March 28, 2012
Christiansburg, VA, Environment, Local Government, Montgomery County, Your Tax Money
I attended the Town Council Budget worksession last night (video will be coming on that as the town did record the meeting! So watch christiansburg.org for the video).
Several times during the discussion “stormwater” was mentioned, including comments made about the possibility of the Town needing to look at a stormwater management plan in the near future.
Now, those who know me, know that stormwater always sets off alarms for me. The Town of Christiansburg has not had the best record on stormwater in the past, but it is clearly becoming something that is finally being addressed.
Historically, the Town has done “patchwork fixes” to deal with stormwater issues. It now looks like they are making an effort to start addressing the major issue that the existing system is inadequate for protecting the safety and security of citizens.
The issue is not just about Christiansburg citizens. Of course, we’ve had the flooding issues in various areas around town. Personally, I think the Town staff is doing a great job of trying to fix problems as they arise. Now, the Town Council has an opportunity to start addressing the issue with an eye to the future rather than trying to do a patch to prevent yesterday’s flooding from happening tomorrow.
I wonder if some of the impetus of this might be related to the impact stormwater has on local waterways. You can find some interesting information on the DEQ’s Draft 2012 Impaired Water report Factsheet for Montgomery County concerning e-coli. Interesting reading her for those who are concerned about the environment.
In fact, you might be interested in looking at the entire Draft 2012 305(b)/303(d) Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report to see how you might be affected. There is a series of maps that help put things in perspective as to what happens when you don’t take care of problems locally and how they create even bigger problems for other people. It’s a lot like dumping your trash in someone else’s yard. Then they dump their trash and your trash in the next person’s yard. (See the map including Montgomery County here.)
Unfortunately, rapid development without doing proactive stormwater management means that taxpayers will ultimately pick up the bill. It is nice to see the Town of Christiansburg finally being proactive in managing existing stormwater and in taking a look at how new development will impact existing conditions.
June 20, 2011
Citizen Participation, Economic Development, Environment, FOIA, Historic Preservation, Land Use, Local Government, US Government, VA government, Your Tax Money
The Community Planner is a quarterly journal on Planning. What makes it unique is that it is written to provide information to citizens as well as professionals. It is produced on a CD rather than in print because along with the 60 or so pages of each journal, there are also additional features added. For instance, in the article I wrote for the just released Volume I Issue 3, I refer to several tools that can help people understand the Freedom of Information Act and several sources of on-line information that citizens can find useful for determining what documents they need to request. Attached to the article, via links, are 3 pdf files which have a list of websites where you can find information on each state’s Freedom of Information Act, Retention Schedules for documents, and websites for each state’s auditor/Auditor of Public Accounts. More
March 6, 2011
Christiansburg, VA, Citizen Participation, Economic Development, Environment, Historic Preservation, Land Use, Local Government, Your Tax Money
By now, most of you have see the “$100.00″ exercise that came to you with your water bill, was talked about in the newspaper, was posted on the internet, or came to a community/group meeting near you. Some of you have had some questions. And, many of you have had some questions bout the process.
The most important question I have heard from people working through the exercise is that they do not understand why there seems to be duplication of things in the different sections. There are several reasons for that to have occurred. More
November 10, 2010
Christiansburg, VA, Citizen Participation, Environment, Land Use, Local Government, Your Tax Money
A plan is a wonderful thing. It involves thinking about a problem and coming up (generally) with a written document that identifies the Goals, Objectives, and Strategies needed to accomplish those, thus achieving the Plan. That’s a pretty simple concept in theory, but it doesn’t always work in practice. More
November 8, 2010
Christiansburg, VA, Citizen Participation, Environment, Land Use, Local Government
Important information available for citizens at the Town’s website and one additional piece of work can be found at myvaresources.com concerning the Nov. 9 2010 Joint Town Council and Planning Commission work session. More
November 1, 2010
Blacksburg, Christiansburg, VA, Citizen Participation, Economic Development, Environment, FOIA, Land Use, Local Government
While representatives from the Town of Christiansburg Government went to the recent annual VML Conference, little information has trickled back to citizens about what information or ideas those people brought home with them…yet. Of course, it is still early and Town Council members have been very busy dealing with Town business.
Fortunately, VML (Virginia Municipal League) does an excellent job of outreach to citizens. They provide a website that includes a page of topics covered and handouts provided at: http://www.vml.org/CONF/10ConfHampton.html. If you are not one of those people who wants to sit back have information delivered to you, simply take the initiative to see what is available. Who knows, it may just give you the background you need to understand why some things are done the way they are, or might inspire you to come up with a different idea that would work better for your area. More
October 29, 2010
Christiansburg, VA, Citizen Participation, Environment, Land Use, Letter vs Spirit of the Law, Local Government, VOTE, Your Tax Money
I didn’t believe it was possible to be more biased in information gathering that what was used for citizen input in the Christiansburg Comprehensive Planning process. In that case, rather than designing a survey specifically addressing the role and function of a Comprehensive Plan, the Town used a survey that had been presented earlier concerning Citizen Satisfaction. The Citizen Satisfaction Survey does not contain questions that should be included in a Comprehensive Plan Survey and, at the time they were collected, people did not know the data was to be used to project future goals and objectives. It was simply a device which asked people how they felt about their services and Town right at that time. More
October 10, 2010
Christiansburg, VA, Citizen Participation, Environment, FOIA, Land Use, Local Government, Your Tax Money
Since I received so many emails and phone calls about the issue of the Sidewalk Ordinance (and since the process was pretty darned confusing to me and I was at the meetings), I decided to do a summary using the 4 draft copies of the ordinance that I picked up at the Planning Commission Meetings. I have the drafts from June 14, June 29, August 16, and September 27 on hand. I set those up in a spreadsheet to show the process and changes. More
September 17, 2010
Blacksburg, Christiansburg, VA, Citizen Participation, Economic Development, Environment, Land Use, Local Government, Montgomery County, VOTE, Your Tax Money
I gotta wonder if there isn’t some misinformation here. After all, the Planning Commission and Town Council of the Town of Christiansburg, VA did a thorough study on this parcel of property. A CUP (Conditional Use Permit) was discussed, research, and approved allowing for above ground diesel storage tanks. Stuff like that should not be put in areas where the soil is not stable, particularly in areas where sink holes are prone to develop. I mean that would be unsafe and a potential ecological disaster. The health, safety, and well-being of a lot of citizens would have been put in danger should such be allowed on a site with these types of kartz features. Since that is one of the key goals of such elected and appointed officials, there must be a mistake. I hope the town will come forth with some information about this.
But, wait a minute isn’t this the same type of soil under the Blacksburg High School. So…. it’s not safe enough for Microsoft but it is for the children of Montgomery County.
I feel like I am getting a lot of mixed messages here. Can anyone make sense of all this?
September 15, 2010
Citizen Participation, Environment, VOTE
Let’s kick this discussion off with a reference to Wikipedia on the topic of “Fracking”. Although the biggest uproar going on right now is the use of this technique to get more natural gas out of the ground and available to consumers. Note, I used the word consumers, not citizens, because it ultimately is about selling product and making money. Let’s not hide behind any false ‘for the public good’ lines without acknowledging that certain companies are going to make a lot of money off of this practice. More