Seeking lifeline, Biscuit backers may bail

Faced with an enormous purchase of $46.2 million (a mortgage that would require a $363,000 monthly payment if financed for 15 years at five percent), the owners of Biscuit Run may try to convert their stalled development, approved around 1am after months of battles two years ago, into a park, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow. The County was expecting Biscuit Run to fulfill its vision of urban infill and generate a third of all cash proffers–- $18 million of $57 million–- over the coming years, and parking such a large tract in the officially-designated Growth Area seems anathema to decades of Albemarle planning policy. But when nobody's buying, nobody's buying, right?

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Now I get it. People only move here to fill available houses. So if houses are not available they won't come. How simple. Don't build it and they won't come.

The Free Enterprise Forum is the development communtiy--look at their board of directors. I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't a bluff: to get a better deal from the county for the developers of Biscuit Run, who had to make substantial financial contributions to get this re-zoned. Watch, bet the county will beg them to stay and say, just tell us, we'll give you anything you want--just build those 3,000+

Just wait, the Albemarle County Service Authority will use all their persuasive powers to try to block it. This would be a wonderful addition to the community, saving money, by negating the need for all the additional infrastructure, and this development would not have been an economic boon, but an economic nightmare, bringing thousands of polluting car trips into the city and county, and needing millions of dollars of taxpayer funded schools, roads and all the safety protections, fire and police.

And think of all those trees that will be saved.

tree lover... before you got here they wanted to keep out the blacks and the jews...

what right do you have to tell an industry or person they are unwelcome?

There is a master plan in place and any industry that meets the current zoning cannot be thwarted regardless of your opinions about there ethics.

Charlottesville has become liberal over the last 30 years. the 150 years before that were the other side of the coin.

You cannot be selective over who comes here.

If it were not for outside money charlottesville would be bankrupt in a decade. No community can survive with only inside money because the government would absorb every penny within 5 years. All the money from state farm, uva and ngic is outside money. Take it away and see how much it hurts the local economy.

THe County can negotiate the best deal it can for the community, but it cannot do it your way. If they refuse one developers request and grant anothers the courts (rightfully so) will clean the countys clock for playing games.

While the economy is weak right now it will strentghen and growth will occur. If the county thwarts development too much there will be a housing and retail shortage which will cause inflation that will be cause a subsequent collapse down the road as surrounding counties are not so bullheaded. Also if they fight developers than developers will simply by properties that need no zoning changes and thus no proffers and the couinty will be stuck with all infrastucture costs. Planning will also be harder as the construction will be spread all over.

To all of those who think new construction should pay for its entire cost before they get here... no one already here ever did. Every single home bar none was built and did not have to pay a fee for its share of the local school or fire house. No one got a bill for the belmont bridge or route 250.

It has and always be the a community effort for roads and schools.

The best growth we could wish for would be retirees with money. They have visitors who spend money as tourists and they send no kids into the school system. They use little services like police and the judicial system (they're seldom criminals) plus they hire buttwipers so caesonia will always have a job.

What a blessing and a great christmas gift for the county. This will improve the county land values, preserve the environment and provide park service to an often neglected southern county area. The county will save money by not having to build the infrastructure needed to serve what would have been a small city. The rezoning should have never happened, the supervisors should be ashamed. Thanks to Hunter Craig for this generous offer and great idea to improve the county(WIN, WIN, WIN !). This will help the counties goal of preserving green space :o). It is just with luck and good timeing that finally the south end of the county will not be dunped on again.

