Sunday, January 31, 2010

Green Charlottesville - the theme of the February 2010 show at McGuffy Arts Center

I just carried (with the help of my friend Susan) a mosaic entitled "The Greening of Charlottesville Map" for display at the February 2010 "Charlottesville in Two Dimensions (C2D)" art show at the McGuffy Art Gallery in Charlottesville. The opening is February 5, 2010 and the show runs through the end of February. My piece (see photo) is about 36" by 36" and who knows - I just might win the $500 prize! Prize winning pieces are to be announced at 6:15 p.m. on February 5 at the opening.

You too can submit a piece by 5:00 pm today. Check out the Art in Place C2D website for details.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation provides additional comments on Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road project

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation provided additional comments on the Route 250 Bypass at McIntire Road project as part of the Section 106 (Historical Preservation) review. Negotiations of a Memorandum of Agreement continue and progress is being made. Check out the three page letter below.

Note: Click on a page to get a more readable image.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wind Power - Human Power

Wind power and human power in the Netherlands: This photo is from today's online edition of the Dutch language newspaper de Telegraaf ( I am happy to leave my car at home when it is cold, windy, and ice is on the ground (sound familiar?) but I wish I could rig an iceboat or strap on my skates to get around as folks are doing in the Netherlands. After a skate I too would go for a traditional borrelje of jenever (a shot of Dutch gin) to warm up. If it is going to be cold, why not enjoy it and let the windmills do the work.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Required steps prior to granting a Corps of Engineers permit for McIntire Road Extended

City Council's letter providing the official position of council on construction of an at-grade intersection at Route 250 as the southern terminus of the proposed McIntire Road Extended project may lead to changes in how the parkway is planned, and if it will be granted a necessary U.S. Corps of Engineers permit to allow construction. For those curious about the role of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in this project I have provided below an exchange of emails that may help clarify the Corps' role. First is an inquiry I sent to Ms. Kathy Perdue, the Corps' project manager. Following is Ms. Perdue's reply. The letters referred to are available in my recent blog posts.

Dear Ms Perdue, (Emailed on December 29, 2009)

Issues surrounding the status of an at-grade intersection alternative for the McIntire Road Extended project in Charlottesville VA have become somewhat confused by statements in the letter (Nov. 23, 2009 from Ms Angela Tucker of Charlottesville to Mr. Brent Sprinkel of VDOT) you distributed concerning the McIntire Road Extended project's southern terminus. Statements in that letter appear to contradict Charlottesville City Council resolutions and anticipate how city council might vote on future transportation proposals. I do not believe that this letter should be considered an authoritative source of councils position now or in the future regarding McIntire Road Extended.

I find no funding allocations of any sort that would cover construction of an at-grade intersection at Route 250 Bypass, or for the 775 feet of road that would be necessary to connect the current VDOT end of project for McIntire Road Extended to the Route 250 Bypass. Thus, I do not see how VDOT can expect that the Corps of Engineers grant a permit to construct the McIntire Road Extended project all the way from Melbourne Road to Route 250 Bypass ending in an at-grade intersection.

I assume that there are Corps guidelines on what funding, design, approval or other phases of a project must be reached prior to the Corps granting a permit. Please send me a link or document that outlines these thresholds and how the Corps approves that a project meets these threshold requirements. Frankly, I find it inappropriate for VDOT to submit for permitting a project that is not currently or anticipated to be fully funded in VDOT's Six-Year Improvement Program.

Any information you can provide me on this issue would be greatly appreciated.


Peter Kleeman

Dear Mr. Kleeman, (Emailed on December 29, 2009)

The letter to which you refer was written by a City employee on City letterhead; as such, the Corps recognizes it at the City's position, unless of course, the City submits a correction to the letter.

Also, Corps regulations have no requirements for projects to have funding in place prior to receiving Corps permits. Likewise, we cannot deny someone's project based on the fact that he does not have funding upfront to construct it. (Otherwise, we'd have to deny a lot of mom and pop operations! And in the case of VDOT in particular, funding gets moved around all that
time. Sometimes it gets taken away from one project and put on another, or taken away and then put back on the same project again. Some authorized projects as a result never get built, or are built later than anticipated). In short, it isn't our business whether or not someone has the money to construct what he applied to construct, or received a permit to construct. And of course there is no requirement that he even construct his project at all. If the project is constructed, then of course it is our business that permittees adhere to the specific Corps conditions for the permitted activity.

In short, we are charged with environmental review under Section 404 and its associated laws, such as NEPA, Section 106, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, the Magnusan-Stevenson Act (Essential Fish Habitat), etc. (You may recall that in the case of McIntire Road Extended, the activity that necessitates a Corps permit for the project is the road crossing). An applicant must fill out an application to apply for most Corps permits (which VDOT has done). The applicant's project also need not be at 100% design to obtain a permit, but the water or wetland impact being authorized must be quantified and accurate. And, if anything changes with regard to the
applicant's water/wetland impacts after he receives his permit, in most cases he must apply for a permit modification.

And finally, an applicant need not have other approvals already in hand (such as State or local), prior to obtaining a Corps permit, because our authority is independent of theirs. Applicants must still comply with all applicable laws and regs of course, but in most cases our permit is only a small piece of that, and it's the only part we can enforce.

Attached is the link to the permit for which VDOT is applying (07-SPGP-01, Part B):

I hope this helps.

Kathy Perdue

Will the Tiger Woods Foundation help save McIntire Park?

