Albemarle Co. Rejects Latest Charlottesville Offer Over Ragged Mountain

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Sign for the Ragged Mountain Natural Area (FILE IMAGE) Sign for the Ragged Mountain Natural Area (FILE IMAGE)

The conflict between Albemarle County and Charlottesville over mountain biking at Ragged Mountain Natural Area is escalating.

Friday, April 7, Albemarle County Supervisor Chair Diantha McKeel sent a letter to Mayor Mike Signer to inform him that the county is rejecting an offer from the city.

The mayor had sent a letter to county officials on Tuesday, April 4, suggesting that the two parties enter into a binding arbitration. Doing so would allow the city and county to avoid a lawsuit, and find an out of court ruling on the issue.

In her letter, McKeel said the issue would be best resolved by a judicial decision.

According the letter, "the city and the county have reached an impasse."

Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 in December to allow bikes on park trails. The city owns the Ragged Mountain Natural Area, but the park is physically in the county.

However, Albemarle County regulations currently do not allowing biking on the trails. Supervisors argue state law prohibits Charlottesville from adopting regulations that conflict with county law.

The county has proposed opening Hedgerow Park ahead of schedule and making it accessible for bicycles. Crews had also marked some new trails proposed for bicycle and hiker use at Ragged Mountain Natural Area.

In respone to the letter below Mayor Mike Signer issued a statement: 

"I have not had a chance to confer with my colleagues yet about Chair McKeel's letter, but I expect we will carefully review and consider it, just as we do all communications from our friends in the County.  What I can say is that we have made a decision, which we deliberated upon and fully explained to the public, have made significant concessions to the County in the trail map, and have also offered a path forward to a legal resolution, which we very much hope they will take up soon."

Below is the full letter from Albemarle County Supervisor Chair Diantha McKeel to Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer:

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