There is a lot happening in any given week and I write up this summary of local and regional meetings in order to try to make some sense of it. With that in mind, here are some highlights for this week:
- Three of Albemarle County’s Community Advisory Committees will meet this week, and on Monday the Places29-Hydraulic group will get a briefing on the pending construction of several projects in the area around the intersection of Hydraulic Road and U.S. 29, including a roundabout at Hillsdale Drive.
- The 5th and Avon CAC will get a first look at a request from the Albemarle Business Campus to build more residential units there.
- The Crozet group will learn from Albemarle County what plans exist for the redevelopment of the publicly owned Square in the heart of downtown Crozet.
- There are two opportunities to learn more about Albemarle’s Comprehensive Plan process with a meeting Monday at the Yancey Community Center followed by an AC44 work session at the Planning Commission on Tuesday.
- Nelson County Supervisors have a lot of future-looking agenda items on Tuesday such as financing for design of new infrastructure projects, a demand analysis for water capacity in Lovingston, and new branding for the unincorporated town.
- Greene County Supervisors on Tuesday will take another look at the capital improvement program and priorities for a locality that’s taken on the ownership of water and sewer infrastructure and emergency services.
- Charlottesville’s Planning Commission will not have a public hearing Tuesday but will take a look at the designs for two projects near the University of Virginia recently rezoned by Council.
- Charlottesville’s Economic Development Authority will review workforce development strategies in the new strategic plan intended to create opportunities for those who identify as Black, indigenous, or other people of color.
Thanks again to the Piedmont Environmental Council for providing a place for me to create this newsletter as well as supporting a weekly sponsorship. They have no involvement or input into my editorial process.
Monday, February 12, 2024
Places29-Hydraulic group to get details on Hydraulic / U.S. 29
A reason why Albemarle County has several community advisory committees is to provide a clearinghouse for information. The Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee has two items on their agenda that may be of interest to the wider community.
The first is an application Stonefield has made to amend their Code of Development to accommodate a potential location of a Tesla dealership. I wrote about this back in November if you want more details.
The second is a presentation from the Virginia Department of Transportation on the projects that are to be built at Hydraulic Road and U.S. 29. Review VDOT’s website for more information.
Albemarle to hold an AC44 meeting at Yancey Community Center
Albemarle’s Comprehensive Plan process is a chance to discuss and brainstorm the future of a county that has for many years prided itself on a growth management strategy that restricts residential density to around five percent of the county.
As part of the ongoing discussion, county officials are holding an event at the Yancey Community Center beginning at 3 p.m.
“This meeting is an opportunity to share feedback on draft transportation and land use recommendations for Albemarle County’s Rural Area,” reads the meeting info page. “Discussion topics will include land conservation programs, crossroads communities, resilience hubs, rural transportation planning, and community health and wellbeing.”
In writing this section, I decided to set up a new Google News alert for “Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan.”
“There are no recent results for your search query,” the search engine responded.
I’m trying to stay caught up but I’m a one-person operation. The public needs to know what’s happening and I miss the time in which I worked for an organization with multiple staff members who reported from meetings. I hope to build that again.
