Cville Area Land Use Update: Week Ahead for December 11, 2023

There are three weeks left in 2023, and this one is a lot lighter than the next. But today I did learn that at least one meeting will take place between Christmas and New Year’s. Will there be more?

This week is an odd one with later-month meetings showing up early. I’ll collect the sound from all of them and try to write up what I can. This has been a very fast-moving year and I’m not sure I’ve covered everything I wanted. All of the localities in the region I cover are preparing for the future, and sometimes I hope that readers will come away from these newsletters with a feeling of possibility. 

In any case, here are some highlights of what’s happening this week:

  • The Regional Transit Governance Study is coming to an end and now the question is what it might look like to create a regional transit authority. Albemarle and Charlottesville are likely in, but what about Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson? What about Buckingham County? 
  • Charlottesville City Council will have two work sessions on the Development Code. Will they take a vote? If so, will there be a written update on what they’ve changed since they first began making tweaks at a series of work sessions?
  • Albemarle Supervisors will get an update on the land the county is purchasing near Rivanna Station for future economic development opportunities associated with the defense sector. 
  • Nelson County Supervisors will take a vote on increasing the transient occupancy tax rate as well as entering into a contract with a firm to provide photo-speed enforcement. They’ll also learn more about their debt capacity as well as plans for the future of the Larkin property.
  • Greene Supervisors will hold their last meeting of the year with public hearings on a child care facility and budget reappropriations. They’ll also vote on corrected water and sewer bills for September. 

Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their sponsorship of this work each week.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO to meet

The elected officials who make up the Policy Board of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization will meet outside the regular time with a 10 a.m. meeting. (meeting info)

One of the first items is a presentation on the transit governance study that’s setting up a move toward a regional transit authority. The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission’s Board of Commissioners had a look last Thursday, and it will go before the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors and the Greene Board of Supervisors this week. (executive summary)

The next discussion is about changes to the Smart Scale system used by the Virginia Department of Transportation to prioritize projects for funding. There had been a proposal to restrict the number of applications that could be submitted. What did the Commonwealth Transportation Board decide? I look forward to learning more. 

Next will be updates on VDOT pipeline projects intended to suggest future improvements in the Old Ivy Road area as well as Barracks Road. That will be followed by an update on the long range transportation plan known as Moving Toward 2050

In other meetings:

  • The Fluvanna County Social Service Board Meeting will meet at the Department of Social Services in the First Floor conference room. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Development Authority will meet at 5 p.m. There’s no packet available as of Sunday afternoon but the meeting will be live-streamed on Zoom. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Council (EDTAC) meets at 6 p.m. There’s also no packet. (meeting info)

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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Nelson Supervisors to get briefing on transit governance study, take vote on photo speed enforcement 

The five member Board of Supervisors on Nelson County will meet at 2 p.m. for their regular meeting of December in the General District Courtroom in Lovingston. There’s a second session at 7 p.m. The meetings are televised on YouTube.

There are five presentations in the afternoon session;

  • There will be an update on the After Dark event held at Blue Ridge Tunnel on October 27 by Nelson County Parks and Recreation and Blue Mountain Brewery. The event collected $1,000 for the Nelson County Pantry. 
  • Next there will be a report from the Virginia Department of Transportation. There’s no written report but one thing to listen out for is any information on the Route 151 corridor study. Here’s a story I wrote in November
  • Davenport will be on hand to provide an update to Supervisors on the county’s debt capacity. The request made to them was to study the possibility of borrowing up to $75 million in the next three to five years. To do that, they’ll need to put more funding into a reserve for future debt service. 
  • Architectural Partners will present the latest version of the master plan for the Larkin property. Supervisors recently acquired the land by the Nelson County High School and Nelson County Middle School. There are three options to proceed with a first phase. 
  • Staff with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will present the Regional Transit Governance study. The full TJPDC Board had a presentation last Thursday following one to the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors. I’ve not been able to write those up, but I did write up the November 1 presentation to the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.
Davenport has provided an analysis of what Nelson County would need to do to increase the amount it can borrow for capital spending (Credit: Davenport) 

There are several items under new and unfinished business:

  • There is a request from Lovingston Beautification Volunteers for $2,000 to help cover the cost of barrels that are being used for planting of flowers. 
  • There is an authorization for a public hearing on a personal property tax exemption for volunteer fire and rescue personnel. 
  • There’s a resolution related to school zone speed enforcement. A public hearing was held on September 12 and the Sheriff’s office will enter into an agreement with Blue Line Solutions for photo speed enforcement using LIDAR and automatic license plate recognition. During a five-day survey conducted last September, 5,314 of 45,282 that drove through a check-point at the high school were going at least ten miles over the limit. 
  • There is a resolution to increase the transient occupancy tax rate from five percent to seven percent. The public hearing was held on May 9. 

