What a BoS Upset Would Mean

Will Goldsmith has a breakdown of what a victory for each BoS candidate would mean in the current C-Ville. He forecasts that a win on the part of challengers Ann Mallek and Marcia Joseph would mean developers paying their fair share, rural protection ordinances would pass, and property taxes would go up. If incumbents win, presumably things will stay the same. Goldsmith is pretty frank, and it’ll annoy some people, but it makes sense.

43 thoughts on “What a BoS Upset Would Mean”

  1. As to taxes going up under Joseph and Mallek, the author must have missed the point that under Boyd and Wyant taxes in the last for years are up over 20% for County residents. I believe this year it was something like 14%.

  2. What annoyed me was Goldsmith’s dismissal of the Scottsville race. That was a very substantive article that should have included all three Districts.

    The earlier article about the Scottsville District candidates by Jayson Whitehead was a fluff piece. A surly “yeah, sure” cop, collard greens in Dorrier’s lap, church services, etc. That is C-ville Weekly’s excuse for not covering the Scottsville District with the same analysis and depth in this article. POOR!

    That’s why we need people like Waldo who get people talking.


  3. Under Wyant & Boyd, taxes went up b/c property values went up, ie, your house, lot, land, etc. was worth more and, accordingly, assessed at a higher figure. Both sought to reduce the tax rate below what it is now.

    By contrast, a board that included Mallek & Joseph along with the tax-and-spenders already present would see a dimunition in property values that would have to be made up for by raising the tax rates.

    Bottom line: If you favor higher taxes, vote for Mallek, Joseph, and whoever’s running against Dorrier.

  4. Places29 would get passed without changes desired by the North Charlottesville Business Council


    split grade interchanges…would turn 29 into a through-road, and reorient the way locals get to the property…

    And that would remove the pressing need for a “bypass bypass”.

  5. Falstaff,

    Could you explain how Mallek and Joseph would lower property values? They might reduce development rights, but if history is of any judge, that will raise property values, not lower them. Besides, isn’t the argument from the pro-growth folks that we need to build more house to lower the cost of housing? Which is it? Seems like a rather inconsistent economic theory to me…

    Furthermore, residential growth has a sum negative impact on revenue because of infrastructure costs (Biscuit run being a good example of that.) The only development that creates revenue is commercial development, and that would be entirely unaffected by any rural protection or even downzoning that may result if Mallek or Joseph are elected.

  6. Anyone talking about what an upset in the Charlottesville city council race might bring? I’d love to see a bit of that. (commentary and the upset)

  7. Property taxes will go up because of the development Dorrier, Boyd and Wyant have pushed for and approved without getting developers to pay for it, not because of any tax-and-spend democracts. Those wheels have already been set in motion regardless of who’s elected next month.

    BTW, $41 million in proffers for Biscuit Run isn’t a spit in the ocean. What about the $30 million VDOT said Biscuit Run would cost in road improvements? What about the $7 million the County should have gotten for road improvements for Rivanna Village? What about the $140 million the County is going to have to swallow for the 50-year water plan. What about all the schools we’ll need? What about the expanded police protection urbanization will require? What about a regional transportation system? Where are the developer proffers for those?

    The developers pushed for growth and Boyd, Dorrier, Wyant were willing enablers. It was the perfect storm — three pro-developer “Dupes” who never saw a rezoning they didn’t like and three anti-developer “Dupes” who wouldn’t vote against developers because they feared developers would run off into the Rural Areas and start building even more than they have.

    That’s what happens when a bunch of fools “direct” growth into Growth Areas BEFORE doing anything to “protect” the Rural Areas. Apparently NO ONE in County government ever took a Planning 101 course.

    The developers played a game of chicken and the developers won. The rest of us lost.

    Want to cut taxes? Fire the dodos who work in Community Planning. We don’t need to waste any more resources on a done deal.

  8. By reducing the rights of landowners, their equity in their property will be correspondingly reduced. Put simply, the value of land will decrease as the options of its owners (or future owners) are limited. Thus while the aggregate value of the land is diminshed, the individual lots on a parcel will be more expensive, there being fewer of them. So you get a diminution of landowner equity in tandem with a higher cost for the limited # of lots that remain. In short, the worst of both worlds.