The answer is that we don't want them to come.
There is not sufficient employment capacity for additional people in this area. As an unemployed land development engineer, I can tell you that right now, there is very little development going on in this part of the country. The housing market was a major indicator of a sustainable economy in this country. With the bust of the housing bubble, so went the economy. We won't have to worry too much about major development for at least 5 or 6 years down the road.
Why would we want to replace the lost acreage with additional development rights? The Parkland is part of the original designated growth area. As such, there was a requirement for open space as part of the property zoning. If the Parkland exceeds the amount of open space originally required, WE, the people of Albemarle County, gain additional open space with no obligation to add more area for designated growth. Just because one exceeds their open space requirements does not in any way support an obligation on our part to compensate for the additional open space by granting more growth area.
I would also like to comment on the DIA/NGIC expansion. One has to look at the big picture. We were hoodwinked by Wendall Wood when the re=zoning occurred to provide the NGIC with additional property to expand. The jobs that Mr. Wood promised as part of the deal will not be given to local residents, as the qualifications for the jobs require Top Secret Clearances, which are expensive and time consuming. They almost always hire ex-military personnel for these types of facilities due to clearance requirements. Look at the qualifications requirements lonline. This will become obvious.
But, there are also two additional partners in crime involved with NGIC, besides Mr. Wood. UVA built their research park just across from the NGIC property so that the third partners, Defence Contractors (otherwise known as Beltway Bandits), have taken up residence in the UVA REsearch park. In addition to the 800 people moving to NGIC, we will also have a large group of private defense contractors and their families moving here soon. This actually leads to a fourth partner involved in this scheme to develop the North Rivanna area. The development of NOrth Pointe will provide housing and facilities for the additional defense contractors and families moving to this area.
There was a concerted effort to develop this entire area between NGIC, UVA, Wendall Wood, Ken Boyd, North Pointe developers, and I am sure that McDonnell-Douglas was in there somewhere.
Since all this has occurred, I am definitely against any re-zoning of properties for additional development.

Well, Neil, the answer to your philosophical question is going to vary depending on whether you're asking a group of people who make their living by building residential and commercial developments in an area in which they themselves do not live or a group of people who live near the development area who feel that the town is meeting its current needs quite well enough and that more parkland makes the community a better place to live and to visit. So you're not going to get one answer, are you?

Any new news about this actually happening ? Please keep us posted.

I was surprised by Mayor Norris's comments about the possible state park.

from report at WINA:

" Dave Norris (pictured) says without Biscuit Run, he's concerned that another large housing development might pop up somewhere outside the county's growth areas. Norris says a potential downside is when the housing market does pick up, the loss of a residential development in a growth area could send people out into the county's rural areas."

I would think he would be thrilled for the sake of City residents, who, he is elected to represent. There is no reason to think this will mean increased rural development, if the county is willing to zone that land to protect it. The city has no control over this. I wish our city councilors cared more about looking out for city interests.

Let's make this park happen. E-mail Governor Kaine today, the person who will make the decision, and register your enthusiastic support !

Rankandfile, so your hypothetical government doesn't pay for goods or services with the money it collects? I was given to understand that government often spent even more than it collected. I've definitely learned something new everyday if your model is accurate.

We want quality of life in Albemarle, not quantity. That's why we moved here to begin with. We love the local spirit and culture. Why would those of us who have lived and worked and built this area up for a long time want to share the fruits of our labors with those who do not appreciate the culture? This is more than just a development issue. More people changes the demographics of an area. We like the culture as it is, and it old and established.
What I see is too many "city" people move here who do not appreciate the local community nor respect it. Don't get me wrong, I am well traveled, sophisticated and very aware of the cultural differences within the State of Virginia. Richmond, Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and other locales have different cultures as opposed to the Charlottesville area. We don't want to be Northern Virgnia or Richmond! We want to be Charlottesville/Albemarle County. I am not sure I can appreciate a developer's vision of what our County should be or how we develop.
I truly don't mind an infusion of fresh blood and ideas into the area. However, Too much is too much! Judging by the daytime traffic, our roads are at capactiy as it is now. The attitudes of the drivers has changed over the years, as those who have moved here from the urban areas brought their bad driving habits with them. I am used to driving under stressful driving conditions as in Northern Virgina. However, I don't want that to happen here.
Additional people requires additional services, roads, social and government services. As it is, there are barely enough services to go around without adding additional population. Unless, of course, you don't mind paying for those services in the form of taxes, which seems to be a problem for a lot of people in this County. There's another issue which causes a great deal of conflict in this County.
I think enough is enough! Slow down development until we have adequate infrastructure in place to support additional population.

