Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Council wants 30-foot dam, nixes Norris plan

“Going down this road is like going down the rabbit hole.” – Councilor Holly Edwards

Charlottesville, Va. – Council has changed the compromise plan from a 13- to now a 30-foot dam height increase. They voted 3 to 2 to amend their September resolution calling for a 13-foot dam height increase at Ragged Mountain.

Councilors David Brown, Kristin Szakos, and Satyendra Huja voted yes, with Mayor Dave Norris and Holly Edwards no.

Brown made the motion. There was some confusion right before the vote, whether it was for 30 feet or a range of 13 to 30 feet. But all three compromising councilors stuck by their decision even though the mayor argued against them.

Mayor Norris said his plan would not encroach on Interstate-64, would preserve biologically diverse forest to be inundated, and allow for expansion.

Szakos said 13 feet is not enough according to Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Norris responded that “DEQ never said no.” In some semantic game, Norris said his plan would satisfy the permit requirements for stream-flows but it would take years longer to reach those goals.

Edwards said it best: “Going down this road is like going down the rabbit hole.” The hypocrisies and ironies were breath-taking.

Edwards thanked City Public Works Director Judy Mueller for telling the truth when describing the process as “adversarial.” On the latest study’s ability to trump all previous studies, Edwards made the analogy: would you rather take medicine from 2006 or meds from 2008 or 2009?

Mueller said the city and county have been negotiating the Cost Share Agreement for two weeks so far. All the councilors wanted the county to pay as much as possible.

Szakos asked Mueller if the cost sharing agreement includes dredging and conservation. Mueller responded no. Szakos wanted a slush fund for rebates and incentives for conservation. Mueller said the only thing they’ve done is to subsidize rain barrels.

Chris Webster of Schnabel Engineering, designing the earthen dam, answered questions from Council. He said the full 42-foot height built all at once would be the most practical for the price and would take 18 months to construct.

City Council and County Board of Supervisors met this afternoon to discuss the water issues.

It’s unclear whether Citizens for a Sustainable Water Supply will be upset. In public comment, Betty Mooney was okay with the 13-foot compromise. She promised “we won’t march on the city.”

The main buzz in the public comment was the issue of a Special Use Permit to play music in a restaurant. Music + restaurant = Music Hall. Cville Coffee may need a cabaret license for open mike night. “For-profit only” music venues were derided.

No Council meeting would be complete without a real estate shenanigan. The city wants to sell the Region Ten site at 4th and Preston as a Single Room Occupancy public housing project owned and operated by Virginia Supportive Housing. Council voted that this first reading is the second reading and voted again unanimously to sell the property. The actual ordinance was not read, only discussed with two people speaking in the public hearing.

Also Southern development wants another two city surplus lots, for $40,000, this time in the southwest corner of Ridge-Cherry-Elliott adjacent Burnet Commons housing project.

City Council Jan. 18, 2011. Streaming Media Archive Page for Charlottesville City.

City to take over 2006 water plan, Jan. 3, 2011.


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