  9. Falstaff,

    We already experienced a downzoning of the rural area in recent memory, and the result was not a reduced aggregate value. In fact, we saw exponential increases in property value, well beyond the price if the lot had been originally subdivided and sold prior to the rezoning. Of course, disproving me should be easy… Show me a single case study of a piece of property in Albemarle who’s market value dropped because of the last downzoning. Or, better yet, let’s compare areas with tougher zoning with areas with less zoning. If you’re right, then property values should be really low in places like Seattle… Besides, If people are worried about property values then they should object to the massive surplus of housing being dumped on the market by projects like Biscuit Run.

    Personally, I strongly suspect that little that we do has much impact on housing values as long as it is applied county-wide. After all, the demand is national, not local. That means we cannot build enough homes locally to satisfy any amount of demand, nor is it likely that any anything can significantly bring property values down but a slump in the housing market (Beyond simply mismanaging the property).

    Let’s be clear here. When you say that the county is “taking” the value of property, you are referring to a hypothetical future value, that is being compared to another hypothetical future value if it didn’t. At the very worst, it might not gain as much value, but that’s not the same as losing value. Likewise, as I said, since we’re speaking of residential properties, and not businesses, the sum impact on the tax base from subdivision is loss of revenue which would result in higher taxes. That’s because residences cost more money in terms of roads, water, schools and other infrastructure than they generate in taxes.

    Even if you were right about loss of divisions lowering property value, the only way it would increase taxes is if it were applied to areas zoned for business. I haven’t heard anyone suggest downzoning areas zoned for business or industry.

  10. Although I largely disagree with what you wrote, you make some intriguing points. One thing I bet we can agree on: In a week-and-a-half we’ll know whether the county’s to be run in substantially the same way it has been for decades, or whether we’re in for what some would call a radical change of direction.

  11. Yes, I think we definitely agree on that! I hope whatever people believe about these issues that they care enough to come out and vote!

    In fact, we should have this conversation again in a few years so we can see who’s predictions were right! ;)

  12. Inspite of its shortcomings (glaringly Scottsville), the article should be read by all City and County residents. The implications affect us all.
    Does anyone think that the proposed potential study by ASAP will bring any clarity to these issues? I wonder where is the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission in this wilderness. Is it waiting for ASAP’s study, too?

  13. Cville Eye is right. Except for the omission of the Scottsville race, it was an excellent and insightful article.

  14. There are many things I disagree with Falstaff on (one his reliance on the “tax and spend” canard, its warn and tired, give it up. Rs have been trying to appeal to peoples innate desire to have things for free, convince that they can cut taxes and still provide people the services that the public demands . . . at some point bridges start to collapse.

    BUT, Lonnie what you are saying is that the property owner will be able to do less with their property, have less determination, but its value will go up?

    Yes, I believe that is true, I KNOW that is true, but what is the real consequence of that, higher taxes for that property owner.

    An increase in property value means no real gain to a property owner, unless they sell that property. But it doesn mean an increased expenses. So now that (in theory they have less divisions, or no divisions) to see any gain they have to sell the whole thing.

    Now lets us consider the fallacy that owning non-income producing property is always a good investment . . . once you add up all the costs that are associated with owning property, owning a home or a property that is not generating any income can be a big net loss.

    See this article:


  15. Also, has anyone stopped to considered what down-zoning (or virtual down-zoning) in the rural areas is going to do the short term economic incentive to put property in easement?

  16. Oh yeah, and props to Will Goldsmith. Great article.

    He was very realistic in not covering Scottsville, gave himself space to really talk about the issues.

    There is no way in hell that Dorrier will lose. Kevin’s campaign is a joke and King himself is a joke, any candidate who thinks its a winning combination to go after his opponent’s aliment as a campaign issue . . .

    Not to mention that all the Rs down there have lined up behind Dorrier, aint know way.

    Maybe next time there will be a serious contest.

  17. JS, I read articles like that about once every ten years, especially if there is a down-turn in the real estate market. The invenstment advisor, who isn’t selling any real estate – connected investments, is trying to say that the average return on investment in the stock market is higher than the return on the sell of a house over the same period of time with the same capital investment. His calculations never include the “investment” of renting comparable digs instead of owning.
    I would be interested in knowing if the property owners who are concerned about their loss of property rights are also concerned about housing sprawl over the rural areas. Perhaps real issues are being hidden behind “rural protection” and “property rights.”
    I believe someone pointed out that other non-housing uses for the land in the rural areas have not been restricted and the land can be quite valuable as a shopping center, school, hospital, resort, etc. Is there some obscuring quibbling going on?