With Tiger Woods appearing in virtually every publication around the world in the past few weeks, I decided that he might be interested in changing the subject from his social life to another social agenda. I found the Tiger Woods Foundation website and discovered that this foundation is interested in providing education opportunities for youth from diverse backgrounds. The "Empowering Youth" goal of the foundation states the following:

"Providing access to critical developmental programs is a priority for the Tiger Woods Foundation. Youth are encouraged to explore their interests and career aspirations in an inspiring and supportive environment at the Tiger Woods Learning Center. Achieving goals and reaching dreams is the focus of our nationwide character development program. The Foundation is giving youth the skills to lay their own groundwork for the future."

I thought the goals of the Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park including saving the historic McIntire Park Golf Course and the First Tee program that is hosted at the course might be of interest to the Tiger Woods Foundation. Below is my inquiry (with minor editorial changes) to the Tiger Woods Foundation asking for support of our effort.

I am hoping Tiger Woods himself might get personally involved in this effort. Perhaps rather than being a spokesman for AT&T and other commercial enterprises who have released him from their marketing arrangements, he would be interested in being a spokesman and champion of preserving our historic golf course, our historic parkland, and youth education. The change of subject might be just what Tiger Woods needs.

I included my telephone number so Tiger Woods can contact me directly if he is personally interested. Maybe he and I (and some financial supporters of our cause) could play a round when the course is playable again so he can see our historic course and understand why McIntire Park must be preserved. Let me know if you can lend me a set of clubs for such a round. I have played golf a few times, but I don't currently have any clubs and haven't swung a golf club since sometime in the Carter administration.

My inquiry to the Tiger Woods Foundation:

A historic golf course (McIntire Park Golf Course) located in Charlottesville Virginia is threatened by a proposed roadway and interchange. This golf course is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and was originally built in the Scottish Pasture Golf style. Currently, this golf course hosts a program called the First Tee program. The First Tee provides young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop life-enhancing values such as confidence, perseverance and judgment through golf and character education.

A coalition of environmentalist, planners, golfers, transportation engineers, educators, and citizens are attempting to save this historic golf course - and the park in which it is contained - from destruction by the roadway and interchange - so that members of the greater Charlottesville area and visitors from outside the area can enjoy the use and educational opportunities this historic course provides. This coalition (the Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park) has been working for several years to save this historic park and golf course through interaction with the City of Charlottesville, the Federal Highway Administration, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We believe that the road and interchange projects are being developed not in compliance with several federal environmental and historic preservation laws and should not be constructed as planned.

Attorneys we have consulted suggest that our case is strong, but that we will need to mount a vigorous action in federal court to preserve the historic parkland and golf course. We believe that our goal and the mission of the Tiger Woods Foundation coincide on this issue and request that you consider providing support for our efforts to save the historic McIntire Park Golf Course and enhance the opportunities for youth of all backgrounds to become successful citizens through the First Tee program and understanding the importance of historic preservation as a part of our cultural experience.

Please let me know if the Tiger Woods Foundation might be interested in providing us some support for this effort. We would also welcome any suggestions you might have to assist us in other than simply financial support. Perhaps Mr Woods himself might find that associating himself with this effort in support of both preservation of historic golf courses, and in education of today's youth might be mutually beneficial.

I look forward to hearing from you and am happy to discuss details of any possible arrangement that might be within the mission of the Tiger Woods Foundation.


Peter Kleeman - member of the Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park, Charlottesville VA
(434) 296-6208

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Charlottesville City Council Clarifies Position on McIntire Road Extended Intersection

Last night, Charlottesville City Council approved sending a letter to VDOT (and distribute it to other project stakeholders) clarifying councils position on a possible at-grade intersection of McIntire Road Extended and the Route 250 Bypass. The letter was presented to council as given below and passed without amendment. Below is the text of the letter as presented.

I am eager to hear how this clarification may impact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers consideration of the permit requested by VDOT that considers the at-grade intersection as part of the McIntire Road Extended project. Without the at-grade intersection, VDOT may have to resubmit the permit request with the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road as the southern terminus of the project. Independence of the McIntire Road Extended project without the interchange is clearly difficult to defend.

Check back for future developments.

January 4, 2010

Mr. Brent Sprinkel, PE
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 Orange Street
Culpeper, Virginia

RE: City Letter of 11/23/09 re: Meadow Creek Parkway (McIntire Road Extended)

Dear Mr. Sprinkel:

This letter is written on behalf of the City Council of the City of Charlottesville to clarify a statement in the letter written on November 23, 2009 to you by Ms. Angela Tucker. On page 2 of that letter, Ms. Tucker states:

“If the City elects not to move forward with the Interchange project, City Council will grant the necessary permission to complete the at-grade intersection as designed under the McIntire Road Extended project.”

To clarify, the official position of the City of Charlottesville, as stated in a letter of 1/18/06 to VDOT (attached) is to only build the McIntire Road Extended with a grade separated interchange.

“Council has engaged a firm for engineering services for the design of this project and thanks VDOT, the County Board of Supervisors, and especially Senator Warner for their efforts to secure funding for the interchange. We remain committed to this project as a necessary improvement to both the U. S. 250 Bypass and the proposed Meadow Creek Parkway.”

This position was further emphasized in the 10/1/07 Resolution of the Council (attached) which granted the temporary construction easement for the McIntire Road Extended. Condition (3) states:

“Written confirmation from the Virginia Department of Transportation that this temporary construction easement will not be used to construct an at-grade intersection at the intersection of U. S. Route 250 Bypass and McIntire Road Extended.”

In summary, City Council has taken the official position that the Council support for the McIntire Road Extended is specifically based on the construction of a grade separated interchange at the U. S. 250 Bypass. Council has taken no position on an at-grade intersection.

I hope this clarifies the official City position. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Dave Norris