Tree lover.

Every family that moves here will need services to live, they will need food and their teeth, cars, and hair, taken care of. This out of town sourced money is EXACTLY what we need. The housing built to accomodate them will involve local lawyers surveyors appraisers bankers etc. even if the houses are built by an outsider.

Growth will come. This is a nice place and less expensive than many metroplitan areas. It is close to international airports and major highways. We are close to the mountains and the beaches. Whats not to like?

We do not have the right to keep someone out and we do not have to embrace their culture as our own.

This story would be nothing if the farm had never been sold in the first place and we woke up this morning to find that it was in a conservation easement.

My concern is how much t will cost us to keep it as a park. 325k a year in lost taxes to start. Millions to put trails through it. At least thousands to keep the 4 wheelers, homeless and hunters out.

Then there is the responsibility to keep the fields bushogged and the underbrush down so there are not fires.

This is an expensive "gift"

One other thing... the county does not have a right to "slow down" growth except where zoning changes are required. Development by right means that so long as you file the permits you do not need "approval" and you do not have to give any "proffers" (bribes) in order to build.

The county was counting on 57 million from this project.

Like I said an expensive "gift"

quote: "We want quality of life in Albemarle, not quantity. That’s why we moved here to begin with."

So, it was OK for you to move here? But not OK for others to move here now?

Is this what you are saying?

You're crazy if you think the developers aren't going to make money off of this deal. They don't owe the $40+ million any more anyway after buying off their lender at a discounted price when the bubble burst. Craig is a hero in his eyes only.

Where in the world does it say that Biscuit Run appraised for 44mm?????? I don't see it anywhere.

Making Biscuit Run a park is a fabulous idea!! The only people in favor of this were the developers (for money) and the county(for money.) This is a gorgeous piece of land that should be preserved for all of us.

It old for 45 million.. that becomes the appraisal price.

But to answer your question I believe it was in the Progess article.

when they negotiate the donation I guuarnantee it will be at the purchase price.

Looks like our projected 50 year water usage just took a huge hit. Guess we won't be needing that new dam anymore.

If Biscuit Run becomes a state park and is removed from the county's designated growth area, should an equal number of developable acres be added to make up for this loss?

My belief is that at the end of the day the developers will attempt to negotiate some transferable development rights that they could sell. THese development rights can be worth a lot of money down the road.

Hoolarious, I'm not mad.

Albemarle County determined in 1980 that it would place 5% of its total land area into a "development" area, where it wanted to see more dense residential uses. The logic for this decision was that with such "smart growth" it would be more efficient to deliver county services. Interestingly, most of the organizations that will hold conservation easements are exceedingly reluctant to do so within the development area for this reason.

The heart of my question is if a state park is established permanently eliminating the potential for up to 3,100 homes, where should said number of homes go?

Other developments in the now smaller development areas?

By right development in the Rural areas?

Into outlying counties?

And how will this answer impact the quality of life in our community?

"And how will this answer impact the quality of life in our community?"

It will be great for the communtiy --fewer cars, more affordable, more trees, a far more desirable place to live --unlimited grwoth is not smart growth and upzoning this parcel was a bad idea to begin with

Neil, how about saying Albemarle doesn't have enough parkland for the residents of the future, and celebrating this a way to provide that, and realize that there are already too many of the house types you suggest for this area. Perhaps, what we really need is more parkland not more land zoned for housing.

But it seems to me that the County did what was asked: created a development area. Now, given the current economic climate, a landowner has decided that his economic best interests are best served by turning land into public park land. The County didn't do that. I don't see how the County is on the hook for this decision by the landowner.

