Group Sues to Halt Meadowcreek Parkway

A citizen group has filed a lawsuit against the city and requested an injunction to prevent construction of the Meadowcreek Parkway, Henry Graff reports for NBC-29. They contend that Council’s 3-2 vote to give the land for the road to VDOT fell short of the Virginia Constitution’s 75% bar. (Article VII, Section 9 states: “No rights of a city or town in and to its…parks…shall be sold except by an ordinance or resolution passed by a recorded affirmative vote of three-fourths of all members elected to the governing body.”) Will Goldsmith wrote about the Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park’s plans to halt the construction via legal means in C-Ville Weekly last month. Group members include Rich Collins, Dan Bluestone, Peter Kleeman and Colette Hall. Kleeman has been writing about the matter on his own blog, which provides a sense of the basis for the group’s opposition. Those more legally-inclined can see the text of the lawsuit and the request for an injunction courtesy of Hawes Spencer at The Hook.

53 thoughts on “Group Sues to Halt Meadowcreek Parkway”

  1. The county is going to build their part of the road no matter what. What’s going to happen when all that traffic is dumped onto Melbourne road?

  2. Perlogik, the injunction would actually prevent the county portion from moving forward because it’s the city-owned land at the southern tip of the county’s stretch of the parkway that was illegally deeded to VDOT, according to the court filing.

  3. The county (perhaps in anticipation?) is already ripping their portion of the route to shreds. I believe they want a fait accompli before the city part gets resolved. C’ville will have our own “road to nowhere”.

  4. UN-believable…

    NOTHING is EVER actually accomplished except finding a way to game the system and stop something from actually being done. It is a comedy.

  5. I drove out there last weekend and I’m not so sure that where it ends is such a big deal. It appears to only be a short distance down Melborne to get back to Park Street. I can’t imagine it’ll be terribly much worse than it is now, except the there will be a big clog at the intersection there that may not be able to handle it. I think one other concern might be that additional traffic could negatively impact Charlottesville High School.

    I’m not pleased with the counties rush to do this to forces the cities hand. It’s not unlike developers that destroy a wetland before an environmental impact statement can be done, because the fine is better than finding out later that there might be something there they’d be required to protect. If this road is so great, and so green, then I cant really understand why the county and city wouldn’t want to do all the environmental impact assessements, and make sure they had the appropriate number of votes to proceed? Sure, they can split the project in three pieces and maybe be within the law to do so, but why not consider why we have laws about parkland and follow the spirit of those laws instead of trying to figure out how to circumvent them?

  6. I really enjoy reading about the politics in Albemarle. I am also glad I do not live in such a dysfunctional county or town.

  7. Crasshopper, we have front row seat at the show! In this case it is a drive-in theater, except you stop and go rather than just park with your engine off.

  8. The Kleeman piece is well worth reading. Too bad he didn’t get elected to Council when he made his bid back in 2000 for the Democratic nomination.
    I agree with Lonnie.Why the rush, why try to do an end run around environmental impact rules,etc? Since the project is so controversial, you’d think the city and county would make every effort to dot every i and cross every t.
    What gets me is the Chamber of Commerce types who keep saying the road was needed thirty years ago, if the area was to grow. Fact is, it has grown without the road( to much so maybe, for many folks). We go along without it, despite what they said. So why do we need it now.
    Its one thing if you look at it as benefiting Park Street residents with the traffic crunch (which is debatable). But quite another if its something that the Wendell Woods, the Charlie Hurts,the Lee Danielsons, and all the rest of the development interests feel with facilitate their moneygrubbing.
    I was very disappointed with Council when they finally signed off in approval.Then again, maybe they were afraid. As Edward Abbey said, its less dangerous to come between a sow grizzly and her cub than to become between a businessman and a dollar bill.

  9. Well that settles it. I’m shopping in Waynesboro. This project has been postponed for 30 years, and you folks complain that their “forcing the cities hand” by actually starting????? This isn’t dysfunctional, this is retarded.

  10. Thank you oldvarick. We won’t miss you a bit. Take a few more of your friends with you on the way out and, so long.

  11. Oldvarick, if enough of you start shopping in Waynesboro we may get rid of some congestion and save $30M doing so and a good portion of our park. Aufwieder-bye-bye. :)
    The legal question as to whether a 3-vote or a 4-vote majority for the conveyance of an easement should affect the entire state.

