Albemarle County Kicked Off 'Places 29'

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

May 12, 2005

You've seen the construction and development just north of Charlottesville along U.S. Route 29, and may have wondered to yourself "is this just the tip of the iceberg?"

You may have also wondered if there is a method to the madness of the urban sprawl.

The growth you've seen is just a prelude for things to come. Albemarle County currently has the highest rate of job growth, and consequently, the lowest rate of unemployment in Virginia. This could mean big things for our area, especially sprawl.

Albemarle County kicked off Places 29' at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School with members of the community taking note. The community planning project is aimed at helping shape the future of development in the county. Officials with the county see Places 29 as a way to become more urban.

The joint project between Albemarle County, and three other state and local agencies presented to residents cover areas north of Charlottesville. While no plans are set in stone, and ideas were only tossed out to raise awareness with residents, there's a chance today's scenery in Virginia could be a thing of the past.

Peter Kleeman says, "I think there's a fair bit of growth in the rural areas now, so we may be solving a big portion of the problem now."

Ideas thrown out to help us handle growth of the future circled around the core elements of 'Places 29' which are education, public safety and security, population, and attractions. Steve Ashby, who posted signs questioning 'Places 29' suggests we should consider mass transit as an option.

"We'd be a lot better off if we had a better choice, and that better choice is transit, walking, or bicycling," said Ashby.

There is another meeting scheduled for May 25th to talk about more ideas.

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