Not political? Boyd names bypass terminus committee

Sometimes it seems there's nothing local governments love better than to set up citizen task forces. That's why it was so out of the ordinary to hear a rash of criticism when Rivanna District Supe Ken Boyd called a press conference to announce an advisory group for the soon-out-for-bid-yet-undesigned Western 29 bypass northern terminus.

"Today’s announcement by Ken Boyd is another bypass on public input," says Cynthia Neff, who is challenging Boyd for the Rivanna seat. "It is just the latest bad decision for the residents of Albemarle County since the late-night vote to approve the bypass on June 8."

Board Chairwoman Ann Mallek questioned the use of the county's spokeswoman to set up the news conference.

And fellow Supervisor Dennis Rooker challenged Boyd's standing to set up a committee on a project like the bypass, and says that should be done by the entire board. Two weeks later, Rooker named his own committee to represent the Jack Jouett District in planning the road.

Boyd says the committee came out of a town hall meeting with constituents in Forest Lakes, who are concerned because when the original bypass was designed 20 years ago, Forest Lakes South wasn't there.

The dozen members of the task force include former Rivanna supervisor Charles Martin, former School Board member Sue Friedman, and residents of Forest Lakes and Hollymead.

"This group has no authority to do anything but represent the citizens," says Boyd, who will chair the group.

Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton has said he's putting the bypass project out for bid in October, and VDOT recommended getting a committee together as soon as possible, says Boyd. When questioned about the speed with which the project is going out to bid without a final design and without citizen input, Boyd responded, "This road is going to get built. If we want input, we have to do it now."

The group's meetings will not be open to the public, he adds.

VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter was at the press conference and said his agency wants citizen input. He was unable to estimate how long the bid process will take.

Boyd rejected the idea that a single supervisor can't form a committee. "We do that all the time," he says.

Nor, says Boyd, did the timing of the press conference have anything to do with his reelection campaign. "Just because I'm running for office doesn't mean I can't do constituent services," he says. "It's not political. It's about doing the right thing for my district."

He suggests that accusing him of being political could be political on the part of his critics.

"Candidates call for press conferences all the time to get publicity," observes Mallek. "I think we have an explosion of communications issues."

Mallek, who says she's held town halls that are open to the public, calls the closed-door Boyd committee "just not the way I choose to do things." Says Mallek: "Everybody gets to talk at my meetings. It's messy to have a lot of people talking, but it's important to hear what they say."

She thinks there needs to be a bypass design committee for the whole project appointed by the Metropolitan Planning Organization. "Not to preclude any of these smaller discussions, but I shouldn't think this neighborhood process takes the place of that."

Jim Grace is a Forest Lakes resident on the committee and former engineer. He wonders what VDOT will do with the group's input, but considers the alternative. "What are you going to do– not be a part of it?

"My experience with VDOT has been fairly positive," says Grace. "Otherwise I wouldn't waste my time."

Updated September 19.

Read more on: ken boydwestern bypass


This is a result of the county supervisors not addressing traffic on 29 for decades. and continuing to approve developments. The state purchased the right of way and it was foolish to assume there was never going to be the political will to carry through. When Rooker, Thomas, Slutzsky and Dorrier were all on the board, that's when they should have addressed the problems on 29 and worked with the state to do so. They even had democratic governors during those years, why couldn't they have gotten road projects funded to address 29 ?

My preference would have been using the 29 right of way with a series of interchanges and overpasses and selling the western bypass right of way to recoup the money spent.
Now those opposed to the ByPass are no longer in the majority and 29 is a mess, and there is a developers dream governor in office, who sees the political gain of pleasing his constituents to the south of Charlottesville.

Yes this is a foolish use of money, and yes there are better alternatives, but too late.

I see an analogous situation with the new dam debate, another project that does not benefit local citizens as much as dredging the South Fork Reservoir would, but unlike the ByPass will directly cost all those who pay a water bill a lot of money in increased rates.

City residents are lucky to have a mayor with their interests in mind and not just the interests of developers and the billion dollar environmental organization, the Nature Conservancy .

But, if they elect Huja and Galvin to the Council they will end up with another foolish, costly, environmentally destructive project, the difference - this time they will be the ones paying for it and not the state.

I hope local taxpaying ratepayers can stop that dam - before it's too late and not get stuck with another bad decision for our community.

I totally agree with Local Resident's comment.

