Cville Area Land Use: Week Ahead for February 5, 2024

There are a lot of ambitious initiatives in the community including a big push for affordable housing as well as transportation improvements to meet the needs of a growing community. One way to try to keep track of it all is to review what’s on the agenda of local government  meetings. Here are some highlights for this week:

  • Charlottesville adopted a new zoning code on December 18, 2023 but it does not go into effect until February 19. Council has to adopt both a manual to govern how applications will be reviewed and a manual to govern how the city will keep track of the many more subsidized units that will be required by law to be guaranteed as affordable. That’s on the agenda for Monday. 
  • In my recent story on population growth, someone suggested I should have included in the headline that Albemarle has added an estimated 3,753 people since the 2020 Census. On Wednesday, Supervisors will get an update on what transportation staff is planning for the next round of transportation funding. 
  • For that story, my headline focused on Louisa’s growth rate of 7.5 percent since 2020, or an estimated 2,838 people. On Monday, Supervisors will get a presentation on the capital improvement plan which is how local government plan to pay for additional infrastructure. 
  • Supervisors in both Fluvanna County and Louisa County will consider opposing to legislation pending in the General Assembly that would invoke the so-called Dillon Rule and strip local authority over siting utility-scale energy for solar and wind. 
  • There are several vacancies on Charlottesville’s Historic Resources Committee, so read through to the end if you want to put in an application before this week’s deadline.

There do not appear to be any meetings in Greene County. 

Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continuing sponsorship of the research that goes into this newsletter. 

Monday, February 5, 2024

Charlottesville City Council to adopt manuals for development review, affordable housing 

The Charlottesville City Council will meet at 4 p.m. for a regular work session followed by an open meeting at 6:30 p.m. (meeting overview)

Charlottesville’s new Development Code will go into effect on February 19. Before that can happen, Council has to approve and adopt several policies intended to put teeth to the goal of increasing the amount of housing units guaranteed to be affordable to those with lower incomes. 

At the work session, Council will review the Development Review Procedures Manual, the Affordable Dwelling Unit Manual, and something called the HEAT Project. 

“H.E.A.T is the Housing Equity and Anti-Displacement Toolkit work actions undertaken by OCS staff that will be concentrated in specific zones of our community,” reads a presentation from the Office of Community Solutions, and not the genre-bending California band fronted by John Dwyer

The actual ADU Manual itself is included in the regular agenda session. (view the manual). 

The Planning Commission had a work session on the Development Review Procedures Manual on January 23. I’ll try to write that up before this meeting begins, but for more information take a look at the preview story I wrote two weeks ago.

The regular meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. with the consent agenda. Here are some of the items:

  • There’s first of two readings to appropriate $45,073 from the city’s share of opioid settlement money on equipment for the Charlottesville Fire Department to administer naloxone nasal spray. (staff report)
  • There is second reading of an appropriation of the FY23 surplus of $21.7 million. No one spoke at the public hearing at Council’s most recent meeting. (read my story) (staff report)
  • There is second reading of a resolution to authorize City Manager Sam Sanders to spend $4 million to purchase 405 Levy and 405 Avon from the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. (read my story) (staff report)

Under action items, there are two resolutions for two separate requests to give up city-owned easements for natural gas lines. These are at the Hyland Park subdivision and Dunlora Park subdivision in Albemarle County.  

The next item is a rezoning under the old rules for a property at 108 Lankford Avenue from Single Family Small Lot Residential to Multi-family Residential. The Planning Commission had a public hearing on the item in November, but the developer’s representative sought a deferral of a vote. (read my story from then)

“The Planning Commission discussed the proposed preservation of two (2) of the three (3) existing buildings fronting on Lankford Avenue, which the Planning Commission found maintains the existing character and scale of the neighborhood,” reads some of the staff report for the February 5 meeting. “The Planning Commission discussed concerns with motorist behavior on Lankford Avenue and determined potential improvements would be most appropriately undertaken by the City through the Traffic Calming program.” 

