Monthly Archive for June, 2009

City Planning Public Housing Redevelopment

Well, here’s a can of worms: The city is beginning the process of redeveloping its public housing, Hawes Spencer writes for The Hook, and everything is on the table. A series of community meetings are scheduled to determine what to do—demolish and rebuild, fix them up, or nothing—and no doubt they’ll be contentious gatherings. There’s no mistaking that our public housing stock is in rough shape, but with residents that are, for various reasons, often not engaged in the larger community, the road ahead for any redevelopment is perilous for everybody involved.

Judge Upholds Parkway Construction

Judge Jay Swett has ruled against the Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park in their lawsuit to halt the Meadowcreek Parkway, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. He found that four of the six parties bringing the lawsuit have standing, but ruled that the state constitution’s requirement that a supermajority of City Council vote to sell any land isn’t applicable here, because use of the land is being provided via an easement and not actually sold. Therefore the 3-2 City Council vote that’s already been held is sufficient to proceed with construction.

Those who are legally inclined can read Judge Swett’s ruling.

Mink Creek Floods Scottsville Homes, Businesses

Scottsville’s Mink Creek flooded a bunch of Scottsville on Friday evening, Liz Palka reports for CBS-19. Apparently it rained a lot there on Friday (though I can’t find any record of that from nearby weather stations), which was enough for the downtown creek to jump its banks and leave some homes and businesses with the stream running across their floors.

The odd thing about this is that Scottsville spent millions of dollars to prevent this very thing from happening. Though obviously the James River is the real danger for Scottsville, Mink Creek has been a source of flooding problems for more than a century. That’s why Mink Creek was dammed up in 1975, as a part of the larger project to protect Scottsville from the periodic floods that devastated the town. What with the lack of a hurricane on Friday, it’s tough to understand what happened here. Thanks to “TrvlnMn” for the tip.

Woodson Sentenced to 15 Years

Slade Woodson has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, the Daily Progress reports. One of the pair of teenaged route 64 snipers, Woodson pleaded guilty to fourteen charges related to firing a .22 into homes and vehicles on the night of March 26, 2008. The total sentence was actually 150 years, but Judge Cheryl Higgins suspended 135 years. This is apparently on top of the two years he was already sentenced to on six other charges.

BoS Denies Family’s Additional Development Request

In today’s Daily Progress, Brandon Shulleeta writes about a pair of rural landowners with a family subdivision who are upset that they can’t divide their land one more time. Ronnie and Janie Matheny had seventeen acres, but they divided it up to give some land to their various kids. Now they want to carve off two of their 4.9 acres for their grandson, but they’re all out of development rights. So they had to appeal to the Board of Supervisors for special dispensation to break the rules, who turned them down in a 4-2 vote, Lindsay Dorrier and Ken Boyd dissenting. Boyd says that an exception should have been made. Republican Rodney Thomas, who is challenging incumbent Democrat David Slutzky, is making a campaign issue out of it, saying that he “more than likely” would have granted an exception to the Mathenys.

The trick here is that all family subdivisions are for family members, so allowing anybody to build more houses than zoning permits because “it’s for family” basically eliminates the notion of limiting the number of development rights in a family subdivision. There may well be criteria under which exceptions should be granted, but if those criteria run counter to the notion of family subdivisions, then they cease to be a logical way to divide up land.

By way of acknowledging conflicts of interest, I a) own land in a family subdivision and b) recently had Ronnie Matheny and his son come out to my land about drilling a well, which I expect to hire them to do.