The Board of Supervisors is already taking a sharp turn to the right under its new conservative majority, Brandon Shulleeta wrote in yesterday’s Daily Progress. Saying that the county is insufficiently friendly to businesses, they passed a resolution in support of a six-point action plan, apparently based on the recent campaign promises of Duane Snow and Rodney Thomas, that includes making economic development “the top fiscal priority” for the county, directing county staff to work with the Chamber of Commerce, a private pro-business organization, “to develop a plan…to significantly increase non-personal tax revenues…[without] increased taxes to our business community.” (Charlottesville Tomorrow provides an account of the meeting, complete with audio.) The resolution passed along ideological lines, with Ann Mallek and Dennis Rooker dissenting.
As evidence of the county’s anti-business attitude, local developer Wendell Wood complains that the county wouldn’t approve the development of a new Walmart directly next to the existing Walmart, a project that would have required spending $25M to build a bridge across the Rivanna River just to be able to get to it, and it would have meant rezoning Wood’s functionally worthless rural Hollymead land into super-valuable commercial land, basically handing him millions of dollars in land value. Wood laments the loss of the $9M that Walmart was prepared to put up to defray the cost, but no word on where the other $16M was supposed to come from. Supervisor Ken Boyd says that he wants to reconsider providing that giveaway to Wood. Which would appear to be exactly the opposite of the stated goal of reducing taxes. Elections have consequences, and a more conservative BoS is perfectly sensible, but this is the kind of stuff that gives politicians a bad name.