I'd also like to know who are these consumers you are talking about. You describe them as if they're literally standing outside the gates of Albemarle County, with their trucks packed and suitcases in hand, crestfallen faces as they realize their Biscuit Run houses won't be built. Are you talking about actual people in significant numbers with actual plans to move here once Biscuit Run is built? Or are you talking about an abstraction, a theoretical set of consumers who might come here if they were enticed by the marketing efforts of a completed development? It's important, because one can feel sorry for the former (those poor people with their suitcases and crestfallen faces), but the latter is a different matter entirely.

Hoolarious - Another excellent point.

In speaking of these potential houses (and households) I am speaking in the abstract. Today's housing market (excess inventory) clearly can address the immediate need.

The remaining philosophical (abstract) question remains is Albemarle County better served with a smaller development area, and, to Sue's point, a larger parkland inventory?

Doesn't this mean there isn't so much urgency to destroy McIntire Park so Biscuit Run residents have easy access to 29N? Our endlessly wasteful City Council voted Monday to spend $33.5 million just for the interchange alone! If the local population and economy aren't growing, how on earth are we going to pay for things like that, and for what purpose?

Neil I think you need to do some homework. Ask Tom Frederick where the company and workers, who will get millions for the Meadowcreek Interceptor Project are from, also out of town workers are the majority for UVA projects, locals are priced out of the market on many of these big projects.

Neil, I didn't mean that the builders/developers around here don't live in the county; I mean that they don't live in or even very near the developments they build. You should correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing that these pillars of the community are mostly living in homes that are surrounded by pleasing vistas of green space, that are not right next to ugly strip malls, etc. You know, like Keswick, Glenmore, Farmington, or out in the country on a faux-estate.

Just my guess, though. Maybe they actually do live in their Hollymeads, Forest Lakes, etc.

Neil, you bring up some good points. I think it does raise some interesting issues about the future of the growth areas. For now, I think that some of the commenters are right and that the market cannot absorb what we have already, so we can live with a smaller growth area. In fact, it'll benefit developers who own the remainder of the developable parcels. If demand increases to the point where we need to create more supply then I think we should open up the question of whether to increase the growth area and *how* we should do it.

It tend to think that the way the growth areas were created was kind of a mistake, because they directed growth toward the growth areas, and yet they really didn't do enough to keep the rural area rural. Plus, as you point out elsewhere, the burden regulations were such that there wasn't much incentive for developers to meet or go beyond the spirit of the neighborhood model. I think if one were to do the growth areas correctly, they would use more of an incentive based model involving TDR.

Tree fort

UVA is "outside" money.

Where do you think the money comes from?

Rankandfile, what is inside money, then, if UVa (and everything else) is outside money? there is no inside/outside, people. but admitting that we are part of the world as well as a community unto ourselves doesn't lead ineluctably to the conclusion that we have to applaud every developer and every business that wants to sell us crap.

Caesonis says:Tree Lover has really hit the nail on the hea with all of this. I always thought Biscuit run as just another pile of McMansion over development BS, where an owner lived in one way for his tax benefit, and then proceeded to bail on that the minute that he could benefit another way. Interesting that he didn;t live very long after his great sell out.

I respond: Ok so the guy sold out for a lot on money. Even a true tree hugger would have been smart enough to sell out at that price, bought 1500 acres close by for half, donate it and keep the cash spread. Your way would have been for him to screw his heirs and donate the land for a park?

Where would we be now? We would have a park but...

When he sold out for 46 million he probably netted 40 million and paid 20% capitol gains of 8 million. So he has 32 million left... if he died before he was able to set up proper trusts then the GOVERNMENT got half of everything over 3.5 million which would be about 14 million dollars...

So his way we got (at worst) 400 acres of parkland, and 8 million in taxes. (at best) 1500 acres of parkland and 22 million in taxes.

Your way we have gotten 1500 acres of parkland and for all of his decades of hard work his heirs get a tax write off.

The county gave up MAYBE 100k in land use taxes over the years and got at least 8 millon in capitol gains.. (plus all the Taxes on the real estate comssions when it sold)(which those taxes by themselves were over 100k)

and to those who say that oh.. those are "Federal" Taxes... the county is getting tens of million in FEDERAL taxes from the stimulous and gets still more every year anyway. So that dog don't hunt.