A bypass designer should take into consideration what has been built in the last twenty years since the original design and what may take place in the next twenty years. This would require both hindsight and foresight. However, myopia seems to be the term necessary to describe the lacking usage of both of the insightful and aforementioned words with this bypass project. Either we cannot print enough money to do it right, or UVA just wants a better escape route for basketball and football traffic.

"...and selling the western bypass right of way to recoup the money spent"

Unfortunately you wouldn't recoup much, since you'd have to offer it back to those it was bought from for what you paid them twenty years ago.

Come election day, Bypass Boyd.

@Michael Well, at least you would recoup some and you would probably have saved the rest with a less costly project than what they are looking at now, with the same or better results for transportation needs but local and regional.

mr boyd you need to listen to the people WE DO NOT WANT THE BYPASS , and who gives you the right to appoint a committee without the rest of the board involved , sounds like a pocket full of money deal to me and many others as well ,but I guess you are not working for the county of Albemarle residents ,you must work for yourself I say you are fired

"A wise teacher said to his student; there is no profit in being stupid"

-compliments of Dick Gordon on WMRA" The Story " Sept.1, 20110

Now Boyd wants citizen input ? - after pushing the bypass through in an underhanded way specifically to avoid public comment. Why? everyone knows that it's pretty stupid and 20 years out of date. Ya think it's an election year ???

And his defnition of input follows the sad historical script - limited, not public, orchestrated by him.

Calling a press conference with great fanfair to announce that he's going to (maybe) listen to constituents - wow. Gimme a break.

Bypass Boyd and let's get some better government before we totally turn Cville into Fairfax.

The fix is in. Boyd makes the real deal in private meetings. Remember NGIC? This is window-dressing for the election.

@ Citizen Kain: I will be so sad to see Charlottesville turn into another Fairfax.

Well, regardless of Boyd's motives, I hope the forest lakes folks on this committee will be able to keep all the on and off ramps on the west side of 29. Thanks to those who are spending their time to participate on the committee.

But I still think the idea of taking this 20 year old plan and trying to implement it without doing any traffic studies (the 20 year old traffic studies we have are worthless) is dumb.

It's tragic, really. One of the most beautiful parts of the state--indeed, the country--is being ruined because the supervisors and their cronies are too greedy to do real planning. I just read that yet another strip mall shopping center is being built near Lowe's. Do we really need to tear up land when there are so many dead/dying shopping centers that could be razed and rebuilt? The lack of foresight and refusal to use creative policies that other communities have used is appalling. I can't believe Boyd et al. can sleep at night.


I know some folks are mad at Sally Thomas and Lindsey Dorrier, but in the past they stood up against such nonsense. They made Lowes rebuild on its current location, instead of granting them a pass to do what is going on right now. They were much better about smart redevelopment. What is going to happen to the circuit city building? Do we really need another strip mall to clog up 29?

I need to buy a star wars lego toy for a child's birthday party today. Is it possible to purchase such a thing inside Charlottesville City limits?

Otherwise I'll have to *gasp* drive up the nightmarish 29N and go to a *shudder* store and give the evil Albemarle County government sales tax revenue. I would rather die.

This all sounds pretty ridiculous. And I'm SHOCKED that Mr. Boyd's opponent would criticize his press conference!!! Yes, that's worthy of an article in the hook!

Albemarle County has grown. Human beings have moved here and continue to move here. Should they subsist on their vegetable gardens? To not accomodate the growth would be foolish. Yes, there are always better alternatives and pitfalls to any chosen course of action. But to do NOTHING is precisely how municipalities get forced into unpalatable options.

Debating the bypass, water-plan and the Meadowcreek parkway to death does not serve the public. There has been enough debate and, although none of the plans are perfect, all were decided by democratically elected representatives. Get over it.

@meanwhile, I think you can buy a Star Wars toy inside the city limits. I've seen them at Barnes and Noble, and I think they have them at Shenanigans and Alakazam.

I don't think anyone is saying "do nothing, don't grow." But there is smart growth, and there is dumb growth. Granting permits for new shopping centers, instead of having smart regulations that, for example, require owners to raze or renovate buildings that have become blighted properties, is idiocy. How much longer are we going to have to look at the Circuit City building, or the old Asian Buffet building? It's a travesty.

I'm Shocked, Shocked to see growth going on in the growth area!

