Research. If CT would like to make counter claims, they can – I’ll wager they won’t.

    The CT poll is a political (non partisan and anti-growth) instrument made to create the appearance that Albemarle county is grossly unsatisfied with the current governing board. Timed to come out in an election year where the slate of candidates that is not to CT’s liking. When this survey came out I knew it would be critical before I heard its results. This study is a megaphone, bought by the ten people who run Charlottesville Tomorrow,and is loud only because they have lots of money. That doesn’t make it a beacon of truth.

  10. CSR survey is nothing more than a nebulous feel good survey so the County can pat themselves on the back every other year.

    Truth is even the CSR/County Survey showed residents are NOT happy with the way the County has managed growth. I think that percentage was the second lowest they received in 2006 and it was less than 60%.

    When I have time, I’ll dig out the results for you.

    CT was apparently trying to dig deeper into the dissatisfaction the CSR Survey showed. Very valid endeavor. Growth and development is the show-stopper issue around here. BOS decisions will alter the landscape and our quality of life PERMANENTLY!

    Lots of dissatisfaction around these days . . . and the only way to fix it is to VOTE THE RASCALS OUT — ALL OF THEM!

  11. I have no problem with the fact the County has directed Tom Guterbock to compare our surveys. On page 13 of our survey, I point out the contrast between our surveys, but note that direct comparisons cannot be made. Mr. Guterbock’s explanations of the different results make sense to me, and I hope the County will consider some different questions in the future as a result of our work. Their biennial survey is more customer service oriented whereas our survey was an effort to get an in-depth assessment of voters’ views on specific issues and the people making the decisions.

    One item I’d like to comment on is the notion that focus groups are somehow unexplained or mysterious. The focus groups we conducted are described on page 14 of our survey report. I’ll add that the participants were recruited by an independent organization (Alan Newman Research) which Charlottesville Tomorrow had no role in selecting. They worked off the same list of about 46,000 voters with phone numbers that was used for the telephone survey. They over-recruited for each of the four sessions and then, depending who showed up, extra participants were excused to ensure a balance in politics, location of residence (growth area vs. rural area), income, etc. Men and women participated in separate focus groups by gender. Anyone who came was paid $75. This is a very standard approach for focus groups. At no time were Charlottesville Tomorrow staff or board members in the room with the participants. The focus groups were moderated by outside consultants we hired who have done this type of work all over the country.

    Let’s say for argument’s sake they ended up picking my 36 closest friends and those four focus groups said their most pressing community concern was that UVA change its colors from orange/blue to yellow/green. If I then took that feedback and did a voter survey that said only 1% of Albemarle agreed with that suggestion, what would the original focus group process have to say about the validity of the survey? Not much. It might however suggest the focus groups were not representative. They are two independent tools. Focus groups by design are confidential. Citizens were asked to come to the Omni Hotel for a couple of hours to discuss community issues. They were not told what organization was conducting the research, before or after their participation. I watched the participants with our research team from an adjoining room via video camera. It was one of the most fascinating experiments in public policy I have ever participated in and I wish every local elected official could have watched them.

    While Charlottesville Tomorrow didn’t have to describe the fact we went through the focus groups process in the first place, I thought it was best to be as transparent as possible about our research and thus I included that information in our report. In fact, last Thursday when I was on a panel discussing this survey with Dennis Rooker (Supervisor-Jack Jouett) and Jay Willer (Blue Ridge Home Builders Association), Mr. Willer praised Charlottesville Tomorrow’s use of focus groups and our scientific process. He did raise questions about the demographics, which I think are well addressed by Guterbock’s memo pointing out we targeted voters with phone numbers. In fact, we shared so much information with the public about our approach, the data, and demographics that Mr. Guterbock at UVA didn’t even have to call us and ask about what we did in order to prepare his memo.

    As I have described publicly at our press conference and last week on the panel, the focus groups helped us steer away from some issues and toward others we had not expected were important to the community. It allowed us to get an initial read on the variety of viewpoints that exist in the community.

    I hope these additional details are helpful for the public’s consideration.