  12. Get rid of congestion and save 30m if people started shopping elsewhere? The impact to Albemarle and Cville would be devastating.
    The good side would be that people would actually have to use the currently empty bike lanes and start riding the new unfunded public transportation system.
    As for the legal question mentioned? Money talks.

  13. crasshopper what new unfunded public transportation system are you talking about? The city CTS is very well funded and runs everywhere anyone would want to go. $7M dedicated to CTS in the upcoming budget.

  14. People aren’t going to “shop elsewhere”. It’s an empty threat. The problem is partially that people already love us to death.

    What will probably happen is that big box superstores will prefer to relocate outside our borders. That’s fine with me.

    I think the real issue should be how we want to grow, and waht we want Charlottesville to look like in 30 years? Some people make good arguments that this road will improve charlottesville (for example, by providing additional park space and better access to existing parkland). Others argue that the entire concept goes contrary to the idea of encouraging greater density and pedestrian/mass transit oriented development.

    I think those are the real questions. Everything else is frankly just political posturing. For example, no one can really believe this will permanently decrease traffic on Park Street, or suddenly turn 29 North into a business utopia. Lynchburg will also probably be really disappointed after about 5 years when traffic is bumper to bumper on the MCP too.

    As for getting rid of it, we probably are going to get it eventually. All the lawsuit will do is delay it. Even if the lawsuit succeeds, you better believe Richmond would change the law to permit it. If that’s going to happen, then it should be the best road it can be. I’d like to see the Sierra Club, and other key players come sit at the table and come to a compromise agreement. For example, we could require VDOT to do an Environmental Impact, and create viable urban habitat along that corridor. Currently it’s kind of choked with invasive species, and kind of an ecological desert. Maybe also the road could be closed one day a month and be a real bikeway?

  15. Government by litigation has to be the stupidest form of government ever devised by humankind. Not necessarily the worst, but definitely the stupidest.

  16. Nameless, I’d beg to differ on that one. The courts allow us to challenge injustices, and serve as another important check on government especially in terms of protecting the rights of minority groups and opinions. For example, without the ironically named Loving vs. Virginia interacial couples would be illegal. I’m sure people could name hundreds of court cases that had lasting positive impacts and resulted in better government.

    So, while “government by litigation” may be “stupid”, incovenient, and often expensive, it’s certainly preferable to countries where people have no ability to peacefully challenge their own governments.

  17. “Government by litigation has to be the stupidest form of government ever devised by humankind.” Litigation assures that we are governed by a code of consistent laws that are applied equally to all, a principle that is integral to our form of government. What’s wrong with that.

  18. Sorry, forgot to reset my username. Not that I have any affiliation with any such person submitting such comments. Or something.

    But to the point, I’m not saying that giving the courts an appropriate role in government is unwise, or that the courts are wrong to correct grievous and fundamental injustices. But I don’t think you can rationally argue that the building of the Parkway is even remotely akin to racial segregation or torture of prisoners.

    What’s going on here is the deliberate paralysis of the other branches of government in order to foil democratic process and have a purely political question settled by the courts, and that’s what I’m talking about by “government by litigation.” It’s a subversion of democracy.

  19. The court is not being asked to approve or disapprove the building of the MCP. It is being asked to determine if the people voting were following the code that existed at the time. The crux, I believe, is a very important question: Is granting an easement the same as the transfer of property? The 3-voters are saying no and the 4-voters are saying yes. Who but the court is supposed to determine the answer? We can not have an effective system if our laws are not based upon definitions agreed to and understood by all. If anyone does not know how to answer this question, he should welcome the opinion of the judiciary (junding body assigned to resolve questions of fundamental definitions). This system may be somewhat complicated by it is certainly not stupid. What may be considered stupid is that City Hall did not request a clarification of that statute and any other before it was voted upon, but that’s the traditional way we settle the issue. Let the aggrieved parties bring suit.

  20. The true crime here is that the bar is so low already. Giving up parkland should require 100% approval. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

  21. stop saying once parkland is gone it’s gone. That is not true in this case and everyone needs to stop saying it.It’s a trite slogan that shows you don’t know what you are talking about. There will be much more new parkland created with the building of this new road then will be saved if its not built. Read the agreement

  22. I don’t know where the new parkland is, but is it close enough to downtown Charlottesville that people can walk to it? Or will they have to drive to the new parkland? If they must drive, then it’s a bit like trading Central Park for some land in the Australian Outback?

