This text was taken from an email alert sent out on December 15, 2017:
PEC believes the best and brightest future for Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville is one that is shared.
Today, the historic court complex, where both Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe practiced law, serves as an anchor for a city-county judicial precinct. The courts share services, such as interpreters and legal aids, and allow for a judicial system that efficiently serves the residents of both the city and county.
Unfortunately, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors is considering moving the County Courthouse from downtown Charlottesville to somewhere on Rt. 29.
A bad move for county and city residents.
The move would make both court systems less efficient, cost taxpayers significantly more money, generate additional car trips between separate city and county courts, and further splinter the city-county relationship.
Albemarle County Residents – There will be a public hearing on the issue on December 18, 2017 at 6pm (Lane Auditorium, Albemarle County Office Building at 41 McIntire Road). Attend and urge the Board to keep the courts downtown. If you can’t make it to the hearing, call or email. Contact info >>
City of Charlottesville Residents – Contact your City Council member and urge him or her to be proactive and vocal in offering to work with the county to address concerns about parking, future space needs and facility access. Contact info >>
After years of evaluating options to improve and expand the existing county facilities, Albemarle’s Board of Supervisors suspended discussions with the city in 2016.
This November, a consultant hired by the County to assess a potential courthouse move released its initial report. Two important findings:
- It would be less expensive to keep the courts in town — $36.3-$38.5 million to remain at Court Square; $46.9-$51.5 million to relocate to 29 North.
- Additionally, the consultant conducted surveys of court-users and other stakeholders and found that 83% of those surveyed supported keeping the courts in their present location.
The proposed move has also been met with significant opposition both from the legal community and court-users who say relocating the courts would be disruptive and damaging to the judicial process.
In fact, the county has been informed by the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association that it cannot move the courts without a county-wide referendum, promising to bring legal action if the county seeks to avoid one, furthering the delays and adding to the cost.
For additional background, we’ve posted a more detailed synopsis of this issue on our website >>
Our communities are strongest when they move forward together. I hope you’ll read more about the issue and weigh in. Here’s a link to the County’s webpage on the subject.
Don’t hesitate to follow up with me, or my colleagues Dan Holmes (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rex Linville (email@example.com), if you have any questions.
Chris Miller, President
The Piedmont Environmental Council