Two key votes, 10/14, by Town Council, on rezoning and Comp. Plan

A core principle of Citizen’s First is respect for Blacksburg’s Comprehensive Plan, its citizen-generated guide for future growth and land use.  Town Council will be considering two important issues with Comp Plan ramifications.  Please consider contacting Town Council prior to its next meeting this Tuesday, Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m at Blacksburg Municipal Building, 300 South Main St.

1.       Town Council will consider the 2014 Comp. Plan Amendments. Public input will be taken in a public hearing at that 10/4 meeting.  The proposed amendments were approved by the Long Range Planning Committee and Planning Commission following substantial public input.

Citizens First supports all the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.


2.       Town Council will consider a rezoning at 100 Eheart Street (corner of Main St) for a multifamily condominium Building on approximately 0.5 acres.  The property is currently zoned R-5, a zoning that allows for up to two units if certain conditions are met.  The Future Land Use map in the Comp. Plan proposes allowing up to 5 units or 10 bedrooms.  This proposal is for 27 units and 37 bedrooms (The equivalent of 68 bedrooms/ 1 acre). The Planning Commission meeting on this application is here:

Citizens First opposes this rezoning application because it drastically deviates from the Comp. Plan.

Please contact Town Council,, and voice your support for the 2014 Comprehensive Plan amendments and your opposition to the rezoning of 100 Eheart St.

Fidelity to the citizen-generated Comprehensive Plan remains one of our core principles. Thank you for your consideration and participation.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Retreat

Don Langrehr, one of our EC members and a Blacksburg Planning Commissioner, had an editorial in The Burgs this past weekend about the Retreat.  Read it here if you missed it this weekend.  Town Council voted against approving the project by a 4-3 vote on Tuesday night.

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The reelection of Susan Anderson and Cecile Newcomb to Blacksburg Town Council merits a note of congratulations to them and to all of us who have worked to carry on good government in Blacksburg for a decade.   Congratulations also to Ron Rordam on his reelection as Mayor and to Krisha Chachra on her reelection to Town Council, and appreciation to all candidates for their participation in the Democratic process.

Posted in Elections

Citizens First Endorsements for 2013

The upcoming election race for Blacksburg Town Council, allowing up to three votes among four candidates, has presented Citizens First with a welcome dilemma. It is an encouraging development made in the last decade of increased civic engagement that all four women running for office are accomplished candidates, and Blacksburg is in an enviable position for it. After careful deliberation, the Executive Committee of Citizens First has unanimously voted to endorse incumbents Susan Anderson and Cecile Newcomb.

Susan and Cecile have long epitomized Citizens First’s core values of citizen service, competence, and open government. Both have records of distinguished service on town and civic committees, including Council, over the years. Susan has been a model of civic engagement in Blacksburg for decades, while Cecile has been a longtime advocate for neighborhoods, youth recreation, downtown, and business. Susan, in addition, was an effective advocate for citizen concerns as Vice Mayor during 2006-2008 and 2010-2012 and would surely serve effectively again in this role. (This position goes to the top vote-getter among Council candidates).

There were differences of opinion, however, in our decision to endorse only two candidates. Since her election to Town Council in 2009, Krisha Chachra, who is the third incumbent in the race, has been an integral part of that body’s harmonious and effective functioning. Krisha’s outreach to all segments of the Blacksburg community, including young professionals and the technology sector has coalesced the diverse and talented segments of the Blacksburg community.

April DeMotts, the fourth candidate in the race and the only non-incumbent, is Vice Chair of the Town’s Community Development and Housing Advisory Board. She has expressed several positions consistent with the values of Citizens First, including support for a citizen-responsive government, affordable housing, and neighborhoods. We will follow her civic engagement and town service with great interest.

We thank you for your involvement in Citizens First and your concern for good local government. Please make sure to vote on November 5th. We will have more information in the coming days on opportunities to help with Susan and Cecile’s campaigns.

– Citizens First Executive Committee:

Mike Hudson, Don Langrehr, Lucy Goldberg, Harlan Miller, and Mark Cherbaka

Posted in Uncategorized

CF Annual Meeting, August 1st

Members of Citizens First,

You are cordially invited to join us at our annual meeting on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7pm at the Shadowlake Village Common House.  Directions are available here.

We will be voting on a new slate of Executive Committee officers (listed below), ratifying changes to the charter (which can be found here), and kicking off our fall election activities.

This would also be a good time to consider giving a donation of time or money for the fall election activities.  Citizens First has a long, successful history in helping to elect candidates to local office who hold to the highest ideals of good, democratic, effective governance.  We cannot do it without the help and participation of our members.  We hope you will join us to elect our new officers and find ways to help and support them this fall and through the rest of the year.

The proposed slate of candidates for the upcoming term will be:

Michael Hudson (President)
Don Langrehr (Vice President)
Lucy Goldberg (Secretary)
Harlan Miller (Treasurer)
Mark Cherbaka (Officer at-large)

We hope to see you there!
-Citizens First Executive Committee

Posted in Uncategorized

Proposed Changes to CF Charter

We are posting the proposed changes to our charter.  Text in a color other than black indicates changes that we will vote on in our annual meeting in August.

Citizens First CHARTER 2013


Please click on the link above to view the document.

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CF Summer Update

The Executive Committee (EC) has been focused on several things this spring that we’d like to share with you.

First, there is an opportunity for members to get more involved in CF.  We have been preparing for our annual meeting, which should happen in August.  We hope to use this meeting as a kick-off for the fall election activities, as well as taking care of our normal business of charter changes and EC elections.   We will be bringing some small changes to the charter before the membership for a vote.  These changes are meant to make the operation of our organization easier to administer.  The most significant change we’d like to see happen is the expansion of the EC from 5 officers to up to 8 officers.  We are hoping to have the ability to draw in more people to help with the leadership of the organization while extending our influence throughout the town and county.  With the opportunity to expand, the EC would like to extend the invitation to anyone in our membership who might want to get involved to contact us by email (  The work of Citizens First to ensure good elected local officials is important.  We’ve come a long way in the last decade, but we always need new leadership and new candidates to step up.  It takes much less work to keep good government going than to start over!  I hope you’ll consider helping.  Look for an official announcement on the annual meeting soon.

The second issue that we’ve been focusing on is the Old Blacksburg Middle School (OBMS) property.  After attending public hearings, meeting with local officials and citizens, we believe that the May 17th Town Staff Report does a good job summarizing some of the deficiencies in the current proposal before the town from a development point of view.  In addition, we have concerns as citizens of Montgomery County about possible financial shortcomings of the proposal.  Please see the recent post on the issue on our blog and consider contacting your Montgomery County Supervisor.
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