The following text was sent out via email on October 10, 2023. Sign up for AC44 email alerts →
Come have your voice heard tonight! Join us for the Albemarle County Planning Commission Work Session this evening from 6 – 9 p.m. at the County Office Building. The topics for discussion are Environmental Stewardship, Parks and Recreation, and Historic, Scenic, and Cultural Resources.
As a reminder – Albemarle County is in the second of four phases of its AC44 comprehensive plan update, the document that will guide decisions about new development, infrastructure, utilities, transportation, natural resources, conservation, rural areas, housing, and public access for the next 20 years – until 2044. The Planning Commission is holding three work sessions this fall about topics that needed more attention.
The first session is tonight. The Talking Points below summarize what PEC is advocating for tonight. Join us in person to speak for up to three minutes at the start of the session, email your comments to BOS@albemarle.org and PlanningCommission@albemarle.org, or fill out the questionnaires linked below at any time. We hope to see you there!
- Given the AC44 planning team’s recent reporting to the County’s Natural Heritage Committee that the AC44 team will explore reinstating a Rural Area chapter, PEC strongly urges the County to follow through with including the critically important Rural Area chapter.
- The County must also include a requirement in the Rural Area chapter for the preparation of a Rural Area Plan, given the interplay of natural resources and the built landscape and the critical role the rural area plays in addressing climate change.
- The Rural Area Plan must be comprehensive, include mapping, and be informed by significant public engagement to implement the AC44 Rural Area policies. The Rural Area policy element is relevant to all chapters, including the upcoming Transportation and Land Use chapters. Intentional planning here can be a strong opportunity to protect all of the values of the Rural Area.
- The County should prioritize and incentivize well-designed parks and open space systems that integrate storm water management and protection of natural resources as part of private redevelopment and infill development within the Development Areas. Realistically private redevelopment and infill development will outpace and precede government funded parks and recreational facilities and systems so this prioritization of private investment in parks and recreation is critical to the County meeting its smart growth goals and objectives as well as the protection of the Rural Area from sprawl.
- The County should more robustly address the recreational use of the County’s road systems including their value added for cycling, walking, running, and horseback riding.
- The County needs a new historic preservation plan, a historic preservation planner, a rural area planner, and should complete a Rural Area Plan. They should and can do more to support the conservation of historic and cultural resources – cultural landscapes, historic sites, buildings, and structures – that all define community character and contribute to a thriving economy.
- The County should explore the potential for a historic preservation ordinance.
The next work sessions will be November 14 for Housing and Economic Development and December 19 for Land Use, Transportation, and Community Facilities. If you know anyone who may wish to receive these AC44 email updates from PEC, please forward this email to them and let them know that they can sign up for the list here.
Rob McGinnis, PLA FASLA
Senior Land Use Field Representative
Albemarle & Greene Counties