  18. Lonnie – Want to be clear I’ve made no predictions regarding the outcome on Nov. 6. I’m confident Dorrier will win, but the other 2 are toss-ups as best I can tell. Whichever way they go it will be close.

  19. Cville Eye,

    You are wrong to discount depreciation and the other costs of owning property, 20,000 here to fix a leaky basement, 5,000 there to fix a walkway, 15,000 to replace roof. Combined with insurance and taxes these add up.

    Now of course owning your own home is the core of anyone’s wealth, but it is not an “investment” in the real meaning of the word. Again any gains in value are an extra expense until sold (unless of course you want to borrow against your house), and if you stay in the same area or do not move to an area with cheaper housing costs they are not even real gains.

    Of course this changes if you purchase income producing property.

    “I would be interested in knowing if the property owners who are concerned about their loss of property rights are also concerned about housing sprawl over the rural areas.”

    Of course they are. But just like everyone else they want to have determination over what they own. Is there anything in your position, anything that you own this moment that you are willing to give up determination without compensation for the greater good? Especially something that is the “core” of your wealth.

    How bout this, to protect the watershed would you please give 15% of your 401k to someone in the rural areas who loses a development right or who cant afford to pay their taxes anymore because of the increase in rural land values do to a scarcity of development rights as a result of down-zoning?

    These are simple rules of competing self-interests here, its the core of democracy. How are we going to compromise?

  20. “I believe someone pointed out that other non-housing uses for the land in the rural areas have not been restricted”

    This is factually incorrect. You can go to the county and get a copy of their zoning book, they actually even send you updates every couple of months. Oh yeah and there are pdfs online, but they are not guarantied to be accurate.

    “Perhaps real issues are being hidden behind “rural protection” and “property rights.””

    Heh, yeah all those folks with 8-30 acre lots out in the county are greedy greedy land barons just licking their lips waiting to cash-out.

    I suggest you try to complicate your world view . . . surprisingly there are a couple more shades of gray out there.

  21. JS, I was merely asking questions, not taking a stance. However, members of my family (which includes two engineers and one mathematician who have an understanding of eighth grade arithmetic) have been buying , selling and leasing property in Charlottesville, Richmond, D.C., Baltimore, L.A. and Atlanta since the 1930’s and know that your take on property ownership is cursory. Our books, dating back to the ’40’s tell a different story about real estate investment. Each circumstance is different; however, unless the renter has an old fool for a landlord, the renter is paying the principle, interest, taxes, insurance, and the fixing of the roof, hot water heater, leaking basement and any other costs associated with that property without benefitting from appreciation, tax deductions and home equity. That’s why rents are comparatively high in Charlottesville. The market demand allows for landlords to charge closer to their true costs. Why would a $200,000 bungalow cost twice that in Alexanadria? The market. Will down-zoning the rural areas decrease the eventual sale price of property in those areas? This is a question that is not clearly answered in this blog’s exchange. The City has found an increase in sale price for property that has been zoned for higher density along the Main Street corridor and it has also found and increase in the sale price of property that has been down-zoned in the Ridge Street/Fifeville area. People are complaining that real estate in those areas is no longer “affordable.” So, again…exactly what are you talking about?

  22. As I’ve said before let them have their property right, just stop giving them the land use tax break and use the money for ACE. At least this way we get something for our money and in the long run we’ll be helping people who want to save the land, not develop it, not to mention we’ll probably preserve more land to boot.

  23. Looks like Wyant is getting desperate sending out letters stating Ann Mallek is going to raise taxes by 30 percent. Somehow I knew sooner or later the lies and scare tactics would show their ugly head. He did the same thing with Eric Strucko during his last campaign when he lied about the Master Plan being unworkable etc, etc., knowing full well Eric supported the Master Plan. He made himself out to be the savior of Crozet from the big Master Plan. Then once he was elected he voted to double the size of the Master Plan over the objections of the community. I just hope by now with his voting record in Crozet the residents have learned from their mistake.

  24. Crozet Resident do make money every time you say Master Plan?

    Eric Struko lost twice in a row to two different opponents in elections that were not that close. Do you think he lost because of the Master Plan? Could it have been his stances didn’t match the White Hall districts or the fact he hasn’t been here all that long. Or that many saw him as wanting the office more than he wanted to serve the people. Perhaps they saw that Struko was going to move out of the district the moment he lost and prep a run for Sally Thomas’s seat once she retired.

