The post-election debate over the future of the county continued at yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Brandon Shulleeta writes in the Progress today. In a far-ranging, intelligent-sounding conversation, the two factions on the BoS squared off about whether Albemarle needs to keep growing. While conservative members of the board are looking to turn Wendell Wood’s bought-cheap rural land along Route 29 into valuable growth area land, the liberal members of the board argue that with so many empty storefronts throughout the area, adding more retail space would just make the problem worse. (Albemarle Square is close to having tumbleweeds blowing through it; Fashion Square appears to be letting just about anybody rent a space these days.) Ann Mallek pointed out that there’s something like 2,500,000 square feet of new retail already approved for construction; Ken Boyd countered that the reason that they’re not getting built is because of too much regulation. (Never mind the recession.) No decisions were reached, leaving county staff unsure of how to proceed, and the board intends to pick up the discussion again at an upcoming meeting.
These discussions might strike some folks as a bit tired, but it’s not often that the BoS talks in such a direct, broad way about issues of growth and transportation. With the board at a transition point, politically speaking, the result of these talks may shape the area in the years to come.