Issues, Accomplishments, and Current Work

We strengthen our democracy when citizens are engaged and working with County government and local businesses, and together we can implement successful solutions to the issues facing our County.

Engaging citizens in County government has been a priority for me, and I have held 66 Town Hall meetings during my time in office. 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.

Protecting Natural Resources

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

  • Led the effort to strengthen the water protection ordinance and enforce buffers to protect our streams and rivers;
  • Successfully worked to obtain funding for the County’s solid waste facility – the transfer station;
  • Opposed the stormwater utility fee after careful study and listening to community concerns. I agreed with those who preferred to raise revenue through the existing tax structure of the General Fund. The state and federally-required stormwater work on the County workplan was widely supported throughout the process and is currently underway.

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.

  • Worked with VDOT and citizens to replace the Advance Mills bridge;
  • Fought 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 area, with more work to do. Rumble strips, speed reduction, and tree trimming have been completed; permanent speed signs and County-funded improvements are in process.
  • I am a founding member and have been a leader in the Earlysville Area Residents League (EARL) for almost 40 years. We were the first citizen group to bring a resident survey to the County Supervisors in pursuit of neighborhood improvements;
  • I have worked with residents and property owners in our country crossroad villages 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 work on the next revision is beginning in September.

  • The first Crozet Master Plan projected a population of 24,000. I worked with Crozetians on the 2010 Master Plan revision, and championed reducing the projected population for Crozet from 24,000 to 16,000;
  • 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 for a planning process that requires 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 sidewalks and bike lanes, sidewalks to Crozet School, the new Plaza design, and the new Jaunt Connect commuter service to Charlottesville;
  • 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 increase the number of affordable housing units in the County, and to provide tax relief to older homeowners. I support our partnership program with Habitat for Humanity in Wickham Pond;
  • I am working with the County staff to speed up funding for the design and construction of a new eastern connector road over Lickinghole Creek. This road is my biggest Crozet priority, as we desperately need another north-south connection between Route 250 and Route 240;
  • 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 a farmer in Albemarle for more than 35 years, I am particularly invested in ensuring that our farms continue to thrive. I have strengthened agriculture and forestry activities County-wide through careful management of valuable land use programs.

  • Led the effort to ensure that our Land Use Tax 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;
  • Worked to find 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, supported the development and implementation of the Acquisition of Conservation Easements Program (ACE), which purchases easements from willing sellers on a sliding income scale.

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;
  • 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 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 should open by April 2020 for hiking and biking.