No one spoke at the November public hearing and it was not reopened in January. If approved, the project’s density level will exceed what is called for in the new Development Code and the designation of Residential-A to match the Future Land Use Map designation of General Residential Density. 

Then Council will take up item #12 which is the adoption of the Development Review Manual. Something to note is that this item has a resolution titled “Resolution Overruling the Planning Commission’s Code of Virginia 15.2-2232 Determination on August 8, 2023” which links to the resolution to adopt the Development Review. That is related to the project that prompted Council to purchase nearly 24 acres of floodplain land. 

How the City Council agenda looked Sunday afternoon related to item #12 (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

Item #13 is the adoption of the Affordable Dwelling Unit Monitoring and Procedures Manual, a 13-page document that can be reviewed here.

To recap, the new Development Code has two major affordability provisions. First, any project with more than ten residential units to designate ten percent of units as affordable as defined by the City of Charlottesville. Second, developers can get a height bonus if they exceed the requirements. 

Developers retain the option to pay a fee in-lieu of providing actual housing units. These funds could then be used to support the city’s efforts to help nonprofit developers cover the cost of constructions. The in-lieu fees much higher for for-sale units than rental units and they are to be updated annually. 

The proposed fees for developers who opt to not build guaranteed affordable units (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

Anyone who builds affordable units will be required to provide material to the Office of Community Solutions every July 1. 

“The City reserves the right to inspect ADUs to ensure that the maintenance of ADUs meets acceptable standards of health and safety, and that the ADUs remain comparable with market-rate units in the same project,” reads Section 5.1 

What are the penalties for non compliance? That’s actually in Section 6.4 of the Development Code. 

“Noncompliance will result in the imposition of fines and penalties on the Property Owner as described in Section 6.4 Enforcement in the Charlottesville Development Code,” reads the draft Affordable Dwelling Unit Manual. 

When you actually go to look at the Development Code, 6.4 covers subdivision and streets. Division 5.4 handles enforcement and violations of the Affordable Dwelling Unit ordinance are not called out in Section 5.4.4. 

Violations of the Affordable Dwelling Unit manual are not specifically listed in the Development Code. (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

Louisa Supervisors to hold budget work session 

The seven-member Board of Supervisors in Louisa County will meet at 3 p.m. in the Public Meeting Room for a budget work session. That’s an earlier start than usual. (meeting overview)

There are no advance materials on the budget, but anyone interested in being prepared could take a look at the current year’s budget which is built on a real property tax rate of $0.72 per $100 of assessed value, residential personal property at $2.43, and business property at $1.90. 

“Louisa County provides excellent core public services, and this budget builds on those services, including a step increase for teachers, 5 percent increase for county and school employees, funding to bring all employees to a minimum wage of $15/hour, and increased funding for our human services and public safety efforts,” reads the introduction to the FY24 budget from County Administrator Christian Goodwin. 

The Louisa County Budget website has the following materials for 2025:

Supervisors got an update at their meeting on January 16 according to the draft minutes and learned that both revenues and expenses are higher than expected. Review page 4 for more details

The Planning Commission will hold their public hearing on the CIP on Thursday. Supervisors will have their next work session on March 4 and the county administrator’s budget will be presented on March 18. 

A snapshot of Louisa County’s anticipated revenues for FY24 (Credit: Louisa County)

Louisa Supervisors to oppose legislation allowing SCC to overturn local decisions 

The regular meeting of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors begins at 5 p.m. with a closed session before the open session begins at 6 p.m. (meeting overview)

There are several interesting items on the consent agenda:

  • Supervisors will approve a plan to use $221,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to remodel the Community Development Department and improve disabled access to the Louisa Medical Center. (learn more from the resolution)
  • All across Virginia, localities are planning to mark the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Louisa County received a $9,000 grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Supervisors will appropriate $20,000 as a match. (learn more from the resolution)
  • Supervisors will approve a resolution to allow commissions from vending machines at county buildings to be used to purchase birthdays cakes for employees. (learn more from the resolution)
  • Supervisors will approve an appropriation of up to $99,097.38 on vehicle replacements (learn more)
  • February 17 through February 24 is to be recognized as National FFA Week (learn more)
  • March 3 through March 9 is to be recognized as Women in Construction Week (learn more)
  • May 2, 2024 is the National Day of Prayer (learn more)

There will be four discussion items. One is an update from work groups on the Technology Overlay District as well as solar issues. The second is an update on the Comprehensive Plan. The third relates to an ordinance to restrict solicitation in Louisa. (view materials)

The fourth relates to procurement for water and sewer infrastructure. 

