Issues, Accomplishments, and Current Work

Engaging citizens in County government has been a priority for me. From 2008-2022, I held 82 Town Hall meetings at various locations around the district. Covid restrictions limited in person meetings for two years, but we maintained connections online where possible.

I have dealt with many important issues during my time in office. Some things I have accomplished and others on which we are still working are listed below. What issues are important to you?

Protecting Natural Resources

Albemarle citizens have prioritized clean air, water quality, and protection of natural resources and biodiversity.

  • Information I bring from the Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) of the EPA makes funding opportunities and technical assistance available to Albemarle;
  • Continued to lead the ongoing effort to strengthen the water protection ordinance and re-establish buffers to protect our streams and rivers. In 2021-2023 supported the development of the stream overlay district;
  • Successfully worked to open the County’s solid waste facility at the Ivy transfer station; support the completed Keene convenience center and a northern center to come.

Climate Change

It is no surprise to anyone that our rain storms are more ferocious, our heat or drought or freeze or blizzards are all more extreme. Albemarle County local government must plan for adaptation of operations and to assist citizens to become more resilient. Our survival depends on this work.

The Local Climate Action Planning Process (LCAPP) was an effort begun in 2011 by the County of Albemarle, the City of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia to work collaboratively with a large group of business leaders and environmental groups on the regional topic of energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. 12 years later the three jurisdictions are taking action based on the adaptation and resiliency recommendations of the plan.

Emerging Chemicals – Safety and Regulation – PFAS

My work on the EPA Local Government Advisory Committee and its three subcommittees, air and climate, water quality, and emerging chemicals has educated me on the federal decision process and ways to access technical assistance and funding for Albemarle.

The Healthy Communities workgroup has focused on emerging chemicals in process for upcoming federal regulation. The priority focus in 2021-2022 has been the PFOA PFAS family of chemicals which have been found to have serious health risks for humans and the environment. These chemicals are all around us and great care must be taken to avoid them in everyday life.

BUT the most important aspect for local governments is to avoid purchasing materials with PFAS. In addition to plastic bags, waterproof raingear and odor proof clothing, synthetic turf playing fields contain PFAS. Risk prevention must be primary: for the health of County residents, for County finances to pay for removal and disposal as federal regulation takes effect, and for the contamination of drinking water here and for communities downstream.

In 2022 PFAS contamination was discovered in the drinking water reservoir in Roanoke County. The local government will spend at least $13.5 million to clean this toxin out of the reservoir. Albemarle MUST avoid a similar fate.

“Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) include over 9,000 man-made chemicals, which have been frequently used in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used to fight petroleum fires, and consumer and industrial products to resist grease, oil, and water since the 1940’s. However, they are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals”, since they persist in the environment and human body, building up over time and increasing the risk of a myriad of adverse health effects, including PFAS cancer risks, as well as liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression, and cancer.”

Parks and Recreation

The mission of the parks and recreation department is to provide a unique system of parks, trails, and recreational experiences, while being superior stewards of the environment. During Covid closures, users of the trail systems and passive outdoor experiences soared from 1 million total users (including sports teams) to more than 2 million trail and open park users.

This increase indicates a need to prioritize individual and family users of our public spaces. A balance has not been achieved in the past, as team sports users have dominated the public spaces and the money spent.

Creating urban green spaces, small parks on open lots, and improved shade canopy along urban streets are all important ways the County can create better recreation opportunities and achieve climate change benefits as well.

Data Centers

Albemarle leadership should address the impacts of potential data centers on our local environment, residents, and economy. We should not leave the issue unaddressed, especially in the comprehensive plan and zoning updates which are in process now. Our topography and limited water resources restrict the ability of the County to host a data center, with 100,000s of square feet of roof impact, large electric and water usage, and few jobs created for the acreage they consume. Counties in northern Virginia are struggling already with the issues related to data centers. Thinking and planning ahead can help Albemarle to avoid confusion and loss of quality of life associated with data centers being proposed in our area.

Comprehensive Plan Update – Place Matters

2023-2024 will be an important time for all residents to participate fully in the review and adoption of an updated comprehensive plan. Required by state law, the “comp plan” is the backbone for decision making in local government, from the provision of services adopted in the budget, to legislative decisions on changes in land uses, affordable housing, transportation, and all aspects of environmental protection. Every five years since 1982, I have participated in the review. Some years it has been one chapter such as the Rural Areas or historic preservation. The most recent full review was undertaken 2010 to 2015 when the current version was last adopted.

