League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area"The League of Women Voters encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy."
Natural Resources Committee
The Natural Resources Committee (NRC) monitors and speaks out on local environmental issues as stated in the LWV CVA Local Positions: “Actions” (2020-21).
Note: For the “Feb. 15, 2022 Webinar recording (“The Dark Side of the Sun?”): click here https://youtu.be/48u081gFEFU
Natural Resources Committee’s Study: Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan
Using a book club format to read and discuss each chapter, we studied the 2015 Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan for a year. Other Leaguers and people outside of the League joined our virtual County Plan “Book Club” meetings. Based on what we learned, we are currently submitting suggestions for input to the updated comp plan to county officials.
The comp plan meetings that were recorded are available as YouTube videos. A list of those videos follows the May 2022 update below–scroll down this page to access the links.
Albemarle Comprehensive Plan update – What’s happening in July 2022?
Here’s a quick look at some of the July planners’ tasks and citizens’ participation activities related to the 2022 comp plan update.
For detailed and complete information see the county website: https://engage.albemarle.org/ac44
We are still in Phase 1: Plan for Growth
NEWS AS OF JULY 5, 2022
Community members still have time to answer the questionnaire asking your opinion about Growth Management Options that are meant to “build on the current growth management policy and also support goals for equity, climate action, and planning for growth”. It will be available until July 15, 2022.
The questionnaire is at:
We are in
Phase 1: Plan for Growth
Introduction to Albemarle County 2044 (AC44): Comprehensive Plan Update is currently at this stage
Review, evaluate, and update the Growth Management Policy through the lenses of equity, climate action, capacity projections.
Align Comprehensive Plan Vision & Values with Albemarle County’s updated Values
Earlier AC44 Comp Plan Events: JUNE AC44 UPCOMING EVENTS
The AC44 Comp Plan team will share information about the County’s current growth management policy, recent development trends in the County, and how Development Areas may potentially grow in the future. Community members will be asked for input about options for growth management in the County, and how these options impact equity, climate action, and other quality of life factors
- June 17 2022 Time: 12 pm – 1 pm
Virtual Office Open House
Zoom link: https://albemarle-org.zoom.us/j/82306144352
- June 21 2022 Time: 4 pm – 6 pm
AC44 Open House: Northside Library
Location: Northside Library Meeting Room, 705 Rio Road West, Charlottesville, VA 22901
- June 22 2022 Time: 5:30 pm – 7 pm
AC44 Open House: COB 5th Street
Location: County Office Building (COB) 5th Street, Room A, 1600 5th Street Ext, Charlottesville VA, 22902
Albemarle Comprehensive Plan update – What’s happening in May 2022?
Here’s a quick look at some of the May planners’ tasks and citizens’ participation activities related to the 2022 comp plan update. For detailed or complete information see the county website: https://engage.albemarle.org/ac44 For an excellent summary and background see Piedmont Environmental Council web site: https://www.pecva.org/region/albemarle-charlottesville-region/shaping-albemarles-next-20-years/?fbclid=IwAR1BYRpgRzlE_43SkpOi_pfUFFrd4Equq7uzJeFQkAnaZkgrBa4UeiYugLs
It’s time for Phase 1: Plan for Growth
Review, evaluate, and update the Growth Management Policy through the lenses of equity, climate action, and capacity projections
Align Comprehensive Plan Vision & Values with Albemarle County’s updated Values
Growth Management policy
Starting – end of April
What will staff do?