  23. From what I can tell from the map, it appears to include some big fields and other areas that probably will be pretty useful, and then some areas around the stream that will probably only be good for trails. In some cases, it looks like private land where the trail is already it will become public land. In those situations we wont really gain a new use per se, but rather just the assurance that it won’t be developed anytime soon (i.e. protection of the current use).

  24. Essentially they will acquire much of the land bordering the parkway to Rio Rd. Brian Wheeler was kind enough to post a high detail image of the parkway design (including proposed parkland and trails) for me in their last post about the parkway on Charlottesville Tomorrow.

  25. The “4MB PDF” map just covers Melbourne Rd. to Rio Rd., and is upside down, if you’re trying to figure it out as I was. At the top of the peach section is the CHS football field on Melbourne. At the bottom of the peach section is CATEC on Rio.

  26. “The court is not being asked to approve or disapprove the building of the MCP.”

    But that’s the effect, isn’t it? There’s always some nice excuse, but it boils down to a strategy of obstruction by endless litigation. It’s rather like a kid’s 67th excuse as to why he hasn’t cleaned his room in six months: after 30 years of this nonsense it’s time to wake up and realize that the anti-Parkway crowd will *never* be satisfied and the excuses – and lawsuits – will *never* stop coming, not in thirty more years nor in three hundred more years.

    Just build the effin’ thing and worry about the incessant court battles afterward.

  27. Bruce, I hear your frustration, and I agree that you’re right that the real issue may be whether to build it or not. That said, I still maintain that the courts are a valid way of challenging bad policy.

    Think back to the Bush Administration, and the countless times they tried to drill, clearcut or strip mine areas of biological significance and the only thing that often stopped them were the courts which then forced them to obey laws like NEPA, The Clean Water Act, and the ESA. The courts serve as a check on legistlative and executive power, it is what they are there to do. It may be messy, irritating, and such (and maybe the system can be greatly improved), but nonetheless its better than the alternative.

    Why has the MCP taken 30 years? Because it is so controversial. When something is as controversial and devisive as that, then maybe it should take thirty years (or not be done at all). Our government should not rush to do anything where there is significant controversy, and arguably if we’d built this 30 years ago then we’d have a far worse road then the one planned now. That better plan is the result of 30 year of dissent and refinement.

    Could there be a better system that results in good infrastructure implemented faster? Sure, but until we have that system, this is the best we have. As a said above, I currently think the very best outcome here would be to see the Sierra Club and major players sit down at the table together and come to some kind of compromise proposal.

  28. The Sierra Club is not a major player no matter what it thinks. The current plan is a compromise and it’s wrong to imply that it is not. The Sierra Club is a special interest group using the courts to halt a process that was accomplished by a democratically elected bodies from the two involved governments.

    This is not to say they don’t have the right to pursue their rights in court. I have no idea if the transfer is 100% legal. It is however the height of silliness to imply that this project has been rushed in any sense of the word. I do agree that this is a much better plan then was proposed for decades. This is the result of thousands of hours of work and input from every stakeholder they could find. It’s time to build. Think of it as a stimlus package in our own backyard because we aren’t going to see any fed dollars for infrastructure because the feds think we are too rich.

    There will be more parkland that is usable when it is finished. Those who say otherwise are wrong IMHO. More parkland has to be good, right? The parkway opens up new bike and hiking trails where none current exist. We could get bus service on Rio road which gets nothing now. What about improved response times for the Rescue Squad?

    Lonnie I see that your suggestions are earnest but it violates law(don’t think you could close a road once a week) and property rights of the mall owners. There are no rare endangered plants or animals there or that would have killed this project long ago.

    Everyone wants this project to be as green as it can be but it needs to be built now. We are letting perfect be the enemy of the common good. What bothers me most is while some people have real environmental reasons for the road; it often cloaks those living on McIntire and 5th streets real reason for stopping the parkway. They feel the parkway will bring too much traffic to those roads if it is used as a pass thru. If that is the acid test then almost no new road will ever be built.

  29. Perlogik,

    I’m not completely in disagreement with you, and some of your arguments are reasonable here. It’s not a bad design, and the parkland it will gain seems okay to me (although I’d like to hear the reasons from the other side why they think it may not be optimal). You are also right that a environmental impact statement isn’t likely to turn up very much on that particular site. According to my collegues it is pretty choked with invasive plants, and the area may even be helped more than harmed (provided they replant with native species).

