Aug 3, 2022 • 23M

August 3, 2022: Throneburg challenges Good to a debate for Fifth District seat; Albemarle PC sees options to continue for growth management

Plus: CAAR releases latest quarterly report showing continued increase in home sales

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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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There are many made-up holidays that somehow have found their way into being mentioned on this particular channel of programming as part the introduction. For some reason, today is Clean Your Floors Day, though it’s unclear who makes the money off of those greetings cards. But how clean are your floors? Are you a rebel without a broom, or are you a vacuum warrior? It’s a very good thing that none of the rest of this installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement has anything to do with this particular topic. But I will have you know, I mopped mine yesterday in anticipation of this very important day. 

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On today’s show:

  • So far there are no debates scheduled in the contested Fifth Congressional District race but Democrat Josh Throneburg wants to change that

  • Area home sales volumes have decreased, though the cost to buy a place to live continues to increase

  • Greene County hires a water and sewer director to prepare to expand supply

  • Several area organizations receive funding from Virginia Humanities, including a project to tell stories of PVCC students who have been or are in prison

  • Albemarle County continues to review its Comprehensive Plan and the seven-member Planning Commission got their chance to review growth management options late last month 

First shout-out is for LEAP’s new Thermalize Virginia program 

In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: Have you been thinking of converting your fossil-fuel appliances and furnaces into something that will help the community reduce its greenhouse gas emissions? Your local energy nonprofit, LEAP,  has launched a new program to guide you through the steps toward electrifying your home. Thermalize Virginia will help you understand electrification and connect you with vetted contractors to get the work done and help you find any rebates or discounts. Visit to learn more and to sign up!  

Challenger Throneburg challenges Good to an in-person debate

The Democratic candidate in the Fifth District Congressional race has asked his opponent to agree to meet in person for a debate or other kind of candidate forum before the November 8 election. 

Josh Throneburg of Charlottesville became the candidate earlier this year before the primary when he was the only one to qualify for the ballot. 

“There’s one question I get asked more than any other and that is, when will the two of you debate?” Throneburg asked in a campaign video sent out this morning. 

Throneburg addressed his comments directly to Good and said there were at least three organizations that would hold a campaign event, and that he’s accepted all of them.

“But you have either rejected or ignored those invitations and so I want to make things crystal clear. I, Josh Throneburg, challenge you, Representative Bob Good to an in-person debate sometime between now and November 8.”

Good is seeking his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives having defeated Cameron Webb in the 2020 election. Candidate Good did participate in a September 9, 2020 virtual campaign forum put on by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. You can take a listen to that whole event at the Charlottesville Podcasting Network

A request for comment or a response is out to the Bob Good for Congress campaign.

CAAR: Charlottesville real estate market continues to cool as prices continue to increase

The number of sales in the Charlottesville housing market continues to drop as the median sales price continues to climb. That’s according to the latest report from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors. (view the report)

“There were 1,380 homes sold in the CAAR area in the second quarter,” reads one of the bullet points in the CAAR Home Sales Report for the second quarter. “This is an eleven percent drop from the second quarter a year ago, which is 165 fewer sales.” 

CAAR’s jurisdictional area is the same as the Thomas Jefferson Planning District with the city of Charlottesville as well as the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson. 

Download the CAAR Home Sales Report for all of the details (Credit: Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors)

The median sales price increased to $417,850, an eleven percent increase over the second quarter of 2021. Additionally, supply has increased with 741 active listings in the area, a 28 percent increase over the same period in 2021. 

To put the increase in perspective, consider that the median sales price for the second quarter of 2018 was $301,000. 

The report also covers recent economic trends such as steady job growth and low unemployment. 

“Several job sectors have fully recovered and have actually expanded since the start of the pandemic, including the Professional and Technical Services sector, and the Federal Government sector. The homeownership rate within these two job sectors tends to be relatively high, so growth in these sectors provides fuel for the housing market in Virginia.”

However, the leisure and hospitality sector continues to show signs of recovery. 

Mortgage rates are higher than last year, but have shown a slight decline from the end of June when the average rate on a 30-year fixed was 5.7 percent. However, the report acknowledges the cooling effect of rates that have increased two percentage points so far this year. 