- Look at existing conditions and future growth projections for the County; this includes doing updated capacity analysis to estimate the potential for the existing Development Areas to accommodate the demand for housing and business growth
- Listen to community priorities and lived experiences under the current Growth Management Policy
- Explore different policy options for managing growth in the County; listen to feedback from community on preferred option(s)
- Present recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, which will make the final decision on the updated Policy
How can citizens get involved? https://engage.albemarle.org/ac44
- In May, there will be several pop ups throughout the County (times and places listed at https://engage.albemarle.org/ac44)
- There will be an online questionnaire available beginning at the end of April https://engage.albemarle.org/ac44-growth-management/survey_tools/plan-for-growth-current-policy
- They can sign up to receive AC44 project updates and upcoming events https://engage.albemarle.org/ac44/news_feed/ac44-march2022-update for news about the update process
- They can email the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments
- Starting May 12 2022 there will be Virtual Office Hours
Zoom link: TBD Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm; AC44 Comp Plan team will be available to share information about the County’s current growth management policy, growth management policy history, and how growth management affects the community; community members can share their experiences and input on what an updated growth management policy should prioritize
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE CHARLOTTESVILLE AREA GROWTH MANAGEMENT STATEMENT TO THE ALBEMARLE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS – MARCH 2, 2022
LWV-CVA President Patricia Cochran made our first comment to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors regarding the updating of the comprehensive plan. It addressed viewing Growth Management through the lens of climate action.
“After a year of review of the Albemarle County 2015 Comprehensive Plan, the League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area would like to offer a suggestion for the upcoming update to the County Comprehensive Plan.
In order to be viewed through the lens of climate action the Growth Management section of the Comprehensive Plan first needs to indicate which aspects of land use contribute to climate change. Chapters of the plan that relate to increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, should be identified as having growth that must be managed. The policy should say how that could be done.
It was reported on page 5 of the Summary for Policymakers in the Intergovernmental Policy on Climate Change 2014 report (IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II, and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp.) that ‘Globally, economic and population growth continued to be the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. The contribution of population growth between 2000 and 2010 remained roughly identical to the previous three decades, while the contribution of economic growth has risen sharply.’ Locally we should be aware of Economic Growth as a driver of the growth of fossil fuel use.
As they relate to climate action, the chapters in the plan can be divided into two categories, those that generate GHGs and those that are carbon sinks. Those that generate GHGs are all related to economic growth. They are Economic Development, The Development Areas, Housing, Transportation, and Community Facilities. The four others are carbon sinks. They are Natural Resources, Historic, Cultural, and Scenic Resources, The Rural Area, Parks and Recreation, Greenways, Blueways, and Green Systems.
To mitigate global warming, and therefore climate change, the GHG emitters should at the very least be developed so that they are carbon neutral. Their growth must be managed so that if they grow they will not contribute to an increase in GHGs. Conversely, the land uses that act as carbon sinks must be preserved and protected.
We suggest that accurate data be available that shows the effect of various activities on GHG emissions and on supporting resilience. These data should be used to achieve carbon neutrality in plans and designs that are submitted to the county for permitting. “
RECORDED COMP PLAN “BOOK CLUB” MEETINGS THAT ARE AVAILABLE AS YOUTUBE VIDEOS:
Growth Management – Chapter 3 URL https://youtu.be/Zlkb8FZdVoA
Natural Resources – Chapter 4 URL https://youtu.be/PImrvNzfJrg
Economic Development – Chapter 6 URL https://youtu.be/PV3qnrkhOHE
The Rural Area – Chapter 7 URL https://youtu.be/HquWX2VMo5s
The Development Areas – Chapter 8 URL https://youtu.be/YEmrXTXuC5k
Housing – Chapter 9 URL https://youtu.be/gk8e6x9B7y8
Transportation – Chapter 10 URL https://youtu.be/2PiC0EZkO5k
Parks and Recreation, Greenways, Blueways, and Green Systems – Chapter 11 https://youtu.be/n1jrt6Su-QM
Community Facilities – Chapter 12 https://youtu.be/rukc_5c7DhE
Implementation of the Comprehensive Plan – Chapter 13 https://youtu.be/Lv_OAvyfsZI
For more information about the LWV CVA Natural Resources Committee, contact Muriel Grim, Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, email@example.com
Over the last several years, the NRC has presented seminars on various environmental topics. On February 15, 2022, a Webinar was held titled, “The Dark Side of the Sun?” – Renewable Sources of Electrical Power: Challenges and Promises.
