COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
LEGAL REVIEW: YES
May 4, 2005
On March 2, 2005, the Board authorized the creation of the standing Natural Heritage Committee, a technical advisory group on biodiversity issues, as recommended by the Natural Resources and Cultural Assets chapter of the Comprehensive Plan. Staff is now presenting the documents necessary for establishing the Committee for the Board’s approval.
Goal: 2.1 Protect and/or preserve the County's rural character
Goal: 2.2 Protect and/or preserve the County's natural resources
Goal: 3.3 Develop and implement policies that address the county's growth and urbanization while continuing to enhance the factors that contribute to the quality of life in the county.
Staff has prepared the necessary documents for the establishment of the Committee. The Fact Sheet (Attachment A) and the Charge and Outline of Tasks (Attachment B) are based on the Biodiversity Work Group report accepted by the Board on February 2, 2005.
The fact sheet states that the committee should include ten to twelve members. Although this would make for a fairly large committee, staff and the Work Group felt that a smaller committee would not accommodate the necessary range of experience.
The fact sheet also lists the qualifications and backgrounds needed for the Committee. These qualifications are intended to support the Committee’s role as a technical advisory group. The list includes several fields that are important to the Committee’s success. However, it also suggests inclusion of landowners and citizens who have an interest in biodiversity conservation.
Staff recommends that membership not be limited to County residents. Given the relatively small number of potential members with the necessary expertise, staff hoped to avoid preventing the participation of any interested and capable people. However, the guidelines in the fact sheet do indicate that the total committee membership should consist of some County residents. If the Board finds it preferable, the guidelines could specify that the general citizen member(s) mentioned above shall be County residents (it currently states that “if possible” these representatives should be County residents). The fact sheet also recommends staggering the terms of the initial appointments (four, three, and two years), with four-year appointments thereafter and no term limits.
A copy of the proposed Rules of Procedure for the Committee is also attached (see Attachment C).
Given the Board's interest in streamlining development review processes, which will be discussed in a worksession next month, staff recommends that the Board defer implementation of Task F of the committee's charge until the impacts on review processes are better understood. The Board can then advise both staff and the committee regarding any protocol it may feel is necessary in the development review process.
Go to Attachment B
Return to executive summary