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Albemarle court relocation options to be presented to public
Levy Opera House, August 1, 2016
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Levy Opera House
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Sean Tubbs | Friday, October 14, 2016 at 8:57 p.m.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has broadened the number of potential alternatives for the expansion and renovation of its court system.

“After years of study, board review and consideration and discussion with the city of Charlottesville on the county court system expansion, staff is nearing completion of final materials to share with the board and the public on five distinct options,” said county executive Tom Foley.

Albemarle officials have been studying how to deal with an anticipated increase in court cases expected to come with a rise in population. The estimated cost of renovating and expanding the court system is $47 million; $31.7 million of that is included in the county’s capital improvement budget.

In July 2014, supervisors agreed to work with the city of Charlottesville on a study of locating each jurisdiction’s general district court at the Levy Opera House. The city and county currently share the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court on High Street.

City Council has allocated $7 million to the joint project.

However, a new Board of Supervisors was elected last year, and a new majority chose to direct staff to revisit other options, as well, before making a final decision.

Supervisors have reviewed the options in closed session as part of their negotiations with officials in the city.

“They are now ready to be viewed by the public and [for] final review and action by the Board of Supervisors,” Foley told the Supervisors at a meeting earlier this week.  

The five options will be unveiled at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at the County Office Building. Public comment will be taken.

County officials said Friday that the materials will be posted to the county’s website by Tuesday.

“We will be unable to respond to specifics regarding the development options until materials are completed and made available for public review,” said Deputy County Executive Bill Letteri in an email to stakeholders.

In May, supervisors directed staff to consider the possibility of relocating the general district court to the current county office building on McIntire Road. They also directed staff to study the possibility of moving administration departments to a location elsewhere within the county.

A majority of voters would have to approve moving the circuit court outside of Charlottesville, as the city is technically the county seat.
 

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