50 thoughts on “Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park Denied Injunction”

  1. Too little, Too late. First round goes to the parkway. Second round knock out predicted.

    “City attorney Craig Brown also said that supermajority votes are not required in easements when a public body conveys property to the state, another public entity, and because easements are not permanent land sales.

    “This case does not involve a permanent dedication of public land for private use,” he said.”

  2. This really sucks. The Parkway is the last thing Charlottesville needs. Any one who thinks this is going to solve Park Street’s traffic issues is living in a dream world. All it will end up doing is putting a highway right through the middle of a nice little town. Didn’t we get enough of that in the 60’s?

  3. Split, the meadowcreek parkway is not suppose to solve park street’s traffic problems. It will help cut down on traffic on park street, and this will benefit the resisdents of Park Street.
    I don’t think many, if any people will use the Meadowcreek Parkway as a cut through, short cut, to get through our “nice little town.”
    Charlottesville needs to “get on board” and support this project to the fullest. It should have been built when it was first proposed.

  4. I guess you missed all the arguments about how the parkway was going to solve Park Street’s problems?

    What do you imagine it is needed for if not to get people from Biscuit Run to 29 North, make a few developers a lot of money, or to fix Park Street’s problems? I live in the city and have for many years. I can’t think of a thing the Parkway would do for me, other than destroy a potentially great park that was generously given to the city as a gift.

  5. I would like to live in the dreamworld, were a road that was voted on and funded gets built without silly, wasteful lawsuits. Where people would understand that the little park that almost no one uses get replaced with several times more parkland with paths for walkers and those who ride bikes. I dream of a world, where a road would take traffic off Park Street and those who say it won’t reduce Park Street traffic will be forced to defend this illogical claim. Traffic studies that cannot truly predict how the new parkway will really change traffic patterns would be shown for the tea leaf readings they are.

    I liked to live in a world where the same well intentioned cranky pants, car haters were portrayed as a tiny subset of the eco-fringe that battle all progress not some grass root movement of earnest souls trying to save us from ourselves.

    In my dream world, all park lovers (parkway haters)would be required to wear a tiny device that shows how long they have actually spent in the park. It would not count the times they driven by, loving gazing at the trees. It would only work when they got out of their cars and strolled among the marginal sand greens and dubious trail of this mediocre strip of grass. Then every time they came to the mike to defend the park their commitment would be shown to be more than empty hyperventilating and ultra NIMBYism.

    But lastly I would like to live in a world where the democratic process meant something. In this world, in the distance somewhere, I can hear someone clear their throat, and I smile as the fat lady begins to sing.

  6. Well, it looks like we’ll all find out one way or another pretty soon. I’ve already gone on record saying I think this won’t help Park Street residents at all beyond a few years. I think those residents have been sold on the idea that this road will fix their traffic problems, and they are going to be somewhat disappointed. Feel free to tell me how wrong I was in five years.

    As for it not being a cut through… I’ve had people in Albemarle County government tell me that they’ve no intention of ever building a Western Bypass or Eastern Connector, and that this will be the de facto 29 bypass. I think that’s been the main concern of decision makers in the City, and why some folks like Kevin Lynch ultimately switched sides to be against the road.

    The truth here is that even when this road is build (and it looks like it probably will) then the real solutions to traffic have everything to do with better planning, and changing the way we develop. I’m suprised that Albemarle didn’t try to get all the developers on board with Places 29 before starting work on this road. Because they didn’t, they’ve lost a major bargaining chip in fixing the real problems on 29. Without a major redevelopment of 29, we’re just handing the heart bypass patient a box of doughnuts.

  7. Those of you who do not like driving by and looking at the park, do you like looking at the local mountains or should they be clearcut?

  8. Getonthegoodfoot, there are literally thousands of roads in the various suburbs of Washington that were once in the same situation as Park Street currently is and which are currently in the situation that Parks Street will be in. Spend a day driving around Fairfax for example if you’d like to see how well it has all worked out.

    On your way up there, look around the charming Gainesville area or if you’re really adventurous, drive on Route 3 near Fredericksburg to see just how devastated a once beautiful area can quickly become. Be sure not to miss the Prince William Parkway on your trip, it starts just west of Woodbridge.