Sales volumes were down in all localities except Greene County where there was a 33 percent increase in sales. There were 122 homes sold in that jurisdiction between April and June of this year compared to 92 in the same period the year before. 

The median sales price increased in all of the jurisdictions, but Nelson County saw the biggest jump in values from $285,000 in second quarter of 2021 to $425,000 in the second quarter of 2022. 

Visit to download the report. What do you think? If you’re a property owner, how does this change your views on what you may do with your own place? What about if you want to own? Say something in the comments. 

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New water and sewer director in Greene

Greene County is preparing for anticipated population growth by expanding its urban water supply. Now the locality has hired its first ever water and sewer director. 

“Mr. Greg Lunsford… will oversee the development of a team to operate Greene County Water and Sewer Department as Greene transitions out of the Rapidan Service Authority,” reads an announcement posted to the county’s Facebook page

Greene County recently left the RSA in order to build a reservoir that’s already received permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The idea is to impound White Run to create storage. (learn more on the Greene website)

Lunsford recently served as the town manager of Elkton in Rockingham County where the release states he helped advance a water system upgrade. In Greene, he will lead the work to create a water and sewer ordinance to govern the new supply. 

From a presentation on the Greene County website (learn more )

Virginia Humanities awards grants to area nonprofits

The state agency that serves as the official humanities council for Virginia has made its latest round of grants to nonprofit organizations that seek to tell new stories about the people who have lived in the Commonwealth. 

“We want Virginians to connect with their history and culture and, in doing that, we hope we’ll all get to know each other a little better,” reads the About section of the website for Virginia Humanities

In all, Virginia Humanities awarded $153,200 to eighteen organizations including several in this general area. 

  • The Catticus Corporation of Berkeley, California will get $10,000 for a project to build a website intended to tell the story of Barbara Johns and the 1951 student walk out in Prince Edward County to a larger audience across Virginia and the nation. 

  • James Madison University will get $5,400 toward a project called A Miserable Revenge: Recovering 19th-Century Black Literature from the Shenandoah Valley. This will transcribe a handwritten novel by George Newman around 1880. Newman was an African American educator from the Winchester area. 

  • The Louisa County Historical Society will get $7,000 for a project called Representing our Residents: African American History at the Louisa County Historical Society. This will be a series of oral history interviews and public outreach activities.

  • The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford will get $8,000 for a project called Someone Talked! A Podcast of the National D-Day Memorial. This will include conversations between the prolific WWII historian John McManus and other scholars and is intended and designed to reach and engage new audiences now that the generation that lived through WWII has passed. 

  • A project to add two Louisa County churches to the National Register of Historic Places received $3,000.

  • Piedmont Virginia Community College will receive $10,000 for the PVCC Prison Creative Arts Project. The idea is to collect original writing from incarcerated PVCC students and then create a theatrical production based on the stories

  • The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum will get $8,250 to make three videos to introduce the Monacan Nation as “custodians of the lands and waters in and around Charlottesville” to serve as land acknowledgments 

  • The Virginia Tech Foundation will receive $20,000 for a podcast to be called Tribal Truths on the histories and cultures of state and federally recognized Tribes in Virginia. 

To see the rest, visit the release at Virginia Humanities

Second shout-out goes to Camp Albemarle

Today’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement goes out to Camp Albemarle, which has for sixty years been a “wholesome rural, rustic and restful site for youth activities, church groups, civic events and occasional private programs.”

Located on 14 acres on the banks of the Moorman’s River near Free Union, Camp Albemarle continues as a legacy of being a Civilian Conservation Corps project that sought to promote the importance of rural activities. Camp Albemarle seeks support for a plan to winterize the Hamner Lodge, a structure built in 1941 by the CCC and used by every 4th and 5th grade student in Charlottesville and Albemarle for the study of ecology for over 20 years. If this campaign is successful, Camp Albemarle could operate year-round. Consider your support by visiting

Albemarle Planning Commission reviews seven options for growth management 

Is this the summer of 2022, or is it the Summer of AC44? 

AC44 is the name Albemarle County has given for the review of its Comprehensive Plan. That’s a document Virginia requires all localities to adopt and review every five years. Albemarle last updated its plan in 2015 and work got underway earlier this year. 

