Apr 14 • 15M

April 14, 2022: Throneburg becomes Democrat's choice for Fifth District U.S. House race

Plus: Nelson County Board of Supervisors consider mobile home park off of U.S. 29

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Sean Tubbs
Regular updates of what's happening in local and regional government in and around Charlottesville, Virginia from an award-winning journalist with nearly thirty years of experience.
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Admittedly, it is quite difficult to get the hang of Thursdays, but many of us endeavor to try. April 14 is the 15th such day of the year, and this is the equivalent edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. Both the sonic version and its the textual counterpart seek to bring you to up to date on things you may not yet have known. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. 

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On today’s program:

  • A Charlottesville minister has become the Democrat’s de facto candidate in the race for the 5th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives

  • More documents have been filed in a lawsuit seeking to force a House of Delegates race this year 

  • Trees have come down on Garrett Street to make way for the redevelopment of Friendship Court 

  • Nelson County Board of Supervisors are asked to allow a mobile home park in the rural area to help provide more affordable housing opportunities

First shout-out goes to the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority for e-waste collection day

In today’s first subscriber supported public service announcement, the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority wants you to know about Electronic Waste Collection Day coming up on April 23, 2022. Residents of both Albemarle County and Charlottesville have the opportunity to drop off old electronics from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ivy Material Utilization Center. Permissible items include computers, printers, VCRs, stereos and televisions and people can dispose of up to ten items. Only two tube-style monitors or televisions per person! You must register in advance online where you will be give a time slot. Registration is limited to 110 people per hour. Visit rivanna.org for more information.

Throneburg becomes Democrat’s default nominee for 5th District

Only one candidate in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District has correctly filed the paperwork required to be on the ballot for the June 21, 2022 statewide primary. That means Democrat Josh Throneburg will face the winner of the May 21 Republican convention in the general election.

Neither Warren McClellan nor Andy Parker turned in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, as Throneburg announced on Twitter on Tuesday. 

“We just received word a couple of hours ago that I am officially a Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia’s 5th District.” 

Throneburg is an ordained minister and small business owner who lives in Charlottesville. He grew up in a small town in Illinois. The candidate raised $270,154 in 2021, according to data collected by the Virginia Public Access Project

Candidates seeking to be in the June 21 primary had until April 7 to turn in ballots to their party for verification. To get on the primary ballot, a candidate needed 1,000 registered voters in the district to sign a petition. A source in the Virginia Democratic Party confirmed a Washington Post report that Parker turned in 1,093 ballots, but only 937 of them were verified as valid. 

Democrats in all eleven of Virginia’s Congressional districts chose to hold a primary, whereas Republican Committees in only seven chose that route. The other four will hold a convention, including the 5th District. 

The Republican convention will be held in the Kirby Field House at Hampden-Sydney College. Incumbent Bob Good faces Charlottesville attorney Dan Moy (convention details).

As of the end of 2021, Good had raised $518,278 and Moy reported no funds. The next set of campaign reports to the Federal Election Commission are due tomorrow. 

In his announcement, Throneburg said he believes he can win.

“We currently have a Freshman incumbent who is deeply out of touch with the people in this district,” Throneburg said. 

This will be the first election under the new boundaries of the Fifth District, for which Albemarle County is the northern boundary. 

The new boundaries of Virginia’s Fifth District for the U.S. House of Representatives

New documents filed in Goldman suit to force 2022 House of Delegates election

The current plan is for the new legislative districts for the Virginia General Assembly to go into effect with next year’s state races, but a lawsuit seeking a race this year is still alive in the federal court. 

Richmond attorney Paul Goldman sued the Department of Elections last year alleging the results of the 2021 House of Delegates should only be certified for one year because otherwise they would be unconstitutional. 

In March, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sent Richmond attorney Paul Goldman’s suit back to the Eastern District of Virginia to determine whether he has the standing to bring the case. 

On March 25, Goldman submitted a detailed statement that documents his potential candidacy for the 68th House District in 2022 as well as a potential bid for Lieutenant Governor. Paragraph 22 points out that he now lives within the 78th District. (Notice of Additional Facts Relevant to Standing)

“The old 68th District no longer exists as a legal entity recognized under the Constitution of Virginia as pointed out by Article II, Section 6 [of the Virginia Constitution],’” reads paragraph 27.

“Accordingly, Plaintiff has no representative in the General Assembly that is constitutionally required to represent his interests or been constitutionally selected to be his said representative,” reads paragraph 28.  

The Virginia Supreme Court finalized new legislative maps on December 28. 

On April 1, the Virginia Attorney General’s office filed a motion to dismiss the case once again for lack of standing. Goldman has until April 18 to respond and the defendants have until April 25 to make their reply. 

Goldman filed a statement of facts on March 25, 2022


Trees come down on Garrett Street to make way for Friendship Court’s first phase

Crews removed several decades-old White Oak trees on Garrett Street this morning as part of a Piedmont Housing Alliance project to redevelop Friendship Court. The trees were removed as part of the first phase of the development, which got underway with a groundbreaking in January. Phase one is being constructed on a former open field. 

