Charlottesville Community Engagement
Charlottesville Community Engagement
January 11, 2023: Herring is new chair of Greene Board of Supervisors; Rutherford retains gavel for second year in Nelson

January 11, 2023: Herring is new chair of Greene Board of Supervisors; Rutherford retains gavel for second year in Nelson

Plus: The first of several segments from the January meeting of the Charlottesville Planning Commission

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In other words, hello! And welcome to the installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement for January 11, 2023, which also happens to be Learn Your name in Morse Code Day. For decades, this system was used to communicate information across great distances. Humanity has come a long way in being able to reach out and touch someone, and this newsletter and podcast pays homage to all of those who helped pave the way an infinity of dots and dashes later. 

On today’s program:

  • Special election results are in just as the General Assembly reconvenes in Richmond

  • Nelson County Supervisors retain Rutherford as chair for another year

  • Greene County Supervisors select Herring as their presiding officer

  • A start-up firm that tests male fertility is going to invest in Albemarle County office space 

  • The beginning of coverage from the January 10, 2023 meeting of the Charlottesville Planning Commission 

First shout: Teaching History in Historic Times 

In today’s first subscriber supported shout-out, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society and the Center at Belvedere continue a series of important discussions coming up this January 17 at 6 p.m. What are the challenges and opportunities faced by local educators teaching history? 

A panel of history teachers will take up that topic! They are Hashim Davis (Albemarle County Public Schools), Matt Deegan (Charlottesville High School), and Sally Duncan (Renaissance School). The event will be moderated by Annie Evans, Director of Education and Outreach with New American History at the University of Richmond. To attend in-person register at or watch the program on the Facebook page (

Balance of General Assembly not changed by special election results 

Today marks the beginning of the 2023 General Assembly and three new members are set to join Virginia's legislature fresh off of the results of yesterday’s special elections. These are also the last time the old legislative boundaries will be used. 

In the old House District 35, Democrat Holly Seibold defeated Republican Monique Baroudi on a two to one margin with all but one precinct reporting. Siebold fills the seat vacated by the resignation last year of former Delegate Ted Keam. 

In the old House District 24, Republican Ellen Campbell defeated Democrat Jade Harris to succeed her late husband. Delegate Ronnie Campbell died late last year. The Delegate-elect also had a roughly two-to-one margin with 54 of 60 precincts reporting. 

These two special elections mean the House of Delegates will continue to be organized on a 52 to 48 Republican majority. Both were sworn in just after the 100-member body entered into session just after noon. 

Delegate Holly Siebold (left) and Delegate Ellen Campbell (right) are sworn in at the beginning of the House of Delegates session on Wednesday

However, the Democrats picked up a seat in the Senate with a narrow win by Democrat Aaron Rouse over Republican Kevin Adams. With 57 of 59 precincts reporting, Rouse had 50.41 percent of the vote to Adams’ 49.5 percent. 

Adams conceded to Rouse earlier today as reported by Brandon Jarvis of the Virginia Political Newsletter. That means the Democrats flipped a seat that was vacated by Republican Jen Kiggans who was elected to Virginia’s Second Congressional District. 

The victory increases the Democrats’ majority to 22 to the Republicans 18. 

The two chambers of the General Assembly got underway today, as did the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee. Several other committees that normally would meet on Wednesdays were canceled. 

I hope to have as much as I can from the 2023 General Assembly, or at least help you navigate the onslaught of bills.

One way to keep track of what’s coming up is the calendar kept by the Legislative Information System. (view the calendar)

Rutherford to serve second year as chair of Nelson County Supervisors 

The Nelson County Board of Supervisors were called to order yesterday by Jesse Rutherford of the East District. He held the gavel all of last year but turned it over to County Administrator Candy McGarry moments after the meeting began. 

“I will know open up the floor for nominations for chair of the Board of Supervisors for 2023,” Rutherford said.

Before a motion was made for a nomination, Robert Barton of the South District commented that he was next in line for the position but did not want it.

“I think for a couple of reasons,” Barton said. “One of which is that I think Jesse has done a really nice job  and that we need to continue doing what we’re doing

Barton also said that his health was not where he would want it to be to do the work. 

“I feel it’s best for the county that I don’t do that particular job so I’d like to make a motion that for the second year in a row, Jesse Rutherford be the chairman,” Barton said. 