There will be a closed session with two items. One is a discussion of litigation related to the Region 2000 Services Authority. The other is for legal advice. 

In the evening session, there are two public hearings.

  • The first is for a special use permit for a campground use off of North Fork Road in Montebello. The request is for six campsites.
  • The second is for an adjustment to the eligibility threshold for personal property. The maximum annual income would be increased from $50,000 to $75,000 and the maximum net worth would be increased from $100,000 to $125,000. 

Supervisors will also vote to rescind the prohibition on outdoor burning. 

This is the last scheduled meeting of the year. The Planning Commission is scheduled to meet on December 27. 

Blue Line Solutions has listed the next steps for the implementation of photo speed enforcement on U.S. 29 outside of Nelson County schools. (Credit: Blue Line Solutions)

Greene Supervisors to vote on resolution correcting September utility bills

The five member Board of Supervisors in Greene County will meet at 4:30 p.m. for an open session followed by a closed session at 5:15 p.m. They’ll enter into an open meeting at 6:30 p.m. This appears to be their final meeting of the year with a recognition of outgoing Supervisor Marie Durrer.  (agenda packet)

The meeting begins with a presentation from the Commissioner of Revenue. 

There are four public hearings.

  • The first is for a special use permit for a child care center to be operated at 181 Morning Glory Road on land zoned Agricultural-1. (staff report)
  • The second is to take comment on the recent burn ban in Greene County, a ban lifted by staff last week. (staff report)
  • The third is appropriate $4,628,291.69 in carryover funding for various items including $1.89 million to construct an access road for the construction of the future reservoir at White Run. (staff report)
  • The fourth is to appropriate $1,538,352 in state funding for Greene County Public Schools. (staff report)

There are two presentations. 

  • The first is from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission on the Regional Transit Governance Study. (presentation)
  • The second is from a firm called Digiticket that the Sheriff’s office wants to use process motor vehicle violations. (presentation)
One of the slides in the Regional Transit Governance Study presentation (Credit: TJPDC / AECOM)

One item on the consent agenda worth mentioning is the use of $24,600 in funds from cash proffers to pay CivicPlus to develop a searchable database of building and land use applications. (staff report)

There are two actions items:

  • There is a resolution to support a new Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) application for broadband expansion through Firefly and the TJPDC. The local cost share for Greene County would be $80,000. (staff report)
  • There is a resolution to adjust erroneous water and sewer bills for September, which had been sent out with incorrect calculations. (staff report)

Fluvanna PC to review capital improvement program

The Fluvanna Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m for a work session followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m. The work session will be on the proposed short-term rental ordinance. They meet in the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center at 8880 James Madison Highway in Fork Union. (agenda) (agenda packet)

There are several public hearings:

  • The FY25-FY29 Capital Improvement Program will be presented and up for review by community members. The draft plan calls for $13,444,240 in spending for FY 25 with a five-year total of $31,396,500. (CIP packet)
  • There is a request to create a new Agricultural and Forestal District covering 404 acres on the north and south sides of Nahor Manor Road in the Cunningham Election District. 
  • Antioch Baptist Church seeks a special use permit to operate a daycare center in the Cunningham Election District. 
  • Sun Reventon Farm seeks special use permits to operate a camp, to create a central water system, a sewer system and an event center. 
  • A development called Marina Point at Lake Monticello seeks to a zoning text amendment to build at 5 units per acre as well as a special use permit. This is in the Rivanna Community Planning Area and the Rivanna Election District. 

Albemarle PC to check solar facility’s compliance with Comprehensive Plan

The Albemarle Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. in Lane Auditorium of the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info) (agenda)

The first public hearing is for an amendment to a special use permit for the Kenridge community on Ivy Road to amend the design for the landscaping. (staff report)

The second public hearing is for a Comprehensive Plan review for a proposed solar-energy facility on 33 acres (staff report).

In other meetings:

  • The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority will meet virtually at 2:15 p.m. for their final meeting of the year. There will be a presentation on the FY23 audit as well as a presentation on dam safety. (meeting info)
  • The Nelson County Broadband Authority will meet at 1 p.m. in the General District Courtroom in Lovingston. They’ll get an update from Firefly Fiber Broadband on their progress to date. (meeting info
  • The Charlottesville Economic Development Authority will meet at CitySpace at 4 p.m. on the agenda is the annual report, the annual audit, and election of a new chair and vice chair. (meeting agenda)

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Rivanna Futures station goes before Albemarle Supervisors for an update

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors will hold their final meeting of the year and the final meeting for Scottsville Supervisor Donna Price. (meeting info) (agenda)

After the usual opening items, there will be another work session on the five-year financial plan.

