Albemarle Delays Environmental, Development Ordinances

By: Matt Holmes Email
By: Matt Holmes Email

Wednesday January 23, 2008

Local environmentalists complain about run-off and erosion into area streams and creeks, especially with new development on and around steep slopes.

"Clear-cutting will occur, trees will be hauled up from their roots, mud will flow into the creek and many, many hundreds of houses will be existing on these steep slopes," proclaimed A.K. Wieder.

Wieder and other local activists say they've seen the environmental impact of new development in Albemarle County and they're sick of it.

That's partially why Ann Mallek was elected to the county Board of Supervisors last fall.

"For many, many years concern for our environment and for the way development happens has been very important," Mallek said. "It was certainly very important to the people who sent me here."

Mallek promised in her campaign to be an advocate for the environment, even at the cost of development, and as growth and environment-based ordinances came before the Board of Supervisors Wednesday, Mallek says her supporters spoke up.

"Many of them have called up since November and said 'don't forget why we sent you there.'"

But an expected vote didn't happen. The Board's chair, Ken Boyd, demanded the public have an opportunity to comment on the ordinances, which would essentially ban building within 100 feet of a stream and also extend environmental protections to rural areas.

So for the environmentalists, the fight to give nature a voice continues.

"I need shade. I need to be clear of sediment from run-off," Wieder declared, acting as the voice of Moores Creek. "I need to be protected from the kind of run-off from roads and...garbage and the other kinds of encroaching development issues that frequently happen."

Moores Creek forms a natural boundary between Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Folks who live near Moores Creek say run-off is so bad that red water flows through the creek, simply from all the red clay that gets deposited.

The Board of Supervisors meeting scheduled for the afternoon of February 6 will now be extended into the evening to allow for more public comment on the issue.

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