Cville Area Land Use Update: Week of May 15, 2023

Welcome to another edition of a weekly summary of what’s coming up at meetings of local and regional government in and around Charlottesville.

Some highlights: 

  • Charlottesville City Council will act as an appellate body today with two cases. In one, the applicant for a demolition permit for a structure on Stadium Road will seek an overturning of a denial by the Board of Architectural Review. Council will also consider an appeal of the Entrance Corridor Review Board’s approval of a project at 2005 Jefferson Park Avenue. 
  • Council will also get an update this afternoon on the city’s new economic development strategy which puts equity and inclusion front and center as a way to grow the city’s workforce and wealth.
  • Albemarle Supervisors will resume a conversation about the mechanism the county will use to guarantee that some housing will be reserved for households below certain income levels.  
  • The Board of Architectural Review will take up restoration of a faded advertisement on the side of a building on a Downtown Mall side street. 
  • The 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee will review a rezoning for a project on the Albemarle portion of East Market Street in the Woolen Mills. 

I’ll be talking about what’s coming up at 5 p.m. on WINA with Courteney Stuart. Tune in! 

Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continued support of this work!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Charlottesville City Council to consider two land use appeals

The five-member Charlottesville City Council will meet at 4 p.m. for a work session followed by a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info) (agenda)

There are three items on the agenda for Council’s work session. 

The first is the annual report from the Youth Council, a public body appointed by Council and supported by the Department of Human Services. 

“This group of young people advises the Council, informs the community about issues that affect youth, and makes recommendations on how they feel Charlottesville can be a better city,” reads the staff report. “Youth who serve on the Council meet monthly, receive leadership training, and have the chance to make a real difference in our community.”

This year’s report will highlight work with Shelter for Help and Emergency, H.E.R. Sports, and the Community Climate Collaborative. 

The second item is the presentation of the city’s draft economic development strategy. The city has hired the firm Resonance to conduct the work with a final product due in July. The draft presentation includes ten things learned during the discovery process including #6.

“Charlottesville has gaps in earnings, poverty, and educational attainment between White and BIPOC populations,” reads this item. “The City has an opportunity to utilize its economic development plan to advance shared economic prosperity.”

The third item is an overview of a study the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce has conducted on the impact of the defense sector. Albemarle County Supervisors had this presentation earlier this month as I documented in this newsletter.

A slide from the presentation on the draft economic development strategy (view the presentation

There’s one item on the consent agenda I want to highlight before going to bulleted points. The city is contemplating a major change to the zoning to increase allowable density. Council and the Planning Commission held a four-hour work session which has been boiled down to two pages of minutes.

I was only able to get about halfway through the meeting after spending at least 10 hours writing up a summary that I feel is incomplete but yet offers the reader an actual written account as opposed to a very brief summary. I am grateful for my subscribers for providing me with funds to spend time writing perhaps the only detailed accounts of what’s happening at the meetings. 

Anyway, here are some items on first reading on the consent agenda:

  • An appropriation of $450,000 from the Virginia Department of Social Services for adoption assistance. (staff report)
  • An appropriation of $46,000 from VDSS for the Virginia Initiative for Education and Work (VIEW) program. (staff report)
  • An appropriation of $56,634 from VDSS for the Adult Services, Independent Living, and Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) Programs. (staff report)
  • An appropriation of an additional $14,419.60 from the federal COVID Homelessness Emergency Response Program (CHERP) (staff report)
  • There are several amendments to the city code to remove language now considered to be offensive. (staff report)
  • There is one reading of a temporary construction easement from the Redland Club in Court Square related to construction of the new General District Court. (staff report)

In the regular agenda:

  • There is a resolution to authorize up to $16 million in general obligation bonds for four specific projects including $5 million to cover half the cost of Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s purchase of Dogwood Housing properties from Woodard Properties. (staff report)
  • There is an appeal of a demolition request for 104 Statium Road that was denied by the Board of Architectural Review in February. 
  • There is an appeal of an approval by the Entrance Corridor Review Board (the Planning Commission in another role) for 2005 Jefferson Park Avenue. Last week, a circuit court judge dismissed a lawsuit against City Council’s approval of a rezoning for a new building there. 
  • There will be a resolution and final consideration of the city’s adoption of the Regional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan put together by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. Council deferred a vote in April after Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook asked for more information. Albemarle Supervisors adopted the plan earlier this month.
  • Council will hold first of two readings on appropriating a grant of $1.36 million for assistance in paying real property taxes. 
The criteria being considered for the CHAP program (City of Charlottesville)

Louisa County Supervisors to adopt FY24 budget

The seven-member Board of Supervisors in Louisa County will meet at 5 p.m. in the Louisa County Meeting Room in Louisa. (meeting info) (meeting packet)

There is a proclamation declaring May 20 through May 26 as Safe Boating Week. 

