The following text was sent out via email on October 4, 2023. Sign up for AC44 email alerts →
We have reached a new phase of this Phase Two – one that includes, and therefore requires, public engagement.
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.
There is a reason we love living here and many of those reasons we owe to the decades of intentional planning that made them a reality. This planning prioritized the preservation of natural resources and the protection of the rural areas as separate from the more urban and suburban Development Areas. This, in turn, prevents the sprawl that often surrounds cities, cuts them off from the natural spaces near them, and diminishes the local character and quality of life of smaller rural communities where people live and visit.
But the loss of prioritized planning for protection of the Rural Area and natural resources, seen in the 2015 and 1996 comprehensive plans and absent in this AC44 comp plan update process, needs to be addressed. See our AC44 Policy Platform for more information.
In response to feedback from the community, the County has added several dates to it’s work session calendar to address topics that need additional attention.
- October 10: Environmental Stewardship, Parks and Recreation, and Historic, Scenic, and Cultural Resources
- November 14: Housing and Economic Development
- December 19: Land Use, Transportation, and Community Facilities
The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors need to hear from you, the people of Albemarle County and Charlottesville. Planning Commision Work Sessions will continue into the fall on the above dates. All work sessions will be held at 6 p.m. at the Lane Auditorium in the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Va 22902.
Albemarle County Planning Commission Work Session
Tuesday, October 10 @ 6 p.m.
401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Va 22902
Ways to Provide Comments Before or During Work Session
- Submit Comments in Writing: Public comment will be accepted in writing at the meeting, or by emailing comments to BOS@albemarle.org and PlanningCommission@albemarle.
- Take a Questionnaire: Feedback on the draft goals and objectives of each topic will be shared with the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Information can be found in the Topic Report under each questionnaire.
- Attend the Work Session: Showing elected and County officials that their citizens are paying attention to the decisions that impact them is significant. Tell your friends and family what you heard after the work session.
- Speak Up October 10, at 6 p.m.: Citizens have three minutes to speak directly to the Planning Commission at the start of the meeting. Come to Lane Auditorium in the County Office Building to have your voice heard.
We strongly urge community members to become familiar with the three planning topics and provide your feedback to the Planning Commissioners and Supervisors submitting comments in writing and speaking just prior to the Planning Commission work sessions.
Though the questionnaires for each of these planning topics provide a single limited opportunity to provide comments, we still urge community members to complete them as well. And while PEC is encouraged by many of the positive goals and objectives listed, we want to highlight what is not included in the planning documents but that should be – this is what we’ll be using our voice to advocate for. Join us!
- The County must include a requirement in the AC44 comprehensive plan 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. In the 2015 Comprehensive Plan, the Rural Area chapter served as the Rural Area Plan.
- 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 stormwater 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.
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