Albemarle County Courts Relocation

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Albemarle Countyis considering how it will expand and renovate its court system to deal with projects increases in caseloads.

Several options remain on the table and were presented to the public at a special Board of Supervisors meeting on October 24, 2016. [1]

One option is to work the City of Charlottesville on co-locating their general district courts in order to keep the county's courts within Court Square. [2]


Timeline

  • February 2, 2011: Request for proposals published for study to address county's space needs for courts [3]
  • June 1, 2011: Albemarle hires PSA-Dewberry to conduct the study. The county had $35,800 for the study. [3]
  • January 7, 2015: Supervisors vote to fund study to keep courts downtown [2]
  • April 6, 2016: Supervisors briefed on other alternatives [4]
  • May 4, 106: Supervisors agree to also consider moving Albemarle administrative building into the county [5]
  • October 24, 2016: Albemarle Board of Supervisors hold public hearing on five options for court relocation [1]
  • November 2, 2016: Supervisors direct staff to pursue further study of moving courts or county office building to new location [6]


Studies

  • Charlottesville-Albemarle Courts Study, Phase I (March 2001)
  • County of Albemarle/City of Charlottesville Feasibility Study for Use of the Levy Building as a General District

Court Facility (April 29, 2010)


2016 redecision

In May, supervisors indicated they would also be willing to move the county office building elsewhere into the county. [5] This prompted responses from the city.

City's May 2016 statement

Mayor Mike Signer's statement:

"Over the past two years the City and County have been working together to develop a plan for an enhanced co-located courts complex in downtown Charlottesville. The City’s commitment to this cooperative venture has not wavered. In fact, it is stronger than ever. The City has allocated $7.5 million in its Capital Improvement Plan for the project. In addition, the City passed a resolution in August 2015 signaling its firm intent to provide the necessary parking needed to meet the County’s future parking needs. The resolution included providing access to 35 spaces at the beginning of the construction of the court and an additional 65 spaces upon completion. The resolution was contingent upon the County’s commitment to keep their courts downtown and to provide some level of financial contribution for their parking spaces.

More recently negotiating teams from both localities have met to discuss a cost sharing agreement for the 100 proposed parking spaces. Critical progress was made that gave each side hope of a prompt resolution to these negotiations. This is an important but complex project for both localities, one that will require both commitment and trust from both sides. The City remains dedicated to developing an acceptable solution for both jurisdictions."


County's May 13, 2016 statement

Assistant County Executive Lee Catlin:

"On Wednesday, May 11, the Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution requesting County staff, within 60 days, to prepare a public presentation that investigates relocating only the General District Court to the County Office Building and investigates alternative locations of the County Office Building in the County. Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville are continuing their discussions to seek a solution for future court needs. This investigation is intended to provide information that can help to determine a mutually beneficial course of action.

The County is eager to insure complete clarity about the resolution and the reasons for this investigation. The need for additional parking related to an expansion of the downtown County General District Court location has been publically acknowledged. The Board, as steward of county taxpayer dollars, is compelled to explore all reasonable options for the courts solution. The County is committed to partnering with the City of Charlottesville to promote the overall welfare of our shared community. A solution that would keep the General District Court in downtown Charlottesville while also creating positive economic activity to benefit County taxpayers through relocation of county administrative operations to a county location deserves full investigation and consideration. The option of using a new administration building as the focal point for economic development in the County is a scenario that will be considered, with a public private partnership as one possibility.

This resolution does not propose to move the Circuit Court operations out of the historic courthouse where they are located, and will preserve this very important community asset. Also, moving General District Court operations into the current Albemarle County Office Building would continue to protect the historic Old Lane High School which currently houses County operations.

The Board’s intent is to investigate a possible scenario, one that could have broad and mutual benefits, to help clarify the best outcome for the future of County court operations and the location of the County’s major administrative offices. The public presentation sharing the outcome of staff’s investigation will be advertised and open to any interested attendees."


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Web. Albemarle court relocation options to be presented to public, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 14, 2016, retrieved October 16, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Web. Albemarle Supervisors agree to study co-locating courts with Charlottesville, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 7, 2015, retrieved December 20, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Web. Executive Summary on Courts Study for June 1, 2011 meeting, retrieved October 16, 2016.
  4. Web. Albemarle supervisors once again considering moving courts out of downtown, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 6, 2016, retrieved April 27, 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Web. http://www.cvilletomorrow.org/news/article/23737-county-office-building-study/, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 9, 2016, retrieved January 2, 2017.
  6. Web. Supervisors officially direct staff to pursue relocation of Albemarle courts, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, November 2, 2016, retrieved January 12, 2017.


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