    I’m also not completely sure what the real objective is of the Sierra Club this time. I think if they really think they’ll stop the parkway then they’re probably mistaken. I also wonder how much the Golf course figures into this? It seems like some of the people trying to fight the MCP maybe the same ones who are in favor of keeping that as a golf course? If they, like myself, really are concerned about growth issues and the environment(and I think many are) then I say they should come sit at the table and suggest some refinements. If the plan can be improved then why not? Some may be as simple as minor changes to the designs that wouldn’t alter cost very much. We’ve waited 30 years, we could take a month or two to make minor adjustments. All this said, whatever their real agenda, I support their right to challenge it.

    As for shutting down a road every once in a while, not only can it be done but it is done regularly in some cities. I’ve spoken to some local leaders who’ve even suggested that possibility for other roads in Charlottesville. Maybe once a week would be too much, but then perhaps once a month?

    I also can’t see how it possibly violates the property rights of shopping mall owners. (Here I assume you’re talking about the commitment to redevelopment suggestion?) You see it is ultimately those same businesses and developers that have an interest in this road being built. If they had build those same shopping centers today then they would have been required to build them differently. Why not ask them to voluntarily commit to redevelopment so they can get this new amenity from the city? It happens all the time already, and this seems like a good opportunity to ask something from those who stand to benefit the most. Hurt, Wood and others are big players in this whole thing and could change the situation for the better if they chose.

  30. I don’t know why we keep referring to “the” Meadowcreek Parkway. This is three separate projects: one gets most of the way through the park, a second deals with the new interchange for the 250 bypass, and the third is a couple of hundred yards connecting the new interchange to the big piece. All three pieces have not yet passed through their required DEQ, etc hoops, but that certainly shouldn’t stop either of the other bits. Of course, it makes blinding sense to break this up into pieces, just as it makes blinding sense to begin any part of this in advance of approval for the others.

    Now, the parkland issue is interesting. Since a ‘right of way’ can be granted without 75% approval, why on earth would the parkland replacement need to happen at all? They haven’t divested themselves of anything: they still own the park. I’m also interested to know if the state, rather than buying my property for other new roads, can insist on a ‘right of way’ through it leaving me in possession & paying property taxes all the while. It certainly would reduce the cost of new roads.

  31. “If the plan can be improved why not?” is a dangerous thought in this one case. You can tinker with a plan forever and never satisfy everyone. In this case, once the two sides agree that should be it. The time to get what you wanted was during the many, many years of planning and discussion. Once these two groups came together and all voices were heard (and all voices were heard, not all were listened to) is it time to act.

    As to the shopping centers, I am really at a loss how you could tie what they do to the parkway. If that had been an issue it should have been brought up long ago. It’s unfair to stop this road to get something non-road related thrown in as an additonal condition. I don’t disagree with your idea just its linkage to the parkway.

    This was a long and delicately arrived at agreement. Opening it up again is only a way to kill it, not improve it. Most of what you suggest, Lonnie, can be done after the fact, if the people want it. It would be irresponsible to try and include it now.

  32. We are letting perfect be the enemy of the common good. What bothers me most is while some people have real environmental reasons for the road; it often cloaks those living on McIntire and 5th streets real reason for stopping the parkway.

    How is running a four lane highway through the center of the city “for the common good.” The state and the county have never renounced the desire for this highway to be four-laned and the state has insisted upon east and west easements to add another two lanes to the “parkway” later. Do the North Downtown Ridge and Fifeville neighborhood need to be destroyed to relieve traffic on Park Street? A resident of Ridge once said that when the first leg of the highway was built coming off of I-64 during the seventies, the children of the neighborhood could no long use Tonsler Park.

  33. “Once these two groups came together and all voices were heard (and all voices were heard, not all were listened to) is it time to act.” Yes, as long as they do so legally.
    “This was a long and delicately arrived at agreement.” The three-party agreement ACTUALLY called for building the Western Bypass first, which Charlotte Humphris and Sally Thomas killed in the MPO, and an Eastern Bypass which the city and county killed. It was only after these conditions would be met or were in the process of being met was the MCP to be built. Unfortunately, work on the acquisition, design and preliminary engineering proceeded without a firm commitment for either of the two other roads to built, so technically speaking neither partner has come to an agreement.