Under new business, there is a resolution to oppose proposed legislation that would demonstrate the power the Commonwealth of Virginia has over localities. House Bill 636 and Senate Bill 567 would allow the State Corporation Commission to override local decisions on the siting of utility-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects. 

House Bill 636 was initially referred to the Committee on Counties, Cities, and Towns but has since been transferred to the Committee on Labor and Commerce and awaits action in a subcommittee. 

Senate Bill 567 is awaiting action in the Committee on Commerce and Labor. 

“These preemptive bills would strip localities of the authority to make decisions about their own land and water and could be hazardous to the health and safety of county residents,” reads Louisa County’s resolution. “The SCC has less familiarity with concerns facing individual localities; therefore, it stands to reason, that only local governing boards should determine the alignment of a renewable energy project with their land-use goals.”

There are many people who lament Virginia being a Dillon Rule state. This is an example of that in action.

There are three Notices of Violation from the Virginia Department of Health included in the packet. There are for:

  • Six-O-Five Village, a mobile home community, was cited for failing to notify its residents of the presence of lead and copper in water samples. (learn more)
  • The Shenandoah Waterworks violated a public notice requirement (learn more)
  • The Twin Oaks Community violated a monitoring requirement (learn more)

There are five public hearings.

  • The Essex Concrete Corporation seeks a rezoning of about 28 acres from General Commercial to Industrial General at the intersection of U.S. 250 and State Route 608 near the Ferncliff exit on Interstate 64. (staff report)
  • GK Structures LLC seeks a rezoning of nearly 22 acres of Agricultiural-1 land to Agricultural-2 to allow the property to be subdivided into seven single-family lots. (staff report)
  • The third public hearing is to add a Public Facilities section to the 2040 Comprehensive Plan to “provide the Board with a range of options to effectively mitigate the impacts of Development.” (staff report) (draft section)
  • The fourth would allow golf carts to be operated on secondary roads within the Seclusion Shores subdivision. (materials)
  • The county code section on nuisances would have the following sentence added: “The board of supervisors may maintain an action to compel a responsible party to abate, raze, or remove a public nuisance.” (materials)

In other meetings:

Subject property for the rezoning for the Essex Concrete Plant (Credit: Louisa County)

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Usually there are more meetings on a Tuesday, but here we are. Did I miss one?

In three meetings:

  • The Charlottesville Tree Commission will meet at 5 p.m. in the Parks and Recreation Office in the Market Street Parking Building. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Electoral Board will meet at 6 p.m. in the city’s offices at 120 7th Street NE, Room 142. (meeting info, but no agenda)
  • The Fluvanna County Board of Zoning Appeals will meet at 7 p.m. but the calendar entry does not list where. (calendar entry)

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Albemarle Supervisors to get transportation update, hold public hearing for North Fork rezoning 

The six-member Board of Supervisors in Albemarle County will meet in Lane Auditorium at 1 p.m for their first meeting of February. (agenda) (meeting info)

The meeting begins with a resolution proclaiming Black History Month

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission received a $856,600 grant to produce a safety action plan for all six localities. The plan is now known as “Move Safely Blue Ridge” and the TJPDC is now seeking letters of support from elected bodies as we’ll also see today in Fluvanna County. 

“In the five-year period from 2018 to 2022, a total of 875 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes that took place in Albemarle County (77 fatalities and 798 serious injuries),” reads the staff report

The next item is an update on the second phase of the Broadway Blueprint. The Albemarle Planning Commission got an update at their meeting on January 9 and I hope to write that up before Wednesday. 

