People living around the property at the Interstate 64/U.S. 29 interchange, which the Albemarle Board of Supervisors is considering adding to the growth area to attract a West Coast brewery, are circulating a petition to slow the process.
“We started being concerned about a factory across the street surrounded by a rural and residential area,” says Sherwood Farms resident Christine Davis. “Now we’re concerned about the process. The schedule the board set is rushed, and it suppresses public debate.”
The petition asks the board for a neighborhood master plan before the comprehensive plan is amended, and for a citizens advisory council like the one used in the development of Crozet as a growth area.
Petitioners also want a comprehensive land use plan to tally and identify all industrial-zoned land before hastily adding more to the comprehensive plan. That’s something Faith McClintic, new county director of economic development, has said she intends to do, says Davis, but “she hasn’t had the time.”
Albemarle County, which is not known for its speedy approval of development plans, has surprised many with the accelerated processing of the amendment to turn rural land into growth area in its comprehensive plan.
A spokesperson for Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, said the company is looking at Albemarle, along with two other sites.
On August 18, the Albemarle Planning Commission unanimously rejected amending the comprehensive plan. The Board of Supervisors had a work session September 2, and the amendment is on the agenda for its September 9 meeting.
Davis said neighbors met September 5 and started the petition the next day. At press time, it had around 25 signatures, but she was optimistic there would be more before the Board of Supervisors meeting.