To protect our ecological systems it is crucial that we adopt renewable sources of power. But how do we do it in ways that produce the most benefit and least harm to the environment? It’s not as simple as it seems. Our February Seminar addressed some of the complexities involved in having utility scale electric power switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. These complexities include proper siting of solar farms and ability to access the grid. In addition to solutions for renewable energy development problems, best practices and regulations for solar farms, and creative ways of installing small distributive scale solar power were discussed. Click here for Webinar recording: https://youtu.be/48u081gFEFU
The guest speakers were:
Jeff Hammond, Director of Project Development for Apex Clean Energy, is the primary Apex contact for renewable energy projects in PJM East (VA, PA, WV, MD). Jeff has extensive wind and solar experience having worked in the renewable energy industry since 2007. He has successfully developed wind and solar energy projects in many states including lead development efforts in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Before joining the renewable energy industry, Jeff spent 20+ years in the United States Coast Guard. He retired in 2005 at the rank of Commander. Jeff holds an MBA from the College of William and Mary and a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Coast Guard Academy.
Apex Clean Energy, Inc.
120 Garrett Street, Suite 700
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Dan Holmes, the Piedmont Environmental Council’s Director of State Policy, joined the PEC in 2000 as a Special Projects Coordinator, working on energy and air quality. Over the past twenty years, he has represented the organization at the local field level and on matters of state policy in Richmond. As the Director of State Policy, Dan has focused on a wide array of conservation and land use issues and serves as PEC’s staff lead in Richmond. Dan’s undergraduate degree is in Horticulture and he holds a Masters in Landscape Design & Ecological Land Use Planning.
Piedmont Environmental Council
45 Horner St.
Warrenton, VA 20186
Anna Bella Korbatov
434-218-1447 | cell: 310-666-8010
Anna Bella Korbatov is a Senior Project Manager at Fermata Energy. She helps craft and manage Fermata's policy and regulatory affairs strategy at the state and federal level, in addition to supporting operations and business development efforts. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in International Relations & Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). At SAIS, she worked with the Swiss Reinsurance Company on a research consultancy evaluating risks to the electrical infrastructure of the Pacific Northwest. Before joining Fermata, she worked at the Kaizen Company, an international development consulting firm in Washington, D.C.
100 10th St NE
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
For further information about this seminar and the LWV CVA Natural Resources Committee, contact Muriel Grim, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier seminars by the Natural Resources Committee are archived below:
On February 21, 2021, the NRC presented an LWV CVA Sunday Seminar: “How’s Our Water and Who’s Paying Attention To It?” Participating in this event were environmental organizations and government agencies that are working on water protection in central Virginia. Here is the link for the YouTube video of the seminar: https://youtu.be/YVopZ471L9s. Information about the speakers, their organizations and their topics can be found by clicking Information Packet. A list of these and other water stewards can be found by clicking Friends of Water. Also posted are some Upcoming Water Related Events that were noted at the seminar. A special event is May 2021 Drinking Water Clinic: to register go to 2021 DRINKING WATER REGISTRATION INFO.
A Sunday Seminar presented by the NRC on February 16, 2020, titled “Hot Matters: Climate in Crisis – What actions should we take?” was summarized as follows:
The seminar was organized to answer the question, “What specific actions can we take, both individually and as the Central Virginia community, that would be most effective in confronting climate change? “ We asked four invited panelists to discuss what they each had decided were the most effective actions, the barriers that stand in the way of accomplishing effective action, and advocacy that has achieved results.
The LWV CVA is grateful to Sean Tubbs for providing both an audio recording and the following written summary of the seminar. To hear the audio recording click here and for a list of climate change related reference materials click here.
Leaders talk solutions to climate crisis at League of Women Voters panel BY SEAN TUBBS
As the world continues to reel from emergency after emergency related to a changing global climate, an increasing number of people want to take action but may not know where to begin.
