There’s new leadership in the Charlottesville Democratic Committee. At a reorganizational meeting on Monday, about a hundred participants selected John McLaren and Dashad Cooper to serve as the co-chairs of the committee.
McLaren is a resident of the Martha Jefferson neighborhood and Cooper is a student at Piedmont Virginia Community College who worked on the City Council campaigns of Brian Pinkston and Juandiego Wade.
The vice chair is Nancy Damon, a Fry’s Spring resident and former member of the Charlottesville Planning Commission. The secretary will continue to be Mary Ann Harris. Jason Vandever is the party’s treasurer. Vandever was elected as the city’s treasurer in a special election in 2013 and has held the position ever since.
The Republican Party of Charlottesville has not fielded a City Council candidate since 2015 when Anson Parker was their candidate. The chair of the party in Charlottesville is Dan Moy and the treasurer is Buddy Weber. Weber ran for Council in 2013 along with former Planning Commissioner Mike Farruggio.
Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders has explained what the city is going to address safety concerns on Fifth Street Extended. According to crash data from the Virginia Department of Transportation, there were three fatalities in 2020 on the divided highway. Police have confirmed there was another on the night of New Years Day.
“We very much remain concerned about the serious safety concern along that corridor,” Sanders said. “Our traffic engineer has been working to effect improvements with a few updates. We are pursuing a speed limit reduction. We have been working on that and you will have that matter before you at your next meeting.”
A divided council selects Snook as Mayor, but unanimously elects Wade as Vice Mayor
In their first vote of 2022, Charlottesville City Council chose Lloyd Snook to serve as mayor for the next two years. The first meeting with newcomers Brian Pinkston and Juandiego Wade was opened by Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall.
“The person elected to serve as Mayor will preside over City Council meetings and may call special meetings, make some appointments to advisory boards, and serves as the head of government for ceremonial purposes and official functions,” Marshall said. “The vice mayor substitutes whenever the mayor is not available.”
The new at-large member of the Planning Commission is Luis Carrazana, who is employed by the University of Virginia Office of the Architect as the Associate University Architect. Fred Missel, development director at the University of Virginia Foundation, will represent the Scottsville District, replacing Rick Randolph who retired.
Julian Bivins, Daniel Bailey, and Karen Firehock were reappointed to their terms representing Jack Jouett, Rio, and Samuel Miller Districts.
The six-member Albemarle Board of Supervisors has selected Donna Price to serve as the chair for the next year. Price is in the third year of her first term and she was the only nominee. There was no discussion and the vote went quickly.
“What sets Albemarle County apart from other local municipalities has been the steady, stable, and long-term leadership of the Office of County Executive and the County Attorney,” Price said. “The foresight of our County Executive, Jeff Richardson, the astuteneess of our county attorney Greg Kamptner and the dedication of innumerable citizens and public servants in an era of anger and while a deadly pandemic that has killed over 825,000 Americans… Albemarle County has not only survived. We have thrived.”
January 3 had been the expected reopening day for the Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center in Charlottesville, but further repair is needed for the facility which opened in 2010. However, a release that went out this morning now states that Smith will remain closed until a “spring 2022 reopening.”
A crash in the 900 block of Fifth Street Extended late Saturday night has killed a Richmond woman, according to a report from CBS19 News. That’s prompted the group Livable Cville to call on Charlottesville City Hall to move forward with planned solutions. A series of fatalities in 2020 led to a petition drive that led to a conversation on City Council that November of that year at which traffic engineer Brennan Duncan offered several recommendations including lowering the speed limit. Livable Cities wants to know why none of them have been implemented.
The Charlottesville City Planning Commission has made its recommendations for how to amend the draft capital budget for the next five years. That came at the end of a public hearing Tuesday that featured a discussion with City Council. Elected officials will make the final decision next spring as they adopt a budget that will be prepared under the supervision of a yet-to-be-named interim city manager. (draft FY23-FY27 CIP presentation to Planning Commission) (adopted FY22 budget)
The Commission got a look at the information at a work session on November 23, and heard it a second time from Senior Budget Analyst Krissy Hammill in advance of the public hearing. To recap, the capital budget is close to capacity due to the increase of spending in recent years, including a $75 million placeholder for the reconfiguration of middle schools. Council has also authorized a reorientation of priorities to find more money for the schools project. (previous story)
After the Buildings and Grounds Committee concluded on Thursday, the Academic and Student Life Committee met and heard from the new dean of the School of Architecture and the director of the Karsh Institute for Democracy.
First up: Malo Hutson took over as Dean of the School of Architecture at the beginning of the academic year. He previously was at Columbia University where he directed the Urban Communities and Health Equity Lab. Hutson said the study of architecture is focused on the public realm.
“We’re focused on addressing some of the biggest issues of the world, ranging from climate change all the way to the importance of cultural landscape and heritage, to thinking about do you build with healthy materials and so forth and transportation,” Hutson said.
The December 9 meeting of the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting was a shorter one than usual, but members were briefed on several items of note. One related to UVA’s sustainability efforts. Colette Sheehy is the Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government at UVA.
“You’ll recall that the big audacious goal for sustainability is to be carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil-fuel free by 2050,” Sheehy said. “Overall our emissions are down by 44 percent over the last decade which is equivalent to about 160,000 tons of carbon.”