Woodbrookian: 'We have enough riff raff'

Wednesday update: NBC29 reports that the developer has yanked the proposal.

Woodbrook, the neighborhood that successfully forced planners of the Meadowcreek Parkway to trim that road's ambitions over a decade ago, now wants to stand firm against what many neighbors see as ruination: connection to the planned Arden Place development. The 'riff raff' comment resides at the Woodbrook neighborhood blog where opposition to the 206-apartment complex (tucked behind Albemarle Square Shopping Center), runs high. Charlottesville Tomorrow explains what all the fuss is about.


87.39% of the time, when someone throws around the epithet "liberal," that person is a racist. Perhaps even the infamous "pick-up truck" racist whose only connection to non-whites is in their unacknowledged ancestry or in observing them from the comfort of their Ford Excursion on their way to secret rallies in the country or their dinner at the Olive Garden. Or when servicing one, whether he be a bartender at Club 216 or the random guy he meets on Craigslist. They especially like to apply that word when they are with like minded "buddies" or hidden behind screen names in blog posts. They can live in almost any sort of neighborhood, as long as "those" sorts don't also live there. Someone like Michael Savage who thinks that anyone who believes in Obama's policies is a socialist.

Woodbrook is a QUIET neighborhood. This is primarily about the traffic, traffic, traffic.

I don't blame them one bit for opposing this.

Looking at the map on http://cvilletomorrow.typepad.com/ I cannot imagine why anyone in Woodbrook would have any fear that people who live in Mallside would be interested in walking to their neighborhoo through Arden. If there's criminal intent they would probably find it easier and with better rewards committing it in Arden.

@Mequa Shore

Is it racist not to want to be connected to areas with higher crime rates? Then call me a racist!

What is the driving factor here? It seems you are the racist for implying there are higher crime rates b/c minorities live there.

Y'know, you're right, there is at least one racist- it's you!

According to bil-non-i, it's where the racists hang out, so perhaps check with Senator's Byrd's office. Seriously, I think the closest one is in Richmond (Broad St/Rt 250 not far from I-64). There's another on Rt 7 opposite Tysons Corner in Northern Va.

Where is the Olive Garden?

If any of you had attended the P&Z meeting you would have heard that the developer has other access options for this commercial (for profit rental apartments) development. One of those options includes access to Rio Road through their own property. The preferable option (to the developer) involved shared access with Albemarle Square, but that owner did not choose to cooperate. The Arden Place developer, in his own words, considered access through Woodbrook a terrible idea. The road "right-a-way" (to Woodbrook) is a 50+ year old artifact of a different era and should be rescinded.

At risk of offending the Gods of Capitalism, the developer could even scale back to a 50 unit development, in a true park like setting. Then dual access would no longer be an issue and the new apartments would be an attractive, less disruptive addition to the community.

"If we must build on the land, then let's scale it down to the 50 unit development." It's clear that many people do not understand the meaning of "by-right" development.
I would be surprised if building 50 units would cover the developer's costs for infrastructure such as water and sewer.

OK folks, this has gotten so out of context.
First, Woodbrook is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the county. We have all races & nationalities living here. We showed
our solidarity and support for the place we call home. ALL ARE WELCOME HERE. We do not have sidewalks, and our elementary kids
do not have a school bus, therefore, they must walk to school on our STREETS. We just don't want cars racing in and out of here
opening up a huge potential to harm our pedestrians, young and old. Everyone who lives here knows to drive slowly and watch out for folks on the street. Period, thats it.

I agree that woodbrook should defend its low traffic ideal. But to say "no footpath" (as some have) is to belie that sentiment. as to crime, traffic, etc - these are the issues that we should be considering when we sell ourselves out to land developers in order to "grow our local economy." and I'm not talking about infringing on private property rights, I 'm talking about subsidizing the cars (parkway) and the water (reservoir swindle/boondoggle) and the sewage treatment and the many other ways in which the development community gets the taxpayers to subsidize their profits. lets a look at the big picture please, not just our backyards. growth should pay for itself, not have us pay to prepare/accommodate it so it can come and "bless" us with destroying our quality of life.


