Cville Area Land Use: Week Ahead for April 8, 2024

Some highlights this week:

  • Nelson County Supervisors will hold a public hearing Thursday on a one cent increase in the real estate tax rate that will generate around $321,000. 
  • Louisa County Supervisors will hold a public hearing tonight on a budget for FY25 that is nearly 12 percent larger than the current year. 
  • A new mixed-use development in Greene County seeks permission from the Board of Supervisors for an electronic message sign intended to help cultivate a “Work, Play, Live” environment. Supervisors will hold a public hearing on Tuesday.
  • The Albemarle Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday for a rezoning for 410 residential units off of U.S. 29 on just under 31 acres south of Forest Lakes and north of Brookhill
  • Charlottesville’s Planning Commission will authorize a public hearing for the first amendment to the new Development Code and then will then have that public hearing 
  • Fluvanna County’s Planning Commission will have a conversation on the Comprehensive Plan update that’s underway, and will appoint members to a solar ordinance committee. 

Thanks as always to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their sponsorship of this newsletter and the time that goes into it. 

Monday, April 8, 2024

Louisa Supervisors to hold public hearing on $237.7M budget for FY25

The seven-member Board of Supervisors in Louisa County will begin their day at 4 p.m. with a work session on county roads with the Virginia Department of Transportation. This takes the form of something called the Secondary Six-Year Plan but there are no materials in advance specific to Louisa. (meeting info and notice)

“This plan includes funding allocation information for planned secondary road projects by County,” reads an education website maintained by VDOT.  “You can also identify secondary roadways as those numbered 600 and above in the state system.”

At 5 p.m. Supervisors will go into closed session followed by a regular session at 6 p.m. 

Items on the consent agenda include a ratification of the recent declaration of emergency due to wildfires and a transfer of $58,541 in funds from the Industrial Development Authority to the Louisa County Airport

In February, Louisa County Supervisors agreed to take over the IDA’s interests in the airport with expendities now coming out of the general fund. However, the IDA is responsible for some expenses in the fourth quarter. 

Also, April 13 through April 20 is Clean Louisa Week. 

There are four items under “information / discussion items” with the first being an update on the Louisa Arts Center. The second is a discussion of potential items to submit through VDOT’s Smart Scale process. The third is a resolution to update the terms that allow the “Rumpus in the Bumpass” triathlon that’s held at Lake Anna. The fourth is a discussion on litter prevention. 

There are two items under “new business and action items.” The first is a resolution to approve or deny the renewal of the Beaverdam Creek Agricultural and Forestal District. The District covers over 442.7 acres and was created in 1994. 

None of the property owners contacted to ask if they wished to remain in the district responded to a notice. That means they’ll stay in. (Credit: Louisa County)

The second is to authorize a supplemental appropriation for funding to implement the Children’s Service Act. 

“The Children’s Services Act (CSA) for at-risk youth and families is a law enacted in 1993 that establishes a single state pool of funds to purchase services for at- risk youth and their families,” reads the resolution. “The state funds, combined with local community funds, are managed by local interagency teams who plan and oversee services to youth.” 

Caseloads for the current year are higher than anticipated, and the county’s share of additional funding is $112,200. 

After committee reports, there will be public hearings.

The first is a public hearing on the fiscal year 2025 budget which is a substantial increase over FY2024. Revenues from property taxes increased 11.84 percent and there is a $62.3 million bond issuance for capital projects. 

The second is a public hearing on an ordinance to exempt some of the property owned by the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation. 

A quick snapshot of revenues that make up the FY25 budget in Louisa County (Credit: Louisa County)

In other meetings: 

  • The Albemarle Fire EMS Executive Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. in Fire Rescue Conference Room 2 in the county’s office building at 1600 Fifth Street Extended. On the agenda is a continued discussion of training and registration policy. In 2013, the county began implementing a policy where volunteers go through the Line of Duty Act process. In a time of shifting dynamics for fire and rescue personnel, the minutes are fascinating to read. (meeting packet) (meeting info)
  • Jack Jouett District Supervisor Diantha McKeel will host a community town hall from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Journey Middle School. The program begins at 6 p.m. This is also the month’s meeting of the Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee. (meeting info)
  • Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Greene Supervisors to hold public hearing on electronic sign for development on U.S. 29

The five member Board of Supervisors in Greene County will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the administration building in Stanardsville. They begin with a closed session and the regular meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info and packet)

After the usual starting items for a meeting, there are three public hearings. The first is for a rezoning request at 14865 Spotswood Trail. The request is to change 2.41 acres from Agricultural to Business Highway and High Intensity. This is for a mini-storage facility and the Planning Commission recommended approval on March 20, 2024. (staff report)

The second is for an electronic message center at the Villages at Terrace Greene which requires a special use permit. (staff report)

“The EMC will be instrumental in helping create the Town Centre environment within this “Live Work Play” development that the county desires and we are trying to develop,” reads the justification letter from Merit Greene LLC. “It is a multipurpose messaging center that we will be able to communicate important information regarding community events, news, and provide tenant signage.”