    Brian Wheeler
    Charlottesville Tomorrow

  12. What I know is this is the end of the Guterback letter. It couldn’t be any clearer that he found large differences between the studies. How else to you view the statement These surveys were conducted for quite different purposes

    I’m really just not sure of how to make this any more obvious. I’ll try one more time here.

    Presumably the author of the memo meant precisely what he said: he found large differences between the studies because they were conducted for different purposes. CSR’s survey was to study the population’s opinion of government services, while CT’s survey was to study voters’ opinions of growth. It is absolutely true that CT’s survey had large differences because it was conducted for different purposes, as is the converse: CSR’s survey had large differences because it was conducted for different purposes. That doesn’t make Albemarle’s survey wrong any more than it makes Charlottesville Tomorrow’s survey wrong.

    If I were to conduct a study on how people feel about rainbows, and you conducted a study on what makes people happy, we might find an overlap on the topic of rainbows. I might find that 80% of people say that rainbows make them happy, while you might find that only 1% of people volunteer rainbows when asked to describe what makes them happy. You and I would each rightly conclude that there were “large differences” because “these surveys were conducted for quite different purposes.” Would each of us be “called out in higher ed. speak”? Or is it possible that each of our survey would be measuring precisely what we set about to measure, and that we each meant precisely what we said?

    You are ignoring the most basic facts of this survey and choosing the most convoluted possible explanation for the simple difference between those facts. Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.

  13. Perlogik seems to think that different = biased. But different merely = different.

    The place to look for bias (and I haven’t looked here myself) would be in how the surveys were marketed, so to speak, once all the data were in. Did CT ever present its survey as anything other than what it was — in other words, did CT ever say “this is a random sample of county residents” or “this is representative of the county as a whole”? I’m not aware that they ever did anything more than say “here’s our survey results, here’s our methodology, here’s who we sampled.”

  14. Waldo, I think that the CT survey was never going to come out with a less than critical view of the Supervisors because of how the questions were framed. Why did CT do a growth survey instead of transportation study or one in the city? They are all things that are part of their mission statement. CT did it to foster change in this election. Occam’s razor led me to that conclusion. Do you have another explanation?

    I think you are saying the study used good math (so you should believe it) and I am saying they used leading questions (so the results are biased). Let me try to make it clearer. What if I did a study that started out with the following questions.

    1. Were you aware that the growth rate in Albemarle County is less than 2%? y/n

    2.Were you aware that the growth rate has declined for the last 4 years? y/n

    3. Were you aware that the growth rate for 2006 was under 1% and that housing starts in the rural area were down considerably? y/n

    4. Do you think that the current growth rate in Albemarle county is excessive? agree strongly, agree, neutral, disagree, disagree strongly.

    If that survey where put in the field what do you think the result would be? Everything is accurate according to Weldon Cooper. I have simply given the facts before asking for an answer. I would call this a biased study but it’s result would pass your test for validity. I could use the same sample group and get a result that could be touted as “County voters have little problem with growth (rate)”

    now look at CT survey questions:
    1. I enjoy seeing the rural countryside when I drive in my car.
    2. I enjoy hiking, walking, hunting, birding or biking in the rural countryside.
    3. Albemarle’s rural character and open space contribute to the value of my property.
    4. I value our farms for horses, cattle, and crops.
    5. I value our rural countryside as a source of clean drinking water.
    6. We need to keep and protect our rural countryside from becoming over developed.

    And now I ask you “should we limit growth in the rural area?”;
    is it any wonder what the results were. This is known as an inferential leap caused by leading the respondent down the country lane of beautiful trees and flowers. Who doesn’t love those?

    What if the respondents were told what the actual growth rate was? Don’t you think that would have affect the answers? Couple that with CT nary a mention of the true engine of growth, UVa and CT provided Occam’s razor has led to the conclusion that county government has failed to stop growth.

    “There are lies, damn lies – and statistics.”

  15. I am saying they used leading questions (so the results are biased).

    If you want to say that the results are biased, that’s fine, have at it. But it’s inaccurate for you to say that the Center for Survey Research is taking that position. No such thing was stated in that memo.