The next two items relate to transportation with a quarterly report from the planner Jessica Hersh-Ballering. One topic is the county’s candidates for Smart Scale funding in Round 6. Possibilities include:

  • Rio Road and Hillsdale/Northfield/Old Brook Intersection Improvements
  • US 29 and Plank Road Intersection Improvements to eliminate ability to travel across U.S. 29 at the median
  • 5th Street and I-64 Interchange Improvements (Starbucks to Stagecoach)
  • Barracks Road Improvements Package to be determined by Project Pipeline study 
  • Ivy Road Improvements Package to be determine by Project Pipeline study
  • Old Trail Drive/US 250 West Intersection Improvements
  • Pantops Improvements Package

Read the report for more details on each idea. 

The second report is from the Virginia Department of Transportation. 

There are three public hearings.

  • A developer is requesting a rezoning of 3.643 acres at 1906 Avon Street to allow a maximum of 21 residential units. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval on November 28, 2023 after the project was reduced in scope. (staff report)
  • The University of Virginia Foundation seeks a rezoning for the North Fork UVA Discovery Park to allow for residential. The Albemarle County Planning Commission recommended approval on a 6 to 0 vote on October 24, 2023. According to the minutes, Planning Commissioner Fred Missel recused himself from the discussion and vote due to his employment at the UVA Foundation. (staff report)
  • The Farmington Country Club is requesting a limited sewer connection for a replacement laundry building and a new lightning shelter. The Planning Commission does not make recommendations on jurisdictional requests for the Albemarle County Service Authority.  (staff report)

There are two items for consideration after the public hearing. One is to support a RAISE grant application for a pedestrian bridge across the Rivanna River to connect Pantops and Woolen Mills. The Metropolitan Planning Organization endorsed the letter at their meeting on January 24 as I wrote about last week

The second is a letter of support calling for the extension of the Affordable Connectivity Program.

“In Albemarle County, more than 2,550 Albemarle households rely on the $30 per month that is provided by the ACP,” reads the letter. “Allowing a funding gap in this program would leave these struggling households to either forgo other needed expenses or go without necessary internet service.” 

A table listing the various parcels that will be rezoned if Supervisors agree (Credit: UVA Foundation)

Fluvanna Supervisors to be asked to support TJPDC work toward Safe Streets For All

The five member Board of Supervisors in Fluvanna County will meet at 5 p.m. for a regular meeting followed by a budget work session. They will be gather in the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center at 8880 James Madison Highway in Fork Union. (packet)

The first item is a presentation from Ryan McKay, the recently appointed director of the Blue Ridge Health District. 

There are six action matters.

  • The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission seeks a letter of support for the Multi-Jurisdictional Safety Action Plan. This is a prerequisite before localities can be eligible for transportation grants made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure law. Armed with a federal grant, the TJPDC has worked to create the plan for all six localities in the TJPDC. Fluvanna paid $26,107 toward the effort as a local match. From the resolution we learn that “108 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes that took place in Fluvanna County from 2018 to 2022.” (page 17)
  • There’s a resolution to designate off-leash areas for dogs, dog parks, and dog exercise areas. This comes after Supervisors amended the ordinance to ban off-leash dogs in most of Pleasant Grove Park. (page 27)
  • There is a resolution to appropriate local funding up to $550,000 for a live fire training structure. (page 33)
  • There is a request from the Public Utilities Department for an Administrative Program Specialist following the recent resignation of a long-time employee. (page 45)
  • Fluvanna Supervisors will also consider a letter opposing HB626 and SB567. See Louisa County’s entry from this week. (page 53). 
  • There’s also a resolution opposing House Bill 800 and Senate Bill 713 which would put some of the costs associated with broadband expansion onto electric cooperatives. (page 77)

There are no public hearings. 

The budget work session is expected to take place after a recess. County Administrator Eric Dahl will present a budget proposal for FY25 as well as the capital improvement program. These materials do not appear to be available in advance. 