    Not only do I not want that sort of “development” in my backyard, I don’t want it anywhere on the planet. It didn’t have to be done that way in any of those places. One of the biggest problems we face here is people coming from places that really are hell-holes who think that since things aren’t so bad here that we still have room to do stupid things without completely destroying what we have. Anyone who saw Loudon County when it was still beautiful could tell you how mistaken that idea is.

    As far as usage of McIntire Park goes, I think it is really unfortunate that it hasn’t been made more user friendly. Sadly, there is a highway, if you haven’t noticed, that cuts it off from Downtown residents and it isn’t easily accessed from any other direction that I know of. It’s hard to see how adding another highway to the mix is going to make things better, or enhance its purpose as a park.

  9. Initially a lot of the cars now using Park St. will switch over to the MCP. Over time there may be an increase in traffic on Park St. but there are things that can be done to discourage people from using Park St. as an alternative to the MCP. Speed bumps on Park would cause many drivers to choose to stay on the Parkway. The light at North and Park will help keep people off of Park. The interchange at McIntire Rd. will make it much easier to get on the bypass from the MCP than from Park St. It could even be made impossible for Park St. traffic to access the bypass by removing the on ramps from Park to the bypass. If the bridge where Park and Rio meet wasn’t there and Agnese was closed at Rio then it would be impossible to use Park as an alternative.

    Kevin Cox

  10. Lots of ifs there. It hard to believe that any of them would be done. I can just imagine the hell the people on the northern side of the bypass would raise if either of the bridges on Park were removed. The cut trough traffic from Park to River Rd. would multiply like crazy if just the Bypass bridge or its ramps were closed, or are we going to include a few hundred speed bumps in in this imaginary plan? As far as flow goes, the idea that an interchange at McIntire Rd. is going to flow smoothly is absurd. My concern is that traffic is going to be backed up through downtown on McIntire and halfway to Preston on Harris St. any time traffic becomes heavy. The smart folks will then take the good old Park St. route. Back to square one…

  11. I say build it. As a city resident, I see it as a logical connection to northern Albemarle. Isn’t smart transportation planning all about providing more connections? This isn’t some random road out into Albemarle farmland. It’s entirely in the County’s designated growth area and connects city neighborhoods to County neighborhoods. I know it takes out a sliver of City park land (we’re getting more park land in exchange), but i rarely see anyone using that small section of McIntyre Park.

    Build it.

  12. Let us not forget that MCP and Park/Rio will both end up dumping into A TWO LANE BRIDGE over the railroad tracks by CATEC. That’s a bottleneck already. Can’t wait.

  13. Jayrunswild please ride by and take a look the very large crane that I think is getting ready to build the other two lane bridge they will need.

  14. Steps can and should be taken to encourage drivers to use the Meadowcreek Parkway instead of Park St. One of those steps could be the removal of the bridge over Meadow Creek, not the railroad tracks. I think that the bridge removal is pretty unlikely though. Other steps like speed bumps are a lot more realistic.

    The Meadowcreek Parkway was originally planned as a four lane road. That’s the way it should be built. As a two lane road it may become congested as soon as it’s opened and that will cause drivers to look for alternatives, like Park St.

    Kevin Cox

  15. Kevin, I was agreeing with you right there until that last part. I think the phrase “four lanes” is the kind of talk that mobilizes the opposition to the road, including myself. I think one legitimate fear is basically that this will just end up as 29N phase II.

    I completely agree though that Park Street has asked for decades to have their neighborhood back, so lets give it to them. Remove the ramps to 250, and that would certainly do the trick. Without that kind of step, I’m not really sure what this road actually achieves besides encouraging more sprawl.

  16. You may be right, Perlogic.
    It wasn’t clear to me looking at the map on Charlottesville.org’s site.
    It only makes sense to make that bridge 4-lane…
    which is why I figured it wasn’t going to happen!

  17. Lonnie,
    The road was originally planned as a four lane road for good reason. Rio/Park is two lanes and very congested. The MCP should be four lanes to Rio/Park but instead it’s going to be built as a two lane road. It’ll be congested almost as soon as it’s built so many people will continue to drive on Rio/Park.
    2 lanes or 4 lanes, it will never be another 29 North because access is going to be limited.
    Kevin Cox

  18. I committed a typo. I should have typed: The MCP should be four lanes to handle all the traffic that is now on Rio/Park…
    Kevin Cox

  19. Kevin Cox, what do you mean by “congestion,” (a) high traffic volume or (b) stop and go traffic? This is an either-or question because they may have different solutions.