  16. I can tell you that the population increase in Crozet is not 1%. Crozet Elementary got to 100 students over capacity before relief came in the form of redistricting, which in itself was no big hit in Crozet. Each day the commute into town gets a little longer. Who knows maybe CT secretly polled just those of us in Crozet. Then again we know that can’t be true because if they did ask just those of us in Crozet the results would be much more dismal. Let’s take citizen participation. Oh yea, we tried that with the master plan and the board not only didn’t follow the plan, but came up a lie to destroy it. Add to this the NGIC debacle and the board starting the Biscuit Run meeting at 11 pm and voting at 1am, can anyone really doubt the results about the view toward public participation? So maybe there are lies, damn lies and statistics or just those who cannot admit the truth.

  17. Waldo you last statement is in direct conflict with the following statement from Guterbock. He writes in the letter All of the statements in the series (except item 9)express positive views about the countryside or rural preservation policies. It is likely that this context tended to activate respondent’s concerns about rural preservation as they considered their answers to subsequent questions about policy..

    This is direct addresses the very point I just made and you says does not exist. If you ask alot of leading questions about a subject you increase (activate) the chance for a desired result. It’s right there and if you want to ignore this,so be it.

    It is my sincere hope that somebody from the meida takes the time to interview Mr. Guterbock and see which of us is correct.

  18. Excerpt from the 2006 Citizen Survey — Page 40

    Growth and Development
    More than half (55.6%) of the residents interviewed in this study were satisfied with the current efforts to manage growth in the County.

    Last time I checked, 70% was a passing grade.

    And compared to the marks the County gets in other areas, this result is abysmal.

    Whether CT says it or the CSR survey shows it, the County has done and is still doing a bad job at managing growth.

    BTW, the reason growth has slowed down of late is because of the housing market and the economy, not due to any actions by the County.

  19. Waldo please link to today’s Progress artilce about this subject.
    It makes your point and addresses none of mine. I would have been suprised if Lee Catlin had made waves. I really wish they had ask Guterbock some questions.

    I imagine that board opinion on the survey is directley split based on if your up for re-election or not.

  20. Gads –

    While the housing market has slowed, Brian Wheeler’s School Board blog has data that backs up his statement of:

    HOWEVER (and I don’t usually report this), for ALL building permits in the County thus far in 2007 (594), only 95 are in the rural areas, or 16%.

    So the County’s push to the Growth Areas may in fact be achieving what they intended, whether deliberately or through other, outside forces. Keeping the growth in the Growth Areas is what County residents say they want, no?

  21. BTW, the reason growth has slowed down of late is because of the housing market and the economy, not due to any actions by the County.
    Since these stats came before the housing slowdown (2003-2005 final & 2006 provisional) you statement is not proven. The approval process has had an effect and my growth numbers (for the county as a whole) are from Weldon Cooper. Could you please link/list the scores of the other counties you speak of.

    As to passing grades, elections decide those and I know few who win with 70% of the vote. Given that most people think the growth rate is several times actual, it’s not surprising. Democracy is about 50% 1.

  22. 1) This conversation shows clearly why surveys come under the heading of social studies and not social science (if there is truly such a thing).
    2) In the city, building permits are issued for such things as accessory apartments, garages, swimming pools, driveways, new roofs, decks, window replacements, etc. It would be more revealing to discover housing starts.
    3) Weldon Cooper estimated the city’s population in 2000 to be 12% less than was determined by the U. S. census. The city continues to question the center’s methodolgy and accruacy.
    4) I have usually found survey comments by the respondents more informative than the actual responses to the questions.

  23. Mr. Duncan,
    Ask the residents in Crozet if they want to see Crozet better then 50% of the population of Charlottesviile. If destroying Crozet is the price we pay for less, not zero growth in the rural area, then the price is much too high.
    As for the numbers in the rural area, that result may be directly due to the general housing slow down, which would be expected to be see n earlier in rural area where prices are much higher then in the growth area. As soon as the market picks up, so will the numbers.

