Charlottesville Community Engagement
Charlottesville Community Engagement
October 11, 2022: Good and Throneburg to appear at October 26 campaign forum; Climate Action Plan reviewed by Charlottesville City Council

October 11, 2022: Good and Throneburg to appear at October 26 campaign forum; Climate Action Plan reviewed by Charlottesville City Council

Plus: The Botanical Garden of the Piedmont wants architectural firms to design its future buildings

Today is the 284th day of 2022, meaning that 77.8 percent of this year is already in the books. How do you feel about the approaching end of this year, and the prospect of a fresh start? Or, is it possible to wipe the slate clean at any moment? Every single edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement begins with an empty page, so let’s see how this tabula rasa turns out today. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. 

On today’s program:

  • There will be a debate between the two candidates in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District on October 26

  • The Botanical Garden of the Piedmont wants to find an architect to design its future buildings

  • Ten minority-owned businesses get funding from the United Way and the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce

  • Charlottesville City Council gets a first look at the draft Climate Action Plan 

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First shout-out goes for a Charlottesville United for Public Education event

Today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out goes to Charlottesville United for Public Education who want listeners and readers to know about a Public School Matters webinar happening Wednesday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m. How will the reconfiguration timeline affect your student? What’s in the plans to renovate Buford Middle School? How well is the school system doing on transportation nearly two months into the academic year? Join Charlottesville United for Public Education for the discussion and get ready to ask your questions. 

Visit to register.

Good and Throneburg to face off at debate at Hampden-Sydney College

Election day is four weeks away and the two candidates on the ballot in Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District have agreed to appear on stage at a campaign forum. 

Hampden-Sydney College will host the event on October 26 at 7 p.m. as confirmed by representatives from the campaigns of both Republican incumbent Bob Good and Democratic challenger Joshua Throneburg.

As of yesterday, 19,619 people have voted early in the Fifth District, part of the 169,138 across the entire state. That’s data put together by the Virginia Public Access Project. Keep track of this number on the VPAP Early Voting dashboard.

Throneburg will be appearing at tomorrow’s Senior Statesmen Forum at 1:30 p.m. but Good declined the invitation. For many years, these events were held at the former Senior Center building on Hillsdale Drive, but this one will be held at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge, 250 Pantops Mountain Road.

Good did appear alongside Democratic Candidate Cameron Webb at a virtual Senior Statesman Forum held on September 9, 2020. You can hear the whole thing on the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.

Yesterday, Democrat Josh Throneburg unveiled a new campaign ad which you can see in a link below. A spokeswoman for the Good campaign said they will not be making an advertisement buy on television but are reaching voters in different ways.  I will link to those in future installments of the newsletter and podcast.

The deadline to register to vote is October 17. 

Botanical Garden of the Piedmont seeks firm to design future buildings

A nonprofit organization that seeks to build a botanical garden on the eastern side of Charlottesville’s McIntire Park has issued a request for proposals for architectural firms to design future buildings. 

The Botanical Garden of the Piedmont has a ground lease with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to operate on 14.74 acres. 

"The design of the major architectural components of the Garden is a major next step in bringing our award-winning Schematic Plan to life,” said Jill Trischman-Marks, the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont’s executive director. 

The winning firm would be responsible for designing a visitors center with a footprint between 16,000 and 20,000 square feet as well as a 1,000 square foot garden pavilion. The project would be paid for with private donations. 

To get a copy of the RFP, fill out a form on the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont’s website.

A mandatory meeting for firms is scheduled for October 18 at the garden site off of Melbourne Road. Interested parties are asked to RSVP to Trischman-Marks at by October 15.

Information on the master plan produced by Mikyoung Kim Design and Waterstreet Studio is available on the BGP website.

Ten companies get local funding from United Way, Minority Business Alliance

The United Way of Greater Charlottesville and the Minority Business Alliance have made a third round of grants to fund 10 organizations that are just getting started. 