    Or that David Wyant actually represented the direction the people wanted the White Hall district to go in. Or the decades of service Wyant had already done for the people of White Hall before Eric Struko or you moved to the area?

    Elections are rarely about just one thing.

  25. Perlogik,
    No I don’t make money every time I say Master Plan. The developers, supported by boyd, wyant and dorrier do!

  26. CrozetResident As to taxes going up under Joseph and Mallek, the author must have missed the point that under Boyd and Wyant taxes in the last for years are up over 20% for County residents.

    Talk about twisted logic. The very Supervisors who tried to pass even lower tax rates then were passed gets blamed for higher taxes. That’s just wrong and misleading. The point of the article is taxes would go up even more if Mallek and Joseph were elected. Since neither are talking about lowering taxes this seems to be a reasonable assessment

    And if all those people make money everytime you say “Master Plan” then you better stop saying it unless you want to make them rich.

  27. Wow, Interesting discussions. Pardon me if I have to comment on a few things further back in the thread…

    First of all, Falstaff, I knew you weren’t speaking of the elections and beyond encouraging people to vote, neither was I. I’m honestly more interested to see which of us is right about the effect of future policy than take bets on who is going to win.

    BUT, Lonnie what you are saying is that the property owner will be able to do less with their property, have less determination, but its value will go up?

    Yes JS, that’s what I’m saying. I’m not saying that’s optimal either; however, I do think we need to me more honest about the economics here. We can’t logically argue that we need to build more houses to increase the supply and bring housing costs down, then argue that rural area restrictions will lower property values and decrease supply. These are mutually exclusive situations. Also, I had a revelation this weekend. You see, everyone in the county seems to want housing to be “affordable” but how many of you out there personally want to sell your home at an “affordable” price? No one. We all want to make money off our property.

    As for the property taxes, that’s totally up to the county. Yes, property tax is based upon assessment and if the assessment goes up, then so does the property tax; hoever, the actual costs to goverment for services will not increase as much if there is less development. That means there’ll be less need for the county to increase taxes (as it will already need to do because of the increased demand for water). Plus, most significant increases occur when property is sold, and generally increase based on how much it is sold for. That means that if you compare senarios, the one with most development is far more likely to end up with higher taxes in the end.

    All that said, I feel an effective policy of protection for the rural area should include programs that aren’t based on parcel size and development rights. JS, Your point about conservation easements is a very good one. If the county downzones, we also remove any conservation incentive (although ACE as it is currently provides no conservation incentive – merely “open space”). Of course, one can also argue that land-use is currently a disincentive for easments too.

    That’s why we need ways of providing conservation incentives for small landowners or those with few divisions as well. We also need to make them cumulative (i.e. allow someone to get land use AND easement credits at the same time). I could go into greater detail about all that, but it’d be somewhat off topic. Suffice it to say that conservation incentive programs have made the difference for my family, and allowed us to keep farming our historic land for over 100 years.

    One thing is certain. Our current methodology for protection of the rural area is broken. Also, there’s alot of shady economics being used to justify political positions (perhaps even on both sides). It was a huge mistake to create growth areas without simultaniously protecting the rural area. I hope whoever ends up being responsible for helping fix that mess is open to creative ideas and has the political will to make difficult decisions for the long term public good.

  28. Lonnie One thing is certain. Our current methodology for protection of the rural area is broken.

    Based on what? The growth rate for the entire county is down to less than 1%. Building in the rural areas has dropped dramatically. What growth rate would be good for you, 0%? Negative, perhaps?

    This isn’t Northern Virginia and to we need to stop pretending it is.
    What is certain is that current regulations are working (unless you never want anything else build, ever). Taking away rural property owners rights with out significant measurable harm is anti-democratic and alarmist.

    Property values go up in the land NEXT to those whose property rights will be encumbered. Should we really ask the proven stewards of the land to pay that price?

  29. Lonnie,

    You missed my point. We are not only talking about money here. And also again, land values going up is a bad thing if you do not want to sell your home. Most people do not want to sell their home, they want to live in it, and they also want to have determination over it. Why do you all keep sliding past this? When folks talk about the value of their property, this is a core issue, generally one’s home is the foundation of their entire wealth, their core asset.

    Again, what other asset of yours (not just Lonnie answer this) are you willing to give up your determination over to protect the water shed?

