Upcoming Community Meetings Hosted by Board of Supervisors Members

Albemarle County Supervisors Brad Sheffield (Rio District) and Diantha McKeel (Jack Jouett District) are co-hosting two community meetings to discuss planned transportation projects, ideas already developed for the US29 corridor, and to provide an update on the Route 29 Charlottesville Corridor Advisory Panel.

The first meeting will be held at the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) at 1000 East Rio Road in Charlottesville on Monday, April 28th from 7 – 9pm.

The second meeting will be held at the Jack Jouett Middle School Library at 210 Lambs Lane in Charlottesville on Monday, May 5th from 7 – 9pm.

Community members will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss areas of concern and interest related to these topics. All citizens are invited and strongly encouraged to attend these meetings.

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McKeel Town Hall Presentation

Capture

 

The Board of Supervisors is currently working through the 2015 Albemarle County budget process. A proposed budget and a proposed tax rate is currently advertised and public comment welcome.  Diantha McKeel held one Town Hall meeting March 11th and has another Town Hall scheduled with Brad Sheffield (Rio District) on Saturday, March  22nd from 1 PM to 3 PM at the Senior Center. Click here to see Diantha’s presentation and here for a tax rate/home value chart.

After getting Diantha’s presentation I asked the following questions; her responses are in red:

  • On slide 13 it says, “1.3 cents of this is to cover federal and state unfunded mandates”.  What are the mandates being referenced?
    • Mandates are those required by the Department of Environmental Quality (federal and state) to improve our water quality and therefore help in the clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay
  • What does “Fully Funding at 60:40 mean”?
    • Albemarle County Public School’s Operational and Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) are supported by new county revenues, often split 60:40.  That is 60% of new revenue goes to schools and 40% stays for county services.  This split is not an absolute and does vary from year to year.  Very rarely schools receive dedicated new revenue that is outside of the split.

Please feel free to contact Diantha for questions, leave questions in the Reply section at the bottom of this post or join her on the 22nd!

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Housekeeping Services – Norma Ramirez

Housekeeping

Our neighbor, Louise Greer, recently emailed the neighborhood about her new cleaning lady, Norma Ramirez, who is looking for more work.  If you need housekeeping services, and would like to contact Norma, her telephone number is 409-2768.  She charges $20/hr.

If you have any questions feel free to contact Louise directly or post them in the Comments section below.

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Western Bypass

One of our neighbors, Fritz Berry, attended the recent County Board of Supervisors meeting regarding the bypass.  I asked him to provide an update.  You will find it below.

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On February 19, 2014, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors called a hearing to ask member of the public for their opinion on the proposed U.S. 29 Western Bypass.

Indeed, the community did speak. More than 145 speakers addressed the (very patient) board, with more than 80 percent of them, by my calculation, opposing the current proposed design.  During the meeting, more than 400 signatures were collected on a petition against the current bypass.

Observations:

Primary Arguments presented against the Bypass:

  1. Projected road was designed in the 1980’s.  Traffic patterns and development since then yield the dated plan irrelevant and ineffective.
  2. Both ends of the proposed road would dump traffic into areas that are already congested and projected to get worse.
  3. The projected road would not act as a “By-Pass” at all.  Studies have shown that there will be no meaningful improvement in time saved for drivers who are hoping to bypass Charlottesville traffic in their travels North or south of Charlottesville on 29.
  4. There are better alternatives:
    1. Eastern Bypass that Starts North of the Airport and runs East to 64 – then reconnects with 29 south
    2. “Places 29” option, which has been shown to be as effective as the bypass, while also improving the conditions for local commuters – for less money
    3. The sheer cost to push thru a project that doesn’t accomplish its stated goal, is an irresponsible use of taxpayers funds.
    4. The Proposed road travels dangerously close to our primary water supply.  The projected pollution would become a major issue and compromise our drinking water. (The tragedy in West VA was sighted as “a real time” example of what could go wrong)
    5. The proposed road would come dangerously close to 6 different schools. Studies indicate that the health risks, from emissions pollution, to the Children and Teachers at these schools would be significant.
    6. For those of us in Flordon and points West – the southern Terminus, as proposed, would create some major traffic issues and increase our commute times to and from town by adding a series of lights and cloverleaf intersections right at the point where we merge off of 29 onto 250 West.
    7. As designed, the merging traffic from the new road would be accelerating into our traffic, which is decelerating and attempting to Merge off of 29, creating potentially dangerous conditions for our families.

Primary arguments For a By-Pass:

  1. We need to do something… and this is better than nothing
  2. If we don’t get a bypass, we could eventually end up with a national Freeway running right thru the middle of our town

My observation:

  1. I believe the majority of people agree that we have traffic problems that need to be addressed.
  2. Both sides seem to agree that the plan that had been proposed for a Western Bypass is NOT the best solution.
  3. The primary support seems to be coming from people who either:
    1. Have a business interest that would be negatively impacted by an alternative plan
    2. Feel that, if this plan fails, we will end up with no improvements at all.

