Cville Area Land Use: Week Ahead for December 18

Happy Holidays to all of the people who read this each week and to those who may just be tuning in for the first time. This is the 241st installment of a weekly summary of what’s coming up in local government intended to get more people involved. The 242nd will be much, much smaller than this preview of the final bits of government business for 2023. 

While I will slow down a little, there’s also a lot to do to get ready for 2024. As the sole proprietor of a very small business, I do not get paid for time off so I have to keep bringing in revenue. That means you can expect several more editions of this newsletter between now and the beginning of the year. There’s a lot to get through, and my duty is to report as much as I can. 

This is not a slow week.  

  • Charlottesville City Council is anticipated to take a final vote on the new zoning code at the end of its meeting Monday, action that will happen after Councilors consider land use applications for two large projects near the University of Virginia that were deferred at the December 4 meeting. The public hearing has already happened and I finally wrote about it
  • The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on whether a special use permit should be granted for the raw water intake for a urban water supply for Zion Crossroads. 
  • The Louisa Board of Supervisors will consider agreements for new water and sewer infrastructure to support two data center campuses that Amazon Data Services plans to build. They’ll also get an update on the Regional Transit Governance Study.
  • The Greene County Planning Commission will have a public hearing on a $347 million capital improvement plan that includes a lot of money to build a reservoir to expand water supply capacity.
  • Albemarle’s Planning Commission will review several land use changes recommended as part of the Comprehensive Plan update underway there. 

Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continued sponsorship of this weekly look ahead at local government. I’m grateful for their support as well as everyone who supports through Patreon and the 550+ paid subscriptions through Substack. I wish you and your existence well in these times of holiday.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Louisa Supervisors end 2024 with presentation on transit governance study, public hearing on new civic building 

The seven-member Board of Supervisors in Louisa County will meet for the final time of 2024. This is the final meeting for Louisa District Supervisor Eric Purcell and Cuckoo District Supervisor Willie L. Gentry Jr. They’ll meet at 5 p.m. for a closed session followed by the open session at 6 p.m. (meeting overview)

The meeting begins with adoption of the minutes from December 5, 2023. The draft minutes are available for the public to review, unlike draft minutes in Albemarle County. Last week, that locality’s Board of Supervisors discussed a backlog of official minutes from their meetings. I hope to write up that story sometime before the end of the year. (review draft Louisa BOS minutes from December 5, 2023)

Next, Louisa Supervisors will review the bills paid by county staff in the first half of December. The total amount is $1,060,177.15 and there are eleven pages to go through. (review the bills)

The consent agenda contains four resolutions including one honoring Ms. Annie P. Price on her 100th birthday. The other three are for outgoing members of the Louisa County Industrial Development Authority. 

There are five presentations, two of which are available in advance. One is the Regional Transit Governance Study that’s been overseen by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. One of the many stories coming before the end of the year is a write-up of recent discussions before multiple entities. That will include whatever Louisa Supervisors have to say.

The other is a presentation on the creation of a Louisa County Tourism Advisory Committee.  The idea comes after a recent increase in the transient lodging tax to seven percent, increasing the amount that is required to be spent to attract more visitors. 

“The committee works with and makes recommendations on advertising, target marketing, and long-range plans for tourism in Louisa County,” reads a draft description of the proposed group. “This committee also investigates, researches, and reports on the feasibility of adopting or implementing ideas and initiatives to further tourism efforts, increase occupancy at lodging properties, and generate tourism revenue.”

There is no advance material for presentations from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Louisa County Water Authority, and Dominion Energy. The latter is an update on the Belcher solar site. 

There are three items under new business.

The first is a proposed increase in the salary for members of the Board of Supervisors. Earlier this year, Supervisors agreed to peg their compensation to the same increase that county employees receive. The exact amount is not given in the draft resolution.

The second item is a supplemental budget increase to cover an increased cost for recycling. 

“Louisa County’s FY 2024 co-mingle recycling contract costs have increased from $20 per ton to $130 per ton,” reads the draft resolution. “The amount of additional funding needed to meet this increased cost is $40,000.” 