Piedmont Housing CEO Sunshine Mathon said the trees’ removal ended up being necessary due to complex topography involving a waterway that travels below the site.

“We were not 100 percent sure until meeting with City staff to finalize sidewalk replacement, utilities, etc. along Garrett,” Mathon wrote in an email to Charlottesville Community Engagement this morning. 

Mathon said the removal of the trees is an example of a trade-off related to the need for new buildings to be set back from the street. Accommodating the channeled Pollocks Branch reduced the amount of buildable area. 

“The residents and the rest of the design team were balancing building footprints, number of total units, housing typologies (multifamily + townhomes), a new Community Center and Early Learning Center, ample amounts of open green space (including existing and new tree cover), parking needs, and interconnection with future phases,” Mathon continued. 

Mathon said the remaining phases should not have similar constraints related to Pollocks Branch and that more of the mature tree canopy in those sections could be preserved. Phase one is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. 

Mathon also said the wood from the trees will be used to make furniture and other products in the future. 

The Friendship Court redevelopment page includes a live camera that updates every five minutes. For more information, visit that page.

Second shout-out goes to CBIC for the WeFunder Pitch night

In today’s second subscriber supported shout-out, the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council wants you to know about a unique event coming up on April 19 that aims to provide investment opportunities for regular people. CBIC is teaming up with WeFunder for live equity based financing for local start-ups who need capital. Recent changes in regulations allow for the event, where people can invest directly in these companies in exchange for early equity. The event will take place at 4:30 p.m. April 19 at the Irving Theater in the CODE building. 

Nelson County Supervisors consider Ridgecrest Mobile Home Park

The Nelson County Board of Supervisors heard from the public Tuesday on a proposal to build a mobile home park near the Ridgecrest Baptist Church on U.S. 29 north of Lovingston. Civil engineer Justin Shimp needed a special use permit for the project. 

Shimp said he was pursuing the project to help provide more housing that can be affordable to households with lower incomes. 

“Five years ago, I would not have thought about this and didn’t think it would be needed because of affordability, but such are the increases in cost that achieving housing for folks who don’t make $100,000 a year is very difficult,” Shimp said. 

Shimp said mobile home parks can be a good way to provide housing at a lower cost.

“One can buy a new mobile home so as little as $60,000 to pay to set it up,” Shimp said. “You could then rent a mobile home pad for around $400 a month. That is a much different sort of price point for folks than typical housing stock.”

Shimp said under his arrangement, the people who would live there would own a share of the common areas and could sell those shares in the future. 

“I think this park investor opportunity will be a way for people who historically haven’t been able to set anchor somewhere would be able to buy in and take ownership of that and it will be good for the community,” Shimp said. 

The Planning Commission voted 4-1 in March on the proposal but set 33 conditions for Supervisors to consider in their review. 

Several neighbors of the proposed park spoke at the public hearing. One person wanted to know what Nelson County’s standards are for mobile homes and how wastewater would be handled. 

“Has there or will there ever be done a study on the effects of 51 additional homes on the water source?” asked Larry Shelton. 

Another person was concerned about the entrance off of U.S. 29. 

“You have to be very careful with any kind of proposals about how you’re going to get the trailers in there, how is this going to happen, how this is going to affect the residents that are there,” said Tonya Bradley. 

Another person was concerned that allowing 51 units in the rural area was not acceptable under the Comprehensive Plan. 

The debate got heated as South District Craig Barton peppered Shimp with questions about the cost of housing. Barton said he was skeptical the trailer park would work. 

“Have you thought about ways to figure out how to get it so people who live in this country can be able to afford a house?” Barton asked. “What could be done as a builder to help you build a house that a person will know will increase in value in his lifetime?” 

Shimp said there was little that the Nelson County Board of Supervisors could do. The conversation broke down as West District Supervisosr J. David Parr tried to establish order. 

Barton said he did not think it was likely that the trailers would increase in value. 

“The problems of housing are real and we need to deal with those problems,” Barton said. “Whether or not a mobile home will help in solving this problem, I don’t know. I think probably not.” 

Shimp said there was ample water on the site, and that many of the neighbors would be on the other side of Muddy Creek, which would mean any wells would not affect their groundwater. 

There were only four Supervisors present when it was time to take a vote as North District Supervisor Tommy Harvey was not in attendance. 

“There are aspects of this project that I think are positive and admirable, but the density concerns me,” said Central District Supervisor Ernie Reed. 

Parr supported the project, as did East District Supervior Jesse Rutherford. He is chair of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and sits on the Regional Housing Partnership. 

“More often than not the struggle always comes down to how to make something affordable, Rutherford said. “Question always comes down to where is the appropriate place. I’ve found if you put it near an area that’s meant for high density, folks usually may not like it. And if you put it in the middle of nowhere folks might not like it and you’re going to get that perspective no matter which way you look at it.” 

Rutherford said the only way to attain affordability is through density. He said the Comprehensive Plan update needs to consider this as Nelson considers how to make housing attainable for more people. 

Given Harvey’s absence, Supervisors opted to continue the matter to the next meeting. That will give Shimp more time to respond to some of the questions asked. 

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