“One of the big things I hear from people is that they’re overwhelmed by climate change and don’t know where to begin and don’t know what to do in their personal lives to make an impact on this incredibly enormous problem,” said Susan Kruse, executive director of the Community Climate Collaborative.
Kruse was one of four speakers at a panel discussion put on by the League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area called Hot Matters: Climate Crisis. Over 80 people attended the February 16, 2020 event.
“The Natural Resources Committee members were wondering what could be done with all of the possibilities of combating climate change,” said Muriel Grim, the committee’s chair. “What are some of the steps that we could take that would be most effective?”
A deadline for action is looming. In November 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced the global temperatures need to be kept from increasing above 1.5 degree Celsius of warming in order to avoid cataclysmic changes for world ecosystems. To get there, IPCC scientists recommended a crucial target of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030.
“That’s 10 years we have to get there and we have a long way to go and need to all pull as a community together to figure out ways to move forward,” Kruse said.
In February 2019, Albemarle County, Charlottesville and the University of Virginia all announced they would seek to achieve the 45 percent reduction by 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Last December, the University of Virginia went one step further and announced they would become carbon neutral by 2030 and be fossil-fuel free by 2050.
The co-chair of UVa’s Sustainability Committee said it is important for public agencies to set aggressive goals, but the follow-through is crucial if the community is to meet its goal.
“You’ve got to have tactics and a road map to get you there,” said Cheryl Gomez, operations director for facilities management at UVA. “2030 means you have to be really focusing on what you have to do to get some quick wins. You have to be thinking about strategy because that’s less than a decade away now. It’s starting to tick away.”
Gomez said UVA does not have all of the answers as to how it will get to its 30 percent goal, but they are working on strategies.
“Every decision we make today will be totally driven and informed by that ultimate goal,” Gomez said. That means each new building is more energy efficient than those that came before. It means trying to reduce demand for parking by encouraging alternatives.
“If there is still some fossil fuel emissions, carbon emissions, left associated with that new construction we will need to offset that by additional renewable energy in some form,” Gomez said, using the example of installing more utility-scale solar.
The environmental sustainability manager for the city of Charlottesville said UVA can move faster to implement policies because it has more control over its own destiny.
“Sometimes a city or a county is a little envious of a large local partner like a university that has control over a lot of what happens in that footprint,” said Kristel Riddervold. “We have similar plans on a different scale of improving the efficiency of our existing buildings, looking at expanded deployment of solar [and] looking at electrifying our municipal fleet. The challenge is how to move forward and what areas to focus on.”
Charlottesville conducted inventories in 2000, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2016. Overall, the city saw a 23 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions over that period.
“You can’t manage what you’re not measuring,” Riddervold said. “Having benchmarks at the home scale or community scale is incredibly important because we have more biases on where to focus our efforts.”
Local government also contributes to transportation systems to help people get around the community. Land use planning can create dense neighborhoods where more people can live efficiently.
Riddervold said local planning should be taking climate and emissions into consideration. Charlottesville has begun a new effort to update the Comprehensive Plan.
“This is going to be looking at the housing strategy and the zoning ordinance,” Riddervold said. “Going to those meetings, which may feel like they were something other than climate action, in my opinion are the right meetings to go to talk about climate action.”
One bill pending before the General Assembly would require localities to add a resiliency plan for climate change to their Comprehensive Plans.
“You may have heard of things like small area plans, or Streets that Work, transportation improvement Plan, housing redevelopment plans and urban forest planning,” Riddervold said. “All of these topics are places where we are starting to sort of demand of ourselves that we look at those things through the emissions lens.”
Riddervold said the city is working on many projects, including a landfill diversion strategy to reduce the amount of solid waste that ends up being buried.
“There is an extraordinarily large portion of the waste that goes to landfills that is organic and when the decomposition happens, the gases that come off of that are things like methane,” Riddervold said.