The third item is for approval of two agreements between Louisa County and Amazon Data Services for water and sewer infrastructure to their two proposed data center campuses.

The final item on the agenda is a public hearing for a conditional use permit that Louisa County needs to build a multi-purpose building for civic uses on Sacred Heart Avenue. 

“The proposed building will include office space, training/conference rooms and secure, multi-purpose rooms/facilities in support of various department’s duties and responsibilities,” reads the resolution.  

This public hearing is also for a review of the project’s compliance with the Comprehensive Plan. 

One of the maps of the proposed infrastructure to be extended to the Lake Anna data center campus that will be built by Amazon Data Services. (Credit: Louisa County)

Charlottesville City Council scheduled for final vote on new zoning code 

After nearly four years of work, the land use reform in Charlottesville known as Cville Plans Together Initiative may finally see a vote on its third product. City Council is expected to hold a final vote on the draft zoning code at the very end of its final meeting for 2023.  

But the five-member City Council will begin their work at 4 p.m. with a work session on budget presentations from various departments. 

There’s a closed session for Boards and Commissions. Will this be the time a new Planning Commissioner is appointed, ending a vacancy that is now over six  months old? 

There are two proclamations: 

  • The Human Rights Commission is celebrating its 10th anniversary having met for the first time on November 21, 2013. (read the resolution
  • Preservation Piedmont will present an award to the City for the Pen Park Unmarked Graves project. 

There are several items on the consent agenda:

  • There are minutes for various meetings, all of which have draft versions available for review before adoption. These are for: October 2, 2023October 16, 2023November 1, 2023Certification of Election ResultsNovember 8, 2023 work session on parking
  • There is second reading of a resolution to appropriate $49,976 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Interior through the Chesapeake Bay Networks to hire a consultant to “develop locally specific (hyper-local or neighborhood-scaled),spatially accurate data on underrepresented and underserved populations to enable inclusive initiatives with an equity lens. (staff report)
  • There is second reading of a resolution to appropriate $27,486 from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance’ (BJA) Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. This is for recruitment efforts of the Charlottesville Police Department. (staff report)
  • There is second reading of an appropriation of $200,000 in funds from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to be passed through to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. This is for their Center for Local Knowledge. (staff report)

I’m going to race through the rest of the meeting because this is the last item I’m writing this week and I want to get on to the research I need to do. 

But Council will take up two projects deferred at the December 4 meeting that have drawn the concern of the University of Virginia. I am hoping to get through that before the meeting, but I also have to go through Council’s final work session on the Development Code from December 14. I hope to have something out by noon tomorrow. I apologize for not having this more sorted. Here’s my account of the December 13 work session in case you missed it.

The final item on the agenda is a report from the Botanical Garden. Then the ten-month tenure of Councilor Leah Puryear will come to a close. 

Albemarle ARB to review new Hyundai dealership 

The five person Albemarle Architectural Review Board will meet at 1 p.m. in Lane Auditorium in the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. It’s the final meeting of the year. (meeting agenda) (meeting info)

The consent agenda contains an administrative approval of the initial site development plan for Glenbrook at Foothills Phase IV. The plan would “construct a mix of 45 single family attached and detached residential units with associated site improvements.” (staff report)

There is a regular item review for the initial site development plan for a new auto dealership that will be built on current undeveloped land near other similar businesses. 

The final item is a review of the entrance corridor guidelines for Route 631 which is known as Old Lynchburg Road and Fifth Street depending on location. There are a lot of planned developments along this stretch and so I would very much like to write up this discussion. (materials)

Location map for the new Hyundai dealership slated for construction on land that’s currently wooded (Credit: Albemarle County)

In other meetings:

  • The Board of the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau will meet at the Jefferson Madison Regional Library’s Central Branch at 2 p.m. (meeting info)
  • The Board of Trustees for the Jefferson Madison Regional Library meets at the Northside Library at 3 p.m.(agenda)

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Albemarle PC to review Comprehensive Plan recommendations for land use and transportation

What to get your planning obsessed friends for a holiday gift? Perhaps a recording of the Albemarle County Planning Commission that begins at 6 p.m. in Lane Auditorium. (meeting info)

Why? The only item on the advisory’s final agenda is a work session to get feedback on the draft Land Use and Transportation recommendations for various components that the county refers to as “planning toolkits.” This is part of the county’s update of the Comprehensive Plan, a process that call AC44. 

