After earful, Supes skip driveway paving requirement
A new set of rules to prevent the dreaded "two-step," a property subdivision trick to circumvent zoning law, collapsed Wednesday November 12, after a litany of speakers denounced the proposal–- even after Albemarle planning director Mark Graham claimed the County was suffering "death by thousand cuts" as new driveways pop up as safety hazards.
Speaker Morris Foster, a surveyor, wasn't buying the fear factor. He said he couldn't recall any serious accidents stemming from someone pulling out of a driveway, and he proposed simply creating a time limit.
The proposed rules declared that adding a single extra lot to an existing driveway would unleash the county's more stringent standards for small subdivisions–- which would have forced rural driveways to be 14 feet wide with three-foot shoulders.
"I just think this is overkill for the creation of just one lot " said Western Albemarle landowner David Carr, who works as an environmental lawyer.
Another part of the proposal would have required that any stretch of the such multi-home driveways exceeding a seven percent grade–- that's a climb of one vertical foot for every fourteen feet of travel–- would have to be paved.
"I for one don't mind a gravel drive," said Linda McRaven, who called the proposal "part of a continuing assault on property rights."
Financial rights loomed large for County resident Elizabeth Gibson, who spoke lovingly about the 37-acre farm that, under a vastly different County leadership, she bought in White Hall in 1977.
"It's all I have," said Gibson. "It's my 401-K."
Joe Jones echoed a similar theme of using land as a savings account that he feared could be destroyed by the regulations. "When I'm in the nursing home and my kids need to sell a lot for whatever reason, I don't think the County is going to give me a bailout–- as some governments," he added, "have been doing."
The supervisors seemed to agree that the rules, as surveyor Roger Roger Ray put it, are "not favorable to the environment, and they're not favorable to the landowners."
One speaker who described himself as a Charlottesville City resident, Jeff Werner, seemed to favor the new rules, but all 16 other speakers denounced them.
"Gravel roads and rural areas go together," said Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier, shortly before the board voted 6-0 to defer the measure for further refinement.
In another topic, the board also voted unanimously to approve a new set of regulations on country stores. After an impassioned plea from tiny Maupin's store in Free Union–- which moved across the road 47 years ago–- they dispensed with their original rule that a store had to be at least 50 years in the same spot to qualify for favorable County zoning treatment.