    If you are going to take away a development right from someone are you going to pay higher taxes to replace the value lost? Again this value lost is not in the actually assessment of the over all property, but their ability to liquidate a part of their core foundation asset when they decide they need to do so. Protecting the water shed and the rural areas is critical, but we should not ask only one part of our community to bear all the sacrifice.

    Crozet Resident,

    Again your obsession with Land Use taxation, here is a quote from the PEC’s web site:

    “The American Farmland Trust, which studied more than 100 communities throughout the United States, found that, on average, working and natural lands require only 36 cents for every dollar of taxes paid, while residential land requires $1.15 for every dollar of taxes.”

    Get it you (in the growth areas) are getting more services than you yourself pay for, because we all pay the federal and state taxes that make up the difference.

    This is also from PECs web site:

    “This two tier system makes sense for farmers and other rural landowners, since they make few demands for tax-funded services. It also makes sense for all taxpayers, because if high taxes pressure the people who work the land to sell off lots or develop their property, everyone will have to pay more.”

    Here is the ULR:


    Yes rural land costs less, why should rural land pay the same. The argument, of course is that you could use the differential to buy more easements . . . which to me seems like robbing Peter to pay Paul, but I do believe that the county and the state for that matter should be more aggressive in this area. For instance New York City has been very aggressive in buying easements to protect its watershed.

    You are also going to talk about what happens if that property is developed, but there again, the new residents are only exacerbating a problem that you are part of: the fact that they will be getting more services than they pay for. Again, that’s you, all the folks that are already here. And I say, hey 50% of the growth going into 5% of the land mass is a good thing. Can we do better, sure.

    Cville Eye,

    You are comparing so many apples and oranges I do not know how to respond to you . . . ummm, yes housing prices keep going up in Cville no matter what the zoning, but some areas are prime urban, no? And some are prime family areas, no? some are even “affordable” housing, no? Also I had many financial investors tell me that it is crazy to buy investment properties in Cville, prices too high, rent to low; with a mortgage payment you make no money, much less put aside for the deprecation. Now property in the valley is a different thing, much lower rent, but the cost rent ratio is much better. That I believe was the point of that article that I linked to, as you say depends on the market.

    Seems like I am right dab in the middle of this argument; but certainly not on your side, especially with blanket statements like everyone who has owned rural land is automatically good stewards, that’s like saying Americans are good stewards of their health . . . what’s those obesity numbers again, diabetes rates anyone?

    Also, this 1% growth number has nothing to do with Ken Boyd, like he likes to claim (much like how he likes to claim credit for the increase in teachers pay when he voted against it) The 1% number will change (hello down turn in the housing market, heard of it?) and continue to grow at a cost to the community. The tax decrease is only forestalling the inevitable tax increases that we will have to pay, via local, state or federal taxes to pay for this entire infrastructure.

    Of course the fact that the Rs in Richmond keep coming up short in regards to localities is making things so much more exciting.

  30. Perlogik,
    The fact is wyant, boyd and dorrier voted to increase taxes by over 20 percent during their last term. If I remember it was the republican party that said the tax rate should be something like 58 cents, something the neither boyd or wyant, both republicans supported. To add to this I can’t think of one specific tax cutting measure that was authored, presented by boyd, wyant or dorrier and passed by the board. What the board did was go back and forth about the rate and Lord only knows what logic was involved in making the decision making since I don’t remember any of the board using any data to support the rate they choose. Next they went down a list of priorities and cut a policemen here a firefighter here and another position there and that’s how they balanced the budget.
    The other fact is that boyd, wyant and dorrier were voting for one development after another and were provide with the fiscal impact data from the county showing the increase in operational cost each development would bring. The knew damn well they were piling up costs for the tax payers. Of course this is not to mention they didn’t ask for adequate proffers, but I guess that what the development PAC’s giving money to the boyd, wyant and dorrier got for their money.
    Unfortunately, for growth area residents, we get the worse of both worlds, uncontrolled growth and when the bill for the infrastructure comes up, the board turns around and says it cost too much and the quality of life suffers. They should of thought of that before they voted. You can try the 1% growth spin all you want, but I believe the election results will show that the citizens don’t agree that growth is not a problem.

  31. Those have mainly come down because of the housing market, not because of anything the BOS has done. We’ve been granted a respite, but we shouldn’t waste it.