Need one of you financial geniuses to work thru this.
I borrow 46 million and buy the Biscuit. I spend a lot of $$ putting the deal together say 1mm. It doesn;t work out so I donate the land for 44 millin even though we know it should appraise at way less. I still don't have any cash back on my 46 million. I have 44 mln in state tax credits which should be worth 80-85 cents on the dollar maybe? But I have to have income to make them worthwhile and I don't b/c I f'd up a r.e. deal. Therefore I must sell them or give them to the bank and still owe $$. So is the worst case I lose 10 million?

Tree Lover and others are correct. There doesn't need to be any quid pro quo here. Putting this acreage into parkland is the best thing that could happen.

Most of our local developers have an abysmal record regarding sane and well-thought-out development. Many of the newer houses are built very poorly. I'll take an existing older house in the city or county any day over the crappy houses in places like Dunlora and Glenmore. My modestly-sized house was built by the original owner almost 100 years ago, and it's stronger, prettier, and far more charming than anything I've seen go up around here recently.

There are plenty of fine houses sitting on the market. No need to build more for quite a long while yet.

Inside money: Money you have in the bank already or earn from doing services for someone who earns it locally (not from uvsa /state farm

Outside money: Money you earn that originates elswhere (state farm collects premiums in Colorado and pays you to do work here) (UVA collects tuition from a Roanoke student and pays a teacher here)

THe outside money is nessasary BECAUSE the government takes a commission on every transaction.

Think of it this way: the lawyer, accountanty and auto mechanic all need 1000 dollars worth of the others work. Everybody spends a grand and everybody makes a grand. The taxes take 40% so the next day they all have 600 dollars. Next week they all need more work. The pay each other 600 and the goverment takes 40% leaving them each with 360 dollars. After about 6 weeks the goverment has 2800 bucks and theeach are down to about 70 dollars or so.

BUT THEN: OUTSIDE money arrives as State farm moves into town and needs some legal work, some cars fixed and some accounting done. The coffers are refilled.

The point is new comers bringing jobs that are finances by

The point is that newcomers bringing paychecks created with OUTSIDE money breathe life into the local economy.

Florida has no state tax due to tourism.

Having UVA here is great because they spend money brough in from elswhere and we get it in the form of paychecks when it is spent locally.

Neil, you're mad that a private property owner is making a decision not to develop his land, and you think you're owed something by the rest of the community because of this private property owner's decision? does owning land in the growth area OBLIGATE owners of the land in that are to develop it to the max? do residents in previously non-designated growth areas have to suffer because you feel somehow ripped off because a private property owner decided not to create some more strip malls?

Hi Neil:

You said "...if a state park is established permanently eliminating the potential for up to 3,100 homes, where should said number of homes go? "

Why do you believe that the county/city/area "OWES" 3,100 homes? Why put them up at all? Who said that if you take away X homes here you MUST put them in there.

I believe that Biscuit Run was a bad idea. I think turning that area into a park is a great idea.

Furthermore, if all of these 3,100 tax paying homeowners want to live here - there is a glut of homes and land for sale. Perhaps they can look elsewhere?

@neil, there's NO NEED for up to 3,100 new homes. You of all people should know that private sector job growth has ended, UVA has a wage and hiring freeze, and NGIC/DIA people will live in Orange or Greene counties. The Commonwealth just borrowed over a billion dollars from Federal Gov't to pay its unemployment benefits. More foreclosures are coming and the young people and young families will leave the area b/c there are no jobs. This area is stagnating and with Virginia's tax code the way it is, will continue to for a decade or more, as will many areas of the US. Jeez, go read the bubble blog for five minutes.

Well as the bubble burst the price of housing comes down and more people (who don't lose their jobs) can better afford a home of their own. A silver lining as the gold falls out of the real estate market.