  20. Stop and go traffic due to high traffic volume and too few lanes to handle the load. I won’t be surprised if during rush hour, traffic is very slow moving, and bumper to bumper from the MCPs intersection with Rio Road to the Bypass. Traffic on Rio Road/Park St. is frequently crawling and bumper to bumper from the railroad bridge to the light at Pen Park then from there to Melbourne and then from Melbourne to the Bypass. Most of this will just migrate over to the MCP which will still be just a two lane road. At least people living on Rio/Park will have an easier and safer time getting out of their driveways and side streets when the traffic moves to the MCP.
    Kevin Cox

  21. Kevin, I think that is why the City has long argued that the Meadowcreek can’t by itself solve all the traffic problems, and faught for an eastern connector and/or western bypass. I think you’re probably right that it’ll be jammed with cars the moment it opens, as VDOT reportedly predicted.

    Nonetheless, I think it wouldn’t have even gotten this far in the political process without the two lane concession. While it’s possible they’ll expand it at some point, I think that only adds fuel to the fire about whether it should be built at all.

    Many newer cancer drugs work by restricting the cancer’s ability to develop new blood vessels. I tend to see the 29 North area as somewhat malignant, and building it a new artery is only going to cause it to metastasize. I think the only solution must be planning oriented. Without a resdesign of that corridor, there’s no way any solution is going to have much effect at all.

    We’ve got to stop the “infill” of greenspace and start redeveloping these areas along 29. I don’t know how you get developers to do that, but it’s got to be done.

  22. Lonnie says that the ramps of Park/250E should be removed which would get rid of stop and go (makes sense to me), get rid of the lights and put in traffic circles and the traffic will flow freely. Now getting rid of traffic is going to be difficult since our road designs depend greatly on collector/arterial roads to handle volume rather tnan spreading it out over a grid. If in fifty years our population doubles, where do people propose we build more collector roads or do we try to find neighborhood roads to turn into collector roads or expand MCP to 12 more lanes using Hydraulic or Rio/29N as an example. The MCP may have been a solution 40 years ago when it was conceived to be a collector road through town connecting I-64 to 29N, but it doesn’t seem to be part of a longterm solution now, unless it becomes a clone of 29N.

  23. “Many newer cancer drugs work by restricting the cancer’s ability to develop new blood vessels. I tend to see the 29 North area as somewhat malignant, and building it a new artery is only going to cause it to metastasize.” WOW!
    “We’ve got to stop the “infill” of greenspace and start redeveloping these areas along 29. I don’t know how you get developers to do that, but it’s got to be done.”
    Maybe the current property owners could be given incentives such as allowing for taller building for office space without having to build expensive parking garages or lots. Let the tenants decide if they need more parking than is supplied and want to locate elsewhere. If the property owners feel that it is to they financial advantage to increase the use of their property, then maybe they’ll stop looking towards sprawl. Of course, the new development should be transit ready or in existing transit zones.

  24. Charlottesville population has not significantly increased for nearly 25 years. Growth rates in the county have been under 2% for sometime and in fact are now under 1%. Not building something because it will be filled up as soon as it is open, prove pent up demand. It is perverse logic to say that heavy use is a bad reason to build a road.

    “hey let’s not build the new cancer ward because as soon as we open it lot’s of cancer patients from all over the area will use it” These new cancer patients will clog the hallways and use up the parking spaces. They will tax the doctors and nurses time. It’s really best if we don’t build it at all.

  25. Build it, you’re missing an important piece here… The cancer ward is serving a purpose in the community (i.e. curing cancer). What is the purpose that the Meadowcreek parkway serves?

    One might say “getting people from one place to another”, but people already successfully get where they are going.

    Or, you might say “It’ll get people somewhere faster”, but if it is clogged on day one, then it may be not terribly much more effective than Park and 29 are now (especially if measures are taken to limit traffic on Park Street)

    Or, you might claim that it’ll reduce traffic on Park Street. Once again, unless it can contain all the traffic, that “pent up demand” will just spill over to Park and fill it up too. In addition, development abhors a vacuum, and any reduction in traffic will quickly be filled by new development.