“We’re currently in phase one, plan for growth, where we are reviewing and evaluating the current growth management policy, using lenses of equity, climate action, and capacity projects,” said Tori Kannellopollous, a senior planner with Albemarle County.

At the end of this phase, staff and hired consultants will have developed a draft vision for “growth and resilience” on which new policy objectives will be written.  The work so far has led to the development of seven growth management policies for the public to review. 

“We are planning having in-person and virtual roundtables and online opportunities in step three,” Kannellopollous said

Where are we in the AC44 process? Refer to this image. (view the presentation)

The Commission will then review the work in September followed by a review by the Board of Supervisors. 

Discussions about what changes might come in the rural area will come during phase two of the Comprehensive Plan Review. 

Several Commissioners wanted to know if survey responses have done enough to capture a diversity of opinion. 

“I did a deep dive on the last one that came out and when I look at the demographics, the demographics really trend white, upper class, middle-upper class, and extremely well-educated,” said Commission Julian Bivins. “What I’m nervous about is that those responses become the drivers for lots of decisions.” 

Charles Rapp, the deputy director of the Community Development Department, said he expected participation to increase when the plan review gets into specifics.

“People are excited to get into the specific topics [and] into the details of this plan,” Rapp said. “At this point we’re still at such a high level trying to figure out which of those avenues we’re going to go down and which ideas we want to explore and what are those topics that we want to dive into.” 

The Commission also got an update on the buildout analysis of the county’s existing capacity for new homes and businesses. The firm Kimley Horn has been hired to conduct that work. Kannellopollous had several preliminary observations.

“In mixed-use developments, the residential component tends to fill out first and the non-residential component may not build out until years later,” Kannellopollous said. “When factoring in site readiness and site-selection criteria, there appears to be sufficient capacity for commercial and retail uses but much less currently available for office and industrial uses.” 

Another finding is that new developments are not being approved at the maximum possible, and that by-right developments also do not use all of the potential building space recommended in the existing Comprehensive Plan.

Seven growth management options

The firm EPR has been hired to help develop the growth management options. 

“These were developed by the consultants and the staff after the first round of public input,”  said Vlad Gavrilovic with EPR. “They’re not intended as picking one as the winner or the loser. They’re intended to initiate discussion.” 

A slide from the presentation to the Albemarle Planning Commission. For more details on each scenario, review the presentation

Let’s go through them. Here’s option one:

“Applying more density and more in-fill development within the existing development areas and retaining and enhancing green infrastructure,” Gavrilovic said. “Next option was looking in the development areas to adjust the densities and reduce the maximum densities to more closely align with what people have actually been building as.” 

The third option would be to develop criteria for which the growth area might be adjusted. 

“Looking at new criteria to identify when, where, and how growth areas should be expanded,” Gavrilovic said.  “The next option was opportunities for non-residential development around the interchanges on I-64 to support job growth and economic development.” 

Option five would explore the possibility of rural villages. 

“Rural villages where you would promote small scale commercial and service uses to nearby rural area residents,” Gavrilovic said. “Number six was looking at current service provisions and seeing if adjustments are needed to ensure equitable distribution of services, particularly health and safety services.” 

The final option is to “explore opportunities to promote forest retention and regenerative land uses in the Rural area that support climate action goals.” 

So those are the seven scenarios. A second round of community engagement went out with these results. 

“We heard that the three options that best support climate action were regenerative uses in the rural area, rural villages, and distribution of service provision,” Kannellopollous said. “The three options that best support equity were service provision, rural villages, and providing more density and infill in the development areas with green infrastructure.” 

For the “accommodating growth” lens, the top three options were rural villages, non-residential development at Interstate interchanges, and service provision. 

Commissioner feedback

Commissioner Karen Firehock said she saw the provision of infrastructure to support development areas as an equity issue.

“People should be able to walk to a park or a trail or a healthy environment near to where they live and not have to get in the car and drive a really long way to find something green,” Firehock said. 

Firehock said the county is expanding some services into the rural area, such as the Southern Convenience Center in Keene. She said that will make it easier for people to meet other environmental goals. 