In other meetings:
- The Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission will meet in the small conference room in CitySpace from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. One item on the agenda is consideration of a non-profit support organization. (agenda packet)
- The Economic Development Authority of Fluvanna County will meet 5 p.m. in the Morris Room in the county administration building at 132 Main Street in Palmyra. (agenda)
- The Economic Development & Tourism Advisory Council will meet at 6 p.m. in the same place. They’ll get an update on the renovation of the historic courthouse, learn more about what the gateway signs committee has been doing, and an update from the Fluvanna VA250 committee. (agenda)
Tuesday, February 13, 2024
New branding materials for Lovingston to go before Nelson County Supervisors
The Nelson County Board of Supervisors will meet at 2 p.m. in the General District Courtroom in the Courthouse in Lovingston for the first of two sessions. The afternoon portion is usually about government business followed by public hearings at 7 p.m. (agenda packet)
A presentation from the Virginia Department of Transportation kicks off the meeting, followed by a presentation from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission on their Comprehensive Safety Action Plan. The “Move Safely, Blue Ridge” initiative went before elected bodies in Albemarle and Fluvanna last week for their letter of support. (page 154)
Then the Nelson Department of Social Services will present their annual financial statement. For any one interested in researching how the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily expanded government benefits and how funding has now receded, this is a good place to start. (page 169)
Under new and unfinished business (details on page 175):
- There will be a discussion of financing for both county and school capital projects. There’s a need to proceed with schematic design with a cost of $1.1 million for the county projects and $2 million for the school projects. Davenport and Company are recommending proceeding with a Bond Anticipation Note. (page 179)
- There will be an update on the hiring of the firm CHA to conduct a study of the Lovingston Water and Wastewater System to see if there is additional capacity associated with whatever becomes of the Larkin property near Nelson County High School. CHA will help develop a water demand and wastewater flow projections. (page 202)
- The Faber Volunteer Fire Department is seeking assistance with funding a new vehicle. They are requesting $331,551 for the Freightliner 1500 Gallon Tanker and have the endorsement of the Emergency Services Council. (page 205)
- The firm Spill Teem will present the results of their work for new marketing materials for Lovingston. (page 215)
- There is a request for $10,000 in funding for a three-day event around July the Fourth called Stars ‘n SPURS @ Oak Ridge. There will be a music concert, a fireworks show, a talent show, a monster truck show, a construction machine contest, and a rodeo. (page 255)
- The Sheriff’s Department also seeks help with funding a vehicle for two K-9 officers as well as an additional patrol car. (page 267)
In the evening session, there are three public hearings on land use applications.
- The owner of an 0.828 acre property in Tyro wants a special use permit to operate two campground sites with tiny homes on wheels. (page 283)
- The owner of a 4 acre property at 5032 Rockfish Valley Road in Nellysford seeks a special use permit to operate two campground sites. These would be yurts or teepees. Members of the adjacent Rockfish Presbyterian Church have signaled their opposition. (page 290)
- A property owner in Afton seeks an amendment to a previous special use permit for a multifamily structure to change the fencing requirements. The Board approved that permit at 9485 Rockfish Valley Road in October 2022. (page 355)
Greene County Supervisors to discuss priorities for capital improvement
The Board of Supervisors in Greene County will begin their meeting at 4:30 p.m. for a budget work session, followed by a closed session at 5:30 p.m., concluding with an open session at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info)
The budget work session is on the capital improvement program but will begin with a review of the 171-page financial report for Fiscal Year 2023. (review the document)
Priorities in the 2023 CIP include investments in the water system now run by Greene County, an emergency services center, replacement of the countywide phone system, investments in government offices in terms of expansion and maintenance, and a community recreation center. Take a look at the list of the agency requests to learn more.
In the evening session, there are two public hearings. The first is on a request to operate a home business at 241 Westwood Drive in Ruckersville according to the staff report. The second is for the consideration of assessing a $5 court fee for criminal or traffic cases with proceeds going to finance equipment necessary for an electronic summons system.
Finally, the TJPDC will make a pitch to Greene’s Board of Supervisors for their Move Safely, Blue Ridge initiative. (view the presentation)
I had hoped to report from the January 23, 2024 meeting, but time moves fast and I didn’t have time to stop look at that event. So, here is one item I gleaned from the draft minutes. Stephanie Deal has resigned as Greene County’s treasurer, an elected position. Deal named her chief deputy, Dawn Lotts, to serve in the position until a special election can be held.
Albemarle PC to resume AC44 discussions, public hearing on private school and kennel
The Albemarle County Planning Commission will hold a work session at 4 p.m. on the Comprehensive Plan followed by a public hearing at 6 p.m. That will be followed by a continuation of the work session. (meeting info)
The Comprehensive Plan update is called AC44 and we’re in step three of phase two. In these events, staff is presenting the draft goals and objectives for the new chapters. I am still hoping to devote more attention to the process this year, but I am finding that the city of Charlottesville still commands much of my attention. I’ve only been able to write a handful of AC44 stories in the past several months.