    Or, as some have suggested, it’s important to the design and planning objectives of the City and County. If that’s true, then explain how creating a road that goes way up 29 helps encourage denser pedestrian friendly communies and greater use of mass transit?

    So, unlike the cancer center, the road doesn’t seem to achieve an actual goal. To me, that’s the biggest argument against it. One shouldn’t just build a road without clear objectives for exactly what it will achieve. (i.e. it will reduce traffic by ___ cars per day for ____ years)

  26. A multi-million dollar road serves no purpose? Really, that’s your answer. Your blindness in this issue is fascinating.

    If you don’t get a new cancer ward the hospital is still there, treatment still happens. It won’t be state of the art, it won’t happen quickly, and there will be cancer patients lining the halls waiting for treatment. But what’s a slight delay in treatment matter to the preservation of the park that would have become the new cancer ward, right?

    If a road is clogged in one day (which is very unlikely and illogical) then another road is less clogged. Traffic is reduced on 29 or 250. Gas is saved, the air cleaner and commute times reduced. Taxpaying commuters are happier and less stressed. Isn’t that a good thing? Not building a road because it will get well used is the single dumbest reason in the eco-warrior tool bag. It shows a sense of intractability that makes discussion futile.

    If the road is built and it it used that is a success not a failure, no matter how you try and spin it. Another news flash roads are not just built to reduce traffic- they are built to move traffic along. The acid test of a road is how much it is used and how much it reduces wait times on more crowded routes else where. By your logic the tunnels that connect Hampton and Norfolk shouldn’t have been built because there were already existing roads that could handle the traffic and the ferry was fun to ride.

  27. If the amount of usage conveys the level of public benefit, then by your reasoning crystal meth must be pretty good for society!

    Building a road costing millions of dollars, and then saying “there, see, people used it. It’s a success!” would be pretty short sighted. As I said before, you should have concrete goals you are trying to accomplish by building the road that would justify that amount of money.

    You do point out an additional metric, “It will reduce wait times on crowded routes elsewhere”, and I’ll conceed that if it does that for specific roads a significant length of time then that could be a measure of success. First, you’d need to identify which roads, how many cars, and how long it’d have that effect.

    However, if it also influences more people to live further from Charlottesville, and thus increases new development further up 29, then it’ll it’ll just create more demand and more “usage”. In such a case it might be said that the cure is worse than the disease, regardless of how often it is taken or prescribed.

  28. “Traffic is reduced on 29 or 250.” Why would this be true? The road was orginally mainly intentioned to relieve traffic on Rio/Park.
    “Gas is saved, the air cleaner and commute times reduced.” VDOT has never indicated anything about commute times being reduced; when the road was planned, no one was living near its terminus. Now that there are people living beyond its northern terminus, it will serve for a few as a bypass of a short stretch of 29N. This road will never be the Geritol that cures all ills.
    “Taxpaying commuters are happier and less stressed.” If they’re that unhappy and stressed, they shouldn’t be on the road, they should be on medication.
    “Another news flash roads are not just built to reduce traffic- they are built to move traffic along.” I have been moving along just fine for over 50 years without spending $30M on a 2-mile stretch to avoid really nothing.

  29. Sorry, I meant to say something as needlessly offensive as “the eco-fringe.”
    “Taxpaying commuters are happier and less stressed.” Roads are not comfort food and you shouldn’t be dumb enough to as to get fat on it.
    There, another needless insult thrown.

  30. Lonnie since road building is something that government are suppose to do from time to time; you will excuse me ignoring your mention of crystal meth as anything other than silly.

    Roads are meant to be driven on and used. If you possess some magical data that some how the boards of two localities and VDOT missed, let me know. The metrics have already been debated and the roads is being built.

    Cville eye- needless insult? You use of comparison of roads to comfort food is an insult to simile and metaphor everywhere. Logically inconsistent and reactionary. If your commute time is shorter and you spend less time in a car wouldn’t anyone be happier with that? You simply can’t admit that? I write eco warrior (which you take as an insult) and turn it into eco fringe? But thanks for trying to call me fat and dumb as well, I don’t take it personally at all.

    According to the both of you this is a bad road and is a waste of money. But it just seems to be mostly your opinion and based on little logic and less fact. We disagree.

