In brief: People power, tech takeover, bye-bye bikes, and more

The old Monticello Dairy building will house at least two big tech companies. PC: Skyclad Aerial The old Monticello Dairy building will house at least two big tech companies. PC: Skyclad Aerial

People power

Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline scored a huge victory last week when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals repealed Dominion Energy’s permit to build an invasive compressor station in Buckingham County’s historic Union Hill neighborhood.

“Today we showed that our community, our community’s history, and our community’s future matters more than a pipeline,” said Buckingham activist Chad Oba.

Union Hill became a flashpoint for the pipeline fight when activists began emphasizing the area’s long history. Free black people and former enslaved people founded the neighborhood just after the Civil War. The story of a historic community threatened by an energy monopoly attracted

Al Gore to speak in Buckingham last February. The former vice president called the pipeline a “reckless, racist rip-off.” 

“Environmental justice is not merely a box to be checked,” the court wrote in its decision. “The [Air Pollution Control] Board’s failure to consider the disproportionate impact on those closest to the Compressor Station resulted in a flawed analysis.”

Anti-pipeline groups have sought to slow down Dominion by tying up the project in litigation. The compressor station permit is one of many that pipeline opponents have contested. In the fall, the Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments about whether or not the pipeline could bisect the federally protected Appalachian Trail.

The strategy to slow the project seems to be working—Dominion’s initial estimates said the pipeline would be completed in 2019, but according to the Southern Environmental Law Center, less than 6 percent of the pipe has been laid in the ground so far.

Anti-pipeline protesters gathered in rural Buckingham County last year. PC: Friends of Buckingham County

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Quote of the Week

“This is my life, history. I returned to this area to make sure this story gets told correctly.”

Calvin Jefferson, archivist and descendant of enslaved people at Monticello, speaking about his family at a panel event this week

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In Brief

You never forget how to ride a scooter

UBike, UVA’s languishing bike-sharing program, has been killed off by the e-scooter boom. The bikes have to be retrieved from and parked in specific docks, making them less convenient than the popular scooters. (Also less convenient: UBikes, unlike e-scooters, don’t have motors.)  

Moving in

PVCC, like other community colleges, is a commuter school—but that could change. As reported in The Daily Progress, plans to sell 17 acres the college owns off Avon Street Extended have been put on hold, as the Virginia Community College System State Board studies whether student housing could be a viable option for some of its community colleges.

Milking it

This town’s tech takeover continues: Two big companies recently signed leases in the Dairy Central office building/retail space currently under construction on Preston Avenue. CoStar, the world’s largest digital real estate company, and Dexcom, which makes diabetes monitoring systems, will together occupy 17,000 feet of office space at the intersection of Rose Hill and 10th and Page, two of Charlottesville’s historically black neighborhoods.

(More) statue drama

With the General Assembly potentially passing a law this year granting localities control over war memorials and monuments on their property, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors is seeking public feedback on the future of the county’s Court Square, including its “Johnny Reb” statue. For the next six months, county staff will hold community conversations and “listening sessions” about the space, as well as conduct public tours, reports The Daily Progress. The Office of Equity and Inclusion’s equity working group will draft options for the future of the property, which the BOS will consider in June.

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