The third public hearing is on an increase of a fee collected when civil actions are filed from $2 to $4. The proceeds will go to maintain the county’s law library. 

Some items learned from the minutes of the March 26, 2024 meeting.

  • A town hall will be scheduled for community members to receive information about the reservoir project. “The county is in sound financial condition currently but faces challenges in funding needed water infrastructure improvements” reads the minutes. 
  • Supervisors supported staff’s desire to submit grant applications for federal funding for a water tower in Stanardsville, automated external defibrillators for the Sheriff’s office, and mobile data terminals for the Sheriff’s office. 
  • A request for a special use permit to allow a vehicle repair business to operate out of a home was deferred at the applicants’ request. Supervisors were sympathetic to the concerns of neighbors.
  • Pitch night for a small business grant program for Stanardsville business will be held on May 8 , 2024. 
An overview of the scope of the Villages at Terrace Greene (Credit: Gropen) 

Nelson Supervisors to consider financing proposals for new social services building, high school renovations

The five member Board of Supervisors in Nelson County will meet at 2:00 p.m. for their afternoon session followed by an evening session at 7 p.m.  This is the first of two meetings this week. (meeting packet)

The consent agenda contains a few interesting items such as a budget amendment and a recognition of the creators of the Quarry Gardens of Schuyler.

The Virginia Department of Transportation will present a report and there will also be a work session on the Secondary Six Year Plan. 

Current allocations for Nelson County’s Secondary Six-Year Plan. Click here for a larger image

Under new business, there are four items.

The first is an update on project financing for local government and schools projects from Davenport Public Finance. The county hopes to construct a new building to house the Department of Social Services at a cost of $9.5 million as well as renovation of Nelson County High School estimated to cost $25 million. 

There’s a comparison of different financing schemes, as well as details on how Tye River Elementary School may be used as collateral. That requires the Economic Development Authority to be involved. They’ll meet on Wednesday to consider the recommendation to go with a proposal from First National Bank. 

The second is on applications for real estate tax exemptions. These are:

The third is a usage agreement for the Lovingston logo that Supervisors approved for official use on February 13, 2024. Anyone who wishes to use the logo must pay $25 to the Nelson County Department of Tourism and Economic Development. Does this apply to journalistic endeavors? I’m not risking it today but take a look at it here.

The fourth is an authorization to set the public hearing for the FY25 budget for May 14, 2024 in the General District Courtroom in Lovingston. 

The evening session will feature action on the 2042 Comprehensive Plan which has already had a public hearing before the Board of Supervisors. The process began on May 31, 2022 with a kick-off meeting. Many members of the community took the opportunity to push back against tourism destinations on Route 151 and the proliferation of short-term rentals. 

Albemarle PC to take up Holly Hills rezoning 

The Albemarle Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. in Lane Auditorium in the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)

There are three public hearings with the first being for a rezoning for several hundred places to live on 30.8 acres between Brookhill and Forest Lakes. The developers are Dominion Realty Partners and Stony Point Development Group. 

“The Project proposes a maximum of 410 residential units comprised of low-rise apartments, condominiums and townhouse units,” reads the narrative. “The Project also proposes amenities for residents, including a pool, clubhouse, fitness center, dog park, outdoor recreation areas, and green space surrounding the community.”

The project meets the requirements of existing rules that 15 percent of units in a project created by a rezoning be guaranteed as “affordable.” Supervisors adopted a housing policy in the summer of 2021 that pushed that expectation up to 20 percent but a package of incentives for  developers had not yet been adopted when this rezoning was filed. 

The narrative also states there will be “no negative impact on public facilities and public infrastructure.” 

The next two public hearings are related to the potential for a Tesla dealership at Stonefield. The zoning needs to be amended to allow for car sales and a special use permit is needed for outdoor storage and display. I wrote about this back in November 2023. (staff report for rezoning

I will note again that it’s possible to review the draft minutes of the Albemarle Planning Commission before they are adopted but not possible to review the draft minutes of Albemarle Supervisor meetings. The most recent minutes for Supervisors available are from May 25, 2022Read through the minutes from the March 26, 2024 PC meeting for information about the zoning modernization underway. 

An illustrative plan showing the proposed layout for the 410-unit Holly Hills development in Hollymead. Click here to see a larger version. (Credit: Collins Engineering. 

Fluvanna County PC to discuss short-term rentals, Comp Plan, solar policy

The Fluvanna County Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. for a work session at the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center followed by the regular meeting. (meeting packet)

There are two topics at the work session. The first is a discussion of short-term rentals. The second is a discussion on progress toward the Comprehensive Plan update that’s been under way for some time now. The draft is in the materials and I finally figured out you can link specific pages in .PDF files. So click here for that.