Under new business, there are three resolutions.

  • The first is a performance agreement for a nearly $11.6M grant from the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program to help cover the cost of providing water and sewer infrastructure from Ferncliff to Shannon Hill. (staff report)
  • The second is adoption of the FY2024 budget.
  • The third is the adoption of the FY2024 Capital Improvement Program.

For details, I recommend reading Tammy Purcell’s Engage Louisa post for this week

ARB to review Home Depot plans

The Albemarle County Architectural Bureau will meet at 1 p.m. in Lane Auditorium at the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)

The main item on the agenda is a review of the site plan for the Home Depot and garden center planned at the former Sears building at Fashion Square Mall. Home Depot bought much of the mall last September. I wrote the plans in April

The site plan for the future Home Depot (Credit: Kimley Horn)

The second item on the agenda is a review of a renovation of the Flow BMW dealership on U.S. 250 on Pantops. 

The ARB will also review the entrance corridor guidelines for the 13.5 mils Route 22/Route 231 corridor in northeast Albemarle. 

On the consent agenda is an initial site plan for the University of Virginia Credit Union’s plans to redevelop the former Christian Aid Mission site on Fifth Street. The financial institution bought the property in October 2021 for $8.9 million. (view the initial site plan)

An overview map of location of the Route 22 / Route 231 corridor. View the guidelines here. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Board of Architectural Review to consider restoration of Coca Cola mural 

The Coca-Cola Company was founded in 1892 and has grown into a soft drink empire with $42 billion in revenues last year. In 1914, an advertisement for the product was painted on the side of a building on 2nd Street NE. The sign has faded and there is now a plan to restore it. But what exactly is it under city code?

“No formal zoning determination has been made regarding this project being a sign subject to the sign [regulations] or a mural,” reads the staff report from historic preservation and design planner Jeff Werner. “Therefore, for the purposes of this discussion only, we are assuming this work does not constitute a commercial sign.”

The applicant seeks to add elements back in from the original sign but not to fully restore it. 

The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review will hold a preliminary discussion at their meeting which begins at 5:30 p.m. in CitySpace. (meeting info)

In other meetings:

  • The MPO Tech Committee meets at 10 a.m. at the Water Street Center at 407 East Water Street in Charlottesville. There will be an update on progress toward the launch of the update of the long range transportation plan. Take a look at the Moving Toward 2050 website. (meeting info)
  • The Management Board of the Charlottesville/Albemarle/UVA Emergency Communications Management Center will meet at 2 p.m. I didn’t give the meeting packet a lot of scrutiny but I’ll go back again after publication. What do you see? (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Parking Advisory Panel will meet in-person for the first time since the pandemic in City Space at 3:30 p.m. (meeting info)
  • The Board of Directors for the Albemarle County Department of Social Services meets at 3:30 p.m. One item on the agenda is an introduction to the HARTS team. That stands for the Human Services Alternatives Response Team (HARTS) and this may be a meeting to attend if I can find the time. Learn more about HARTS in a March 15, 2023 NBC29 story by Isabel Cleary. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle County Economic Development Authority usually meets the third Tuesday of the month this meeting has been canceled. 
  • The Greene County Emergency Services Advisory Board will meet at 6 p.m. in the administration building. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Board of Zoning Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. in the Fluvanna County Morris Room at 132 Main Street in Palmyra. (meeting info)
A rendering for how the Coca-Cola mural would be restored (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Albemarle Supervisors to resume discussion of affordable housing incentives

The six member Board of Supervisors in Albemarle County will meet at 3 p.m. rather than their usual start-time of 1 p.m. (meeting info) (agenda)

The afternoon portion of the meeting is all proclamations. 

In the evening portion, there is an “action item with public comment” to follow up on the discussion from April 19, 2023 on the ordinance on whether to provide grants or loans for affordable housing. There’s no staff report to set up this discussion and just a link to the proposed ordinance. The minutes for that meeting aren’t yet available, either. So, take a look at the story I wrote from that work session.