And it's more than just beauty in the visual sense. It's protection of the watershed that communities depend on. (Why has the county's reservoir silted in to where it no longer has the capacity we need?) It's an important buffer in terms of controlling noise in a residential area. Air quality and micro climate are improved by wooded natural land and degraded by acres of asphalt. This property has an important ecological function as wildlife habitat, but that aspect is not even considered in "urban" planning. The recreational opportunities on a parcel like this are many faceted (hiking, trail running, biking, picnics, fishing,...), as are opportunities for nature and environmental education. All without a many mile, many gallons of gas drive to some rural location.

As I've said before, what does Quality of Life really mean to Albemarle County? More acres of parking lot and destruction of our water supply?

There is a solution that protects both private property rights and our Quality of Life: County acquisition of such properties and low density, minimal impact development, such as a library in a multi-use park setting. Something the county could really be proud of!

Places like Chicago and Cook County have extensive forested acreage within their "urban ring". But in Albemarle County it seems like our park system is more involved in disposing of land to development than in developing new parks. Why? Do we really want to become Northern Virginia?

Forest Preserve Park Would Protect Watershed

The Woodbrook Creek discharges into the Rivanna a few hundred yards below the dam.

The wooded slopes in the area allow little or no sudden runoff into the creek, even during the heaviest rains. The sudden runoff that floods the creek(s), erodes the banks, and dumps excessive sediments into the waterways originates from the parking lots and roads. More parking lots only make the situation worse.

We're losing more of our backyards every time the creek floods, dumping more sediment into the creek(s), the Rivanna, the James, and the Chesapeake. When the same thing happens above the dam that sediment clogs Charlottesville's reservoir.

Looking at the aerial, it would be ridiculous to connect this to Woodbrook. Why send that traffic into a quiet residential neighborhood.

Connect it through the Albemarle Square / Taco Bell shopping center which already have stoplights and can handle the traffic.



My goodness! What have we come to when every ill-conceived blog comment merits headlines?

Though the story merits discussion, the headline is absurd.

Perhaps you're not familiar with the other apartments/residential areas over by Putt-Putt that would be connected, but I highly doubt the "riff raff" just means poor people. Especially since many of the other comments refer to crime rates going up if connected.

I don't think everyone against it is racist, but you're stupid if you think there isn't a chance that at least ONE of them is.

I hope the City is listening to the people in the County when it comes to subsidized housing location.

Cville Eye mentions that the arden place apts are supposed to be Luxury Apartments. If that's the intent I find it ironic since the Mallside Apartments, which will be right next door, are essentially "Section 8 apartments" (they're income subsidized). And while I don't live in the Woodbrook neighborhood. No, I wouldn't want any type of connector (road or footpath) to a section 8 apartment complex.

Not in my backyard now includes --not connected to my street. Maybe the Governor has something to say about this. From the Hook "Another piece of the American dream took a hit when Governor Tim Kaine signed a regulation last month that ends state maintenance of roads in subdivisions that aren’t connected. "


Riff raff means trash. I have never heard it used in a racial context.

"Riff raff": Is that some kind of racial sentiment?

According to a letter from the developer to the Woodbrook Neighborhood Association (http://woodbrook-neighborhood.blogspot.com/2009/06/meet-developer.html), this development will be "luxury" apartments. I think it's more a "I don't want richer people living near me" than "I don't want riff-raff" living near me." In order to get a rise out of people, it seems there's one resident leading the opposition and spreading misinformation. Has anything in Woodbrook sold for more than $300k in the last six months? 40 year old mid-century housing is not selling at top dollar, maybe some luxury apartments in the vacinity with some neighborhood amenties could be of benefit to the property owners in Woodbrook.
@It's Mr. Riff Raff to you bub, you know the answer to that - six weeks.

This situation reminds of the opposition of some of the residents in the north downtown neighborhood around 2nd Streetto a couple building a house supposedly too large for the neighborhood. I think it was more of a "too rich for the neighborhood, making us look poorer."

Riff Raff actually means any person who does not have an American Express Gold card.

Wow, and I thought Sick was the only one trying to start flame wars!

Maybe Charlottesville is sick of yankee riff-raff building neighborhoods and acting like they are better than everyone around them after they get here. Go back to New York or learn how to be more hospitable.

What is the elapsed time between when you move here and when you think no one else should ever be allowed in? Couple of weeks?