This plan is an update rather than a rewrite and the summary acknowledges how much things have changed in nine years. 

“The 2015 Comprehensive Plan only marginally contemplated what has since become a topic of much importance and urgency to the residents of Fluvanna County, with only one mention of ‘solar’ in the Plan,” reads a section of page 22.

In the regular meeting they will discuss the formation of a review committee to review the county’s solar policy. The committee was created at the April 3, 2024 meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Supervisors Tony O’Brien and Tim Hodge have been appointed to the group and the Planning Commission will pick two of their own. 

HAC subcommittee to meet to discuss land bank rules, governance

One way to lower the cost of housing for tenants is for a housing provider to purchase the land to remove it from the property market. The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority has spent at least $11 million in the last two years to buy property to be used for income-restricted housing. The Piedmont Housing Alliance has been purchasing land in the Fifeville neighborhood as part of its land trust. 

In addition, the Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee has a subcommittee that is working to recommend an ordinance to create a land bank. The full committee discussed the idea at their meeting in March as I previewed but did not report. Today at noon the HAC subcommittee will further discuss the idea. 

One questions for city officials: Is the HAC subcommittee the same as the working group being chaired by Dan Rosensweig, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville?

This meeting will be held at 700 East Jefferson Street. 

Charlottesville PC to hold public hearing on first amendment to Development Code

The adoption of Charlottesville’s new Development Code means that the Planning Commission has a lot less to do.

For instance, the Housing Advisory Committee which consists of nonprofit and for-profit developers has been tasked with items such as creation of the land bank and development of the Affordable Dwelling Unit manual. 

Additionally, this City Council has decided to break the long-standing tradition of being present when the Planning Commission has public hearings. It is only when the PC becomes the Entrance Corridor Review Board that they will directly weigh in on land use applications. 

So how does that play out at an actual meeting? The PC will meet for a pre-meeting at 5 p.m. that will be a closed session on a training on the Freedom of Information Act as well as legal consultation. The Planning Commission is a party named in White v. Charlottesville which seeks an overturning of the Development Code, though the city will ask for them to be dropped

There is a public hearing in which City Council will not be present in which the city is already seeking amendments to the Development Code. This is related to the city’s power of eminent domain. 

“The proposed text amendment allows that, where a governmental entity acquires a portion of a property, that property cannot then become noncompliant with the zoning ordinance,” reads the staff report. “A similar section could be found in the previous zoning ordinance and should have been carried over into the new Development Code.”

This relates to the city’s acquisition of property related to street improvement projects. There are no examples to explain to the public exactly what’s at issue here. The initiation is on the consent agenda and then followed by the public hearing.

And if this was left out of the new code, what else is missing that will be subject to future zoning text amendments? 

After the public hearing, the Planning Commission will become the Entrance Corridor Review Board to review designs for the VERVE. The project is already approved and I’m running out of time so moving on. 

In other meetings:

  • The Charlottesville Electoral Board will meet at 6 p.m. at 120 7th Street NE in Room 142. There are no materials published. (meeting info)
  • White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek will host a community town hall from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Company at 283 Reas Ford Road. (meeting info)

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

James River Water Authority to meet 

Fluvanna County and Louisa County have been planning for years for a way to bring water from the James River to the designated growth area of Zion Crossroads that straddles both localities. That’s the purview of the James River Water Authority which meets this month at 9 a.m. in the Morris Room of the Fluvanna County Administration building at 132 Main Street in Palmyra. (meeting packet)

We learn from the packet that the Virginia Department of Health has approved the plans for the raw water intake, the raw water pump station, and the raw water main. The Virginia Department of Transportation has approved an entrance included in the site plan. 

We also learn that Faulconer Construction has a $39,687,850 contract with a balance of $36.1 million unpaid. 

The plans still need to obtain approval from the United States Army Corp of Engineers. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality approved their permit on October 20, 2023. Another company has been hired to do the periodic surveys to determine how habitat for freshwater mussels may be affected by construction and the new conditions. 

In other meetings:

  • The Albemarle Electoral Board will meet at 9:30 a.m. in the county’s office building at 1600 5th Street Extended in Room A. (meeting info) (meeting notice)
  • The Nelson County Economic Development Authority will meet at 2 p.m. at the Nelson Center. They’ll be discussing the financing for construction of a new Department of Social Services building as well as renovations at Nelson High School. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Community Development Block Grant Task Force will meet at 6 p.m. at the S&P Annex at 700 East Jefferson Street. No materials available. (meeting info)
  • White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek will host a community town hall from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Brownsville Elementary School at 5870 Rockfish Gap Turnpike in Crozet. (meeting info)

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Nelson County to hold public hearing on proposed real estate tax rate increase 

The five member Board of Supervisors in Nelson County will meet at 4 p.m. for a budget work session followed by a public hearing at 7 p.m. Both are at the General District Courtroom in Lovingston. 