The second page of a fact-sheet on the Safe Street For All program (Credit: TJPDC)

Jail renovation meeting to be held in Nelson 

The Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail Authority is planning a renovation of its facility on Avon Street Extended. The entity is holding a series of information meetings about the three options that are available. 

According to materials distributed for a meeting in Nelson County to take place Wednesday, there are three options, none of which would expand capacity. 

  • Option #1 would address minimum deficiencies in the west wing with no work at all on the east wing. Total project cost is $25 million. 
  • Option #2 would renovate both wings and address major deficiencies. Total project cost is $35 million. 
  • Option #3 is the choice of the Jail Authority and one approved by the Virginia Board of Local and Regional Jails. This would renovate the west wing and replace the east wing with a new story facility. Total project cost would be $49 million, with a quarter of that to be reimbursed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

Nelson County is a member of the Authority and will hold a community meeting beginning at 6 p.m. at the Nelson Center at 8445 Thomas Nelson Highway. (learn more)

In another meeting:

  • The Charlottesville City School Board will meet at 5 p.m. with the Charlottesville City Council for the second this year for another budget work session. There’s a lot of material in the packet. They meet at Walker Upper Elementary School cafeteria at 1564 Dairy Road. (meeting packet)
Information from the materials for the meeting (view the materials)

Thursday, February 8, 2024

TJPDC to meet for first time in 2024

The first meeting of the year for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will be held at 7 p.m. in the Water Street Center at 407 E. Water Street in Charlottesville. (meeting agenda on cvillepedia)

This is the first meeting for Albemarle Supervisor Mike Pruitt, Louisa Supervisor Manning Woodward, Greene Supervisor Tim Goolsby, and Greene Supervisor James Higgins. As such, there will be an orientation to the TJPDC. 

Under new business:

  • There will be a presentation on the FY25 Rideshare Work Program
  • There will be a presentation on the FY25 Mobility Management Grant application
  • There will be a presentation on the RAISE grant application for preliminary engineering for a proposed pedestrian bridge over the Rivanna River to connect Woolen Mills and Pantops
  • There will be a presentation on an amendment to the FY24 budget 

Louisa Planning Commission to hold public hearing on Capital Improvement Program

The Louisa Planning Commission will have a work session followed by a regular meeting. Both are in the Public Meeting Room. (work session packet)

The work session will review potential changes to the county’s Land Development Regulations pertaining to the Lake Anna Shoreline Use and Design Standards as well as Growth Area Overlay Standards. Here’s a comparison of the existing and proposed changes

The regular meeting will feature a public hearing on the Capital Improvement Program as well as the changes to the Land Development Regulations that will be discussed at the work session. (agenda packet)

In other meetings: 

  • The Albemarle Conservation Easement Authority will meet at 4:45 p.m. in Room 241 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will meet at 5 p.m. but the meeting calendar is not clear where and there’s no agenda. (meeting page)
  • The Places29-North Community Advisory Committee will meet at 6 p.m. in the North Fork Discovery Park at 994 Research Park Boulevard. There’s no agenda at publication time. (meeting info)
  • The Police Civilian Oversight Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. in City Space. There’s no agenda available at production time. (meeting info)

Friday, February 9, 2024

Charlottesville historic panel to meet

The Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee will meet at 11 a.m. in the Neighborhood Development Services Conference Room in City Hall. (meeting info)

There are five vacancies on the 12-member Committee as one member recently resigned because they are leaving the community. Many of the items on the agenda are perennial but there’s some new information.

  • A Downtown Walking Tour map is nearing completion and the idea is to do an initial run of 1,500 copies at a cost of $1,327. 
  • The HRC will be presented with a summary of engagement efforts with descendants of enslaved people with regards to the auction block in Court Square. It is at this point where I realized HRC could also be Human Rights Commission. 
  • There is a potential historic marker for the long-gone Carver Inn on Preston Avenue and a new plaque at Johnson Elementary. 
  • Under staff updates, Eugene Williams has requested updates to online information and there will be an update on drainage issues at Oakwood Cemetery. 

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.