I would like to hear your answer to the question, though -- is a property owner within the development area obligated to develop it to meet the desires of the Free Enterprise Forum? You speak of the *potential* for 3100 homes, but then you immediately speak of that mere potential as if it were a birthright -- as if you are owed 3100 homes to appear elsewhere within easy reach. What if the property owner had been considering a different development, one with a Mall of America, and then he changed his mind -- do you view that potential Mall of America as a given rather than merely a potential, and ask where it will go now?

I just don't understand how any of the county plans promise that if a landowner considers one plan with X number of homes/businesses, and then the landowner changes his mind, that the planned number of homes/businesses remain on the table as something you have coming to you.

If an area has been designated as rural, what has changed about that area that makes it now reasonable to make it a growth area? nothing, really. the only thing that's changed is that some people's hopes and expectations for a certain kind of development in the growth area have been dashed.

I guess where I'm going with this is that you seem to feel you were promised 3100 homes. the property owner changed his mind. them's the breaks.

and how will it impact the quality of life in our community? well, obviously, like absolutely everything else in life, it will have a complex impact. For many, it will be net good: protected green space that is open to the public. For others, who were perhaps counting on selling things to 3100 new residents, it's a bummer. But again, isn't that life?

Hoolarious (and Carrie) - you both raise a good points.

The short answer is no, property owners have the right to develop (or not develop) their property as they see fit within the legal zoning guidelines.

My question revolved around permentatly removing the subject parcel from development potential.

Let me try and express my position another way.

Given: Albemarle County chose to put 5% of it gross land mass into a development area, and now may be losing the development potential of 1,200 acres.


1. Albemarle did not need to make the development area as big as it is (sems to be Carrie and Earth to Albemarle's point)

2. The land gained for permanent easement (as parkland is considered) should be replaced to make the development areas whole.

I would welcome a number 3 (or more) if such concepts exist but if you pick #1 I have to wonder when the development area fails to deliever a specific desired housing type (3/4 acre single family home) where will those consumers go?

Or is the arguement if we don't build it they won't come?

Hoolarious - I agree ther is not a unianimity of thought but I believe a community discussion would be a net positive. If the result of such a discussion is a smaller development area, so be it.

In reference to your point "building residential and commercial developments in an area in which they themselves do not live", as a new resident (I have only been here 10 years) I was suprised by the number of local builders and developers that are pillars in the community. I find the "out of town" developer, residential and commercial, is the exception rather than the norm in this community.

Last I heard this area was doing better then then the state if not the best. Most develpers that are in hot water are one's that are in debt up to there eye balls.

Charlottesville is well above the national average and this is really just more fall out from the real estate bust.

Kinda reminds me of that guy with the hotel.

True wealth is measured by what you got minus what you owe.
The last ten years banks have been able to delete what you owe, to borrow money.

pay up suckers!

Looking forward to the next election. Sluzky and Thomas were suppose to slow growth, they didn't --just wanted to keep it out of their backyard.

Tree Lover has really hit the nail on the hea with all of this. I always thought Biscuit runw as just another pile of McMansion over development BS, where an owner lived in one way for his tax benefit, and then proceeded to bail on that the minute that he could benefit another way. Interesting that he didn;t live very long after his great sell out.

The fact is, this is not Northern Virginia, and we shouldn;t have to look that way. If you want NoVA, live there. I don;t see why all the older residents should have to give up their quality of life and pay a lot of taxes to subsidize the sad little pipe dreams of people from somewhere else, and line the pockets of developers.

Personally, I can't see where any future growth is coming from, unless its to be the bottom wipers for a lot of retirees who don;t want to pay any taxes, but expect lots of services.

If the cost of housing in a development cannot pay for ALL the infrastructure of that development, including roads and services, then by all the rules of economics, the market for that development isn't there.

I am sick of subsidizing developers who think no further than their own pockets.