    First of all, when you say I want to take “away rural property owners rights”, you must not have read much that I wrote. I’m a big fan of incentive programs, which I see as GIVING rights to landowners. However, I think history has shown that we need both the carrot and the stick. We need to reward those doing things the right way, and have reasonable ordinances to discourage things from being done irresponsibly. Besides, unless you are against zoning altogether, I think the “Property Rights” argument is just rhetoric. We can and do regulate what people can do on their property all the time when its in the public good. Hopefully, you wouldn’t argue that it’s your right as a landowner to dump your oil into a stream, so why would it be your right to leach oil from a driveway, or sewage from a septic field into that same stream? Does that mean that Exxon, has the right to do what it wants too on its property?

    Besides, lets just take the argument that you do own these rights, and that they shouldn’t be taken away. In that instance, I also have the right not to pay for the new roads, schools, sewers, water, and water treatment that your development* costs me. Likewise, I’d also then have the right to demand that you pay you fair share of taxes, since you’re not willing to agree to provide any public benefit. The moment developers and property owners start taking actions that cause harm to my property and increasing my taxes, then I do indeed have rights as a citizen to ask for regulation. If nothing else, I’ve the right to ask that all benefits to those people be shut off.

    Here’s a proposal. Let’s first assume that we had the staff to manage any tax system possible. I’d propose that we ask land owners to buy-in to rural preservation programs for stream buffers, phasing and critical slope. Those that do, would get significant tax breaks and those that didn’t would pay higher taxes and be ineligable for incentives like land-use tax credits. Would you support that? Then we could both have what we want!

    If you couldn’t support that sort of a system then it’s obvious that it isn’t about “Property Rights” at all and is much more about getting a handout. One might call it sprawl welfare. Currently the sum total of our policies amount to a subsidy for sprawl. Even for land owners that want to do the right thing, there is a financial disincentive which discourages wise stewardship.

    Honestly though, do you have a better ideas for rural preservation? I might support them, if you can demonstrate how they help protect my rights as a taxpayer.

    RE: “Property values go up in the land NEXT to those whose property rights will be encumbered. Should we really ask the proven stewards of the land to pay that price?”

    What would you prefer? Lower preperty values? As I said, I’m all for programs that give tax relief for wise stewardship. I believe Ann Mallek has also proposed several tax relief programs that would offset any increased assessment due to conservation or assessment increases.


    *Also a land owner, when you sell out to a developer I believe it is the same as if you did it yourself. As landowners we need to take some responsibility for our actions. I say this as someone who does participate in easement and concervation programs on our farms.

  32. Looks like Wyant is getting desperate sending out letters stating Ann Mallek is going to raise taxes by 30 percent.

    Jim Duncan has a copy of Wyant’s letter to voters and Mallek’s response available as PDF’s from his Crozet community blog RealCrozetva.com.

  33. To add to this I can’t think of one specific tax cutting measure that was authored, presented by boyd, wyant or dorrier and passed by the board
    That would be the tax rate that was passed. Slutsky actually argued for a higher rate and Rooker and Thomas wanted a higher rate. The tax rate is that low because of Dorrier, Wyant, And Boyd. That the facts.

    Also, this 1% growth number has nothing to do with Ken Boyd, like he likes to claim (much like how he likes to claim credit for the increase in teachers pay when he voted against it) The 1% number will change (hello down turn in the housing market, heard of it?)
    The growth has dropped since he been in office it was under 2% when he was elected and is now under 1%. That happened during a housing boom. As to teacher salaries your claim was made in a negative ad that was proven to be misleading and probably help cost Hallock the election.

    Lastly Boyd and Joseph BOTH voted for Biscuit Run. If there was ever a vote that could have made a difference in this election that was it. Why don’t any of you explain her vote there if she’s your great champion to stop growth?

    Again tell me the right growth rate? If you want 0% then say so.
    1% is low and many of you here should admit it.

  34. RE: “Again tell me the right growth rate? If you want 0% then say so. 1% is low and many of you here should admit it.”

    Just for clarification, I personally care alot less about the percentage and more about the quality of growth. I’ve just seen way too many subdivisions done in irresponsible ways that don’t have any respect for infrastracture, the environment, or local culture and values. I also think that instead of setting an arbitrary percentage or number, we need to take inventory of our resources and infrastraucture and make decisions to grow according to what can be sustained responsibly. For some areas, with lots of resources, maybe that number goes up, and for some it comes down. That’s what responsible zoning should do.