  31. “But it just seems to be mostly your opinion…” Where have YOU been for the last forty years?
    “If your commute time is shorter and you spend less time in a car wouldn’t anyone be happier with that?” Drive less.

  32. Check my record. Yes, I’m against this road; however, you’ll find me to be quite moderate in the sense that I think reasonable compromise is possible. I also think this road is probably going to happen, but it doesn’t follow that I then need to agree that it suddenly represents good planning, or that I appreciate the attempts by local government to circumvent the laws meant to protect parkland.

    The thing here is that I could even be convinced that this road should be built, but I’ve so far only heard one advocate for the road make any kind of reasonable argumement for it (Slutsky). Everyone else just makes these general predictions about how it’s going to revitalize downtown, remove all the traffic from both 29 and Park Street, and suddenly “fix” the nightmare which is 29. Show me the numbers, and tell me exactly how this road benefits me (And for how long) then convince me this isn’t just a private freeway the the transplants from NOVA and elsewhere that live (or will live) in the northern part of the County. If this is such a great road worth millions of dollars then it shouldn’t be very difficult to make that case.

    After all, the burden of proof isn’t on those who oppose it, but rather on those suggesting taxpayer money should be spent to build it.

  33. Go on and build the road. They’ve already screwed up McIntire Park as it is.
    I am one of those who actually spent time in much of the area in question, the wooded area adjacent to the golf course, both on the Schenck’s Branch side and on the other side adjacent to the railroad. Great place for nature walks(or was),lots of wildlife. But in the past few years its been slashed up by machines, swathes of vegetation destroyed, very unattractive. At one time this “unused area” was the closest thing to Ivy Creek we had within easy walking distance of the Downtown area. I used to monitor bluebird nesting boxes on the golf course.
    I disagree with those who say an area is of no value if it is not “used.” So not a lot of human traffic-good. Undeveloped habitat is valuable, for wildlife, and for those of us who sometimes seek solitude. I support keeping part of McIntire undeveloped for the same reason I support roadless wilderness areas. Fewer humans, less chance of the place getting trashed.
    And now they are closing the wading pool,something that has been with us since the 1930s. They say they don’t want to spend fifteen or twenty thou to comply with some safety code.
    That may be a lot of money to you or me, but when you consider how much money the city spends on some other pet projects some council member favors, its chump change.(Mall-bricking say).
    There are people who remember going there as children, who later brought their own children, and grandkids to it. Wonder how much input they got regarding this decision? Business as usual for our city government. Money talks and bullshit walks. They could have money to fix the pool by eliminating some of the excessive,unnecessary mowing in the park.
    At least looks like we’ll keep the softball fields. Still don’t think the YMCA belongs there.
    We have some in our government who would agree to let a developer tear down Monticello and build a Wal_Mart in its place if they thought they could get away with it.

  34. I still can’t believe so many people argue for mass transit in a city of this size. There’s just not enough people to make it viable.

  35. I waded in the pool in the early 1950’s. My kids did, too. I agree with HollowBoy. It would’ve been nice to leave the area around the old Washington City, Central Virginia, and Great Southern RR right-of-way to continue growing wild, as it had since the rails were moved west in the early 20th Century.

    As for transit, Mr. Day: if we had already built a COMPREHENSIVE system, we wouldn’t be dealing with the mess we have now. Transit is cheaper than roads. Charlottesville has had transit since, at least, 1890. My grandparents rode the horse-drawn streetcars, and later, they and my parents rode the electric trolleys of the Charlottesville and Albemarle Power Company. From 1953, until she got both her driver’s license and a car, my mother rolled and marched my brother and me from 801 North Avenue up Calhoun Street to catch the Locust Avenue bus to downtown. Not much of a walk for an adult. But quite a haul for a mother and two short-legged boys.

    We need to build a decent transit system, while we can still afford to.

  36. Steve and Hollowboy,

    The problem is that the environment has changed so dramatically since then that just letting it “go wild” is no longer a viable option. In Charlottesville we have Kudzu, Multiflora Rose, Bittersweet, Privet, English Ivy. Japanese Honeysuckle, and whole host of other non-native plants that would quickly fill the area rendering it a biological desert. Native birds, insects, and other wildlife are adapted to native plants, and can’t survive in a sea of multiflora rose. Fifty years ago you might get away with a stategy of just letting nature restore itself, but now invasive species are such a serious problem that it’s no longer a viable option.

