Albemarle County Supervisors adopt new strategic plan goals

Longtime readers and listeners know by now that this newsletter and podcast seeks to give information about various plans, be they site, Comprehensive, Small Area, Biodiversity Action, strategic, or otherwise. Local governments in Albemarle and Charlottesville have hundreds of employees and in order to run an organization you need some kind of documents to coordinate what everyone’s doing.

Or in many cases, you don’t. 

In any case, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors made progress with two overarching plans at their meeting on October 19, 2022. The first was the Strategic Plan, which sets six overarching goals for what the county government hopes to achieve. These goals and their objectives can be reviewed on the county’s websiteHere’s the staff report for the October 19 work session

Kristy Shifflett, Director of Performance and Strategic Planning for Albemarle county was on hand to update Supervisors on various changes as well as community feedback. The significance of the strategic plan is the role it plays in guiding future spending. 

“The intention is that this will inform our next step as you’ll start talking about the five-year financial plan in November,” Shifflett said.

The performance indicators for the strategic plan are tied to the progress towards specific projects and initiatives. 

One change made since their last discussion in September was the addition of a paragraph centering the six-member elected body’s role in county governance. 

“The Board of Supervisors sets the policy direction for the future and local government staff implement it through their public service,” reads this new paragraph. “These efforts are maximized through Board-staff collaboration, guided by the Board of Supervisors’ Operating Guidelines for High Quality Governance and the Pillars of High Performance.”

A lot of the changes made since September are wordsmithing, such as adding the word “Engaged” to Goal 2 – Resilient, Equitable and Engaged Community. Objectives under this goal include implementing the Climate Action Plan and implementing stream health initiatives. 

Under Goal 4 (Quality of Life), the phrase “Refresh Project Enable” was changed to “Update Project Enable.” Project Enable is Albemarle’s strategic plan for economic development. 

The wording for another objective under Goal 4 related to open space was also changed. 

“We focused more instead of the development area, we have changed this to urban neighborhoods to be more focused in on what we heard about being able to have the areas that don’t have the spaces or the walkability to do the Parks and Recreational opportunities,” Shifflett said. 

Changes were made to wording in Goal 4 of the draft Strategic Plan, but not Goal 5 or Goal 6 (Credit: Albemarle County) 

Shifflett also went through a long list of themes that emerged from a round of community feedback that closed earlier this month. One of them was to “increase services in the  rural area” while another was to preserve rural character. 

Supervisor Ann Mallek of the White Hall District said that would lead to interesting conversations. 

“Because there are a lot of people who do not want that at all,” Mallek said. “There are many many villages in the White Hall District that are not eager to have lots more commerce move in. They might like to have a little grocery store be brought be back to life… The rural character and the rural services are sometimes in tension with each other.” 

Another broad theme in community feedback related to a desire by some for redevelopment to occur in the urban areas. That gave Supervisor Ned Gallaway some pause. 

“When I see anything that says that the public body should invest in redevelopment and improvements of existing properties, we have no capacity to do that,” Gallaway said. “They are private property owners. But this is a constant conversation that comes up when we look to the development area and folks see underutilized shopping centers and open storefronts and things that could have things in them and think that we can do something.” 

Gallaway said the county’s role is to set guidance through plans, such as the Rio Road Small Area Plan that was adopted in December 2018. 

Shifflett said the strategic plan is intended to be wide-ranging at this point as specifics get filled in.

“These are broad and so you are soon going to hear specifics about how our organization plans to support the community and development progress and performance underneath of these things,” Shifflet said. 

Supervisor Jim Andrews said he would like to make clear the Biodiversity Action Plan to be called out as something to state clearly. He also asked to add a line about emergency services and long-term resiliency.

Supervisors approved the strategic plan’s goals and objectives on a 6 to 0 vote. 

In a future edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement, there will be a summary on the Supervisor’s review of the draft Framework for Equity and Resilience. That’s part of the update of the county Comprehensive Plan. You can learn more about that in this article about the Planning Commission’s discussion on September 27, 2022

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the October 26, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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