Quality of Life and Public Safety for Rural Area Residents

I will continue my efforts to enhance public safety on the roadways and in our rural residential areas with road improvements, enforcement for speeding, and investments in public safety officers to enhance community policing. Speeding is the topic of the most concern across the district and has been for 15 years. For the third year, the Board of Supervisors asked the general assembly to permit photo speed cameras with ticketing ability. Implementation of cameras would get the attention of drivers; reducing speed would certainly save lives.

  • Supported creation of a multi agency team to assist residents exhibiting mental health crisis, with the intent to divert these people to treatment rather than to jail. Members of the police, fire and rescue, and social services departments work together with mental health specialists;
  • Worked with VDOT and citizens (2005 TO 2010) to replace the Advance Mills bridge;
  • When a member of the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (then CHART), I advocated for a decade to convert two intersections near the airport to roundabouts, enhancing traffic flow and eliminating highway deaths in those areas;
  • Doggedly pursued traffic safety measures in the Earlysville village, with more work to do. Rumble strips, tree trimming, permanent speed signs are complete and effective. More County-funded improvements are in consideration.
  • I am a founding member and have been a leader in the Earlysville Area Residents League (EARL) for more than 40 years. EARL was the first citizen group to bring a resident survey to the County Supervisors in pursuit of neighborhood improvements; with my family I started the July 4th parade in Earlysville 29 years ago.
  • I have worked with residents and property owners in our country crossroad villages to maintain vdot depots and post offices and to define and encourage reuse of historic buildings for desirable rural businesses.

Crozet Community Growth – Roads, Schools, and Affordable Housing

The first Crozet Master plan was adopted in 2005, before I became a Supervisor. Crozet residents wanted predictability and planning in the face of advancing development. The Crozet Master Plan is still the living guide for development in the growth area, and an updated plan was adopted in fall, 2021. As one might expect in a community where people are committed to their PLACE and NEIGHBORS, the plan revision was not without controversy. Disagreements remain about the levels of density in the Plan and the treatment of greenspaces and waterways.

  • The first Crozet Master Plan projected a population of 24,000. This generated huge complaint among residents. I worked with Crozetians on the 2010 Master Plan revision, and championed reducing the projected population for Crozet from 24,000 to 16,000 by 2030; as of 2023 the population of Crozet has already passed 10,000;
  • I have ensured that the decision-making process for development is deliberative and based upon adopted policy, opposing developments that are contrary to the Master Plan, especially on the fringes of the growth area;
  • I advocated to require a community meeting before development applications begin a County process;
  • I led the effort to secure funding for, and to build, the new Crozet Library, which opened in 2013. It was first approved in 1988;
  • I have made sure that the following projects were completed: Library Avenue, the two Crozet Avenue Streetscapes, Jarman’s Gap Road with sidewalks and bike lanes, sidewalks from St. George to Crozet School, the new Plaza design, the TONY autonomous shuttle pilot project, and the new Jaunt Connect commuter service to Charlottesville;
  • Fourteen years of advocacy resulted in revenue sharing state approval for 50% funding for the Eastern Avenue bridge between Westhall and Cory Farm. (first planned in 1992) This bridge has been my biggest Crozet priority, as we desperately need another north-south connection between Route 250 and Route 240 for residents and public safety vehicles; construction to begin in 2025.
  • State revenue sharing funding is also approved for the extension of Library Avenue to Parkside Village, as well as the renovation of the Square, drainage, sidewalks and parking area. The local match for the Library Ave extension was provided by the developer of the redevelopment, Milestone Partners, a first for Albemarle.
  • Advocated for County support for the Crozet Plaza, destination gathering place at the Eastern end of the J.B. Barnes lumberyard urban redevelopment project with Crozet New Town Partners.
  • I have worked closely with fabulous Crozet boards, including: Crozet Community Advisory Committee, Crozet Community Association, Downtown Crozet Initiative, Crozet Trails Crew, and the Claudius Crozet Park Board;
  • I have supported efforts to approve a program to deliver truly affordable housing units in the County, from workforce units for residents at 80% average median income (AMI) to units priced for residents with 40 and 60% AMI and which are attainable and sustainable. Attainable means that people are able to afford the unit, and sustainable means that the unit will remain in that income category. Properties constructed with federal funds, or with funding from tax credit sales, can be required to stay “affordable” for 30 years or more.
  • Bonafide affordable housing is the core of family security and success. In addition to new construction, retaining naturally occurring affordable family homes, or NOAHs, and improving them through weatherization lowers energy costs and protects our residents’ ability to stay close to family and friends.
  • Our housing process has been painstakingly thorough but accommodates the demands of the builder sector. Our role should be to make the rules and to partner with home providers for whom a price range of affordable homes, equity or rental, IS their business model.
  • I annually support increases to meet the need for qualified tax relief to older, disabled, and low income homeowners. I support our partnership program with Habitat for Humanity in Wickham Pond and in Southwood;
  • I am acutely aware of the impact of the growing population on our schools. I encourage the School Board to acquire accurate growth projections to better direct capital funds for school expansion while keeping the impact on low income taxpayers to a minimum;
  • Work is needed to create equitable access and program opportunity for all students in all of our schools.