“The United Way of Greater Charlottesville and the Minority Business Alliance of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce are committed to addressing historical inequities for minority businesses in our community, most glaringly to access to capital,” said Ravi Respeto, President & CEO of the United Way of Greater Charlottesville. 

Eligible firms had to be based in the Charlottesville area, including surrounding counties and have to have been in operation for at least a year and have an annual net income of less than $100,000.  The business must be 51 percent owned by a member of a minority group. They also have to be members of the Minority Business Alliance, a program of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

“This set of grants is the amazing fruition of a continued and beautiful partnership between United Way and the Chamber Minority Business Alliance that continues to provide new access to capital for minority entrepreneurs,” said MBA Treasurer Alex Urpí, founder of Emergent Financial Services. 

The organizations are:

Each business received $5,000. 

Recipients of the 2022 Minority Enterprise Grant pose at the MBA Gala.

Second shout-out: Teaching Hard History: A Discussion w/ Hashim Davis

In today’s first subscriber-supported shout-out, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society continues its speaker series with a discussion on Teaching Hard History with Hashim Davis. Mr. Davis is a native of Brooklyn, New York who teaches high school history at Albemarle High School. He teaches AP US History, African American Studies, Advance Va/US History, Holocaust and Genocide, and Government. 

Davis has received numerous fellowships and other honors for his efforts to fight antisemitism and racism by bringing stories of Holocaust victims and survivors into the classroom. His efforts have been noted by Virginia Public Media, NBC29, the Daily Progress, CBS19, and the News & Advance. Davis will be speaking with the ACHS about the current challenges and opportunities of teaching hard histories. The program will be in person at the Northside Library on October 13 at 6:30 p.m. or catch the event on Facebook Live

Council briefed on draft Charlottesville Climate Action Plan 

Charlottesville City Council got a first look at the long-awaited Climate Action Plan for Charlottesville at a work session on October 3. The document is intended to help steer the city towards meeting energy efficiency goals. (view the plan)

“The City of Charlottesville committed to developing a Climate Action Plan, or CAP, to achieve greenhouse gas reductions of 45 percent by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Kristel Riddervold is the manager of the environmental sustainability division in the Charlottesville Public Works Department. 

“It identifies projects, programs, policies, processes, and some key resources needed to support action in the near-term,” Riddervold continued.  

The plan also seeks to identify data sources to help track whether the city and community members are meeting various goals. 

“What is the data that our greenhouse gas inventories are telling us?” said Susan Elliott, the city’s climate protection program manager. “Where are emissions coming from and where do we need to focus our efforts in order to reduce the emissions?” 

Elliott said there are specific strategies for how to reduce emissions. 

“These strategies and actions are looking at both things that the community can do and things that the municipal government can do,” Elliott said. 

The plan requires yearly progress reports as well as a full review of the plan every three to five years. They will check to see if key actions identified under various strategies are actually implemented. 

For instance, one strategy is to “increase travel by walking, biking, and transit.” 

Key actions include: “Create walkable, bikeable, and transit-served neighborhoods” and “include Transportation Demand Management Planning for sites in the zoning code” and “develop a mobility plan approach that seeks to leverage and interconnect bicycle pedestrian, and transit infrastructure networks along with parking and the Future Land Use Map density areas.” 

Examples of some of the key actions suggested for each strategy in the Climate Action Plan (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

The Climate Action Plan is far from the beginning of the city’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 1998, the city was a party to the Jefferson Area Sustainability Accords and the environmental division was established in 2002. Council signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2006. There have been GHG inventories produced in 2008, 2012, and 2018. The plan states they will be conducted annually. 

“We are about two-third of the way toward achieving our 2030 goal but we still have a long way to go, particularly when we look out to 2050 and reaching carbon neutrality,” Elliott said. 

One long-term issue to be addressed is the decarbonization of the city’s natural gas utility. Elliott said a consultant is being sought to work on a study. 

Elliott said that 95 percent of emissions are coming from non-municipal sources, with five percent from the city of Charlottesville. 