  24. A couple of honest questions – when was Crozet designated as a Growth Area? What was the build-out number before the Master Plan was implemented? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to all if we were to focus more on the future rather than the past?

    Crozet is going to grow, as is the City (and generally everywhere else – our country is still very young). How we grow should be the focus.

    Disclosure: I live in Crozet, have (and do) argued for intelligent growth and infrastructure implementation, make a living as a Realtor, and have a vested interest in a high quality of life for myself and my family.

    Cville Eye: I couldn’t agree more with #4.

  25. Mr. Duncan
    There was an build out analysis done by the consultants who did the original work for Neighborhood Model. Their analysis showed the build out to be between about 7 thousand plus up to 22,000 and it was their recommendation that the Ideal Maximum Population would be 12,198. This number, the midpoint, was the basis of the Crozet Master Plan.
    You make a case for planning for the future, but I would argue that the Master Plan was the plan for the future for Crozet and was to serve as the basis for what the consultants calculated would be an approximate 20 year build out.
    I don’t know how long you’ve been in Crozet, but I can tell you there was not a great deal of happiness with the 12,000, so you can imagine why the current consternation over the 24,000 number.
    We now know, because Ken Schwartz, the architect for the master plan, told us all at the last community association meeting that in fact the master plan was built around a 12,000 population. In fact, when Mr. Schwartz made his original presentation before the community the population number he gave was 11,200.
    So we now have a situation where Mr.Wyant ran his last campaign telling people the master plan built around 12,000 was unworkable and unrealistic, setting himself up as the would be savior of Crozet from the Master Plan. No sooner was he elected then he voted to accept the county report that the plan could accommodate 24,000 a report the county has never provided any proof to support their claim.
    Mr. Wyant, Mr. Boyd and Mr. Dorrier all had available to them the information available in the master plan. They never took the opportunity to simply ask Mr. Schwartz to come before the board, probably because they knew the truth. They ignored the documentation that was in the plan and given to them by the community. They accepted the planning staff report without doing any due diligence. To me not looking for the truth when you know where it is and ignoring what the truth there is when its right in front of you is the same as lying and because of this they have forfeited their ability to honestly serve the public.
    Vote for change, Vote for HONESTY this November.

  26. Look at the Building Permit Numbers for the past ten years. Hardly a dent until this year. Even if this slow down in the Rural Areas is the result of the County channeling development into Growth Areas, it’s only a temporary situation. The County has done very little to protect the Rural Areas. No downzoning. No restrictive ordinances. Approving Rural Preservation Developments left and right. Allowing faux farmers and McMansions on 21 acres to get Land Use Taxation treatment. The word “no” isn’t in their vocabulary.

    Once the Growth Areas are full or totally screwed up, building will resume in the Rural Areas. It’s just a matter of time.

    Remember, the County is SACRIFICING the Growth Areas to protect the Rural Areas. That strategy is going to blow up in their faces one day.

  27. The County has done very little to protect the Rural Areas

    That is what the growth area was for and the facts seem to say that it is working. The growth area was where after countless hearing and staff reports elected officials decided growth should go. You make many assumptions based on no facts. the rurals are will not stay static. You haven’t provided any other county where people are much more satisfied than Albemarle.

    What growth rate would be good for you? It now less that 1%, do you demand negative. Your economic assertions are suspect. Where are your facts GADS or is vitriol and accusations all you bring to the table?

  28. I think GADS’ vitriol and accusations are amusing. Lighten up Perlogik. I think GADS is saying that there is nothing in the county’s code that would prohibit moving rural areas into growth areas in the future (as was done in the NGIC project. I may be wrong, but it appears that a landowner can move his land out of rural conservancy protection (I’m sure this is not the name) by simply paying five years of back taxes. AS a fact of life in Virginia, big money can buy just about anything, every request for rezoning agricultural land to something else must be honored somehow, and owners have the right to some kind of development on their land. Denver, CO has different laws. So currently, the growth may be going in the growth area, but down the road, when that land is used up, more land will be taken from the rural areas, minimum lot sizes will be reduced, and more development will occur. Do I have it right GADS?