The motion was seconded with no other nominations but the vote was not unanimous. Supervisor Thomas Harvey of the North District voted no but the rest voted for Rutherford, who then got the gavel back. 

Barton nominated J. David Parr of the West District as vice chair and that vote was unanimous. 

More from the Nelson County Board of Supervisors in future installments of the program. 

Greene County Supervisors select Herring as chair, Durrer as vice chair

The five member Board of Supervisors kicked off another year of business yesterday with their reorganizational meeting. Their gathering was called into order by Brenda Garton, who is serving as the county’s interim administrator for the second time in five years.

“It has been the practice in Greene County for the county administrator to take over the meeting for the nomination of the chair so at this time entertain a motion for Chair from the Board,” Garton said. 

Supervisor Steve Bowman of the Monroe District nominated Supervisor Dale Herring to be chair. He had been vice chair for the previous year and his elevation to chair was unanimous though he abstained from the vote. 

Bowman nominated Marie Durrer of the Midway District to serve as vice chair. She held the gavel in 2022. After the nominations, Supervisors went into closed session as they do at the beginning of every regular meeting.  Items discussed included candidates for a permanent replacement for County Administrator, potential legal action over a breach of contract, as well as acquisition of property for a public use. 

More from the Greene County Board of Supervisors in future episodes of the program.


Male fertility company to launch operations in Albemarle County 

A company called PS-Fertility will invest $1.4 million to establish operations in Albemarle County.  That’s according to an economic development press release sent out this morning by Governor Glenn Youngkin.

“The company will lease 4,000 square feet of space at 3030 Vision Lane in Charlottesville, which will serve as its headquarters and house a test kit assembly operation and a diagnostic laboratory,” reads the release. 

That location is off of Old Lynchburg Road on land that has been developed as part of the Albemarle Business Campus approved by the Board of Supervisors in October 2020. 

PS-Fertility is a start-up company that uses technology developed at the University of Virginia to detect whether a male is fertile. After a sample is collected, kits are mailed back to the lab for diagnostic review. Albemarle County worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership on an incentive package for the deal arranged through the “Virginia Jobs Investment Program” or VJIP. 

“As a business incentive supporting economic development, VJIP reduces the human resource costs of new and expanding companies. VJIP is state-funded, demonstrating Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for citizens.

Kevin Combs, the chief executive officer of PS-Fertility, said this arrangement is helping the company’s idea result in a new venture for the Commonwealth and the community. 

“This valuable scientific discovery made at the University of Virginia has significant benefits for people interested in reproductive health as well as to the state’s economy,” Combs is quoted in a press release. “As a result, we anticipate launching our company’s advanced testing platform to measure and analyze male fertility levels in the very near future.”

This initiative had the code name Project Hatch while the deal was still in development.

Sponsored message: Buy Local 

Charlottesville Community Engagement’s continued existence means that many of you support local information. Want to support some local businesses as well? The Buy Local campaign is in full swing, and both the Albemarle and Charlottesville Offices of Economic Development want people to consider spending locally as they shop throughout the year.

The Buy Local campaign highlights small businesses within Charlottesville and Albemarle County through a multi-channel, multimedia promotional and educational campaign designed to reinforce how important supporting area small businesses is to the local economy. 

The campaign will continue long after the holidays. Locally-owned, independent businesses with a brick-and-mortar presence in the City or County interested in being featured in the campaign should visit or contact 

For more information on the Buy Local campaign, visit or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @BuyLocalCvilleAlbemarle or on Twitter @BuyLocalCville.

Charlottesville Planning Commissioners pre-discuss slopes during pre-meeting

In any given week, I record hours and hours of meetings. I try to gather as much as I can and hope to bring summaries to you all because usually people are interested in a lot of what goes on in local government. One I still hope to get to is the December 13, 2022 Charlottesville Planning Commission meeting but realize that time is running out. 

Last night, there was another regular meeting of the seven-member appointed body, one in which the regular video stream did not work. So, podcast listeners might realize the audio is a little off. I’ve got a full recording and feel an increased obligation to report on this entire meeting given that no one could watch remotely unless they were on the Zoom call.