Looking at the people on the task force and it seems like a really good group. Democrat and former Supervisor Charles Martin, people who didn't want the bypass, Presidents of the HOA's and longtime Forest Lakes residents. One can argue that the road shouldn't be built but seeing that it's going to happen- this task force looks like a decent idea. I will wait to see what they actually come up with before passing judgement on it.

What would have been the alternative, doing nothing and letting VDOT design the whole think with no local input?


The old Asian Buffet is owned by the UVA foundation. Another great use of alumni donations. I don't see any problem with Mr. Boyd trying to connect with the desire of his own affected voters at all. Mallek and Rooker are jealous. Just remember which BOS members have tried to hold your property taxes level and which routinely desire more taxes for their pet projects and I rest my case.

What County Farmer REALLY means when he talks about keeping "property taxes level" is that Ken Boyd has been instrumental in expanding the county's land use tax subsidy for its biggest, and mostly wealthiest, landowners.

No locality in Virginia uses the land use tax subsidy more than Albemarle County does. Sixty percent of land parcels in the county are in the taxpayer-subsidized program at a cost of about $20 million a year. County Farmer is one of those who believes he deserves the subsidy (even as he and others rant against "socialism") that other citizens pay for through their real estate taxes.

And, tangible property tax rates in the county on automobiles are a different story. In the city of Charlottesville, the property tax rates on cars is $4.20 per $100 of assessed value. In nearby Buckingham it's $4.05; in Fluvanna it's $4.15 (just up from $3.85); in Nelson it's $2.95; in Madison it's $2.95; in Orange it's $3.70; in Louisa it's $1.90.

But in Albemarle County the tax rate on vehicles is $4.28.

Ken Boyd's "pet project" –– and that of the Republican party –– is tax "relief" for the wealthiest.

Affected voters should remember that.

And who is pushing the big dam/electric pipeline project- the wealthy of western Albemarle, and their friends on the BOS, who wouldn't pay a penny of the $200 million, they have wells ( no folks not $25 million for a dam which creates NO ADDITIONAL WATER FOR PEOPLE --only water for the Moormans, so the wealthy will have a water park and the billionaire Nature Conservancy will have a PR campaign --and you ordinary ratepaying folks will get soaked !

When will people wake up and elect people who will represent them - not rule them. If you don't want the cost of living to escalate in Albemarle and Charlottesville and watch thousands of trees destroyed and then the countryside of Albemarle torn up for the cross country uphill pipeline, needed to fill the new reservoir at Ragged Mt. then don't elect Huja and Galvin --there is still time to stop this even though it looks like the Western ByPass is a done deal .

I thought we were a green community with a guiding principle of sustainability - boy was I wrong. Developers rule here just like they do everywhere else and until people " just say no " and elect more individuals like Holly Edwards and Dave Norris , that will continue.

Correction. Mallek, Rooker AND DEMOCRACY are jealous. Democracy is a bitter school teacher that now has to work for a living after being off for the summer while being paid by taxpayers real estate tax dollars. It is usually those that are paying no tax that yell the loudest for others to foot the bill for wasteful government spending.

Reformation of Charlottesville US29 has been flatly refused by Gov. McDonnel, but there are as yet no set contracts for the bypass and only two years remaining in his term. We need only thwart Boyd and his bypass promoting cronies until we can elect representatives who will consider the people before their pockets.

@County Farmer, what planet are you living on? Your view of reality is distorted. You try doing a teacher's job for a day, and you'll see why they deserve time off. And what would you have school systems do? Not pay teachers over the summer, but increase their paychecks during the year, just so it looks like they aren't getting paid for doing nothing? You can't keep employees if you refuse to pay them for 8 weeks out of the year.

And with regard to wasteful government spending, how about all those farm subsidies, County Farmer? Are you one of the bottom-feeding farmers just raking it in for keeping land fallow?

Poor County Farmer. He has it all mixed up. What he does get right is that there are people who, indeed, work hard for a living. And pay taxes.

Unfortunately, it is these very same people –– lambasted by County Farmer –– who have been hurt most by the policies that County Farmer supports. For example, County Farmer is a believer in and supporter the supply-side economic policies that piled up huge budgets deficits under presidents Reagan, Bush1 and Bush2. The accumulation of Reagan-Bush1 deficits quadrupled the national debt by 1993.