- Albemarle Planning Commission urge a balance of aspiration and realism in county’s housing goals, November 26, 2024
- Albemarle PC to review Comprehensive Plan recommendations for land use and transportation, December 19, 2024
- Speakers weigh in on Crossroads Communities in AC44, January 13, 2024
However, that’s not nearly enough. I need to be writing more about what members of the Board of Supervisors are saying, and wish I had an associate who could help me write up summaries and go back through recent meetings to help others get up to speed so they can offer their thoughts. I’ll get there. It’s difficult to get people interested in policy promulgation but I shall keep trying.
This particular work session covers the draft goals and objectives for three more chapters.
- Rural Area Land Use and Transportation
- Development Areas Land Use and Transportation
- Communities Facilities, Infrastructure, and Services
The materials for the Planning Commission also have summaries of public participation in the first two steps of phase two. In step one, there were 528 responses to an online questionnaire. In step two, the number of participants dropped despite additional surveys.
“There were a total of 148 responses across the four questionnaires, with 19 responses for Activity Centers, 52 responses for Criteria for Development Areas Expansion, 39 responses for Crossroads Communities, and 38 responses for Rural Interstate Interchanges,” reads the summary for step two.
The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service estimates Albemarle had a population of 116,148 on July 1, 2023.
After the work session, the public hearing will be held on a special use permit application for Service Dogs of Virginia to operate a private school for training service dogs.
“The proposed buildings on the site include a dorm, training and administrative buildings, a puppy center, and a caretaker residence,” reads the staff report.
New era for Charlottesville PC with no public hearings but two ECRB reviews
The Charlottesville Planning Commission will gather first at 5 p.m. in a conference room with no cameras for a discussion of the agenda. This is a practice that dates back before the pandemic that was put on pause in the Zoom era. Anyone can attend the discussion which takes place in the Neighborhood Development Services conference room in City Hall. (meeting overview)
The regular meeting is on camera and begins at 5:30 p.m. in City Council chambers. This one is a light one and there are no joint public hearings scheduled with City Council. That could become common as rezonings or special use permits for additional density are not expected to happen very often under the new Development Code.
The Planning Commission will be involved with review of land use applications for their compliance with the entrance corridor review guidelines. At this meeting, they’ll gavel in as the Entrance Corridor Review Board to review 2117 Ivy Road and to hold a preliminary discussion on VERVE Charlottesville. Both received approval from City Council last year as I wrote about at the time.
The consent agenda includes a preliminary site plan for 501 Cherry Avenue, a Woodard Properties development approved by Council last year.
“The Preliminary Site Plan proposes 69 residential units, 7,290 square feet of grocery store space, 15,745 square feet of other retail stores (non-specified), and 5,026 square feet of education facility/artistic,” reads the staff report.
According to the site plan, Woodard Properties entered into a binding sales agreement with Piedmont Housing Alliance on October 6, 2023. The terms of the rezoning and special use permit set December 31, 2023 as a date for that agreement to be in place.
Fluvanna PC to hold public hearing on correcting clerical zoning code error related to solar
The Fluvanna Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. in the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center at 8880 James Madison Highway in Fork Union. (agenda packet)
The first action item is a resolution for an amendment to the Fluvanna County Zoning Code with a clerical correction to make certain its clear that minor scale solar generation facilities are allowed by a special use permit. Then they will have the public hearing on that zoning text amendment.
Under unfinished business, the Planning Commission will adopt their 2024 bylaws.
Under new business, they’ll consider a deferral request from the developer of the White Oak Tree Solar / Shores Road project. They’re seeking a return before the Planning Commission on June 11, 2024.
One thing to note in the packet is a monthly report from the building official on recent activity. Fewer single-family detached homes were built in 2023 with a total of 93, down from 164 in 2022, 178 in 2021, and 194 in 2020.
Charlottesville EDA to discuss workforce development strategies of new plan
The Charlottesville Economic Development Authority will meet at 4 p.m. in CitySpace. These meetings are not televised or recording so if you want to know what happens, you should attend or hope that a reporter attends. (agenda)
There are four items under new business with the first being a review of the relatively new economic development strategic plan and particularly Goal 3: Pathways for Opportunity Review.
