Election results in Albemarle County mean Republicans have gained much more control on the Board of Supervisors. With the victories of Duane Snow and Rodney Thomas, it’s likely that developers will get a markedly friendlier reception from the new board on matters of planning and zoning.
Rodney Thomas celebrates last night at the Republican victory party at Rivals, with fellow Republican Ken Boyd at his side. Photo by Sarah Oehl.
"It’s not that the previous board didn’t listen to [the business and development communities], but [now] what the business community wants they’ll get," says Jeff Werner of the Piedmont Environmental Council. He points to a number of land-use issues where this tendency might play out.
"What I’m very concerned about is Places 29 is going to be either scrapped or just completely watered down," he says. (The County Planning Commission just voted to endorse Places 29, a master plan for land use and transportation, on October 27, and the Board will take it up early next year.) Werner also expects that more land will be added to the county’s growth areas, including areas near Hollymead and NGIC and a parcel in Crozet owned by Will Yancey.
Werner also thinks that developers whose projects have already been approved may approach the new board to renegotiate proffers. "I’m worried that you’re going to see a lot of things developers have agreed to do be taken off the table in those renegotiations," he says.
In retiring supervisor Sally Thomas, Albemarle is losing a limited-growth independent who tilted Democratic. And defeated incumbent Democrat David Slutzky was known for proposing unusual and sometimes controversial plans meant to protect rural areas from growth.