“When we look into that 95 percent number, what we see is that about two-thirds of that is coming from our residential and commercial buildings, and when I say commercial that also includes nonprofits, businesses, houses of faith,” Elliott said.

The remaining emissions come from transportation sources with a smaller amount coming from waste. 

The Climate Action Plan comes just as the city continues to work with consultants to rewrite the zoning code. Elliot said there is a table in the CAP that demonstrates how many of its strategies are already called for in the Comprehensive Plan and waiting to be in the zoning code to help ensure the tree canopy doesn’t continue to shrink while residential density is encouraged. 

There are also steps specific to the make-up of households in Charlottesville.

“Charlottesville has a 60 percent rental rate for households which means if we’re going to make progress in terms of how we’re affecting our buildings, we need to look at things that are both owner-occupied but also rentals and really looking to engage and find solutions that work for the property owners and the tenants in those properties,” Elliott said. 

Elliott also said the city is a landlord to many tenants and the plan asks for it to take that role  seriously. Council got an update on leased property this past May.  (read that story)

“What can we do within our leases?” Elliott asked. “What is our relationship with those properties in being able to help those tenants both reduce their emissions but also possibly realize energy-savings on the utility bill?” 

The zoning alignment list included in the Climate Action Plan

City Councilor Michael Payne said the Climate Action Plan comes at a time when the budget season is beginning to get started. The Planning Commission will have a work session on the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) in November and he wanted to know if there would be requests based on the plan. 

“My fear is that its such a big plan with so much in it that it could be almost easy for Council to not figure out how we begin to implement it just because its so much,” Payne said. “None of this is going to happen overnight so how do we pick in our [Capital Improvement Program] what we begin with.” 

City Councilor Brian Pinkston noted that there’s a list of projects on page 88 of the Climate Action Plan such as $75,000 a year in citywide tree planting, $700,000 to convert streetlights to LEDs, and $400,000 for bicycle infrastructure. But, he noted that city personnel would be required to manage those tasks. 

“Those things are there and I hope that when the City Manager brings us a budget we’ll see those lined out,” Pinkston said. 

Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade said funding should be expanded for programs to help property owners cover the costs of new heating and cooling systems as well as other renovations for energy efficiency.

“I think that we really need to support organizations like [Albemarle Home Improvement Program] and [Local Energy Alliance Program] and things like that because it’s our homes that we’re in that I think we can have the biggest impact,” Wade said. 

Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said he really appreciated the timing of the report. 

“I really, really, really appreciate the fact that we are receiving this in October,” Snook said. “I’ve only been on Council now for three budget sessions or three budget preparations and every time it’s been enormously frustrating when somebody comes out with a grand and glorious plan in March. We have no ability to process a plan in March.” 

Snook said the timing is also useful as the zoning ordinance is being rewritten. He asked for the City Manager to prepare the plan for adoption as soon as possible. 

Housekeeping notes for #441

And we’re back after a slight break influenced by the normal course of events. The goal is to get back to a more prolific schedule because there’s so much to get to in the course of any week. Let’s see how far we get this week!

Thank you to the many hundreds of paid supporters, as well as to all of those who have taken out a shout-out. There’s a lot of opportunities to help cover the cost of producing this newsletter and podcast, and I thank those who have done so.

If you want to do so, one way is to sign up through Substack. Ting will match your initial payment, whether it be at the $5 a month, $50 a year, or 200 a year level. At that last level, you get two shout-outs a month! Contact me for more information! All Substack paid subscriptions get a little extra content, such as the September property transactions summary which will come out later this week. 

And if you sign up for Ting through this link in this newsletter, you’ll get a free standard install, your 2nd month free, and a $75 Downtown Mall gift card! Enter the promo code COMMUNITY to get those benefits. Thank you, Ting! 

Musical interstitials in the podcast version come from Wraki. The album Regret Everything is available on BandCamp and you can pay what you want. Other bits come from the Fundamental Grang, coming to you through a break in space and time.

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.