Commissioner Lonnie Murray lives in the rural area, and hopes the growth management strategy does not undo work to date. 

“I think it’s important to have a concept of ‘do no harm’ in the rural area,” Murray said.

As an example, he said he wants the county to stop paving gravel roads in the rural area. 

Bivins urged the Commission to look ahead to the next redistricting after the 2030 Census, when he said the urban areas will continue to have more of the county’s expected population. 

“If we do not increase the development area, Samuel Miller [District] will end up in the near future as the largest land mass district in Albemarle County.” Bivins said “From an equity standpoint, one has to say ‘is that where we want to go as a county?’” 

The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service currently projects Albemarle’s population as increasing to 124,016 by 2030, up from 112,395 in the U.S. Census of 2020

Commissioner Fred Missel said he wanted to know more information about how capital infrastructure works together to support development.

“How does the capital plan for infrastructure, how does that inform development and how are they linked together?” Missel asked. “Not to throw the [Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority] into the mix it’s just one that comes to mind. What is their capital plan and how does that support strategic density? How does it support sustainability?” 

Missel’s day job is as director of design and development at the University of Virginia Foundation. The Foundation is pursuing a rezoning at its North Fork Discovery Park for a potential mixed-use residential complex. 

  • If you’d like to learn more about capital projects in Albemarle County, click here.

  • If you’d like to learn more about the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority’s Capital Improvement Program, download it here.

Luis Carrazana’s day job is at the University of Virginia’s Office of the Architect. He said he wanted better metrics. 

“And a lot of times we focus on the big picture but we lose that option to say ‘we know we’re going in the right direction if we’re achieving A, B, C, and D,” Carrazana said. “So I would encourage everyone to think about that as well.” 

Planning Commissioner Corey Clayborne said density in the right place can help the county achieve certain goals, but he also acknowledged a tension with those who have pushed back. 

“That’s something we kind of have to wrestle to the ground and I’m not sure if that would be part of the final deliverable here as much as, is there an education sense in this process with the community as we step through this?” Clayborne asked. “Does that mean there are graphics or visuals? I’m not sure what that answer is yet but addressing it… if we can get our arms around and embrace strategic density, I think if you start talking about design importance, that could be a major key to affordable housing.” 

Commissioner Dan Bailey said one piece of data is experience that comes from what’s been approved and what’s actually been built. 

“I live in Belvedere and it has a concept that’s been there for nearly ten years of having centers in the community, but it’s been vacant for ten years,” Bailey said. “And we’ve done a lot of approving these novel neighborhood model density and other things where they should have this retail or office building. I would really love to know how many of them have actually been developed.” 

The next step will be a series of public engagement on the themes as well as the growth management options. Stay tuned. 

If you’re interested in this topic, invest an hour in the conversation to inform how you might participate. 

Housekeeping notes for 415 (Clean Floor edition)

That’s the end of another installment of the program. Thank you so much for being here! I hope to have another one out tomorrow, followed by another on Friday. Then the Week Ahead and the Government Glance. The latter is the first publication of the new Fifth District Community Engagement.  That’s another service of Town Crier Productions, a company formed to keep you in the know. 

Contributions and payments to Town Crier Productions cover the cost of reporting. That includes a bill with the United States for the Public Access to Court Electronic Records. I use that service to stay up to date on federal lawsuits such the one former City Manager Tarron Richardson had filed against the city, or the two court cases that sought a House of Delegates race this year.  

So, if you’re like to support this program which includes expenses like court reporting, consider a paid subscription through Substack. If do so, Ting will match your initial payment! And, if you sign up for their services through this link you’ll get a free standard install, your 2nd month free, and a $75 downtown mall gift card! Enter the promo code COMMUNITY for full effect. 

All of the funding goes to ensure I can keep doing the work, which two years ago included bringing the audio from a campaign forum to the public via the Charlottesville Podcasting Network. That’s also part of Town Crier Productions. There’s a lot, and your support will help me pull all of the pieces together into whatever it becomes. 

Music comes from the D.C. entity that currently goes by the name Wraki, selected randomly from a bin of basement-recorded cassette tapes. You can support that work by purchasing the album Regret Everything for whatever you would like to pay. 

Now. Off to go clean some floors.