When Clinton entered office, he proposed raising taxes on the wealthiest, who had benefited most from the Reagan-era tax cuts. Conservatives screamed bloody murder. They, along with the Wall Street Journal and other conservative media, said it would “ruin” the economy. Dick Armey, then a Republican Congressman from Texas and now head of FreedomWorks, a Koch brothers entity that pulls the Tea Party strings, said. "Clearly, this is a job-killer in the short-run. The impact on job creation is going to be devastating." Newt Gringrich recited conservative lies that are stil being perpetrated, saying that "The tax increase will…lead to a recession…and will actually increase the deficit."

Instead, the U.S. economy embarked on the longest sustained economic expansion in recent history and more than 23 million jobs were created. And the federal budget was balanced multiple times. And the debt was getting paid down. And there were budget surpluses. The votes of each house of Congress on the tax increase are linked below:

Things got much, much worse with Bush2. More big supply-side tax cuts for corporations and the rich. Two unfunded and badly-managed wars (one of which was wholly unnecessary). More than a doubling of the national debt. A broken economy.

I'll hazard a guess that County Farmer voted for Bush2 and his policies. Twice. He supports Ken Boyd, an ardent conservative Republican who has advocated numerous times those disastrous supply-side policies. And, of course, Boyd has been helpful in maintaining and expanding the county's land-use tax subsidy program, which now costs those hard-working people County Farmer detests $20 million a year.

Of course, County Farmer is getting his taxes dramatically reduced, at a significant cost to others. And like a typical conservative, he tries to paint black as white, and turn day into night, and say that what is wrong is really right.

He is the one who is getting heavily subsidized by "wasteful spending."

This article is well worth reading:

It is written by a guy who was GOP committee staff on the Hill for 20+ years, and it explains why he resigned and what he believes the motives of the current GOP are.

Wow, bypass debates turn into debates featuring Bush1, Bush2, Reagan, Clinton, etc. You people need to get out more. The bypass is a good idea, and the board knows it. The money had already been designated for the project and had a 10 year shelf life, had the "late night" vote not happened, the money would have gone back to VA, the land that had been bought in the bypass corridor would have been given back to the families that had been given a hefty sum for their property (back when home values were good) and the county would be left without the funds for a legitimate option.

Why is it that every poster on these threads turns out to be some far left winger? And why do simple things such as roads turn into Presidential administration debates?

Boyd is a worthy board member, and this county needs growth. They don't have the power to raze and rebuild shopping centers, why would they disapprove the building of a new one? Perhaps a new one will be attractive, and the value of the empty alternatives will decrease to such a level that an investor will be able to buy the existing and make it work.

"and this county needs growth."

Why? Can any of you sreaming for growth growth, say why this area really needs it?

NoVA is a few hours away, andyou can get all the big shopping center sprawl you want in Fredericksburg. Employment is also better.

Why ake Albemarle look like Nova?

The commenter E complains in typical myopic conservative fashion that "every poster on these threads turns out to be some far left winger."

That, quite simply, is ludicrous. What most commenters seem to desire (with the obvious exception of County Farmer) is representatives –– at the local, state and national levels –– who are interested in promoting the general welfare. Ken Boyd is not that kind of representative. Nor is Eric Cantor. And both of them, along with their conservative brethren, have been staunch supporters of the policies that led to the current debt problem and the broken economy.

The bypass may have made sense twenty years ago. But it was conservatives in the western part of the county who held it up (they didn't want the road coming near where they lived). To build the bypass of 20 years ago today may take some traffic off 29 North –– which the Board has filled in with development –– but it's very much out-dated. And expensive.

Nonetheless it appears that it will finally happen and get fast-tracked. The committee put together by Boyd is mostly a side show. And yes, it's political grandstanding by Ken Boyd, posturing as though he is a man of "the people." He's not.

The process by which Boyd and his cronies re-opened the bypass is what many object to; it was devious, and it smelled like the predetermined deal that it is. Perhaps it will all work out.

But in the end, voters should take note that Boyd doesn't really represent their interests. And unless you're in the very top tax brackets –– and most Americans are not –– Cantor and McDonnell and Perry and their Republican colleagues are not interested in government "of the people, by the people, for the people" either.

Their past record of deficits and debt and coddling the rich at the expense of everybody else –– and refusing to own up to it –– proves it.



travel lite,
do da feds REALLY have da money? that is just the attitude that got us into 14 trillion in debt. maybe they will name the bypass the Mao bypass.

Follow the money...once you realize everything in life is one big hustle and accept it. Then you are alright with the world today.