  29. Cville Eye
    You don’t have to look too far down the road to see the growth areas expanding. Mr. Slutzsky has already proposed increasing the size of the growth areas by 20% as part of Transfer of Development rights program. Thankfully, at least for now the rest of the board didn’t go with it. I’m afraid it will be up to the residents of the growth areas to put a stop to it. But as you said, big money can buy anything. It surely worked wonders in Crozet.

  30. Slutsky must fit in well with the city’s pro-growth, new-urbanist, as well as smart-growth officials in City Hall. They all want a lot more people.

  31. The worse part of Mr. Slutzky is he has already made it very clear he will vote for any new development in the growth area whether or not there is adequate infrastructure, because he believes it will slow down growth in the rural area.

  32. The worse part of Mr. Slutzky is he has already made it very clear he will vote for any new development in the growth area whether or not there is adequate infrastructure, because he believes it will slow down growth in the rural area.

    This is something he rain on as part of his campaign. He has been (a welcome change from a politician) consistent throughout. He said he wanted to push growth into the Designated Growth Areas and shut down the rural areas (something he is trying to do with the TDR program). This isn’t a defense of him, but an observation that he was elected by the people based on what he said he would do.

    The argument about “increasing the growth areas by 20%” sounds much worse than it is, when one considers that the Growth Areas currently comprise 5% of the County. When framed as “increasing the Growth Areas from 5% to 6%” it doesn’t sound so specious.

    Regarding CrozetResident’s comment at 5:59pm:

    I agree that if the people don’t agree with the constituents they need to vote them out. All incumbents need challengers. Focusing on the past misdeeds, while educational for the future, don’t do much good, unless one is going to sue. Voting for honesty is a hard thing to achieve.

    Thank you for the great discussion.

  33. I’d like to responds to something I heard in one of GADS posts above. It seems like he’s concerned about Rural Preservation developments. Is that a reference to Kluge or to Bundoran?

    I can’t speak to Kluge, but I can say that Bundoran passed so easily because they took the time to explain their plan to all the neighbors, and it was the neighbors themselves that asked the BOS to approve it. They are the only development that I know of that has a full time paid environmental manager on staff, so I’m pretty satisfied that they are doing things the right way. I’m completely in favor of them getting land-use tax credits, after all isn’t rural preservation what that program was designed for anyway? IMHO, the county should also approve developments like this quickly (but with proof they’re actually following the model) to provide an incentive to other developers.

    After all, you’ll never see a rural preservation development from someone like Wendell Wood unless he felt he could make money at it. As anyone who reads my comments knows, I’m strongly in favor of rural preservation; however we cannot just use the stick against developers unless we are just as willing to wield the carrot.


  34. Mr. Duncan,
    With regard to the Slutzky’s TND program. So now the question is whose going to be the first growth area to step up and say super size me? Will it be Crozet, still battling the county to increase the community to over half the size of Charlottesville? Will it be the folks south of town who just had Biscuit Run thrust upon them and the 3,000 plus homes. Will it be the folks up on 29 North facing expansion from Hollymead and North Pointe? According to the PEC there are now some 12,000 homes in the pipeline approved and yet to be built. Neither the county nor the state are in any position to support the growth they now have without more tax increases. In today’s Progress we see the County is 3 million short and we’re going to take it out of our kids education. The current board should have seen the problem coming when they voted for one development after another with all fiscal data before them showing the new developments would be a financial drain on tax payers.

    As for your statement on voting for honesty being a hard thing to achieve I don’t agree with you. That said, since Mr. Clinton shaking his finger at the public and saying “I didn’t have sex with that woman” and lying under oath and getting away with it, I guess it’s become open season on lying for public officials.

  35. In today’s Progress we see the County is 3 million short and we’re going to take it out of our kids education.

    We are talking about 1% budget shortfall, the annual budget is over 300 million. While this is not a good thing it certainly isn’t a diaster. In a school system that (system wide) has had very little student growth the budget has increased a great deal. They could pick up the shortfall in central office alone. They spend about million dollar on a PR office that didn’t even exist several years ago.