  34. I want the Meadowcreek parkway not a four lane McIntire or 5th. The County and state cannot build a four lane road on McIntire or 5th, only the city can. It just like the western bypass, unless Albemarle allows it to be built Lynchburg and the state can whine about it all they want. The difference here is the city agreed to the parkway but not a four lane McIntire. It is not provable that anything will be built after the parkway to do what you predict. The city would control whatever else happens. It is a chicken little argument that is based on fear and not fact. It is a this sliver of a fear that attempts to block the road proposed.

    Even IF such a four lane road were proposed (and I see no plan to do so ) with the speed that changes occurs around here, you and I would be long dead. Our grandchildren would be left to determine its fate

    As I wrote earlier, I cannot speak to the legality of the transfer. The courts will handle that. As to the three party agreement, much was proposed but it never became finalized agreement that were binding. I believe the parkway has been agreed to legally and technically speaking. The rest of what you speak of looks to be nothing more than the shifting sands of of our ever changing transportation possibilities. Unless both sides agree nothing is settled or real- on the parkway both sides agreed.

  35. As to the shopping centers, I am really at a loss how you could tie what they do to the parkway.

    It has everything to do with the parkway. My own opposition all along has been simply that it is enabling bad planning. We should be redeveloping areas like Seminole Square and Albemarle Squarle before spreading way up 29 north. If we’d built more responsibly (meaning mized use, high density, pedestrian friendly) from day 1, then we arguably wouldn’t even need to build this road.

    So, my argument amounts to this: Fine, let’s schedule the patient for a triple bypass, but let’s also schedule a diet and some time on the tred mill as soon as he recovers from surgery. (oh, and maybe a smoking cessation program too). If we just drop the patient off at McDonalds once we’re done, then why the heck did we do the bypass in the first place?

    I frankly can’t blame part of the public for being angry that they are subsidizing this guy’s health insurance.

  36. perlogik , it’s not a question of what you believe, it is a question of record. Perhaps you should look in the minutes of the MPO. I have no intentions of doing your research for you. Also, Michie Road, Ridge Street and 5th Street Extended IS already a state road called 631. Now snip on that.

  37. lonnie, what you are saying is even though I paid for my insurance I can’t have a bypass unless I agree to your diet and excercise plan before surgery? Even though this is a brand new rule that hasn’t been approved by anyone else? That isn’t right or fair. You could extend that logic to say people who smoke or get to fat lose their right to coverage because they haven’t been good stewards of their bodies.

    You want to change the game after the tickets have been sold and the crowd is in the stands. Should there be better planning in the future, sure. But you asking that new conditons be required after the doctor has ok’d surgery, the OR is booked, the insurance has agreed to cover it, and the time has been taken off work. It’s not any way to fairly govern

    If you wanted these changes for the Meadowcreek you need to know it is just too late. Go to meetings and get the rules changed for the future. Elect someone who will share your vision. Let the bypass happen.

  38. Cville-eye, the fact that it is currently a state road does not logically extend that it will be made four lanes though it’s full length. The fact that the state or county might WANT such a road does nothing to change my previous post. The city must allow it.

    Please provide any detail or plans that the city itself wants such a road. Not that plans were looked at or money paid to someone that studied it.

    It is NOT a question of record that such a road will be built. The minutes of the MPO could mention free gold from unicorns but that could be so much talk. I challenge you to prove that a four lane McIntire will be built without the city’s direct agreement. Facts over fear.

  39. That isn’t right or fair. You could extend that logic to say people who smoke or get to fat lose their right to coverage because they haven’t been good stewards of their bodies.

    No, but there’s a good argument to be made that you should pay a higher premium henceforth for your unhealthy ways. ;-)

    Anyway… leaving my drawn out analogy aside, if you were Wood and you knew you could win the public’s support for a project you needed by agreeing to do something you probably would have done anyway a bit sooner… Would you do it?