I wouldn't blame them either, if they only drove their cars in their neighborhoods. They certainly don't mind driving in other people's neighborhood. Who cares that they don't want more traffic? The law calls for two access roads for 50 or more multi-family units,and, if it is to be applied to all other future developments, then it should be applied in this instance. As in the City, the county applies the law according to who's asking. Of course the developer doesn't want to pay for the new road; he probably doesn't want to pay for sidewalks, water and sewer or drainage either. That doesn't have anything to do with it either. There were good reasons that the county codified the number of access routes and it is because of the general welfare. Besides, hasn't the State now endorsed neighborhood connectivity?

99.99% of the time, when someone throws around the epithet "racist", that person is a liberal. Perhaps even the infamous "limousine" liberal whose only connection to non-whites is observing them from the comfort of their Mercedes on their way to their country club or their six figure job. Or when getting service from one, whether it be a sales clerk at Nordstrom's or Saks or the guy installing their satellite tv system. They especially like to apply that word when they can't refute someone's argument with facts. They usually live in wealthy neighborhoods. Someone like Janeane Garofolo, who thinks anyone who doesn't believe in Obama's policies is a racist.


Some people don't seem to understand that "by-right" does not mean It Is Right. Just because a zoning decision was made at some point in history, does it means that after many years that decision must have been correct and represents the greatest good for the community today?

If a property needs MANY waivers and variances for development, is it possible that the proposed development just isn't suitable for that property in the community as it now exists?

The Rio-29 area clearly does not need more traffic and 7 to 19 minute waits to make a turn. Woodbrook doesn't need high traffic density. Albemarle Square, with all it's vacancies, apparently doesn't need more customers.

I'm really warming up to the idea that this parcel is best suited to minimal development, to either low density occupancy such as a library, or purely as a wooded park. When is the last time Albemarle County acquired new parkland to serve this highly developed area? We need to preserve the features which preserve our quality of life, not pave them over.

This isn't just about "Paving paradise to put up a parking lot". We've already damaged the watershed to the point that our communities water supply has been silted in and reduced to marginal capacity. We want to continue making the same mistakes, over and over?

Albemarle County - Do a bond issue, buy the land, make a park or a library park there. Provide cultural and recreational opportunities, accessible by foot or bicycle, to the many existing residents of the area. Why not do something that improves quality of life in the area, rather than doing more wrong, "by right"?

Think about it.

I'd imagine traffic analysis on a library would show no rush hour peaks (8AM, 5PM), rather a counter flow that would have minimal impact.

The development is all proposal at this point, as far as we know there has been no sale of property in many years.

I'll certainly vote YES on the bond issue. Albemarle County should quickly investigate buying this property for preservation and public use. The primary goals would be:

1. Preservation of last open space in Rio-29 area
2. Reduce storm water runoff and creek bed erosion
3. Preservation of reservoir capacity, water quality, reduce siltation
4. Habitat preservation and protection
5. Maintaining environmental advantages of wooded open space: Buffering, noise abatement, micro climate effects

What does quality of life in Albemarle County actually mean? More traffic and more asphalt parking lot? Think about it.

New Forest Preserve Park for Rio 29

Every time I look at the aerial photo of Rio-29 I'm struck by what this area has already sacrificed to development. Acres of parking lot where forest, habitat, and proper watershed once contributed to the environmental health and well being of our community. We've traded environmental health and quality of life so that Rio-29 could become the shopping hub of the entire region and one of the most dangerous intersections in Virginia.

What does Quality of Life really mean to Albemarle County?

It's time for Albemarle County to act and preserve the last bit of true open space near Rio-29.

Quality of Life. The next time you drive by Albemarle Square on 29 or approach 29 from the west on Rio, take a look around. Is there anything attractive about the area? My answer is: Yes, the towering green trees that provide a backdrop to Albemarle Square, breaking up the expanse of roof and road and parking lot that dominates Rio-29.

Quality of Life is not about more asphalt paving. It's about maintaining the attractivenes of an area. Think about it, before it's too late. We need a PARK, not more parking lot.

Here's the aerial photo, you can right click it to download to your computer and then enlarge it for a better view.


Woodbrooker is quite right about the destruction of natural beauty.
Even more shameful is the project underway between Woodbrook and Carrsbrook, fronting on 29. Not a piece of vegetation left standing! And these guys are called "developers"?

Woodbrook does not seem like it would drain into the reservoir unless water flows uphill?

I like the idea of building a new library, a showcase library. We don't have a great facility in this area and I think it's about time we did something about it. With all the culture and amazing education that resides in Charlottesville, we are behind in this respect. However...

