Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park asks City Council to Consider McIntire Road Extended Resolution

The Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park (CPMP) distributed the text of a proposed resolution concerning future council actions associated with the proposed McIntire Road Extended project that would significantly impact McIntire Park. An article in today's Daily Progress entitled "Group offers new appeal on parkway" by Rachana Dixit discusses how CPMP worked with the City Attorney to get the language of the proposed resolution in a form suitable for council consideration, but it is not clear if council has yet discussed the proposed resolution in the closed session of council held on Monday April 19, 2010. The Daily Progress Headline is a bit misleading in that this is not a new appeal on the Meadowcreek Parkway project. CPMP submitted a similar proposal to council several weeks ago. The new text is the result of discussions on the wording of the resolution between CPMP and the City Attorney carried out at the request of council.

The Daily Progress article suggests that some council members are hoping what the resolution calls for will occur, but that council may not act to ensure that CPMP is afforded a fair opportunity for judicial review of the project segmentation claim.

I certainly encourage council to pass this resolution so that CPMP members and other area residents can be assured that their concerns are fairly addressed in Federal court if that turns out to be necessary. Approving this proposed resolution will be consistent with Charlottesville City Council's vision statement where they strive to be "A leader in innovation, environmental sustainability, and social and economic justice." In the vision statement council states the following:

"The delivery of quality services is at the heart of Charlottesville’s social compact with its citizens. Charlottesville’s approach to customer service ensures that we have safe neighborhoods, strong schools, and a clean environment. We continually work to employ the optimal means of delivering services, and our decisions are informed at every stage by effective communication and active citizen involvement."

CPMP believes that the proposed resolution is necessary to ensure that our opportunity to exercise active citizen involvement may be prempted by actions by the Virginia Department of Transportation or the City of Charlottesville. Passing the proposed resolution or some variant of the resolution agreed upon by CPMP and City Council would clearly demonstrate that council acts in concert with its own vision statement.

Below is the draft resolution submitted to city council for its consideration.

Dear Councilors,
The Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park believes the proposed McIntire Road Extended and Rt. 250 Bypass Interchange are not in full compliance with federal project development, historic preservation, and environmental laws. It is our belief that no damage should occur in McIntire Park until the legal question has been resolved. We request that you act in the best interests of the citizens of Charlottesville by passing a resolution to protect McIntire Park from premature and unnecessary disturbance. The people have a right to know that if a large section of McIntire Park is threatened with loss, there would first be full compliance with our nation’s laws. If construction begins in McIntire Park before a judicial review of the Interchange has occurred, citizens will lose a significant resource that is protected by federal law. It could also lead to the significant expense of undoing the damage done. We respectfully ask that you pass a resolution to prevent any ground disturbing activity south of Melbourne Road before the Federal Highway Administration has made a final determination on the Interchange and there has been an opportunity for an expeditious review of the FHWA decision. Here is possible wording for such a resolution: “The Charlottesville City Council hereby states that it is the will of Council that no contract for the construction of a McIntire Road Extended is to be signed, that no ground disturbing activity is to take place south of Melbourne Road, and that no agreements will be signed with the Virginia Department of Transportation for project construction, operation,and maintenance before the Federal Highway Administration has made its final determination on the proposed Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road and there has been an opportunity for an expeditious judicial review of the merits of the legal claim on the FHWA decision on the Interchange.” Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this request. John A. Cruickshank Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park 973-0373

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