Saturday, November 14, 2009

Summary of Interchange Public Hearing Comments provided to Charlottesville City Council

Below is the summary of comments as provided to Charlottesville City Council by the city staff. the full text of comments are available through the city clerk's or city attorney's office and contains several hundred pages. City Council wisely deferred considering any design approval to allow councilors to actually consider public commentary. Council also is reported as not feeling that pedestrian and bicycle access to East McIntire Park is adequate - especially given that providing pedestrian and bicycle access is a key element of the project purpose and need. A report on the public hearing results will be provided to council at their Nov. 16, 2009 meeting, but consideration of a resolution approving the essential features of the design has been deferred.

This project is perceived by many to provide benefits to Albemarle County residents with all of the impacts occurring in Charlottesville City. My brief scanning of the comments indicates that many of the comments in support of the project are from Albemarle County residents. I will be urging councilors to be sensitive to the balance of comments between city and county commentators given that this is a city project primarily funded by federal, city, and Charlottesville's portion of the State Urban Road System funds. Albemarle County provides no direct funding for the interchange project to my knowledge.

Here is the city staff summary of comments as provided to City Council on Nov. 13, 2009:

A Design Public Hearing for the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road project was held on October 29, 2009 at City Space. Attendees viewed displays about the project and the Revised Environmental Assessment including the Preferred Alternative and the likely environmental impacts of the project.

The following summarizes input received from those who attended the public hearing as well as those who submitted comments during the designated comment period (September 29, 2009 through November 9, 2009).


• 94 people attended the hearing
• A total of 168 comments were received
o 41 people provided oral testimony, either publicly or privately
o 12 written comments using the hearing comment form
o 109 comments were received through the project website
o 6 comments were received via letter or email letter
• A total of 146 people provided comments

MOST FREQUENT COMMENTS (No. of People Commenting)

• Oppose the project (38)
• In favor of the project (38)
• Pedestrians and Bicyclists not sufficiently accommodated / prioritized (72)
• Interchange is too large (8)
• Project should be combined with McIntire Road Extended Project (7)
• Historic properties impacts too great (31)
• Additional traffic in neighborhoods (29)
• Environmental impacts can be / are appropriately mitigated (17)
• Environmental / park impacts are substantial (31)

Friday, November 13, 2009

See a Sneak Preview of "Coal Country" on Saturday

Green Grounds at the University of Virginia is hosting a preview of the film "Coal Country" at room 158, Campbell Hall (the Architecture School) on Saturday (tomorrow) at 4:00 pm. It is a 45-minute documentary about mountaintop removal mining and how that method of mining is damaging our mountain environment.

I am planning to attend this screening and believe it is open to all interested folks.

The photo is from Appalachian Voices.

Here is the announcement:

The Green Grounds Group is pleased to announce a F R E E upcoming sneak preview of Coal Country, a film by Mari-Lynn Evans and Phylis Geller. This feature-length documentary confronts the devastating effects of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. It reveals the truth about the impact of this modern coal mining practice on the landscape and local communities through the stories of working miners, activists and community members - those most intimately involved in battling the coal companies. The film officially premieres on the Planet Grow network on November 14th at 8pm.

+ When? Saturday, November 14th at 4:00pm (reception to follow with light refreshments + guest speakers from Wise Energy for Virginia)
+ Where? UVa School of Architecture, Campbell Hall, Room 158 (free parking just down the hill at Culbreth Parking garage)

This event is co-sponsored by the Green Grounds Group at the University of Virginia and Wise Energy for Virginia