    It’s all very hypothetical because truthfully I believe in the deepest depths of my heart that Mr. Wood and Dr. Hurt could probably care less about the health of 29 or the environment. Nonetheless, if I were wrong, and they wanted to really serve the public good then now would be a great time to do it…

  40. “It’s all very hypothetical because truthfully I believe in the deepest depths of my heart that Mr. Wood and Dr. Hurt could probably care less about the health of 29 or the environment. Nonetheless, if I were wrong, and they wanted to really serve the public good then now would be a great time to do it…”

    If you think there’s even the remotest chance that Hurt and Wood would EVER do anything that didn’t line their own pockets, then you’re sorely mistaken. Developers like this pair don’t have “road to Damascus” moments. And they never stop developing, because their greed is limitless. They never pause, look around them, and say “Well, I guess I’ve done enough here. Look, there’s enough asphalt for 20 lifetimes.” Nope, they don’t.

  41. @perlogik, have it your way. Please don’t ask Mr. Huja if he didn’t propose the idea about ten years ago. For your information, just as the city has nothing to say to the about what happens to State Route 522, for example, it has nothing to do with State Route 631 IF the state decides it is in the best interest of the state to widen the road to 16 lanes. But of course, you can have it your way.

  42. How does what Huja said 10 years ago while a planner matter now? He suppose to give the city options. The real questions is what does he believe today as a city councilor. Does he want to build a four lane McIntire now? If not, who cares? Study does not equal build.

    Thanks for the podcast link, it really doesn’t make your point- it does the opposite. The first caller after the 5 minute didn’t even know the eastern connector must only be studied and considered- there exist no requirement that it must ever be built. The podcast shows that the only reason 5th street was four laned was the deal the city made to get a exit on 5th street from the state for route 64. The CITY had to agree that 5th street got four laned to Cherry. Nobody forced Charlottesville, they were eager to build thta road

    The state hasn’t eminent domain any major roads around here in many decades. If they did we would already have a western bypass. Your just use it as a scare tatic. You got no one at the city who wants to make this four lane McIntire and no real plans to make one.

    The sky isn’t falling- we need to build the parkway

  43. perlogik, the state can’t doesn’t need to use eminent domain except to acquire property. Sine that corridor already has the easements it simply has to paint stripes in the road. Byt the way, eminent domain: Lee Street, Park Lane. Since the city always has supported the state in its efforts to acquire property by eminent domain, why would any current property owner fight it? It just wastes the owner’s money. Ask Francis Fife. I remember when the city guaranteed the property owners in JPA that there would be no more houses torn down on JPA to build apartments. In other words, what’s now is now and what’s now paves the way for even more in the future.
    I don’t need to use scare tactics, the matter will be settled in court and I’m sure the judge is not reading my posts. And since your mind is made up about this road, I am certainly not trying to scare you. Further, why would anybody be afraid of that road when I’ve never heard of anybody being afraid of the interstate.
    I suggested that open-minded people would listen to the podcast so that they can see that everything is still up in the air, especially the W. Bypass since the Chamber of Commerce as well as others are still in favor of it. Most people would agree that if the RWSA is planning to run the SFRR pipeline to RMR in the road’s right of way, that project isn’t over yet (another eminent domain project).
    I guess you and I can only agree to disagree.
    Oh, and the last time I saw Mr. Huja, he said that four-laning that corridors has its good points.

  44. If 75% was required but not achieved, then didn’t that serve as a rejection of this project? And, if the project mistakenly progressed from that point with 60% approval, does this mistaken progression mean we must continue forward at this point? If so, why?

    If the road is such a great idea, isn’t the correct course of action to go back to city council and get the 75% that was required in the first place? If not, why not?

  45. A legal dodge was used: instead of selling or giving away the land, we granted them a ‘right of way’. The city still owns it — it just isn’t being used as a park. Granting a ‘right of way’, per various legal entities, doesn’t require the 75% approval, only a majority vote. To me, however, if it looks like a duck….

  46. As Cville Eye said:
    “In other words, what’s now is now and what’s now paves the way for even more in the future.”

    Truer words were never spoken. I wish people would stop thinking about immediate gratification and understand the snowball effect projects of this nature take on. Anyone that’s been involved in area politics or neighborhood activism for any length of time has seen this sorrowful story repeated ad nauseum. Projects gain approval on the basis of promises that are never honored. Proffers, mitigation, whatever… it’s frequently a load of horses**t. And the government just shrugs it’s shoulders and says “Oh well.”

    Bad planning generates more bad planning. Every. Single. Time.

  47. “we granted them a ‘right of way’. The city still owns it — it just isn’t being used as a park. Granting a ‘right of way’, per various legal entities, doesn’t require the 75% approval, only a majority vote. To me, however, if it looks like a duck….”

