Newscast for January 3, 2019

Welcome to the Local Government news roundup for January, 3, 2019. We’re still working on the name, and the content, but the goal is to provide another source for what’s going on in and around the greater Charlottesville. Today’s installment is brought to you by Court Square Tavern, a local institution since 1976. Located in the old Monticello Hotel, consider Court Square Tavern the next time you want to meet a good friend.

The Harrisonburg Citizen reports that the five-member Harrisonburg City Council has chosen Deanna Reed to serve as its presiding officer for a second term. Newly elected Councilor Sal Romero will serve as the vice mayor. Reed’s election was not unanimous, as Councilor George Hirschmann decided not to support a second term. The Citizen reports that Reed’s election breaks a tradition where the top vote-getter is selected as mayor. Romero received 6,740 votes in the November election.

That’s according to the Virginia Department of Elections. Incumbent Christopher Jones was re-elected with 6,188 votes in the five person race. Reed said her top two priorities this year are to accelerate construction of a second high school for Harrisonburg as well as increasing the amount of affordable housing in the city


The University of Virginia’s real estate foundation has purchased another property on Ivy Road. In mid-December, the UVA Foundation purchased a two-story home at 2019 Ivy Road for just under a million dollars. The 0.42 acre property was assessed in 2018 at $538,100. The Foundation has slowly been purchasing land along the corridor for many years, and this is the second piece of land on the southern side of Ivy the Foundation purchased in 2018. In mid-October, the foundation bought 101 Bollingwood Road for $850,000, more than double the assessed value of $376,400. The foundation or the University owns all but one property on the northern side of the road between Emmet Street and Copeley Road. Expect the entire corridor to transform over the next several years as the University seeks to implement a master plan.


In other UVA Foundation news, a site plan has been filed to transform a vacant property owned on Seminole Trail into an AutoZone franchise. The land is at the corner of U.S. 29 and Westfield Road. The design will go before the Architectural Review Board in January. The foundation purchased the land in 2006. A restaurant used to stand on the land but was torn down after a fire. According to the site plan, the Autozone will generate 378 vehicle trips a day.


The Chesapeake Bay Commission will meet for this first time this year today at for a two-day session in Annapolis, Maryland. The body is made up of legislators from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, three of the six states and the District of Columbia. In 2019, the body will be chaired by Virginia State Senator Frank Wagner, a Republican who represents Virginia’s 7th Senate District. At the top of the meeting, the group will be briefed on the progress of a “pollution diet” mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In a process known as the Watershed Implementation Program, or WIP, localities across the Bay’s entire watershed must come up with plans that show how they will reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that eventually flows into the largest estuary in the United States. The Chesapeake Bay Commission does not have any binding authority, but provides a chance for elected officials and others to learn about what’s going on to clean up the Bay, from multiple perspectives. Friday’s session will see two presentations on the what the business community is doing toward the effort.


We have more annual precipitation figures to report from 2018. Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service show that rainfall totals in Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Richmond were up significantly last year. Virginia Water Central gathered the information, which shows that Charlottesville received 20 inches over the annual normal of 40.89. That figure is an average of the past three decades. The Washington-Dulles Airport reported 66.75 inches last year, a 25 inch increase. Virginia Water Central also reports that the state is drought-free. That’s not the case in much of the western portion of the country.


And finally today, next week the Virginia Department of Transportation will temporarily close Proffit to through traffic in order to clean underneath a bridge that spans the Rivanna River. Debris became trapped under the bridge after those heavy flooding events last year, causing concern that future floods might seriously damage the bridge. Motorists are advised to seek alternate routes to get between U.S. 29 and Virginia Route 20.

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