Fifty years ago today, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority was incorporated as a public body, pursuant to what was known as the Virginia Water and Sewer Authorities Act. The body was created at the request of both Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
“That was for the purpose of managing our reservoirs and dams, our public drinking water, treating that and distributing it, and also treating our sewage,” said Lance Stewart, the director of Facilities and Environmental Services for Albemarle County.
Charlottesville City Council had been expected to consider a special use permit for a seven-story building on Jefferson Park Avenue at their meeting last night, but the item was delayed until a further meeting. The Planning Commission voted 4-3 on May 10 to recommend approval, with some members expressing concerns about the massing and scale of the project. Mayor Lloyd Snook addressed the delay.
“There were a number of issues raised at the Planning Commission and the approval that the Planning Commission gave was in some ways was conditioned upon ‘you all go figure ways to moderate this, to mitigate some of the harmful effects of the way it was appearing to be so massive and so on,” Snook said.
One innovation to come with the tenure of interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers is a written report that is produced once a month to address items that come up at City Council. He also read from the report at the beginning of last night’s meeting and provided an update on the city’s current pause on issuing new building permits. No new inspections or permits will take place through June 13. (read the report)
“We have made multiple offers for a new building official and have to restart the process again with the most recent candidate changing their mind about relocating here at the last minute after we thought they accepted the position,” Rogers said. “We had previously contracted with a firm to help us with the inspections to offset our shortage. The two employees signed by that firm also left us recently so we are scrambling to catch up.”
There are 518 days until the next time voters will decide on who will sit in the Virginia House of Delegates. That’s a year later than the 154 days that Richmond attorney Paul Goldman had wanted, but a panel of three federal judges have ruled that he did not have standing to bring the lawsuit either as a voter or a potential candidate. (read the opinion)
In his original complaint filed June 28 of last year, Goldman alleged that the legislative boundaries at the time of the 2021 House of Delegates elections scheduled for that November would be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He argued the population of some districts were much larger than others due to the outdated districts.
The case made its way up to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals before being sent back to the lower court this past March.
Attorneys for the state filed a motion to dismiss the case on April 1, 2022, and yesterday’s opinion granted their request.
“The current Motion to Dismiss follows a convoluted, months-long procedural history involving multiple complaints, motions to dismiss, motions to intervene, various hearings, as well as the appointment of a three-judge court and an interlocutory appeal to the Fourth Circuit of Appeals on sovereign immunity,” reads the introduction to the opinion.
The opinion is also a history of the delays experienced by the U.S. Census Bureau in delivering data from the 2020 count due to pandemic-related issues as well as the failure of the bipartisan Virginia Redistricting Commission to reach consensus last October.
The opinion notes that Goldman opted to not file paperwork to actually run in 2021, and notes Goldman resisted proving that he even voted that year. That means he could not prove he personally suffered an “injury” that would grant him the right to sue.
“Plaintiff bears the burden of proving that he has standing, but he has not properly supported his assertion that he voted in November 2021,” the opinion continues. “If Plaintiff did not vote in November 2021, he lacks standing, as he cannot claim injury to a right that he voluntarily failed to exercise.”
Goldman later did file an affidavit stating he did vote, but the opinion notes this was filed improperly. Still, the ruling goes on to state Goldman had not sufficiently explained why he was personally disadvantaged by voting in 2021 in the older district.
“Virginia has 100 House of Delegates districts, making the ideal district population 86,314,” Judge Novak writes in the opinion. “Plaintiff’s House of Delegates District, District 68, had an adjusted population of 85,344.”
The case is now closed, according to the order, with no possibility of appeal.