The January 2023 planning meeting commission began shortly after 5 p.m. with a pre-meeting to ask specific questions about items on the agenda. One of the items that would be discussed was a special use permit for the expansion of Three Notch’d Brewery. Commissioner Liz Russell had a question about something technical in the application. 

“I was hoping that staff could explain the biological oxygen demand but it doesn’t have to be now,” Russell said. 

Carrie Rainey, a planner with Charlottesville’s Neighborhood Development Services, said that the utilities department is still testing to see if Three Notch’d will have to mitigate potential impacts on wastewater with additional product being created on site. 

“At our treatment facility at the [Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority] uses such as breweries put additional biological material into the facility and there’s a question about whether that reaches a threshold where the plan could no longer handle it,” Rainey said. 

Rainey said that study should be completed soon. 

Next up was a question about the Bypass Fire Station and the critical slopes waiver that will be required. One Commissioner asked why some information had not been included and staff said it was still too early in the process. 

But the substantive discussion at the pre-meeting came during the discussion of an appeal of a staff decision to deny a waiver for streets in the approved 240 Stribling development. Council approved a rezoning late last April.

Southern Development has filed a preliminary site plan for the project and some of the roads are in excess of eight percent grade.

Commissioners discussed a series of emails that had been sent to them before the meeting about roads that are in excess of eight percent grade. I’ll have full details of all of that in a future newsletter. 

“There will probably be some good conversations tonight,” said Missy Creasy, the city’s deputy director of Neighborhood Development Services. 

During the pre-meeting, a section of Druid Avenue in Belmont was brought up as an example of a road with a very steep grade.

“I just looked up Druid and it’s about 15 percent,” said Brennen Duncan, the city’s traffic engineer. 

Commissioners also discussed the philosophy of how to proceed with their review. Chair Lyle Solla-Yates was one of the Commissioners who asked Southern Development to submit a more dense development at 240 Stribling. 

“We don’t really have a lot of guidance on thinking about financial burdens and reasonableness but we’re talking about a site with a lot of grade,” Solla-Yates said. “How should we think about reasonableness?” 

Creasy said the best thing would be to listen to the presentations from both staff and the developer. 

“You’re gotten a good overview in the paperwork that you’ve been provided and I know that that’s kind of evolved as some of the questions that have been posed by multiple people concerning that,” Creasy said. 

Creasy said this is the first-ever appeal of a grade waiver denial. As such, there is legal ground to consider related to whether staff’s denial would deny Southern Development property rights that have been granted them by the city rezoning to allow 169 units. 

“Can we contextualize reasonableness in the sense of it being a takings if you make it so unreasonable that in effect you’re devaluing the property?” asked Commissioner Phil d’Oronzio. 

Creasy said the city has a standard of review to uphold and that more details would come out during the discussion. The pre-meeting continued with a discussion of grade including a  lesson from Commissioner Carl Schwarz. You can hear some of that in the podcast, but the conversation became less constructive as time went on. If you want to hear the conversation, let me know and I’ll post the whole thing somewhere. 

More from the Charlottesville Planning Commission’s meeting in the next installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement. 

Reading material:

Housekeeping notes for #483

This is the end of the newsletter and I am hopeful to get on to producing the next one, as there is so much to get to, so I’ll finish up this installment with a brief thank you to all of the new subscribers I have not yet written to directly yet! The beginning of the year is always busy but I’m grateful for the surge in new paid subscribers.

Every single new payment is matched by Ting, which helps me continue to plan to expand so I can cover as much as I can, part of what I hope will be a new era of journalism across the Fifth District of Virginia. Thanks to Ting for being such a unique sponsor! 

And, if you want to upgrade your Internet provider, check out Ting! 

If you sign up at this link and enter the promo code COMMUNITY, you’ll get:

  • Free installation

  • A second month for free

  • A $75 gift card to the Downtown Mall

I’d also like to thank everyone involved in the continuing existence of cvillepedia, a website I helped set up years ago to help me keep track of all of the things I seem to know. Without cvillepedia, I would not be able to do the work I do, and I’m so pleased that the site has grown to become a key source of information. But it’s not just me editing. You can join others who work to help keep the site up to date. Request an account! 

Thanks to the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society for keepings things organized at cvillepedia.  

Charlottesville Community Engagement
Charlottesville Community Engagement
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.