“Staff will present and facilitate continued discussion on the Five-Year Financial Plan presented on November 15, 2023, to include Tax Relief for the Elderly and Disabled and workforce stabilization,” reads the staff report. “The assumptions in the plan will continue to be updated in the annual budget development process and subsequent financial plans.”

I was able to write up the November 15 discussion and have last week’s discussion with the School Board waiting for me to summarize. There are over 115,000 people in Albemarle, so writing about the county’s finances is fairly important. 

Next is the audit for FY23, which is not available yet. Here’s the staff report.

After that is an update on the Rivanna Futures project which is the name for the county’s purchase of 462 acres of land near Rivanna Station for $58.5 million. A final due diligence report has been concluded by the firm Line And Grade. (review)

“This opportunity will afford the County of Albemarle a chance to establish economic development partners who find the County a desirable place to locate their future facility needs – whether they be agencies of the Federal Government, their contractors, or perhaps light industrial enterprises,” reads the executive summary.

The study finds that the land is suitable for purchase, though it notes that some of the property is outside of the designated growth area. 

The meeting concludes with a year in review from County Executive Jeffrey Richardson followed by a discussion of the Board’s minutes. There are no approved minutes for all of 2023 and the most recently available set is from March 30, 2022. (read those minutes

One of the images in the Rivanna Futures Due Diligence Report (Credit: Line and Grade)

Charlottesville to deliberate on Development Code 

Last week, dozens of people spoke at City Council’s public hearing on the Development Code. A vote was not taken, but Council will begin their final discussions with a 6 p.m. work session in CitySpace. (meeting info)

By Tuesday I’ll have a better write-up summarizing where we are and what Council will actually be voting on. Perhaps there will be more information available before this meeting, but Council has already made a series of changes during their multiple work sessions. For instance, on November 29, Council decided to restrict by-right height in most entrance corridors while new guidelines are written. That will require more Council scrutiny for developments projects then had previously been anticipated. 

What other changes have been made? I’ve tried to document as much as I can, but it would be nice to have a full list so the public can know what will actually be in the Development Code. 

There’s a second work session on Thursday if needed. 

In other meetings:

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Louisa PC to review growth area Comprehensive Plan amendments 

The Louisa County Planning Commission will meet for a long-range planning session at 5 p.m. followed by a regular meeting. Both take place in the public meeting room at 1 Woolfork Avenue in Louisa. (work session overview)

The work session will cover the capital improvement program but the materials are not linked in the packet. There will also be a review of amendments to the Public Facilities chapter of the Comprehensive Plan as well as amendments to the various focus area plans for various growth areas. Action will be taken later in the evening. 

These are for: 

There are four public hearings scheduled though one will be postponed:

  • The first is for a request to rezone nearly 22 acres of land off of U.S. 33 in the Jackson District from Agricultural-1 to Agricultural-2 to allow the property to be divided into seven residential lots. (staff report)
  • The second is for a request to allow for a contractor’s storage yard as an allowed use for Stafford Contracting LLC. This is in the Cuckoo District in the Lake Anna Growth Area Overlay District. (staff report)
  • The third public hearing is for the Spring Hill Planned Unit Development but the applicant has sought a 60-day deferral to resolve various issues. (email chain)
  • The fourth is for a Comprehensive Plan review for a Conditional Use Permit related to construction of a multi-purpose building on county-owned property.  (staff report)

In other meetings:

  • The Albemarle County Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee will meet at 4 p.m. in Room 235 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (agenda)
  • A subcommittee of the Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission will meet virtually at 5 p.m. to discuss projects involving Besançon, France. A mini-delegation is expected in April from the watchmaking region. (agenda)
  • The Places29-North Community Advisory Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the North Fork Discovery Park at 994 Research Boulevard. (agenda)
  • City Council has their second work session this week at 6 p.m. on deliberations on the Development Code. Missy Creasy, the deputy director of the Department of Neighborhood Development Services, told me it is very likely both will be needed. (agenda)
  • The Charlottesville Police Oversight Board will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. in CitySpace. There’s no agenda at publication time. (meeting info)
  • The Fifth & Avon Community Advisory Committee will meet in Room B of the county’s office building at 1600 5th Street Extended. There’s no agenda at publication time. 

This post was contributed by Sean Tubbs. Sean is a journalist working to build a new information and news outlet centered around Charlottesville and Virginia. In 2020, he launched a daily newscast and newsletter and also created a semi-regular podcast on the pandemic.

Support for Sean’s “Week Ahead” update comes from The Piedmont Environmental Council.