You may ask: What is a “planning toolkit?” 

“Planning Toolkits included activity centers, factors for future Development Areas expansion, crossroads communities, and rural interstate interchanges,” reads the staff report.

The recommendations are relevant because they address a central question of the AC44 process: How will the county make adjustments to its growth management policies to accommodate thousands more people expected to live here by the year 2044? Before we get to those recommendations, you may find some of the stories I wrote this year to be relevant to this discussion:

I did not find the time to write up the rural interstate interchanges portion. 

Planning Commissions will be taken through five topic areas and five maps. I’m going to wait until I’ve heard the discussion before I write much of this in detail, but I’m very interested to know what people think about this process to date. Some things to observe.

  • Albemarle anticipates using something called the Multimodal System Plan (MMSP) to map out new Activity Centers using different transportation methods. 
  • There is a new map showing the location of “Activity Centers” for all of the county’s growth areas. (review the map)
  • There are many suggestions to changes for the definitions of various Future Land Use designations in the Comprehensive Plan. For instance, Neighborhood Residential (Low) is currently depicted as between 1 and 1.99 units. Staff recommends changing that to 1 to 3. The full list of changes is listed here
  • There are updates to the Community Design Guidelines. (review the updates)
This summary from the staff report lays out the basic recommendations for each toolkit (Credit: Albemarle County)

Albemarle EDA to review Comprehensive Plan goals 

The seven-member Albemarle Economic Development Authority will meet at 4 p.m. in Room 241 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting agenda) (meeting info)

The EDA last met on December 5, one day after new Economic Development Director Barry Albrecht reported to work two weeks earlier than originally anticipated. The Board of Supervisors had to update his start date through an amended resolution on December 6, as I reported at the time.

One of the items on the agenda is a review of the draft goals and objectives for the update of the Albemarle Comprehensive Plan. Take a look at the work topic hereAnother item is the latest financial report.  

Charlottesville BAR to review preliminary site plan for new apartments at former Martha Jefferson hospital site

The final meeting of the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review will be held at 5:30 p.m. in CitySpace. (meeting packet)

On the item is a certificate of appropriateness for the future joint General District Court that will be built at the site of the Levy Opera House. 

There is also a request for a CoA for a seasonal tent at Mariscos El Barco on West Main Street. The tent is already in place and is there without BAR review. 

The preliminary discussion is for a preliminary site plan for a five-story apartment and commercial building that would be built on surface parking at the former Martha Jefferson Hospital. I wrote a preview for C-Ville Weekly that won’t actually come out until Wednesday. An entity known as Lo-Hi LLC purchased one half of the former hospital site in July for $21.9 million. The property includes the section of the former hospital that’s now home to the CFA Institute. 

Credit: Two Street Studios

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Fluvanna Supervisors to hold public hearing on permit for James River water intake

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

This is the final meeting for Fork Union District Supervisor Mozell Booker and Palmyra District Supervisor Patricia Eager.

There is a public hearing for a special use permit for the James River Water Authority to operate the raw water intake and pump station for water for use at Zion Crossroads in both Louisa and Fluvanna. This would implement an agreement signed in October 2013 to create a municipal water supply.  

“The raw water intake will not be visible to the surrounding neighborhood homes in this portion of Fluvanna County,” reads the staff report (page 5). “The raw water pump station, it may be visible to the adjoining property owners. However, to the extent possible, the JRWA has designed the structure to blend into the existing landscape, including the use of split face masonry block and natural exterior colors.” 

A map of the proposed waterline and location of pump station (Credit: James River Water Authority)

There will also be an action matter to advertise a public hearing to amend Section 20-1-5 of the Fluvanna County Code. This would allow the Fluvanna County Treasurer to authorize tax refunds up to $10,000 without having to seek approval from the Board of Supervisors. (page 49)

There will be a presentation on the audit for Fiscal Year 2023 from Finance Director Toni Melton. You can read the draft report starting at page 61 of the staff report. There are narratives that explain how existing public utility projects are being funded and here’s some more information on that water project. 