  35. Lonnie,
    Well said. It doesn’t matter if the rate of growth is 1%, if that 1% tips the balance and degrades the quality of life. To a great extent I believe this is what this election will be all about and it appears The Daily Progress agrees viewing this race as between the status quo and change. I just saw a tv spot for Marcia Joseph and the question she’s asking is “are you better off now then 4 years ago”?

  36. Perlogik,

    Personally, I do not know if Biscuit Run in the end is a bad thing . . . I heard Sally Thomas defend her vote and I was convinced to a point. The problem is how do we pay for it, especially in the face of stupid and symbolic tax cuts?

    I am a smart growth person, I believe in density, I believe in public transortation and LEED houses (this is where I fully agree with Lonnie).

    The growth is coming regardless what the BOS does. UVA is growing, UVA is raising tons and tons of money, we are going to have new Nano-tech Research Center, a New Cancer Research Center, they are building a new Art Museum . . . more to the point what part of UVA proper is shrinking? Many of my friends who work at UVA, most of their job positions were just created in the last year or two. Now this does not even take into account the economic growth that will result, how many jobs in the community does one new job at UVA create? How many more restaurants, dry cleaners, jewelry stores, whatever?

    All that being said it is absolutely ridiculous for Byod to claim any credit whatsoever for the drop in growth. The drop to 1% happened this year and this year only (ok maybe a little bit last year), but look up the numbers yourself, they are available on the web. Also, I did not get my info on Byod’s educational voting record from negative ads, I got it from people who were present at the actual votes.

  37. Speaking of LEED houses or more to the point passive Solar Houses . . . one thing that struck me is that to have a good passive Solar House you actually want you house to built on a south facing slope.

    If you can get it right the steeper the better (basement windows, 1st story windows and second story windows can trap a lot of energy, especially if you have a lot of mass in your basement).

    Now one place on my families property that I have always eyed to build my passive solar house is most likely on a 25 degree slope.

  38. Lonie,

    I am going to respond to your previous post, because I assume in part you were responding to me.

    I can not respond to your request for policy proposals, other than to say that I believe that any ordinace should try to curtail wholesale development but be flexable and citizent user friendly enough to not infringe on individuals determination. And if such ordance can not be structured in such a way there should be finacile compensation. There should also be a more vigourouse programe to aquire easments and being the smart growth person that I am, who believes that me might just have to go more dense in the growth areas, I think TDRs are the way to go. I also believe that there should be more incentive programs to get young folks into farming or rural/tourism buissness.

    Those in the growth areas should see the coorisponding invesments in the infurstructure that they were promised, we should see a real public transportation system.

    Now of course all this cost lots and lots of money, but hey I am a Democrat and I realize that we cant just let our shit pile up with our cleaning out the stall. If we want to maintain some resembolence to the Albemarle county that I grew up in, its going to cost us, it wont be for free thats for sure. And


    “Besides, unless you are against zoning altogether, I think the “Property Rights” argument is just rhetoric.”

    Ummm, well no, this is a variotion on an argument that has a logical hole that you can drive a truck through. Lets look at speeding laws and fines, now we all agree that speeding should be regulated, we all speed but we when caught most of pay our fine. Then along came abusive driver fees, people went through the roof. Regulation went TOO far. Just because we submit to one level of regulation doesnt make the next level of regulation self-fulfilling.

    Now as a side note I actually think that speeding limits should be set at 50 or 55 miles an hour and strongly enforced . . . thats when we will know we are seriouse about are stratigic oil problem and curbing green house gases, but oh well.

    Also, I find this argument un-convincing: “In that instance, I also have the right not to pay for the new roads, schools, sewers, water, and water treatment that your development* costs me”.

    I do not know where in America you are going to move where you can accoplish your goal of being issolated from the costs of living in a community. Your right of course is to try to impliment policy that you think will best serve the community in a myraid of ways, but your “rights” as you assert them are not on parr with personal property rights, or the dignity we should we should treat our fellow citizens.

    And qutie frankly both sides of this arugument give short shrift to the needs and “rights” of the otherside.

  39. My point wasn’t about being “being isolated from the costs of living in a community”, it was about me being forced to pay more for people who consume more than their fair share. Falstaff would argue that I’ve no right to ask for policies that regulate what he does with his property; however, we’ve had zoning for many years, and a comprehensive plan. People who bought land zoned rural were never given the impression that they were really buying suburban land. All rural preservation seeks to do is put teeth in the zoning that already exists.