*** Everything is now on hold***  See below for an update on the issue, which was posted in the Daily Progress Feb 20:

DAILY PROGRESS FILE

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:05 pm | Updated: 10:12 am, Mon Feb 24, 2014.

State transportation officials given 30 days to present Western Bypass alternatives
by J. Reynolds Hutchins

State transportation officials raced against the clock Thursday to produce alternatives to the derailed Western Bypass of U.S. 29.

In a letter dated Tuesday, the Federal Highway Administration slammed the brakes on the project, citing numerous deficiencies, lack of local support and little regard for the growth and development along Albemarle County’s primary commercial corridor.

“Our legal counsel has advised us to reassess the purpose and need of the project in light of the changes in the Route 29 corridor that have occurred over the past 20 years to determine if it remains appropriate,” wrote Irene Rico, a division administrator with the highway administration.

In light of the federal decision, state Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne accorded VDOT until March 19 to present alternatives to the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Rico’s letter casts doubt on the potential for a revived Western Bypass, or any bypass, and a resolution Albemarle County supervisors passed Thursday night requested that the state consider appropriating funds allocated for the bypass to other local projects.

Known locally as the county’s Places 29 Master Plan, extensions to Berkmar and Hillsdale drives, a widening of U.S. 29 just south of Hollymead and the so-called “Best Buy ramp” were previously approved.  Interchanges at the intersections of Rio and Hydraulic roads are among unapproved but long-discussed improvements.

To date, the state has earmarked $244.5 million for the bypass project, which VDOT’s own assessments suggest will run in excess of those figures. Approximately $50 million of that amount has been spent on right-of-way acquisition and analysis for the road.

It was uncertain Thursday whether the state would be willing or able to shift the balance to other local transportation improvements or if the state could recoup the $50 million spent on property acquisition.

What is certain, federal highway officials said, is the option for a bypass remains on the table – if VDOT can find the evidence to support it.

A 1988 VDOT corridor study lists as many as 26 models that were under consideration before the state landed on the current Western Bypass design.

Those iterations range from a 16-mile “far eastern” bypass beginning just north of the Greene-Albemarle border and ending near the Interstate 64-Route 616 interchange to a 10-lane “Route 29 Corridor Expressway” beginning south of the Rivanna River and extending through the U.S. 29-250 interchange.

Despite coming out as the winning option, the Western Bypass for which VDOT began purchasing right-of-way in 1991 wasn’t without its drawbacks – VDOT was unrestrained in presenting its flaws to the highway administration in an environmental assessment published August 2012.

“The primary purpose and need for the project is not to reduce congestion on Route 29,” VDOT responded to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inquiry.

VDOT’s own numbers suggest the same.

According to a comparison of 2040 no-build and build conditions VDOT compiled for a 2012 traffic and transportation technical report, morning and afternoon delay times at Hydraulic, Rio and Greenbrier roads remain at unsatisfactory levels with or without the Western Bypass.

“The bypass has always been part of a collection of improvements,” VDOT told the corps.

Since the early 1990s, those improvements have included parallel road extensions, additional widening of U.S. 29 and at least one interchange more likely than not at Rio Road.

Vehicles travelling through the Greenbrier Drive intersection could save as little as 2.8 to 3 seconds if the bypass were built, VDOT estimates.

The time savings at Rio and Hydraulic roads are much greater, by as much as 1.8 minutes. Regardless, VDOT has accorded an F-grade level of service for Hydraulic, Rio and Greenbrier with or without the Western Bypass.

VDOT’s studies suggest an interchange at Rio Road could improve the intersection’s grade level, from an F to a D, and bring a time savings of three minutes for afternoon rush hour commuters in 2040.

VDOT presented these figures in response to inquiries from state agencies, federal organizations and private citizens; the University of Virginia and the Environmental Protection Agency and the Rivanna Trails Foundation; and Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County.

In Deeds’ personal inquiry into the project, he remarked that the draft environmental assessment does not provide new traffic or environmental analysis of alternatives despite the traffic study that led to the decision to pursue the Western Bypass being more than 20 years old.

His words are almost word for word reflected in what became the highway administration’s Tuesday letter.

“Other alternatives should be reevaluated in light of all the new development and transportation changes along the corridor,” Deeds wrote to VDOT.

Deeds also emphasized the wide appeal of the Places 29 projects.

“The local community, working together with VDOT and the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO, developed an alternative transportation approach for the Route 29 corridor,” Deeds wrote. “This new alternative should be thoroughly evaluated and compared to the proposed bypass.”

In her letter to state officials, Rico contended that such an evaluation would reveal the Western Bypass’s deficiencies in comparison to alternatives.