    My point here is that even if the goal is to let the area be a natural area providing habitat then it will take money and active management to make that happen. It’s not as simply as just letting it “go wild”, it would require active restoration at least until the habitat is healthy enough to sustain itself.

  37. Steve:

    We disagree fundamentally, so I’m not sure there’s much point debating — I don’t think there *is* much of a mess in the first place.

    And yes, obviously there’s something to be said for implementing a solution before it becomes a problem, but I don’t see how any bus or transit system in Charlottesville will have anywhere close to a decent ridership %/come close to breaking even. This area simply doesn’t have the population to support it, and so many people are loathe to give up their cars.

    The way to fix these problems isn’t through roads or transit, it’s through better city planning and going with a more Euro-centric way of city design.. better mixing of residential and commercial, more pedestrian malls, etc. Unfortunately, nearly every US city is *built* for cars, cities sprawl — nothing close to the density of other European cities.

    The times I’ve been over to Europe, I’ve gone my full vacation without needing a car, or hardly even any sort of mass transit.. the cities are built so you can walk from one side of it to the other and have everything you need in a 15 minute radius.

    I’m not a big fan of putting bandaids on symptoms instead of the actual root cause of it. Better things for the city to spend money on.

  38. Chad, your solution makes sense (and I’ve said similar things too). Here’s the big hurdle… with the limited power of local government, what carrots can we offer developers to encourage redevelopment? I think we can toughen the neighborhood model, but that only gets us so far as long as people are still clearing green areas for their new “green” subdivisions.

  39. Lonnie:

    That’s the sad part of it.. it’s such a *massive* change that I don’t know if it’s realistic. It’d take decades to change the infrastructure of even a small city like Charlottesville. I really don’t know where you would even begin.

  40. Lonnie,
    I’m no fan of Multiflora or Kudzu but indigenous wildlife do adapt to alien plants. Can you back up your claim that a thicket of Multiflora is a “biological desert?”
    Many alien plant species might as well be considered native because they are here to stay. No matter how much money the government spends, Ailanthus is now part of the flora of Virginia. It’s too bad too, I hate the stuff, but that’s the way it is.
    Kevin Cox

  41. I agree that some plants are here to stay, and I doubt sincerely that we’ll ever get rid of a single species on that list. One bit of hope though is that most prefer disturbed sites, and don’t colonize healthy ecosystems nearly as easily. So, with careful management you can minimize the effect of many of these.

    Over time, as either native insects and wildlife learn to eat them, or the insect that ate them in their home county get introduced, they will achieve some sort of balance and become “native”. The thing is that could take a very long time, and active management will be required until then. I do think it’d be good for someone to quantify though the average length of time that procees takes (and under what conditions).

    As for research on the impacts, there is tons of it out there. I’ve personally watched these species consume entire habitats. Also it’s just logical that if you’re a butterfly or bird that only eats a certain genus of plant (a common senario) and it can’t grow under kudzu, then kudzu is a problem for that species when it invades habitat. Besides, that totally aside, a thicket of multiflora rose is virtually inpenatrable, and vitually useless to anyone.

    Maybe we can use invasive species for biofuels though?

  42. “Many alien plant species might as well be considered native because they are here to stay.”

    Words are just words, no reason to get attached to them. Let’s just go ahead and change the meaning of all of them while were at it.

  43. “If the road is built and it it used that is a success not a failure, no matter how you try and spin it.”

    The problem with this way of thinking is that any road anywhere can be justified because any road will eventually attract cars. I can’t imagine any land so sacred or beautiful that a road built through it wouldn’t attract cars.

    We simply must now allow the sort of sprawl here that has consumed Loudon County. Developers don’t give a rat’s ass about the long-term consequences of development, so the only recourse we have to limit development, it seems, is to limit roads. In my opinion, since new roads beget new development, which then results in the roads becoming full again, thus requiring the builing of new roads, which then beget new development, etc…., we should just look around us and say, “it looks pretty good to live here in C-ville,” and say no to new roads.

  44. An undersized road that goes where existing roads already go is going to have little impact on development. There will be additional development north of Charlottesville and it will happen whether or not the MCP is built. The population is growing, people need homes. They go where they can get the most for their money and they tolerate terrible commutes to do it.