    If you were paying someone to paint your house, then you’d have the right to choose the color, right? You’d definitely have the right to make sure that they finish the job they started. Once someone accepts payment for a service, (i.e. rural preservation) from the taxpayers then the taxpayers have a right that they live up to their side of the arrangement. So far, that’s not been happening. True, it is because I believe the contract was written poorly, but I think we do have a right to ask the rural area to do a bit more, or we have the right to withhold payment. We definitely have the right to rewrite the contract. If the rural area wasn’t being subsidized, then their arguments about their “right” to build subdivisions in land zoned as rural would carry alot more weight.

    In addition, the “property rights” folks, act as if this is all about a private activity they are doing on their land that affects no one else. That’s simply not the case. In fact the damage that many of these developments do is far worse than if they just dumped their used car oil in a local stream. In fact, if they did that, then we’ve trace it and arrest the person that did it; however, somehow people feel it is their “right” to develop right over the reservoir and dump sediment and polution into it. That’s the same as if they dumped their garbage on the lawn of the County Office building, and it is my right as a taxpayer to ask for policies that forbid such behaivior.

    I agree that there’s meaningless rhetoric on both sides though. Also, as I said, I strongly believe in incentives, so I do think we should offer people something in return for what they are giving up; however, easements only apply to very large parcels and we can’t realistically put the whole rural area under easement. I also don’t believe in subsidies, or blanket payments without conditions attached. Current ACE easements specify nothing about quality, merely that there be “open space”. So yes, land owners in the rural area should be compensated but not unconditionally (since that’s part of what got us into this mess in the first place).

  40. Lonnie,

    You must concede the point that regulation can go to far, just because someone buys into one level of regulation does not mean that they are relenting to a higher level of regulation.

    And of course you use the worst case scenario of developing right over a reservoir, but for 99% of the INDIVIDUALS the critical slopes ordnance would affect (mind you critical slopes are already regulated), this is not the issue.

    The problem is for the community to decide what is right just right, and as Goldsmith points out in his article, if Ann and Marsha win and enact their whole agenda there will be backlash, I suppose that is the genius of democracy.

    Regardless, I do believe in zoning, I heard a developer joking that the county was going to start controlling his bathroom habits, and I thought–kind of snaky, “well, yeah we already make it illegal for you shit in the middle of the floor.” But again I think it is absolutely critical to find the right balance.

    But let me also address this payment issue you bring up, I assume that you are referring to land use taxation? If you are I do not this as in any way a payment. I see this as an acknowledgment of the fact that rural areas cost about 36 cents for every dollar of taxes paid, while residential land requires $1.15 for every dollar of taxes.

    So no money is lost and the back taxes paid are a boon. Not to mention that any of us, those who have been here our whole lives, those who just moved here yesterday and built a new house, we ALL cost the county more money than we pay in . . . of course you might do the math and find out that those in land use actually might be the only ones who break even . . . but that is just wild speculation.

  41. Sure, regulation can go too far. I’ll admit that. The line involves that grey area of “the public good”. Your rights stop where mine begin. It won’t be easy to find the right balance, but we need people willing to engage in that battle and take some risks. We’ve been trying to pass rural protection for years now and failed over three times even when we had consensus teams of business, real estate, and property owners from public work sessions. The problem is that the people most opposed to the regulations won’t sit down at the table to come up with reasonable compromises. That’s why I say I’ve come to believe they are opposed to zoning altogether. In fact, the three ordinances that came before the BOS were significant compromises, and their failure doesn’t speak well of our ability as a community to find common ground. Perhaps the election will do what a public work session could not…

    However, I’d also say to those who opposed all three of the last ordinances, that some moderate regulation now will prevent more extreme regulation later. Just look at other states that have rather extreme regulations that even forbid catching water off your roof because technically you don’t “own” it under the law. If water problems get worse, then more extreme measures may be needed later. If we care about out property rights, then the best thing we can do is be good stewards now.

    As for my “worst case senario”, it was an actual case brought forward by staff over the Rivanna Reservior. We currently regulate building on critical slope, but don’t regulate driveways and subdivision roads. The ordinance would have fixed that loophole, and prevented situations like the examples given at the meeting. Also, the cost for stream restoration is astronomical (I can look up the rate if you like), and we’ve got a failing level of quality for many or our rivers in Albemarle. I can say with my knowledge of ecology that establishing appropriate buffers for houses, septic field, and roads would indeed have a significant impact.

    I disagree about land use taxation too, but I’ve covered that elsewhere.

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