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Albemarle seeks feedback on growth policy, starts Comp Plan working group

Albemarle County is asking community members for feedback on what they think is important in how the county plans for growth.

The county is in the first phase of the update of its comprehensive plan, a long-term planning document that will guide land use growth and development for the next 20 years, a process the county calls ‘AC44.’

The first phase will update the county’s growth management policy “through the lenses of equity, climate action and capacity projections.”

Community members can provide feedback at five pop-up events during the next two weeks or in an online survey available at engage.albemarle.org/ac44. The online survey will be available until May 16.

“We will be asking community members to share their experiences and input on what an updated growth management policy should prioritize,” the officials said.

The first pop-up will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the Flow Festival at Darden Towe Park.

The county’s current policy directs development into specific, identified growth areas “while conserving the remainder of the county for rural uses, such as agriculture, forestry, resource protection, and others that rely on these uses.”

Development areas make up about 5%, or about 37 square miles, of the county’s land.

The online survey is seven questions long and asks community members how well the current policy captures their vision for future growth. It also asks how growth management in Albemarle has affected them, how successful they think the policy has been in specific areas and what should be prioritized in the update. The survey also asks what changes to the policy should be considered to “further the county’s commitment to equity and inclusion” and climate action.

The county opened applications for an AC44 working group and received 102 applications. That convinced officials to create five working groups of about 20 members each, which will each serve for approximately six months.

“Broadly speaking, successful work groups have between 10 and 20 members to allow for everyone to have an opportunity to actively participate in discussions,” county spokesperson Emily Kilroy said in an email. “Based on the number of applicants and the phases of work, an approach of five working groups was developed.”

Approximately 19 applicants have been invited to join the first working group, Kilroy said, with invitations issued via a random number generator. The group list will be finalized at the first meeting.

Those invited include: Kenneth Wilkinson, H Rothenberg, Whitney Briggs, Wesley Jenkins, Kathy Ralston, Stuart (Fred) Carwile, Sharon Korinek, Gwendolyn Gale Cassady, Christine Perot, Peter Thompson, Rod Walker, Rex Linville, Andrew Cueva, Olivia Branch, William Hoare, Doug Horwitz, Chet Seapy, William Brase and Ronald H. Rosenberg.

Kilroy said the meetings are “invited meetings” as opposed to open meetings.

“Progress and materials will be posted on the AC44 website throughout the process to document feedback and on-going work.” she said.

Anyone who would like to request access to materials and/or feedback opportunities can reach out to the county’s Community Development Department for assistance at (434) 296-5832.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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