I am a bit surprised that the Chamber is "concerned that Council is placing the City Attorney in the extremely difficult position of meeting with project opponents known to be preparing a suit to stop the project altogether, with an apparent assignment to assist those citizens with procedural elements of their case." I am curious if the Chamber contacted the city attorney on this matter prior to issuing this release. I attended the city council meeting where council asked the city attorney to meet with members of the Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park (CPMP) to ensure that all relevant issues of concern to the city and CPMP are included in a draft resolution for council consideration. It is well understood by CPMP members that the city attorney cannot provide legal advice to the coalition, and we have no intention to ask for legal advice. I have had conversations regarding legal issues regarding city actions in the past and know that our city attorney is well aware of his responsibilities as council to city council.
I am also disappointed that the Chamber appears to oppose consideration of all relevant federal, state, and local laws, regulations, ordinances, etc. prior to taking actions that may irreparably damage McIntire Park before legitimate concerns of parkland protection, historic resource preservation and federal transportation regulations are fully considered.
I requested during today's Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting that it - as the forum for consideration of regional transportation issues - host a community discussion of the true costs and benefits of the proposed project to ensure that the community decisions relating to this project are based on a comprehensive set of facts rather than isolated bits of information or opinion provided by a broad range of project stakeholders. The MPO members were not interested in serving as a forum for clarifying issues surrounding the project and moved on to other matters on their agenda.
To learn more about the project please come to C'ville Coffee on Harris Road (near the skate park) where CPMP will be holding a FUNdraiser and be providing information about their project concerns. The FUNdraiser is from 2-4 pm on Sunday March 28 at C'ville Coffee. There will be musical entertainment, comedy, and information provided. Tickets are $15 ($5 for under 12 year olds) . Come and enjoy the event and learn a bit more about how the Meadowcreek Parkway project will impact Charlottesville and McIntire Park. Check the bulletin boards around town for event details.
Chamber press release and letter to Mayor Norris follow:
and enhancing the quality of life in our Greater
CONTACT: Timothy P. O’Brien 434.295.3141
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EXPRESSES “GRAVE DISAPPOINTMENT AND CONCERN” TO CHARLOTTESVILLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OVER DIRECTION WITH “GREAT POTENTIAL TO DAMAGE” KEY ROADWAY PROJECTS
The March 22nd letter to Mayor David Norris and Charlottesville City Counselors stated, “Our Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce expresses our grave disappointment and concern about recent actions on behalf of the City of Charlottesville which appear to greatly compromise the City’s and Commonwealth of Virginia’s legal standing regarding the McIntire Road Extended Project, and bringing into serious jeopardy that vital project and many other projects of benefit to the City.”
“As you know,” the letter continued, “expeditious construction of the Meadowcreek Parkway & McIntire Road Extended projects – from Rio Road in Albemarle County to a new federal intersection project at US 250 & McIntire Road in the City of Charlottesville – providing a safe, attractive, accessible gateway to a vibrant, sustained downtown residential, shopping, entertainment and employment center, remain our Chamber's highest transportation priority projects.”
A copy of the Chamber letter to the City is attached.
The Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to representing private enterprise, promoting business and enhancing the quality of life in the Greater Charlottesville communities. Founded in 1913, today the Chamber has 1,000 member enterprises. Chamber member enterprises employ more than 45,000 men and women in the Greater Charlottesville region, representing an estimated total payroll of more than $1.3 billion a year.
3.24.10 – 10
Attachment: March 22, 2010 Chamber letter to Charlottesville Mayor & City Council
and enhancing the quality of life in our Greater
March 22, 2010
Dear Mayor Norris and Honorable City Councilors:
Our Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce expresses our grave disappointment and concern about recent actions on behalf of the City of Charlottesville which appear to greatly compromise the City’s and Commonwealth of Virginia’s legal standing regarding the McIntire Road Extended Project, and bringing into serious jeopardy that vital project and many other projects of benefit to the City.
As you know, expeditious construction of the Meadowcreek Parkway & McIntire Road Extended projects – from
Recent informal direction by City Council, apparently reversing more than forty years of City policy approved by numerous City Councils, politically linking two independent projects with separate and distinct functional utility, hold great potential to damage both of these projects’ prospects. This direction effectively halts progress on the McIntire Road Extended project just as the project is gaining its last needed permit, and at the 11-th hour of the awarding of a construction bid with very favorable pricing to the City’s and Virginia’s taxpayers. We are concerned that the impact of losing the $2 million benefit of these favorable construction bids was not treated more seriously. Clearly, if half or a full construction season is lost, it would be reasonable to assume project costs – taxpayer costs – will increase significantly.
Our Chamber is even more concerned that Council is placing the City Attorney in the extremely difficult position of meeting with project opponents known to be preparing a suit to stop the project altogether, with an apparent assignment to assist those citizens with procedural elements of their case. The City Attorney, by oath and public trust, represents the interests of the City – including advancing the McIntire Road Extended project, by repeated direction of City Council. Our Chamber respects Mayor Norris’ and others long-standing, firmly-held opposition to these projects. However, City Council has collectively voted to approve and forward this project on a number of occasions, and the public deserves to know that all Councilors, regardless of their personal opinion on a particular issue or project, will forward the official decisions of the Council, or, at a minimum, at least not interfere with such decisions. This is the basis of the public's trust in our democratic system.
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As you know, the
We are further concerned that these recent reversals may only further exacerbate already-frayed tensions between the City and
Again, our Chamber urges the Charlottesville City Council to proceed with construction of the McIntire Extended project and final planning stages of the federal US250 – McIntire Road Intersection project – separately and independently, as these two projects clearly are.
We would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet and discuss this very important matter with you.
X / W. Rod Gentry
W. Rod Gentry
Chairman of the Board of Directors
X / Timothy Hulbert
X / Robert P Hodous
Robert P. Hodous, Esq.
First Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors
The Honorable David Norris and Honorable City Councilors
cc: The Chamber Board of Directors