    There’s been a lot of development in the rural areas surrounding Albemarle county without any significant new roads. 250 East is almost the same road it was thirty years ago. Glenmore wasn’t built because 250 was widened, it was built because the BOS changed the zoning. Many homes have been built in rural areas and counties surrounding Albemarle because an insufficient amount of land to accomodate the demand has been zoned for high density residential development close to the urban core. The price difference between land close to Charlottesville and land out in the country has been exaggerated by local politicians. They are intent on keeping their areas real estate values high. Often the politicians who say they want to stop sprawl actually cause more sprawl, it’s just in the next county.
    Kevin Cox

  45. The population is growing, people need homes. They go where they can get the most for their money and they tolerate terrible commutes to do it.

    Kevin, look at the statistics. Very little of our local growth is from actual population increase (i.e. people having children). I’d argue the vast amount came from retiring baby boomers that heard this was cool place to live, or people in NOVA who wrecked their own localities so badly that they wanted to get out. If people choose to move to some neighboring county for a terrible commute, then that’s their choice. We can never build enough homes to mitigate that. In fact, I’d say building more homes is more likely to cause that situation, than fix it.

    This is why what you are saying is wrong. Growth is caused by transplants, and the more you accomodate them the more of them you’ll get. You cannot build enough homes locally to significantly affect a national or statewide demand, and you wouldn’t want to anyway. It takes a change in the larger housing market (like we have now) to change prices and make things affordable. You can’t build your way to affordable housing, and even if you could, then it would be an economic disaster (i.e. “affordable” means lowered home values, and do we really want that?)

    Here’s the deal, you give some guy in the rural area 100 development rights, where previously he had none. This encourages a developer to offer him significant money for his property (inflating the value), so he sells and moves to a neighboring where he commutes longer distances to the same job he had before. This is what actually happens.

  46. Lonnie,
    I never would define local population growth as just native births of Charlottesville and Albemarle residents. Sure it’s due to retirees as well as people moving here for jobs. The fact is that the number of people living here is growing and an inusfficient supply of residentially zoned land close to the urban core is a contributing factor in the sprawl into surrounding counties.

    The growth of the retiree population is not going to be stopped by driving up the cost of housing. In fact,exclusionary zoning attracts people with the money to afford the added costs. Driving up the cost will make it harder on working people. Attempts at growth control through insufficient residential zoning are also helping to keep property values high, something that a lot of people see as a very worthwhile goal, even if it means sprawl into the rural areas.

    By the way, I think your comment about people from Northern Virginia moving here because they “wrecked their own localities so badly that they wanted to get out.” is particularly silly. I don’t think you care much for the Hollymead Town Center do you? Do you accept responsibility for the loss of green space that built that shopping center? If Albemarle gets so built up that you can’t stand it and move away are you going to say, “I wrecked Albemarle so I moved here?”

    Many of the people I grew up with and went to Albemarle High School with now live in Fluvanna and Louisa because it was a matter of economics. In some cases it was buy there or rent here. They didn’t sell a huge parcel and then move.

    Kevin Cox

  47. Kevin, if what you are saying is true then we should have seen a drop in local real estate prices right after the creation of the growth areas which dramatically increased the sum amount of development possible in the county, without significantly reducing the amount of development in the rural areas. The thing is, we didn’t see a decrease in property values, but rather the opposite. the only thing that made property “afforable” again was the decline of the national housing market.

    I’m not saying that you’re completely wrong about growth restrictions and their potential to raise property values. Of course, even in the worst case senario, they increase property values without putting demands on infrastructure which would require higher taxes. So sure, your property is worth more and you pay less tazes …and that is bad why?

    As for my comments about NOVA, it is a generalization and certainly not true of all; however, I have noticed a trend over the years of people from NOVE moving here then complaining about the distance they have to drive to Walmart or Target, and thus demanding that we build more big boxes so they can have the convenience they used to have “back home”. If Albemarle gets so bad that I end up leaving, I’m certainly not going to ask the next area to which I relocate to build either a new Walmart or Whole Foods. I’ll be more interested in moving to a place wher e I appreciate the culture and the place for what it is without demanding that it change on my account. For whatever reason, that doesn’t seem to be true of many of the transplants to Albemarle.

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