    Not that the above isnt correct, but many people are confused. The Lawsuit is over the city land in the Co. – the CHS land, not the parkland. This is land the city would lose control of forever if the Parkway was built as VDOT has control over roads in counties. People who say there is no legal merit to this case, please read the art 7 sec 9 of the VA constitution. It is plain.

    A.E Dick Howard, who helped amend the VA constitution, wrote to the Progress that even if the road is deeded back to the city – as it would be in the park – the supermajority requirement still should not be evaded.

    “In the case of McIntire Park , however, The conveyance of an easement for purposes of a highway effects an irreversible result. The park is no longer a park, and no one supposes that, after 40 years, it will once again be a park.”

    Once again though, the current lawsuit is over the city land in the Co. – the CHS land, not the parkland.

    Please show up to the City Council meeting March 16th 6:45 and tell em to dump this illegal developer welfare project. We can stop this road and save our central park and downtown from the extra traffic . If you wanna help(say with a website etc..)feel free to call. Thanks

    Stratton 882 1069

    P.S. check out these 2 letters to VdoT from the 90’s for some evading of federal law (section 4f) for more:

    “The city of Charlottesville owns the parcel of land east of Melbourne Road upon which is situated the charlottesville High School football stadium…and a small softball field for the girls softball league. …The field is used by girls ages 8-15 yrs… It is heavily scheduled for league play..This field plays a very significant role in the city’s ability to meet the needs of the community because this is the only facility that serves the younger female population in softball.

    Eugene German Parks and Recreation Director

    “Contrary to the letter of April 8, 1993 from Eugene German, former Parks and Recreation Director, this field does not play a significant role in the City’s ability to meet the needs of the community. ”

    Cole Hendrix City Manager

  48. Stratton,

    While I really do admire your tenacity and unshakable idealism in trying to stop this road, if it does start to look like you can’t stop it, then how amenable would you be to compromises that would improve both the road and how development occurs within Charlottesville?

    For example, if the road is built, could you support closing it every sunday to bike and pedestrian traffic only?

    Franckly, even as Kleeman acknowledges, it’s increasingly looking hopeless for the Albemarle portion. Even if you succeed in the injunction, the site may already be cleared of every plant and animal before it ever gets a hearing in court. In the face of that, is compromise at all possible to save taxpayers money and create a design that would enhance wildlife and promote more sustainable development?


  49. I would rather waste a few million than spend 70 million on this developer welfare plan to make Albemarle’s traffic problem Charlottesville’s.

    It is a tragedy they are cutting down those trees. However they will grow back if not paved over and the Park itself should be safe awhile.

    As damaging as the road itself would be, even more harmful would be its subsidation and perpetuation of auto – centered growth in the whole urban area, as opposed to moving towards pedestrian oriented development.
    We can stop this by stopping the road- even if we can only stop the interchange and end up with a double wide bikeway.

    We have two great legal cases and two great city councilors. More groups and individuals are joining in lately, as they can see what is happening. Talk of “if it’s built” is a distraction. Why would we compromise our park or constitution? Fighting this is worthwhile simply to expose the deception at work. But we can do better; we can stop the road, and even if they knock down every tree first, in a few years those places could be beautiful again, and free of the noise, pollution and danger of traffic.

  50. Stratton, I respect your opinion on this, and I admire your unshakable optimism. Who knows, maybe you’re right and you all can end this road? I certainly don’t want it there, so I do hope you are successful.

    I guess I’m just thinking that if you aren’t successfull that it would be a shame if nothing is gained from it all. Even if you aren’t successful, I hope that you’ll push for some additional consessions on the part of the City and County that could improve this road and the way we do development. Likewise, if you win then I hope you and the Sierra Club will fight just as hard for better ways to relieve traffic on Park Street and help business to grow responsibly and sustainably on 29.

    In other words, the real solutions for either side won’t come from either winning or losing this case, but rather from what happens afterwards. One way or another we’ve got to change how we are growing, and how we think about development before we can really escape the noise, pollution of the car culture that our society has created. Also, whether Meadowcreek is built or not, that area is in peril from invasive species like multiflora rose, and so its not enough just to save the greenspace, but we’ve also got to seek to preserve and restore the quality of our greenspace (or we’ll lose it just the same).

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