Nine compete for Planning Commission seat
By DAVID DADURKA  / Daily Progress staff writer
January 5, 2004

Nine Albemarle County residents, including a real estate broker and a Board of Supervisors candidate, are seeking the Planning Commission’s at-large seat recently vacated by longtime member C. Jared Loewenstein.

The board will discuss appointing an at-large commissioner in a closed session Wednesday.

Supervisors individually appoint a commissioner from their magisterial districts. The at-large commissioner serves for two years and is appointed on a majority vote by the Board of Supervisors.

“I think we are entering into a real exciting period,” said Loewenstein, who served eight years on the panel. “There are some very big things looming in the future.”

In 2003, the commission wrangled with several large-scale projects along U.S. 29 north of Charlottesville including Hollymead Town Center, North Pointe and Albemarle Place.

This year, the commission will continue its work on the Crozet Master Plan and revisions to the Rural Areas section of county’s Comprehensive Plan.

Commissioners Pete Craddock, Bill Edgerton, Rodney S. Thomas and William D. Rieley have been re-appointed, Albemarle County spokeswoman Lee Catlin said.

While the board could make an appointment to the at-large seat Wednesday, it may decide to schedule interviews with applicants, Catlin said.

Supervisors David C. Wyant and Kenneth C. Boyd, who were elected to the White Hall and Rivanna district seats in November, also will appoint representatives to the commission.

Wyant said he is interviewing candidates for the White Hall seat and hopes to announce his choice this week. Boyd could not be reached for comment Monday.

Rio District Supervisor David P. Bowerman said the board considers applicants’ involvement in the community as well as their experience.

“Then it is a question of philosophy, which covers our neighborhood model,” he said. “In general, it is a great opportunity to represent the entire county,” he said.

Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker, who represents the Jack Jouett District, said he is looking for a candidate with a record of public service that shows they will spend the time and effort necessary for the job.

“We are fortunate to have a number of good candidates,” Rooker said.

The candidates are:

Scottsville resident Denny King, who made an unsuccessful run for Albemarle’s School Board last fall, said his campaign sparked an interest in applying for the position. “I feel I have the knowledge and experience to make unbiased decisions,” he said.

Kevin Fletcher, who ran against incumbent Scottsville Supervisor Lindsay G. Dorrier as a write-in candidate, said in his application that he is “concerned about the direction in which the county seems to be headed. I do not feel that retail development should be the primary focus of the county’s future.”

Paul Wright, a former financial consultant who ran Boyd’s campaign, said the biggest challenge will be balancing the competing forces of property rights versus protecting the rural areas.

Landscape architect Marcia Joseph, who serves on the county’s Architectural Review Board, said she applied because she is concerned about “the growth patterns in the county.” As a former employee of the city and county planning and zoning departments, she said she understands the application process.

Michael Marshall, former president of the Crozet Community Association and former school board member, wrote in his application that growing up on a farm in Loudoun County gave him an understanding of the “spectrum of desirable and undesirable growth outcomes.”

Keswick resident Tony Vanderwarker wrote that he has “countywide experience and perspective dealing with growth and development as well as a good working relationship with members of the development and real estate community.” He serves as vice chairman of the Piedmont Environmental Council and co-chairman of the Albemarle Smart Growth Initiative.

Linda Lloyd, a real estate broker living in Scottsville, emphasized her experience in planning, development, real estate and “dedication to affordable housing” in her application. She has a master’s degree in regional planning from Penn State.

Earlysville resident Ann Mallek is seeking the White Hall District commission seat as well as the at-large position. She is education coordinator for the Virginia Museum of Natural History and a member of the Virginia Farm Bureau and the League of Women Voters.

Jo Higgins, owner of Project Development Ltd. and a former Albemarle County engineer, is also applying for both seats. Higgins wrote: “During my tenure as county engineer, I gained a broad knowledge of the county’s infrastructure and many complex issues. This coupled with an understanding of all aspects of land development … will assist in making sound recommendations to the board.”

Planning commissioners are paid $4,100 annually. The commission’s chairman receives an additional $1,500 a year.

Contact David Dadurka at (434) 978-7299 or ddadurka@dailyprogress.com.