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.

quiet enjoyment

131003 Our Town

People have been living in this neighborhood, this place, for thousands of years.
We live in the bend of a state scenic River, on rich, fertile ground, Davidson Loam. Seated here we are eight tenths of a mile from the front porch of Monticello, a mile and 2/10ths from the downtown mall. Seated here we are home, in the center of our universe.
But often we feel, as a neighborhood, that we are in the center of the crosshairs.
Over the years our discussions with the Council have focused on a handful of issues. We’ve asked for reductions in traffic speed and volume, we’ve asked for a reduction of the sewage smell. We’ve asked for pedestrian safety improvements and we have asked that planning and zoning be used to conserve our cultural and natural resources as well as our quality of life.
We have partnered with government entities in the creation of a national historic district, in the design of a sewage pumping station and in the care of our City park. We plant streetscape trees. We pick up trash, we attend City meetings. We have accomplished much but still, we feel threatened.
We are reassured by statements from Mayor Huja and Vice Mayor Szakos in opposition to a bridge through the Woolen Mills. We thank Dave Norris for his enduring stand against the County using City neighborhoods as an interchange.
Diversity is a strength to our way of thinking. We are all kinds of people in this neighborhood. But our mixed status, our socio-economic profile, seems to attract locally unwanted landuses.
Please work with us in our effort to secure the quiet enjoyment of our own homes and the health, safety and welfare of our neighborhood. Together we can make it so.

Python skin


In a 9/12/12 article regarding Moto Saloon the Daily Progress reporter remarked:

Permit opponents, most of whom were older than the bulk of the saloon supporters, argued that the noise problems are undeniable and that they are entitled to tranquility in their own homes.

I wonder if the old folks were wearing orthopedic footwear, had hairpieces, reading glasses and hearing aids? Old people are such a drag on culture and vibrancy.

SUP 101

SUP 101


Charlottesville Neighborhood Development Services planner Brian Haluska AICP presents information regarding the purpose and intent of the “Special Use Permit” provision within the zoning code. How are such permits applied for? Who can grant an SUP?
The informational meeting was held at the Woolen Mills Chapel, organized by Cindy Cartwright and Bill Lankford. Attended by 30 citizens…
Mr. Haluska pointed the assembled toward the definition and regulations pertaining to music halls.

Teachable Moment

members of the public speak
Via the stepwise Parks and Rec ten part “Park Master Planning Process” members of the public are halfway to the finish line, the 18th hole, the goal posts, whatever lousy sports analogy you want to employ. Halfway to adoption by the City Council of a McIntire East Park Master Plan.
(One suggestion to P&R, can we take out the qualifier (Master)?
Were there UVA anthropologists/sociologists (or maybe systems engineers or religion majors) in the room February 28, in native dress, doing fieldwork? Extracting the academic relatable lessons from this painful and painstaking process?

Pictured above, Public Mtg. 4, the Venting phase. Earlier in the evening Chris Gensic oriented the Public and answered questions. Following Mr. Gensic the Public was invited to speak. The Public can be characterized in many dualistic ways. Male/Female, republican/democrat, grid/cul-de-sac, old/young, elitist/populist, eggheads/athletes, polemicists/harmonists, tree-hugging/bulldozing, orator/listener, round-ball/no-ball. The binary way of thinking is divisive, but we think like we walk.

And so people stood on their hind feet and said stuff. Mostly flights of rhetoric, emotional pleas, cants and rants. Some information emerged. For the hardy and open-minded, there were things to learn, as least two of the City Councilors dropped by.
NEXT MEETING: Monday, March 26th, 6:00pm at the Buford Middle School Auditorium, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Public Hearing.

flow chart

Many of the speakers represented the local chapter of The First Tee™ .
The First Tee™ was established by the World Golf Foundation in 1997 as a 501(c)3. The initial focus was on creating affordable access for those not previously exposed to the game of golf.
The First Tee™ headquarters is located in the World Golf Village, a 6300 acre real estate development (almost the size of Charlottesville). The World Golf Village is located South of Jacksonville Florida in St Johns County, I-95 south to exit 323, then take the International Golf Parkway.
As of today March 2, 2012 the average home price for homes for sale in World Golf Village is $270,214,
The First Tee™ headquarters gets a walk score of 46, it is located in a suburban landscape.
Honorary Chair of The First Tee™ is President George W. Bush. Former honorary chair was President George H.W. Bush.
The mission of The First Tee™ is “to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.”
The life-enhancing “Nine Core Values”:
– Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy, Judgement.
The CHO Chapter of The First Tee™ has been chartered since 2004 and is one of 202 Chapters operating in 46 states and five countries.

Amen.

Charlottesville Tomorrow has the story

Meetings (laughing)

Rivanna Pump Station
The existing Rivanna Pump Station is in close proximity to houses in the Woolen Mills.


Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone. For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own.–E. W. Wilcox

There are different types of laughter: etiquette laughter; nervous laughter; silent laughter; belly laughter; cruel laughter. Are any of these appropriate in a public meeting?
Political bodies have different “laughter cultures”. Locally, I don’t hear the Board of Supervisors or the City Council laughing but the Charlottesville Planning Commission likes to laugh. The local kings of laughter are the members of the Albemarle County Service Authority.

A bit of levity can lift the mood in a long meeting. Everyone loves a laugh. But laughter at the public’s expense, laughter where the citizens are the butt of the joke, this would seem to be inappropriate emanating from public servants. Audio clips are posted below, please listen for yourself and listen for the laughs. Is it proper?

Mini-Rotunda
Buy & Relocate
Convenience & View
Trailer-Mounted Pump Station

Sound bites are misleading. Every interview subject fears sound bites, with good reason. Statements are abstracted from context and standing alone, take on an entirely different meaning.
The bites here can be heard in context on Charlotteville Tomorrow’s website.

Mini-Rotunda is about 12:20 in to the 3/17/2011 ACSA meeting.
Buy & Relocate is approximately 52 minutes into the 5/19/2011 meeting
Convenience & View is 16:20 in to the May Meeting
Trailer-Mounted Pump Station is approximately 58 minutes in to the May meeting

Because of the limited utility of sound-bites to convey the essence of a meeting, I heartily endorse our local C-Span, Charlotteville Tomorrow. Charlottesville Tomorrow provides gavel to gavel audio coverage of important local meetings. I urge you to support this critical community service. I encourage you to be involved with local boards, commissions and legislative bodies. Serve on them, attend the meetings. Our collective quality of life rests on the shoulders of an engaged public.
(All audio presented here was recorded by Charlottesville Tomorrow)