Monthly Archive for October, 2007

C-Ville on Sign Spam

Yay for C-Ville Weekly for calling out 1-800-GOT-JUNK for illegally strewing their own junk all over town. Companies are sticking up their damned signs along every road in town. At the moment it’s a plague of mortgage brokers’ signs, which was preceded by signs pitching a dating service, which was preceded by Mountain Kim Martial Arts (who presumably had to learn self defense in the first place to deal with people pissed off to find their yard cluttered with signs.)

Fun fact: it’s illegal for you to take them down, so the city/county has to use its own resources (read as “tax dollars”) to pick them up, since it’s not like the spammers are ever going to come along and clean up. I want to know which candidate for commonwealth’s attorneys will prosecute these yahoos. I suppose we can rule out Jim Camblos, since he’s not doing anything about them now, but maybe, like “fighting underage drinking and smoking,” this could be his new cause.

In case you haven’t noticed, I really, really loathe these things.

New Political Tactic: Deny Growth

Jeremy Borden notes a curious new political tactic among some Albemarle sprawl supporters: deny that growth is taking place in Albemarle. Rivanna Supervisor Ken Boyd says that the annual addition of ~1,000 new residents is so little as to be irrelevant, while Albemarle Republican Party vice chair Christian Schoenewald (you remember him for his proposal to remove all growth restrictions in order to preserve the rural character of Albemarle) echoes the sentiments, saying that our growth simply isn’t preventing a problem. CAAR CEO David Phillips picked up on this same theme a few days ago, fretting that we’re not growing fast enough. Did a memo go out?

For several years now there’s been an honest discussion taking place: growth opponents argue that quality of life and infrastructure problems trump some private property rights, while growth supporters argue the opposite. This new message from these candidates is, apparently, that we’re all just hallucinating. Remember when we ran out of water in 2002? Didn’t happen. You know how rough it is to drive up Emmett between 5pm-6pm? It’s not. Did you think that our rescue squad is the busiest in the nation? Myth. Though we needed $19M to expand the sewer capacity along 29? Think again.

We’ve had some really productive, informative discussions about growth here on in the past few years. We’ve even had one today. I’m glad we can stick to an honest dialog, even if our candidates can’t.

Committee Recommends Taxpayer-Funded Rescue Squad

A city committee has recommended the creation of a publicly-funded rescue squad, Henry Graff reports for NBC-29. The topic has become a bit of a political football since city leaders indicated their support for creating the new department back in April by way of a $1M budget addition. The city feels that the response times by Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS), the busiest rescue squad in the nation, are “unacceptable.” Committee chair Del. David Toscano cited response times to southwest C’ville as being most in need of improvement, and by “improvement” he means “replacement.”

CARS is a volunteer, non-profit community organization whose supporters aren’t happy to city criticized by the city, who doesn’t contribute financially to it but benefits enormously from it. My analysis of response times shows that things look pretty good. CARS publishes all of their response data to the web in real-time, making it possible for anybody to analyze their response times. The city’s own fire department — which would house the new city rescue squad — does not do so.

The new service, if approved by Council, would start up in just two months.

10/29 Update: A source at City Hall tells me that there were three primary partners on this task force — CARS, the city FD and the county FD — and both CARS and county FD voted against the final recommendation. This seems like a bad sign.

Albemarle Place Belly-Up?

Jim Duncan noted the other day that Albemarle Place‘s website is gone. And a commenter on his site noted that the development’s signs have disappeared. Tasha Kates looked into this for the Progress today, and found Albemarle Place’s developers won’t comment and Whole Foods says they’ve bailed on the thing and are building their own place on the site of the Terrace Triple. Whole Foods first announced the move two years ago.

Rumors of trouble at Albemarle Place began back in April, when a commenter said she’d heard that funding had fallen through. That was about when its developers had finally got around to noticing that the sewage system couldn’t handle the ginormous new development, which presented a significant problem to them. (Or, more accurately, to the rest of us, since the $19M upgrade would come out of our pockets, not theirs.)

It remains to be seen whether Albemarle Place has actually been reduced to a shriveled pair of striped stockings under Dorothy’s house. But I’ll bet that we can sing soon enough.

Silverman Planning a Downtown Grocery Store

It looks like a grocery store is coming downtown, Seth Rosen writes in the Daily Progress. Developer Gabe Silverman has long wanted to bring a grocery store downtown, and now the BAR has approved some changes to his 2,400 sq. ft. space on the corner of 5th and Main that would allow him to do just that. There’s no word as to what chain, if any, would be setting up shop there.

The A&N at that location closed in January of last year, despite Silverman’s best efforts to retain them. A&N is, interestingly, a Virginia business, founded in Richmond right after the Civil War.



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