Franklin Hill

preserved slope

Tuesday April 9 at 6:00 PM the Albemarle Planning Commission will hear a request to remove protective zoning from a forested hillside in the east Belmont Carlton neighborhood. The request comes on behalf of Elemental Ecotech, the owner of the property, who see the island of green at the perimeter of their recently denuded site as an impediment to their development efforts.
The applicant has an approved site plan for the bare dirt area showing 3.32 acres of impervious surface (12 buildings + sidewalks, roads and parking). The trees at the perimeter of the lot have survived because they are on hillsides protected by the Albemarle County’s preserved slopes overlay (Albemarle County Code 30.7)

2016 aerial, before site grading began

County staff have previously determined that the property can be developed with the protective zoning overlay in place, but staff is now recommending the approval of the zoning change.
Why do we care?
Development will occur on this site, but it must be done as thoughtfully as possible.
Ask Albemarle to be sensitive to global warming, stormwater runoff, natural habitat and native flora and fauna.
Ask Albemarle to preserve our cultural and natural assets, those things we love about our home, Piedmont Virginia.

parks and greenways
Southern and Western Urban Neighborhoods Master Plan. The arrow points towards a crescent shape, next to the purple, which contains the preserved steep slope.

This part of Central Virginia is magical. The forested hillside in question is less than a mile from Monticello, less than a mile from the point where the Rivanna River flows through the Southwest Mountains.
There is much to be gained by smart, thoughtful considerate guidance provided to future development by Albemarle County officials. Careful planning here represents a further step toward regional cooperation, everybody wins. (Franklin Street is the boundary between City and County).

the hill has existed for millenia

Please!
Consider writing the Albemarle County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors:
PlanningCommission@albemarle.org
bos@albemarle.org
Ask them:

  • to leave the hillside and trees alone.
  • to be careful when developing next to the flood plain, next to an impaired stream
  • to be respectful of the quality of life for neighbors
  • don’t want this

    Consider attending and speaking at the public hearing, County Office Building, 401 McIntire Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22902. 6:00PM April 9.
    p.s. This is the 2nd time there has been a request to remove slopes on this parcel.
    The first time was in 2015. http://woolenmillsneighborhood.org/blog/wmna-board-franklin-hill-letter/

    dystopian utopia

    eclipse
    A day set to the lyrics of Mr. Bob Dylan (2:41 pm)

    “Darkness at the break of noon
    Shadows even the silver spoon
    The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
    Eclipses both the sun and moon
    To understand you know too soon
    There is no sense in trying”—Dylan It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

    turtle hand
    Turtles came out for the eclipse. They were everywhere. I saw an ambulance stop for a turtle in the road. (3:26 pm)
    Walker Fogel
    Charlottesville City Council meeting. Pain, shouting, finger pointing. 7:36 pm.

    “Disillusioned words like bullets bark
    As human gods aim for their mark
    Make everything from toy guns that spark
    To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
    It’s easy to see without looking too far
    That not much is really sacred” – Bob Dylan It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

    feet on the dais
    The regular business of Council was suspended. 7:36 pm
    CPD
    I have a cousin who wants to join the police. It is a tough career choice. Requires great care and mindfulness. 7:44 pm

    Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces

    BRC worksession April 28
    Mayor Signer and Vice-Mayor Bellamy are briefed by City Manager Maurice Jones. April 28th the Charlottesville City Council met in work session to hammer out details of a resolution to be considered May 2 at their regular session setting up a commission.
    The resolution is available on the City’s website.
    NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that City Council does hereby authorize the creation of an ad hoc blue ribbon commission on race, memorials and public spaces and tasks the commission with the mission to provide Council with options for telling the full story of Charlottesville’s history of race and for changing the City’s narrative through our public spaces;

    Franklin Street, ongoing

    2005 WMNA President Allison Ewing
    Ten years ago in May we marked up maps of the Woolen Mills talking about safety and quality of life as it relates to the City right of way in our neighborhood. There have been many entries in this discussion.
    There was a moment of hope a year ago 6/16/2014:

    Ms. Szakos moved to approve a six month pilot from Market St. to the driveway of the existing business with appropriate signage, conduct a traffic study, and engage citizens and businesses. Ms. Galvin seconded, with the addition of a clearly marked pedestrian pathway. Ms. Smith said we should be sure we give adequate notice to the neighborhoods. The resolution passed. (Ayes: Ms. Szakos, Ms. Smith, Mr. Huja, Mr. Fenwick, Ms. Galvin; Noes: None.)

    Never happened.
    Since that time the Bike-Ped master plan revision has been recommended for approval by the Planning Commission. County and City meet to discuss the Rivanna corridor and planning issues along their joint boundary.
    Last night as part of its consent agenda Council approved funds for a sidewalk on Franklin.
    The Code audit, Standards and Design Manual revisions, the Streets That Work initiative, these hopeful initiatives seem to be MIA.
    The new director of Neighborhood Development has a very full plate.

    words are wind

    Market Street plan
    Meetings I remember. Huge category. This the meeting that laid out improvements to Market Street east of Meade Avenue. Plantings, stormwater BMPs, profile changes. I’d been canvassing residents of the street the day before (9/7/2008), encouraging their attendance at the meeting. Charles said he wasn’t coming, a waste of time: “the City will never do this for us, it’s all about the money, the river will rise up and wash us away.” I tried to persuade him, encouraging him to be more sanguine.
    Hey Charles! You were right. The improvements weren’t forthcoming.