The current real estate tax rate is $0.65 per $100 of assessed value. 

“The proposed Real Property tax rate increase of one (1) cent is anticipated to generate approximately $321,707 in revenue,” reads the public notice

For more details on the budget, take a look at the Nelson County Finance Department. 

Louisa County Planning Commission to review 5 megawatt solar facility

The Louisa County Planning Commission meets at 5 p.m. for a work session on the BW Solar project which is seeing a conditional use permit. There are a series of questions and answers from the applicant in the packet. (read the packet)

The regular meeting begins at 7 p.m. and there are two items under unfinished business. The first is a rezoning for a project called Louisa Heights LLC. This is a request to downzone about 3.14 acres from Industrial General (I-2) to Industrial Limited (I-1) to allow for a mini-warehouse. The property is currently vacant. (staff report)

The second is the BW Solar project which would see a 5 megawatt utility-scale solar facility on about 60 acres of a 132.277 acre parcel. The property owners would continue to live on the land. 

Then there’s a public hearing for a rezoning request for Lake Anna Storage LLC. Specifically, the land would be changed from General Agricultural (A-2) to Commercial General Growth Overlay District. 

A map from October 2023 depicting approved, proposed, and existing solar projects in Louisa County 

Albemarle solid waste group to learn from a recycling company

The Albemarle Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee will meet at 4 p.m. in Room 246 in the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)

On the agenda is a presentation from the owner of Evergreen Recycling.

“In twenty years, we have started and sold a document shredding service, worked with a dozen different employees, served hundreds of local businesses, and properly recycled roughly four million pounds of materials,” reads the company’s website. 

There will also be reports from the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, a report from the county on the plastic bag tax, and other work plan reports. 

Places29-North group to hold meeting for speculative rezoning on Airport Road

The Places29-North Community Advisory Committee meets  at 6 p.m. at the Building 4 of the North Fork Discovery Park at 994 Research Park Boulevard. (meeting info)

The main items on the agenda is a community meeting for a rezoning of 1.05 acre parcel on Airport Road at the intersection of Innovation Drive that’s designated for R-1. The owners want to update the zoning to match the Comprehensive Plan.

“The subject parcel has long been a single- family residential property,” reads the narrative written by the firm Line and Grade. “However, it is located directly off of a four-lane minor arterial roadway on land that is designated by the County’ s Comprehensive Plan as Urban Mixed Use in a Neighborhood Service Center.” 

The narrative does not state what might happen on the site, but hints that a by-right development would occur under the new zoning if approved. There is a build-out analysis included in the packet but there no tenant has been identified. 

“This concept plan has been developed with the knowledge that there is a roundabout planned at the intersection of Airport Road and Innovation Drive, and there will be major frontage improvements conducted by VDOT along this parcel, including the realignment of Airport Road, a new shared use path, and some right of way take,” the narrative continues.

Location map for the property that’s subject to the proposed rezoning (Credit: Line and Grade / Google Maps)

In other meetings:

  • The Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission will meet at 4:30 p.m in the small conference room in CitySpace. There’s no agenda available at publication time. (learn more)
  • The Charlottesville Police Civilian Oversight Board meets at 6:30 p.m. in the large conference room in CitySpace. There’s no agenda available at publication time. (learn more)

Friday, April 12, 2024 

City history panel to be presented with information on Oakwood Cemetery drainage issues

There are six vacancies on the Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee. The remaining members will meet at 11 a.m. in the Neighborhood Development Services conference room in City Hall. The agenda includes many of the same subjects as previous meetings including the Downtown Walking Map Tour. (meeting info)

The Parks and Recreation Department will make a presentation on how drainage issues at the south end of Oakwood Cemetery will be resolved. 

“In December 2023, the City contracted with Line and Grade Civil Engineering to gather more information specifically related to the low-lying wet ground within the cemetery adjacent to Elliott Avenue and First Street South,” reads a press release sent out by the Parks and Recreation Department in March.

“This low-lying area also corresponds with the portion of the cemetery which was historically denoted as the ‘colored section,’” the release continues. “If left unmitigated, the land will swallow these gravesites, further obscuring the legacy of those who have been laid to rest.”

The release also suggests there may be undocumented burial sites in the vicinity.

There will also be a discussion of the panel discussion that the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society is hosting at the Center at Belvedere on April 10. The event is sold out but the ACHS often streams these events.  This is in relation to the ongoing topic of Engagement of the Descendant Community: Slavery and Court Square. You would not know this from the agenda, which provides no link and no context. 

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.