Last month the Board of Supervisors had an agenda item (March 8th – Economic Site Readiness Report) to hear from a consultant about land available as commercial assets in the Comp Plan (“Growth”) area. In May 2015, the Supervisors, following the lead of staff effort, passed unanimously a Resolution inviting an unnamed business to consider locating in Albemarle County.
That business, Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon is the ninth largest craft brewer in the United States. By the end of the summer in 2015 due to what a Supervisor called “rear guard actions” the Board reneged on the invitation of interest by offering 38 usable acres of land to Deschutes when the brewer had a 50-acre minimum if it were to consider an Albemarle location.
As the Supervisors shut the door in the face of the business prospect their fallback position was to survey what land could be used by industry and also to create an Economic Development Strategy for the county. Now, a year and a half later, after losing the first ever Economic Development Director the Supervisors looked at eight parcels of land totaling 440 acres (and including the parcel that Deschutes was interested in) concluding “little has been done to support development activities” needed to attract investment by businesses. After the Economic Development Director resigned our County Executive resigned. Without those two there has not been nor will there be an Economic Development Strategy for the county.
I look forward to honest discussion about Land Use in the upcoming Campaign.