“It’s essential to connect disadvantaged populations to high performing sectors while meeting these communities where they are,” reads part of the summary of this goal. “Creating pathways in Charlottesville will help to bridge community divides and create a skilled workforce for its innovative sectors, allowing the City and its partners to achieve its development goals.”
Details begin on page 36 of the plan. There are several recommended strategies, which in planning-speak means programs and initiatives that can be justified by existing withing a strategic plan. For Charlottesville, that means continued work on the “Growing Opportunity” programs to help train people and capital investments such as city funding for New Hill’s BEACON kitchen.
- Educate private-sector leaders about workforce development and talent attraction
- Lead efforts with the private sector to pilot new “earn and learn” opportunities for Charlottesville’s tech sectors: Clean Technology, Information Technology, and Life Sciences
- Develop, in collaboration with workforce partners, a GO Healthcare program.
- Continue the GO Cook program and other culinary supports, and provide linkage to each of the GO programs so that entrepreneurial pathways can be created.
- Partner with Charlottesville City Schools and others to evaluate industry-focused K-14 programming to ensure alignment with the City’s growth sectors.
- Expand the capacity of the GO Hire program, focusing on underserved enterprises.
- Advocate for leadership opportunities for BIPOC and underserved up-and-coming leaders
- Support the priorities outlined in the Charlottesville Comprehensive Plan and the Affordable Housing Plan.
Other items of business include an addendum to a lease at 112 E. Main Street as well as a lease with the Rivanna River Company. The city is now their landlord following the $5.9 million purchase late last year of nearly 24 acres of land known as 0 East High Street. The EDA wants to be in charge of the lease.
This would be a good time for Council to get an update on leases of city-owned property. Two years ago, there was an attempt to standardize the process by the Office of Community Solutions. I wrote about the initial presentation in May 2022 and followed up with details on the lease with S&P Global for their downtown headquarters, a new lease with the McGuffey Art Center, and a new lease with SOCA for Unity Field as Davis Park.
In other meetings:
- The Albemarle Police Citizens Advisory Committee will meet at 9 a.m. in the county’s office building at 1600 5th Street in Conference Room C. There is no agenda posted on the meeting info page.
- A planning and operations subcommittee of Albemarle’s Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee will meet at 4 p.m. in Room 246 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Crozet Community Advisory Committee to get update on Square project
The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will meet at 7 p.m. at the Crozet Library Meeting Room in the Crozet Library. The meeting ends before 9 p.m. and attendees help set the room back up for the next day. (meeting info)
There will be a discussion on The Square redevelopment with an update from the Facilities and Environmental Services Department. This cvillepedia article on the Square is woefully out of date, but I will update it to make sure it states that Albemarle County bought the 0.36 property from CSX Transportation in June 2012.
Thursday, February 15, 2024
5th and Avon group to hold community meeting for request for more residences at Albemarle Business Campus
Another role played by Albemarle’s Community Advisory Committees is to serve as the forum for community meetings for pending rezoning and special use permits. That will be the case on Thursday at the 5th and Avon CAC meeting to be held at the 5th Street County Office Building in Room B. (agenda)
In this case, the developer of Albemarle Business Campus is seeking an amendment to the Code of Development to allow for more more than the 128 residential units allowed for a maximum of 240 and to allow parking structures as an allowed use. I wrote a small story about this for C-Ville Weekly.
In other meetings:
- The Albemarle County Service Authority’s Board of Directors will meet at 9 a.m for a virtual meeting. One item on the agenda on the Rivanna Pump Station. (agenda packet)
- The Albemarle County Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee meets at 4 p.m. in the county’s office building in Room 246. (agenda)
- The Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the Parks and Recreation office at 501 E. Main Street. They’ll get an update on dogs in parks, development of the master plan, garden plots, recreation, and capital projects. These meetings are not recorded. (agenda)
- There are now four employees in Charlottesville’s Office of Human Rights. There is not an agenda yet for the Human Rights Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. in CitySpace. (agenda placeholder)
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.