Development boom, flooding, and the latest on the ABC raid fallout: News briefs

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Check c-ville.com daily and pick up a copy of the paper Tuesday to for the latest Charlottesville and Albemarle news briefs and stories. Here’s a quick look at some of what we’ve had an eye on for the past week.

Scrutiny of ABC’s action in Charlottesville raid continues

Virginia state police are now investigating the highly publicized incident that landed a 20-year-old UVA student in jail in April after ABC agents mistook the case of sparkling water she had just purchased for beer, according to a statement last week from Alcoholic Beverage Control Chairman J. Nealy Insley.

On April 11, Elizabeth Daly was approached by plainclothes agents as she left the Barracks Road Harris Teeter with ice cream, cookie dough, and a 12-pack of LaCroix water. Daly was arrested and charged with three felonies after fleeing in a panic, but the charges were dropped by local Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman after Daly spent the night in jail.

The police report will not offer any directives, an agency spokeswoman told The Daily Progress, but the incident has already prompted ABC to change its rules, which now state one uniformed officer must be present during operations like the one that led to Daly’s arrest.

According to The Progress and NBC29, new documents reveal that John Taylor, the supervising agent involved in the raid, had been stripped of a previous command position less than a year before the incident, and is part of a lawsuit pending in Staunton Circuit Court that was filed after ABC received complaints about bullying and mistreatment from employees and the community.

Local development sees post-recession spike

A new analysis from Charlottesville Neighborhood Development Services shows total construction value has jumped dramatically in Charlottesville in the last several years, and is now above the pre-recession peak for the area.

According to a report on the data in The Daily Progress, the value of construction projects has increased from a low of under $70 million in 2009 and 2010 to $211.3 million in 2012. That’s above a 2006 peak of $135 million, reached after a decade of steady growth, according to the report.

The numbers suggest a recovery is happening faster here than in the country as a whole. Total construction value across the U.S. was up to $874 billion in May 2012, according to the Progress report, but that’s still below May 2008, when it totaled more than $1 trillion.

Officials pointed out that much of the new construction is residential, so it’s difficult to predict the immediate impact on the local economy—and if growth is to continue, businesses with regional reach and the ability to hire people into strong careers need to move in.

Record rainfall leads to flooding

July is only halfway through, but parts of Virginia have already broken rainfall records for the month, and flooding has caused some dramatic damage to a local road.

During a storm on Thursday, July 11, which brought up to three inches of rain to some areas in Central Virginia, a section of Dick Woods Road in Albemarle County was washed out after rushing creek waters carried away a culvert and rapidly eroded the dirt supporting the stretch of road above it.

According to The Daily Progress, the Virginia Department of Transportation has not yet indicated how long it will take to repair the gaping six-foot gap in the collapsed road, and a stretch between Broad Axe Road and Ragged Mountain Road remains closed.

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