Promoting Local Farms and our Agricultural Community 

As the operator of a grassfed beef to consumer farm in Albemarle for more than 40 years, I am particularly invested in ensuring that our farms continue to thrive. I have strengthened agriculture and forestry activities County-wide through clarification of by right ability for direct sale to customer and careful management of valuable land use programs.

  • For the fourth year I will support in the General Assembly legislation to require simple safety measures in state building codes for agricultural buildings open to the public. The public assumes that these structures are inspected and safe. What should be required are exit door lights, outward opening hardware on sufficient escape structures, fire extinguishers, and a fire alarm system.
  • Led the effort to ensure that our Property Tax Land Use Deferral Program is well managed, that anyone eligible for this program can use it, and that the County receives bi-annual compliance reporting from landowners. Proper management of the land use program is critical, to ensure the future of the program and the benefits it provides;
  • Guided a county-wide effort to simplify establishment of farmers markets and to allow on-farm and off-farm sales by producers;
  • Championed revised regulations for wineries, breweries, and event spaces, to prevent General Assembly interference in local public process;
  • I am always Working to keep a balance between rural quality of life and events on farms and at wineries. Ongoing discussions with constituents are crucial in upcoming decisions;
  • In 2000, I supported the implementation of the Acquisition of Conservation Easements Program (ACE), which purchases easements from willing sellers on a sliding income scale. As of 2023, Albemarle has the highest acreage in easement in Virginia. Preservation of land for agriculture and open space are important for our quality of life, the agricultural economy and for reduction of greenhouse gases through forest preservation.

Enhancing Economic Development in the County

I have worked to promote growth of local businesses and increase the number of new jobs in the County, while adhering to adopted planning principles and the citizen-generated Comprehensive Plan.

  • Supported the development and adoption of Project ENABLE, a Strategic planning process that details how the County will foster smart economic development by first supporting expansion of local businesses;
  • Collaborated with Crozet citizens and the Downtown Crozet Initiative (DCI) to encourage public-private partnerships to redevelop the Barnes Lumber site. Perrone Robotics, the first business on site, is a great example of an innovative business providing jobs in Crozet;
  • Advocated for client-focused services in training and job placement at our Workforce Center and PVCC through my positions on the State Board for Workforce Development and the local Workforce Council;
  • Enabled solutions for business owners by connecting them with County and VDOT staff to solve project issues;
  • Championed the development of the first-in-Virginia Monticello Artisan Trail, which has promoted more than 100 artisan and agri-artisan sites in Albemarle and Nelson, enhancing tourism and rural small business success.

Improving Public Safety

I have championed increased funding and support for the Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, and the volunteer and paid Fire and Rescue Departments. I have worked to protect our combined emergency service system that brings together volunteers and paid staff to keep our community safe.

  • Supported increasing patrol officers for the Police Department, to enable community policing to be implemented;
  • Fought successfully for construction of a healthy and quiet indoor firing and training range;
  • Protected the autonomy of our Volunteer Fire and Rescue Companies and promoted their vital community service. I have worked to improve equal access to training and decision-making, for volunteer and paid rescue and fire staff alike;
  • I applaud the changes made to school building entrances to make our schools safer.


Preserving the History of Albemarle’s People and Special Places

Historic places define and distinguish our community, create connections to our heritage, and as a native of Albemarle County, they hold a special place in my heart.

  • Continue to work with members of historic rural parishes and communities to increase understanding of the County’s history over 275 years;
  • Increase consideration of historic and established neighborhoods in land use decisions;
  • Sponsored the Blue Ridge Heritage Project. This memorial in our district honors the loss and sacrifices of Albemarle County residents who were displaced for establishment of the Shenandoah National Park. Hundreds of descendants live in the White Hall district today;
  • As a Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation Board Member, worked with Nelson County and other partners to secure funding and carry out rehabilitation of the Blue Ridge/Crozet Tunnel. The trail opened in November 2020 and has seen over 200,000 visitors in 26 months for hiking and biking.