There are three public hearings:

More on the consent agenda items in the next edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement.

Jaunt proposing a ten percent service cut to Fluvanna County 

The five member Board of Supervisors in Fluvanna County will meet at 7 p.m. at the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center in Fork Union. (meeting packet)

There are three public hearings:

  • The first is for Fluvanna’s Secondary Six-Year Plan for roadways. 
  • The second is for a rezoning for a 2.2 acre property from General Agricultural (A-1) and Limited Residential (R-4) to Business Convenience Zoning District (B-C) for an adaptive re-use of an existing building. This is in the Rivanna Community Planning Area and the Palmyra Election District. 
  • The third is for a special use permit for an enhanced agricultural use and an event center on Route 6 for land in the Rural Residential Planning District and the Cunningham Election District. This is at a winery formerly known as Thistle Gate Winery and now operating as Hardware Hills Vineyard. The plan is to construct an event barn and four to five bathrooms. 

There will be a presentation from Jaunt on funding for FY24 and the need for service cuts. 

“Jaunt notified the County that since their minimum funding request of $87,070 was not approved ($76,120 was approved), there would need to be a 10 percent service reduction,” reads the staff report. “They would propose eliminating the ‘Midday Link’, which is a 2 day a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) service connecting county residents to Charlottesville/Albemarle County.” 

However, Jaunt also anticipates a rebate to Fluvanna and proposes using that funding as a bridge to avoid the service cuts. 

Supervisors will continue their discussion from the last meeting about removing illegal signs from the right of way held by VDOT.  There will also be an update on a burn building.

A rendering of the future event barn at Hardware Hills Vineyard 

 In other meetings:

  • The Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee meets at noon in CitySpace. There does not appear to be an agenda available. (meeting info)
  • The Greene County Planning Commission usually meets on the third Wednesday of the month but will not do so in May. 
  • The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) will meet at 7 p.m. This appears to be a virtual meeting. (meeting info)

Thursday, May 18, 2023

5th and Avon group to review Power Plant Residences rezoning

Perhaps when you think of the Woolen Mills, you may not think of Albemarle County. Yet Broadway Avenue and the Wool Factory are only accessible through roads that lead through Charlottesville. A small portion of East Market Street is in Albemarle County, a relic of an annexation that didn’t go quite to the river. 

So that means that Albemarle County is the jurisdiction that will review a rezoning for a property just 60 feet over the border. The applicant doesn’t seek a change to the underlying R-4 zoning but does seek to modify the classification of the slopes from “preserved” to “managed” to facilitate development. 

“With a redesignation of the preserved slopes to managed slopes, the owner proposes a by-right residential development on the property,” reads the application written by Shimp Engineering. (Steep slopes waiver sought for Woolen Mills project, December 31, 2022)

A former power plant still stands on an existing structure on the property and this is a contributing structure in the Woolen Mills Village Historic District. However, Albemarle County does not have the same power Charlottesville has to have legislative review before changes to such structures. 

The 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee will hold a community meeting for this project as part of their regular meeting for May. This will be held at the 5th Street County Office Building in Room B. (meeting info)

Human Rights Commission to review annual report

If you’ve ever wondered exactly what Charlottesville’s Office of Human Rights or the Human Rights Commission does, take a look at the annual report for 2022. That’s one of the items on the agenda for the Commission meeting that’s being held in CitySpace beginning at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info)

“The Charlottesville Human Rights Commission (HRC) in partnership with the Office of Human Rights (OHR) acts as a strong advocate for justice and equal opportunity by providing citywide leadership and guidance in the area of civil rights,” reads the introduction.

There were no public hearings on any discrimination cases in 2022. There’s only been one hearing since the Commission was formed. 

There were two public polls, one community event, and three public discussions. There were two recommendations to City Council, two resolutions adopted by the Human Rights Commission. 

They also fielded 3,253 contacts and received 67 new complaints. Fifty-eight percent of contacts were requests for information.

A flow chart for activities at the Office of Human RIghts, including two positions that are being filled in 2023 

In other meetings:

  • The Charlottesville Board of Zoning Appeals will consider a request from the owners of 1506 Rialto Street related to a setback for a new awning. (meeting info)

Friday, May 19, 2023

Charlottesville City Council to retreat

Charlottesville City Council will hold a two-day retreat at the Hillsdale Conference Center beginning at 4 p.m. No information other than location is available in advance. (meeting info)

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.