The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority now offers a drop-off point for household composting at the McIntire Recycling Center, as does the city of Charlottesville at the farmers’ market.Staff is currently researching the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program to help encourage businesses to upgrade their cooling and heating systems.
“Climate protection or climate action sometimes feels like it’s a topic people are tackling in parallel or in isolation to a lot of other things,” Riddervold said. “I would suggest one of the opportunities is to integrate the topic in other core priorities that we’re tackling.”
For instance, if you give up driving alone to work, you’re also taking one less car off of the highways during periods of congestion.
Kruse said programs run by C3 like the Better Business Challenge are designed to bring people together to lower the barriers to participation.
“When people are acting alone they tend to feel like it’s not enough and what they’re doing doesn’t matter,” Kruse said. “It’s also hard to know if you are choosing the right path forward.”
Gomez said the public also needs to be aware of the current gutting of environmental regulation at the federal level.
“Some of you may recall [enactment of] the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Protection Act and all of these amazing [bills] that were enacted in the 70’s under President Nixon,” Gomez said. “We could literally absolutely see from year to year, decade to decade, the incredibly positive impact these regulations had on our air, water and land. We cannot let these regulations get gutted and eliminated and taken away.”
Gomez said money spent to address climate change should be considered an investment rather than a cost.
The reality of fighting climate change at the local level is that no one is ever really in charge. Our elected officials come and go, leaving staff to implement plan after plan.
“Decision makers are trying to figure out what part and what [role] local government should be playing and those decisions are being influenced by conversations over coffee about things that are important to constituents,” Riddervold said. “There’s a role for staff, for the community, and for city management to bring initiatives and ideas to the decision-makers about what [climate action] looks like in our community.”
“We have got to figure out how to achieve mutual goals around climate and affordable housing,” Kruse said. “We need to be expanding our definition of who is a climate leader. I think affordable housing is very much a climate issue. If you can’t afford to live near where you work and you have to live far out from the community and you have to drive in every day that is a climate issue.”
“One of the challenges is how do you tackle this topic at the 30,000 foot level but have it be granular enough and accurate enough that you can have real policy and program decisions,” Riddervold said.
One attendee pointed out the forum was held on a Sunday, when transit service is drastically reduced.
“I’m optimistic because I’m seeing some really cool and innovative things happening in technology where there are huge and dramatic improvements,” Gomez said. “UVA currently uses 30 percent less water today than our high water mark of usage.”
“You need larger institutions to put in the investments for things like battery storage to make it more deployable and applicable for smaller scale uses,” Turner said.
Albemarle County is continuing to develop a climate action plan after making that the number one strategic goal in the fall of 2018.
UVA sustainability plans and progress: https://sustainability.virginia.edu/about-us/plans-progress
UVA Sustainability goals approved by the UVA Board in December 2019 slides for presentation: scroll to presentation/handout materials for the UVA Sustainability Plan beginning on page 16: https://bov.virginia.edu/system/files/public/meetings/B%26G%20Presentation%20December%202019%20FINAL.pdf
Virginia Conservation Network: VCN’s 2020 Our Common Agenda: http://www.vcnva.org/our-common-agenda/ policy agenda of more than 125 network partners, it contains information on Virginia conservation issues and possible practical, state-level solutions to problems
VCN’s Bill Tracker: Lists and describes bills on which the Virginia Conservation Network (VCN)’s Legislative Committee and Board of Directors have taken positions and that are also supported by Virginia’s conservation community: http://www.vcnva.org/bill-tracker/ and VCN’s information regarding the status of environmental legislation specific to the 2020 session: https://mailchi.mp/vcnva/session-update-4385776?e=0208324e2a
LIS – Virginia’s Legislative Information System: http://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm
Project Drawdown – a global research organization that describes and evaluates viable solutions to climate change: https://www.drawdown.org/scenarios and table provides ranking of the potential effectiveness of suggested solutions: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions-summary-by-rank
Albemarle County update on climate plan – March 20, 2019 Daily Progress article: https://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/albemarle-supervisors-get-update-on-climate-plan/article_e18da1a0-4b7c-11e9-a562-b789d85b1a21.html
ARCHIVES OF THE NRC: The following files are from earlier submissions to this website.
