Newscast for January 8, 2019
Good morning and thanks again for listening to the Daily Newscast; still waiting to reveal the name. Today’s installment is brought to you by Tastings, a wine bar, wine shop and fine dining establishment. Come by today and discover a whole new world. That’s Tastings in the Market Street Parking Garage.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has released its annual report on the health of the estuary, giving it a D+. That’s the first downgrade the foundation has given in ten years. The lower ranking is due to heavy rainfall in 2018 which increased the amount of nitrogren, phosphorous and sediment that reaches the bay.
“The bay suffered a massive assault in 2018,” said Will Baker, the foundation’s president. “The bay’s sustained improvement was reserved in 2018, exposing just how fragile the recovery is.”
The organic materials from wastewater treatment plants and fertilizers lead to algae blooms, and sediment makes it harder for bottom-dwelling organisms to breathe. The foundation is following a Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint to help the spread of underwater grasses and to reduce the size of dead zones that have no oxygen.
Albemarle officials are holding a roundtable today to discuss potential changes to the rules under which “Homestays” are allowed to operate in the county. Homestays is the official phrase used in Albemarle for bed and breakfasts, AirBnB, short-term rentals and other similar arrangements. The Board of Supervisors amended the code to enable the county to impose a tax on homestays. In the development area, these are only permitted in single-family homes and not condos, townhouses or apartments – and a resident manager must be on site.
Now the county is taking another look at the ordinance in part to ensure that homes in the rural area are not being purchased for the express purchase of becoming homestays. Some supervisors are concerned that will drive up the cost of housing. The roundtable begins at 4:00 p.m. at the county office building on McIntire Road.
The Greene County Board of Supervisors tonight will consider support for naming two rural roads as Virginia Scenic By-Ways. Greene County has joined forces with Albemarle and Madison counties to designate Route 810 and Route 230 as part of a nearly 90-mile roadway that would connect Crozet with Front Royal. Towns along the way include Stanardsville, Madison, and Sperryville. The goal would be to boost tourism in Greene County, a key element of its economic development plan. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Department of Transportation would need to sign off on the idea. (link to item on agenda)
Delegate Dickie Bell of Waynesboro has filed legislation that would give Waynesboro property owners the right to a hearing with the city assessor if they believe that they have been aggrieved. That requires a change to the city’s charter. Other charter bills that have been filed include one in Newport News to allow the City Council to set the time and location for its inaugural meeting each year. The Town of Irvington in Lancaster County wants to update how its boundaries are described. Charlottesville City Council is seeking a patron for a bill to allow a charter change to raise their salaries. Delegate David Toscano has told the Daily Progress he will not introduce such legislation. The General Assembly begins its 30 day session on Wednesday.
There’s a vacancy on the Roanoke City Council. Independent John Garland resigned last week, according to the Roanoke Times. Elected in May 2016, Garland stepped down due to potential conflicts of interest due to his profession as a developer. The Roanoke Council has until the end of the month to choose a replacement who will serve out the rest of Garland’s term.
And finally, Charlottesville City Council has discussed potential changes to their meeting schedule for 2019. Councilor Mike Signer asked his colleagues if they would support starting their meetings earlier.
“There’s the idea, especially with three of us having young kids, have every other meeting be what they do in the county where it would be during the day,” Signer said, referring to Albemarle.
Councilor Wes Bellamy said he liked the idea, but was concerned that it would reduce access.
“We may have a much more involved constituency who enjoy coming to our meetings or like to be involved and know what’s going on for a variety of different reasons,” Bellamy said.
Vice Mayor Heather Hill suggested Council could get more of its business done before public hearings begin. No major changes were made at the meeting, except for a decision to only hold one meeting in July.