Monthly Archive for April, 2013

Woodbrook Divided Over Bench and Bridge

Via Charlottesville Tomorrow, I see that the Woodbrook Neighborhood Blog has a long piece about how the neighborhood is divided over an Eagle Scout’s project to build a bench and a bridge over a county-owned lagoon as a part of a trail on public land. Blogger Dan Gould conducted a bunch of interviews, talked to county employees, took a bunch of photos, and even took an informal survey of landowners who live nearby. A lively discussion has ensued in the comments section. It’s a great piece of work about a parochial matter, the sort of thing that would surely have no place in a regional publication, but that anybody who lives in the Woodbrook area surely finds very interesting.

Charlottesville Tomorrow Teams Up with C-Ville Weekly

Charlottesville Tomorrow is extending its content sharing to a new publication, they’ve announced in an unsigned story, to include the publication of education stories in C-Ville Weekly. No money is changing hands in the agreement, which includes a cooperative venture to put together a voter guide for city and county school board elections in November. The collaboration gets underway in June. Simultaneous to this news is Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Kickstarter-based effort to raise $17,000 to fund a new education-reporter position. The expansion into education marks a noted increase in the scope of the mission of the non-profit, which has focused primarily on development-related issues since its 2005 founding.

It was nearly four years ago that the online-only publication struck a similar deal with the Daily Progress, in a similar deal: the Progress prints the organization’s voter guide, in exchange for being able to run any Charlottesville Tomorrow stories that they want.

Republicans Field Two Council Candidates

Charlottesville Republicans have managed to find a couple of candidates for Council, Aaron Richardson reports for the Daily Progress. After sitting out the last few elections, the party has put forth Buddy Weber and Mike Farruggio as their two candidates for the November election. Weber is the chair of the city party, and Farruggio is a career city police officer. Weber cited mismanagement of public housing as a particular concern, while Farruggio is opposed to the new stormwater utility fee. Five Democrats are seeking one of two nominations; the winners will go on to run against Weber and Farruggio in the general election.

Democrat Challenging Thomas for BOS Seat

Democrat Jaymie “Brad” Sheffield is running for Board of Supervisors, The Daily Progress reports, challenging Republican incumbent Rodney Thomas for the Rio District. Sheffield is the assistant director at JAUNT. He holds a masters degree in planning from UVA. The election is in November.

Biscuit Run “Donation” Price Soars by $20M

Judge Paul Peatross has awarded Biscuit Run’s investors another $20M in state tax credits, K. Burnell Evans writes for The Daily Progress, bringing the price of the “donation” of the 1,200 acres to the state to a grand total of $40.5M.

The land was sold to the state for $9.8M, after the investors were left holding the bag on the worthless parcel when the real estate bubble collapsed, having paid $46.2M for the land at the height of the real estate craze. The project’s investors were banking on getting a lot of state tax credits (which can then be sold) in order to avoid personal financial ruin, since they presumably took out some big loans to cover that $46M, which they’d have to make payments on until they’d repaid the balance. But they didn’t get the money they needed—the state awarded them just $11.7M in conservation tax credits, because what land was worth in 2005 was rather more than what it was worth in . So they sued the state, demanding $19.48M, which is precisely what they just got. The investors’ appraiser claimed that the land was worth a stunning $87.7M—almost twice what they’d paid for it at the height of the bubble—and their attorney today says that the appraisal was vindicated by today’s court ruling, crowing that it “pretty much body slams” The Hook for their critical coverage of the appraisal.

I suppose it’s possible that the state appeals this ruling, but short of that, this now puts the taxpayer cost of this “donated” land at $33,750 an acre. For comparison, Rivanna Farm is on the market for $22,500/acre right now, and they’ll toss in a 10,000 square foot Georgian mansion at no extra charge.



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