“In May 2016, a Revenue Bond was issued, providing $9.0 million in project funds,” reads the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. “The project is currently undergoing cultural and historical due diligence, final design, project permitting and property acquisition. Construction is anticipated to start spring/summer 2024 and the project will take 24 months to complete after construction begins.” 

There will also be results from a survey of Fluvanna County staff. You can review that beginning on page 267. This would be a really interesting story to assign to a young reporter because there are a lot of interesting things. 

The consent agenda contains the minutes from the December 6 meeting and acceptance of right-of-way from NVA Properties. 

Under unfinished business, there will be an update on funding for the Zion Crossroads West waterline. That’s a separate project from the one that is the subject of the earlier public hearing. 

“The Zion Crossroads West Waterline Extension expands the above original project 1.1 miles west on U.S. Route 250,” reads page 74 of the packet. “The original creation for the project was necessitated by the request from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to provide clean drinking water for six households with contaminated private wells receiving filtration remediation.” 

The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report includes a pie chart depicting revenue sources for fiscal year 2023 (Credit: Fluvanna County)

Greene PC to hold public hearing on $347M five-year capital budget 

The Greene County Planning Commission finishes off 2023 with a meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the administration building in Stanardsville. (agenda with Zoom link)

There are three public hearings with the first being requests to operate a business at a residence. 

The first is from a couple who want to operate a plumbing, electrical, and HVAC business at their home at 287 Welsh Run Road. The property is zoned Agricultural-1. (materials)

The business will be in an accessory structure that does not anticipate generating traffic from customers. One of the conditions recommended is a 100 feet linear screen of vegetation. 

The second is for a person who wants to operate a construction and roofing business at 241 Westwood Drive. Conditions also include a screening yard. (materials)

Existing conditions for the structure that will be used for the HVAC business on Welsh Run Road. (Credit: Greene County)

The third public hearing is on the proposed capital improvement program. I find it interesting to see how different localities describe the document. 

“The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) provides the base data needed by the Board of

Supervisors to create a long-term Capital Improvement Budget,” reads the staff report. “The list of infrastructure needs allows the board to prioritize projects and equipment needs across all departments and create a budget plan and schedule to address those needs.”

In any given year, Supervisors only authorize funding for one 12-month period but plotting out the next four is a way of managing how much the locality can actually afford to pay in debt service. Greene County anticipates spending a lot with a five-year total CIP of $346,897,002 with a lot of that anticipated to cover the cost of building the White Run reservoir. I have an article from mid-October that explains the plans

For FY25, Greene staff anticipate $23,966,193 in spending. I really appreciate the breakdown in the chart that depicts how all of that will be used. For instance, $16,460,839 is described as “replacement of existing capital assets” with $4,166,354 for “new capital projects.” 

I hope to record this one so I can explain more. Until then, I encourage anyone  interested in budgets to review the details provided in advance. (materials)

I also encourage people to take a look at the monthly report from Community Development. A lot of information is conveyed in this report. (take a look)

  • Two new restaurants are opening on Seminole Trail according to filings for zoning certifications. 
  • Over 202 illegal signs have been removed from the right of way owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation. 
  • Greene County maintains a list of site plan applications (review it here)

In other meetings:

  • Charlottesville’s Housing Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet at 12 p.m. in City Space but nothing about the meeting has been published on the city’s calendar. 
  • Congressman Bob Good’s office will hold mobile office hours from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the County Administration Conference Room at the Nelson County Courthouse. (meeting info)

Thursday, December 21, 2023

So far I don’t see anything listed. I’ll be traveling this day, or will have already traveled. I never used to go far at Christmas but now I go away every year. If you are traveling, I wish you well. 

Friday, December 22, 2023

Nelson County government will close at noon.and will be closed on Christmas Day. The Nelson County Transfer Station will be closed on Saturday and Monday.

“All County Convenience Centers and all public safety operations will continue to maintain regular hours of operation,” reads the county’s holiday notice.

Albemarle County is taking the whole day off as well as December 25. Charlottesville is also closed today and Monday

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.