“It is expected,” Rico wrote, “that a reassessment of the purpose and need will find that [the bypass project] is no longer adequate to support the investment in the corridor.”

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Food Delivery

Food Delivery

 

Do you want food without having to stray too far from the living room, or laboring in the kitchen? Several local restaurants deliver to Flordon.  They are:

If you have additional suggestions list them in the comments, and I’ll update this post to include them.

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Broomley Road Bridge Replacement Update

Broomley Road Bridge

 

VDOT is preparing to advertise for the Broomley Road bridge replacement project. They will close the bridge and detour traffic to accommodate the construction of the bridge.    The advertisement date is December 2014 and construction should begin in March of 2015.  VDOT anticipates an eight month closure.

VDOT created the following detour map: 677 Detour Map for Bridge Replacement. The detour will route you into the neighborhood via Owensville>Old Ballard>Woodberry.

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Snow Removal

Snowplow

 

Albemarle County roads are maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). However, the roads in Flordon (Flordon, Broomley and Tanglewood) are private and maintained by us via the Flordon Road Maintenance Committee.  If you want your driveway plowed you'll need to contract a snow removal service.  The following is a list of vendors who offer snowplow services in Flordon:

  • Mr. Hauley – (434)531-4807
  • Jeff Shifflett – (434)987-0079 (Father); Jeffrey Shifflett – (434)987-4055 (Son)
  • Contact Karen at kem1415@gmail.com.  Her husband and brother (Travis and Trevor) offer driveway clearing in Flordon
  • Zeke Galvin – (434)953-9116
  • Jorge Llamas – (434)-987-1915

 

Article Updated – 1/27/16

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Buyer for Flordon

Home Sale

A local realtor has a prospect interested in buying a Flordon home. If you are considering selling please contact Keith Davis with Nest Realty.  His contact information is:

(mobile) 434-953-9534

(office) 434-566-0656

(fax) 866-819-6516

(skype) wkdavis1

keith@wkeithdavis.com

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Route 29 and Hydraulic Big Box Proposal

Recently, a flyer about Costco and the Stonefield Development was inserted into some of the Flordon Neighborhood mailboxes (click the following link to see the flyer: Costco Flyer).  Dennis Rooker, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, contacted us about the flyer.  His comments follow:

You may have received the attached flyer, so I wanted to provide you with information about it.

There is  a “campaign” of misinformation against the Stonefield application for minor plan variations and it appears to me to be being waged by other developers.  Attached is a flyer which directs people to an online petition.  Note the flyer doesn’t identify who created it.  The website referenced at the bottom of the online petition misspells Albemarle.  The developer of Stonefields is from South Carolina, not New York.  There is no increase in traffic resulting from the variance application being brought to the board.  Costco pays about double (over $20 an hour and full benefits for all employees) than the compensation being paid by comparable retailers in the area.  It is regularly considered one of the best companies in the world to work for.  A fifth year cashier makes about $48,000 per year.  The developer of Stonefields is from South Carolina, not NY.  This is not a rezoning; it is a minor plan variance that among other things allows for a wide pedestrian walkway on the north section of the plan.  The plan for Stonefields was approved in 2003.

The variations requested would not increase the commercial square footage at all, in fact they are proposing far less than they were approved for in 2003.  A large retail user is allowed under the current plan, so no variation is needed for this. The variations are matters of location and design. The variations result in a plan that has less traffic than the plan without them.  The variations as to size, location and mass have already been approved by our Architectural Review Board.

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Register for Community Emergency Alert

Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Emergency Communications Center has updated their mass notification system with a new tool to reach community members in an emergency. Citizens can now register with the Community Emergency Alert system to receive recorded phone messages, text messages or e-mail messages in case of emergency. The system is also TTY/TDD compatible.

The Community Emergency Alert system will be used by the Emergency Communications Center to notify residents and businesses of critical situations and provide information regarding necessary actions. Events that may generate a message from the Community Emergency Alert system include evacuations, shelter-in-place situations, major traffic disruptions, Amber Alerts, gas leaks, boil water advisories and weather warnings. The system is capable of selecting a specific geographic area and targeting messaging to those within that area.

The system pulls from the telephone company’s 911 database and is able to contact land-line telephone numbers. Those with cellular or Voice over IP phones must register those telephone numbers to receive alerts. Text and email notifications are also managed through this self-registration portal. All who register can choose to opt-in to three additional categories of notifications: Weather, Major Events, and Other community notifications. These options are described further on the registration page. Register for Community Emergency Alert at https://acuecc.onthealert.com/.

The Emergency Communications Center also has social media tools to help the community be aware of daily interruptions, such as road closure due to accidents. Follow #CommEmerg on Twitter (https://twitter.com/CommEmerg) and like the Charlottesville, UVA, Albemarle County Emergency Communications Center page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/#!/CommEmerg).

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