Yes, GasBag! Unless one is willing to assimilate rapidly into local culture. To be blunt. Or at least contribute to it.
The analogy can be made for how the Indians felt when the White Man invaded their lands. They brought disease, wiped out the locals and destroyed the local culture. The Indian Wars from 1619 - 1640 were particularly destructive. A bit of history.
Roscoe, slow and truly planned growth would work more efficiently. Not the overwhelming growth that we have experienced for the past 6 or 7 years. We also reserve the right to attract those types of industry that will contribute to the well being of our local culture with diversity. We can be selective as to whom we want to live here.
It has long been known that this is a progressive area with a liberal bent. I don't think that the type of industry that supports military operations is compatible with local interests. This is where the demographics come in. We have a diverse culture with a progressive attitude. I travel often to Stafford, Virgina Beach, DC and see the military installations and the personnel. They are very different from us. As a veteran, I appreciate their service, but I don't want to live next to a person who does not share similar views on life. Changing demographics by importing people with conservative views, as in DIA personnel, would change the local political climate here in Albemarle. I don't think that's what we want.
Again, this is more than development, there are social and political issues involved. We do have a right to be selective in whom we choose to develop our area, and the types of industry that settles here. And we are not obligated to give Biscuit Run compensatory re-zoning in exchange for park land, nor exceptions or variances to allow higher density than alowed under original zoning.
We don't need the outside Money. We already enjoy a high quality life style. Let's keep it that way.

When we moved here, we bought a house in an already developed (city) area that previous residents had vacated. Maybe what some of us are saying is that if you like Charlottesville (charming smallish southern town! that Downtown Mall! not like other cookie-cutter towns!), don't contribute things that are going to undo what you love. Don't buy new construction; don't contribute to that demand.

I have a question: This property is appraised at 44 million. If they donate it to the state for a 44 millon dollar tax "credit" (not deduction) and can sell these credits.. then that means that even if a big company buys the credits at 50 cents on the dollar the state is still paying 44 million for the property?

Why would the taxpayers pay 44 million for 1200 acres when we could buy 10,000 acres for the same amount elsewhere in the state?

Am I wrong?

Unemployed... I used to think like you do. That we have no right to keep anyone out. But, as a land development engineer with over 30 years in the industry, my observations of the areas that I have developed over this period of time are not favorable. It's my business to develop property, and I am good at it. But, I am not proud of what I see and the way things have worked out. I don't want that to happen here.
Poor and unplanned growth that rapidly overwhelmed the local population. Take Chantilly, VA, for example. Crowded, aggressive, loud, noisy and traffic that would make your hair stand on end. Chantilly was once a quiet little crossroads 20 miles from DC.
I know Charlottesville from the 1950's, when one of the more popular restaurants was the S&W Cafeteria next to the Greyhound bus station. I grew up near here. My family has been here forever.
Charlottesville is only 100 miles from DC. Culpeper is growing rapidly and we are next on the hit list. I know developers in NOVA who have been eyeing this area for years, and are planning development in the future here.
You can develop by-right, all you want. But there is a surplus of houses now in this County. We don't need anymore.
You are incorrect, unemployed... Charlottesville does not need outside money. With UVA here, by itself, we have survived quite well over the years. We could use some competition from other industries to help make salary levels more competitive. State Farm was quite welcome.
I can't support an industry that makes its money off the suffering of others, even in the name of protecting this country. It is counter to the basic cultural values of central and southwest Virginia. We can do better than this.

If, Mr. Craig, you can pull this off, I agree with others, move over Mr. McIntire, you will be our new local hero !


It sold for $46.2 in 2005 then was rezoned to triple the density. The $46.2mm sale price in 2005 is a factual price, while an appraisal is a professional opinion.

The DP article refers to a tax assessment of $44mm. A tax assessment is part of a mass appraisal performed by a group of government employees. In Virginia, only the head appraiser has to have an appraisal license, which means that Joe Bob making $30K per year with no formal education or experience can come up with a tax assessment. Read my text, a tax assessment has nothing to do with market value (they aim to assess at market value).