    The 12,000 homes aren’t coming online all at once. Biscuit Run has a 20 year build out, for example.

  36. “Land in Greene County purchased by the Nature Conservancy to save the tract from development will be sold to the National Park Service for the same purpose.” – from a story in today’s Daily Progress online. This method of placing land under the Park Service is the only way so far to guarantee rural preservation. It also takes the decision for future development out of the hands of local government. Putting land in local parks probably won’t work because it will probably go eventually the way of McIntire Park. As always, the question is ownership and money.

  37. Perlogik
    Read the article again, especially the comments from Brian Wheeler who stated that since the largest amounts in their budget, salaries and transportation are already fixed since the school year started the money, as far as I can see, will have to come out of instruction funds. As to the PR position I believe this republican myth was debunked sometime ago.

  38. When I re-read the acticle it didn’t say that things were fixed. What Brian actual said was those things are hard to adjust once the school year has started.. I will stipulate that it won’t be easy and it’s not a good thing. Your assertion that it “must” come out of instruction is just a guess.

    The “community engagement” office is not a myth. You can read about at
    The Community Engagement office is working on initiatives in the following areas:
    Internal/external communications
    Equity and Diversity
    Community/service learning initiatives for students
    School-community relations and engagement in our strategic plan
    Career and business partnerships.

    none of this is instruction.

  39. Two (final) things … first, I perceive that we have a fundamental difference in opinion. I expect that we are going to grow and it appears that you would prefer not to grow. Is this accurate? Either way, I appreciate the civil discourse and debate.

    Regarding politicians – I generally distrust most politicians, as most anybody who wants the office of power is there for the power and not to “serve,” in my opinion. Career politicians strike me as disingenuous and focused more on their own re-election and self interest than they are in serving the public. There is no reason that a House of Delegates race should cost so much money for such a low-paying “part-time” job. My opinion is based absolutely nothing on what Clinton thinks the “definition of ‘is’ is.”

  40. Mr. Duncan,
    I fully expected to see Crozet grow, but under the master plan that was was developed by the community and was agreed upon by the board. You have to remember this community agreed to quadruple its size under the master plan, which can hardly be viewed as a no growth policy.


  41. Lonnie, GADS is concerned about Rural Preservation Developments in general — not referring to any one in particular, just the concept. RPDs do nothing to reduce the number of housing units that can be built in the Rural Areas — merely rearranging them (the deck chairs on the Titanic)into clusters with a big undeveloped tract for which the Land Owner receives preferential tax treatment. They do nothing to provide affordable housing. They include no proffers for infrastructure. BTW, Bundoran is one of a kind. Other RPDs are more mundane — simply McMansions clustered round the Manor House where the Lord of the Manor pays pennies for property taxes on his land.


  42. CvilleEye — vitriol? Guess your rose-colored glasses magnify the meaning of things. Ever consider changing your screen name to CvillePollyanna?

  43. GADS,
    I was simply using Perlogik’s words to say I enjoy reading your comments and learn from them. “vitriol and accusations all you bring to the table?” were probably not brought to everybody’s table early enough to get the consideration that is due. I did not mean to appear to be insulting.

  44. GADS, you have no trouble going after other people here and yet when I takes direct issue with GADS, you have no words. I have read your broadcast emails and your accusations here at cvillenews- you have been very harsh with folks and free with charges of government mismangement. If someone is going to smear everyone in local government that is your right. I applaud your passion just not your rhetoric. It is also my right (and with Waldo’s good graces) to ask you to back up your diatribes.

    Or is that too much to ask?

  45. GADS,

    So if you aren’t speaking of all preservation deveopments, then you could please clarify which ones in Albemarle county that you are speaking of? Could it simply be that they aren’t actually following the entire model (just as Hollymeade “Town Center” is barely resembles the Town Center model.) I’d say that partial adherence to any of these progressive ways of doing development is often worse than doing nothing at all, but that shouldn’t necessarily be blamed on the model, but rather on the developer that didn’t follow it completely and the county for not holding them to it.

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