If we must build on the land, then let's scale it down to the 50 unit development. Make it an inviting place especially for families with children. I think that may be a stabilizing factor for the project and keep everyone happy.

@Woodbrooker, the County is obliged to honor the zoning classification for this site that is in effect when the developer submits his request. The developer can ask for any amount of variances that he wants; the County is not obligated to honor any of them. Should the County honor zoning that is 50 years old? Of course. That was a covenant that the public made with the developer when he purchases that property. If the County would like to re-zone the property because of conditions changing within the last 50 years due to development, then it should do so before the property is purchased, not when a new development is proposed. That would not be ethical.
I agree with you that the people who do not want this property developed in this manner should offer to buy it. I'm sure there is a price that the developer is willing to take.
As for putting the busiest library branch on this site, wouldn't the people using it still have a 7 to 19 minute wait to access it?

bil-non-i, your comments are about the most ignorant I've ever read, or at least in the top 10. You prove non-lib's point. At least now I know that those who frequent Olive Garden are racists. Funny that you find "liberal" an epithet. In case you don't own a dictionary (good chance you don't), "epithet" is defined as "a defamatory or abusive word or phrase". So you find the term "liberal" to be defamatory. I guess you prefer "progressive" as if the policies of the current administration, i.e. printing money like there's no tomorrow and mortgaging our kids future, are somehow making "progress". Well excuse me but I have to go out and clean my Expedition before I peruse Craigslist for hookups with my fellow gays. Idiot.

@Woodbrooker, yes, one option is from Rio Road, as explained at CvilleTomorrow. It was explained that the developer doesn't want to spend money on a second roadway. It was also explained that the owner/management of Albemarle Square does not want to allow public road access through his shopping center which is private land. The law requires a second access road. What are the other road options that were brought out in the meeting?

There are two interesting posts on this blog: http://cvilletomorrow.typepad.com/ It seems, even if Woodbrook is connected to Arden Place it isn't guaranteed to have connection to Albemarle Square or Rio Road. Those residents have absolutely nothing to gain.

Ah, the inevitable blackmail:
ââ?¬Å?Based on what I’ve heard [at this meeting], I can’t make a luxury product work here,” McGinty said. Instead, he might consider applying for tax credits through the Virginia Housing Development Authority and returning with a fully by-right development with 220 units. He could do so by eliminating all open space and without preserving the woods.

ââ?¬Å?I am under a tremendous amount of pressure from my partners to not even try to do a luxury product,” McGinty said. ââ?¬Å?There’s absolutely no risk in doing more tax credit apartments on this site. A new community there would lease up instantly. All the tenants in the existing [nearby] communities would move over to the new one.”
And I'll plop the children rightin the middle of you lovely little school, too, Dorothy!


That's exactly right, zero benefit to Woodbrook residents.

So, why not back down to a luxury 50 unit complex, in a beautiful park like setting, with easy access to Rio Road and far less impact on the area. Why not?

Take a look at that aerial photo in the link you gave. You're looking at the last large wooded parcel in the area. Hate to sound like old Joni Mitchell songs, but what is it we like about Albemarle County? The number of square foot of parking spaces and roof top area we can create? What does quality of life actually mean?

Why can't Albemarle County do a bond issue (and yes, raise our taxes a bit to pay down the bond over 20-30 years) and do a Forest Preserve type park on that land? Or even relocate the Northside library in a permanent facility there, to improve quality of life for all the folks in our area? Why Not?

Quality of life is not measured by square feet of parking lot and rooftop, or by 1000s of gallons of rapid storm run off to help ruin our creek, erode our land, and further silt in the Rivanna Resevoir and help destroy our drinking water supply.

Yes, "You take paradise and put up a parking lot".


Rio-29 Forest Preserve Park consistent with county goals:

"The duties and functions of the Albemarle County Planning Commission are to promote the orderly development of Albemarle County and its environment.The Commission serves primarily in an advisory capacity to the Board of Supervisors in accomplishing the objectives of Ã?â??§15.2-2210 of the Code of Virginia.This Commission also serves to improve public health, safety, convenience and welfare of County citizens and to plan for the future development of the County to the end that transportation systems be carefully planned; that new community centers be developed with adequate highway, utility, health, educational, and recreational facilities; that the needs of agriculture, industry and business be recognized in future growth; that residential areas be provided with healthy surroundings for family life; that agricultural and forestal land be preserved; and that the growth of the community be consonant with the efficient and economical use of public funds."