Our focus for 2017-2018 will continue to be on water resources, development and growth, and solid waste. The following letter was sent by President Kerin Yates to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors: October 10, 2017 To the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and David Hannah, Albemarle County Natural Resources Manager:
The League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area has a long-standing policy to advocate for protection of water resources and water quality. Stream buffers are very important to maintaining clean and healthy water, thus we are writing to encourage you to strengthen the County’s stream buffer protections. We request that you clarify stream buffer provisions which may be misunderstood or misapplied, eliminate damaging loopholes, and consider what measures are needed to strengthen enforcement of our existing stream buffer protection requirements.
Because we are aware that the Board is concurrently updating its climate action plan, we request that you take climate change effects into account as you consider stream buffer protections. Climate change is making heavy precipitation events more common. Hurricane Harvey brought rainfall totals of more than 50 inches to the Houston area this September, demonstrating the need for communities to prepare for the possibility of unprecedented rainfalls. Stream buffers should be maintained and enforced not only to protect water quality, but also to reduce flooding and erosion in the event of extremely heavy rainfalls.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to offer comment on Albemarle’s stream buffer regulations.
Sincerely, Kerin Yates, President, The League of Women Voters of the Charlottesville Area, 1932 Arlington Boulevard Suite 111, Charlottesville, VA 22903-1560
Water resources: In monitoring the implementation of the Community Water Supply Plan, we will be following development of the South Fork Reservoir – Ragged Mountain Reservoir pipeline, the county’s review of the Water Protection Ordinance stream buffer requirements, and water conservation activities.
Sustainable development and growth: Continue our support for the county’s growth management policies, including maintaining strong development area boundaries and ensuring public water and sewer service is extended beyond the development areas boundaries only when public health or safety is endangered.
Sustainable Materials (Solid Waste) Management: Support county efforts to efficiently and effectively use disposed materials as a resource that will contribute to economic development. This should include hiring a recycling manager and working cooperatively with the city and university to make the best use of all materials in the solid waste stream.
We will also monitor the county Natural Resources Strategic Plan and follow its relationship to the Comprehensive Plan.
From our archived materials, please note these early LWV CVA Natural Resource Committee resources:
We support the 50-year Local Water Supply Plan. Key Elements of the Plan are:
- Replace the existing unsafe Ragged Mountain dam with a new dam and raise the reservoir pool level initially by 30 feet and to a total of 42 feet as demand requires.
- Replace the 85-year old Sugar Hollow Pipeline with a newer, shorter pipeline connecting the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir with the Ragged Mountain Reservoir and the two corresponding treatment plants. Can be used to transfer water from South Fork to Ragged Mountain during wet periods or from Ragged Mountain back to the larger South Fork Treatment Plant during dry periods.
- Upgrade and expand water treatment plants.
- Provide enough water storage to get us through drought for the next 50 years.
Four documents are presented here in support of this plan:
- LWV Water Statement: LWV CVA Water Statement by 2009 LWV CVA President Marge Cox supporting the Water Supply Plan;
- Water Supply Plan
- League Notes on Approved Community Water Supply Plan
- History of The Community Water Supply Planning Process
For further information, email: Liz Palmer
With funds from the LWV Education Fund, the NR Committee has three current publications:
The Natural Resources Committee holds monthly meetings virtually. To receive the zoom link, and for further information about this committee, email: Muriel Grim – email@example.com.
League of Women Voters
of the Charlottesville Area
PO Box 2786
Charlottesville, VA 22902
© 2022 LWV CVA. All Rights Reserved.