On Tuesday, June 26, the Livability team facilitated the first in a series of conversations with the Charlottesville and Albemarle Planning Commissions on topics previously identified by the City and County as areas of shared interest. These topics include historic preservation, entrance corridors, environment, housing, economy, transportation and land use. The aim of these conversations is twofold – to identify areas where the City and County want to collaborate and to determine if there is interest in creating common goals in these areas that could be incorporated into each locality’s Comprehensive Plan. The process, led by Livability project staff, will involve individual conversations with each commission over the next two months and a follow up discussion with both planning commissions at a joint meeting in early autumn.
Last Tuesday evenings’ discussions focused on three areas: historic preservation, entrance corridors, and the environment. Commissioners were asked to reflect on current City and County policies and actions related to each topic and address whether or not they felt a joint goal in that area was appropriate. Over the course of their discussion, both commissions acknowledged opportunities for collaboration in each of these areas. Both identified entrance corridors as integral to linking and protecting historic resources in the City and County. While both localities have entrance corridor design guidelines, they differ in their underlying approaches to managing them. Seeking better alignment between these guidelines was seen as one possible strategy for maintaining a seamless transition between the City and County, particularly within the urban area.
On the topic of the environment, both commissions acknowledged the impact that one locality’s actions have on the other as well as each locality’s individual responsibility to take steps to protect air and water quality. Members of both commissions suggested setting quantifiable targets in areas where improvement is desired and to track progress in achieving those goals. Based on input from these meetings and subsequent conversations over the summer on the remaining topics, Livability project staff will work to identify more concrete steps that the City and County can take in the areas they have agreed that they want to work together.