Cville Area Land Use: Week Ahead for July 1, 2024

Some highlights:

  • Charlottesville City Council will get a briefing on a prioritization list for the construction of sidewalks in the city as well as updates from the United Way and the Local Energy Alliance Program 
  • Louisa Supervisors will have a public hearing on the dissolution of an agricultural-forestal district as well as another on continuation of a conditional use permit allowing the storage of spent nuclear fuel
  • Fluvanna Supervisors will have a public hearing on the removal of solar fields as an allowable use on agricultural, but a compromise appears to be on the way 
  • Supervisors in both Louisa County and Fluvanna County will authorize staff to participate in a settlement with the Kroger company related to opioids
  • Fans of Albemarle meetings only have one this week as the ARB reviews a building on Three Notch’d Road in Crozet 

Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continuing support of this newsletter and the research that goes into it each week! 

Monday, July 1, 2024: Happy Fiscal New Year! 

Charlottesville City Council to get update on sidewalk priority list

In their first meeting of the fiscal year, Charlottesville City Council will continue the practice of having a work session at the beginning of the meeting at 4 p.m. This allows for more time for discussion. This time around there are three items on the agenda. (meeting info)

The first is an update from the United Way of Greater Charlottesville. Representatives will discuss the crisis in early childhood education and efforts toward financial resiliency. (view presentation)

(view presentation) (Credit: United Way)

The second is an update from the Local Energy Alliance Program. (view the presentation)

“LEAP is a Charlottesville-based, 501c3 nonprofit, that delivers energy efficiency solutions in Virginia to make homes safer, healthier, and more affordable, while also reducing energy usage and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” reads the staff report

The third presentation is on the development of infrastructure for people to walk in a community that has planning documents calling for more residential density. For many years, the city has failed to deliver on projects and City Manager Sam Sanders has made it a priority to get better at implementation.

“Looking at 2024 and beyond, the focus of transportation planning in the City will shift from responding to present-day concerns to more holistically aligning the City’s goals and objectives with future actions and projects,” reads the staff report.

One of the new tools will be a sidewalk priority list. That will be presented at the meeting. 

Council holding public hearing on bond sales; will take action on CRHA funding, IRC land lease

The regular meeting of the Charlottesville City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Sometimes changes to the agenda are made at the beginning of the work session, and they’ll usually make mention of that at this time because more people pay attention to this session than the 4 p.m. one. (meeting info)

This is a relatively quiet one.

There are two proclamations:

  • July is Parks and Recreation month (resolution)
  • We are currently in the 30th anniversary of Charlottesville using a portion of its cable franchise fee to produce programming for cable television. This may be worth doing a story on at some point. (resolution)

Is a public hearing a public hearing if it is not listed as such in the agenda? In recent years, Charlottesville has developed a tendency of not clearly listing when there are opportunities to comment on specific matters. 

Item #6 on Monday’s meeting is on a “Resolution Authorizing The Issuance and Sale of General Obligation Public Improvement Bonds of the City of Charlottesville.”  This is complicated and technical stuff and the details may not be of interest to the public. But, Virginia code in § 15.2-2606 requires a public hearing to be held.

There’s an advertisement in the June 25, 2024 Charlottesville Daily Progress letting people know that there is a public hearing. The meeting agenda does not tell you this. Is this an oversight or deliberate? Either way, here’s some more information from the staff report; 

“This bond issue is part of the City’s on-going capital financing plan,” reads the staff report. “The debt service on this issue will be paid from annual transfers from the General Fund for debt service and/or previously appropriated funds in the City’s Debt Service Fund.” 

More details on the bond sales Council will authorize after a public hearing (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

Item #7 is the first of two readings authorizing $3 million in funding from FY25 to the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the second phase of the redevelopment of South First Street. There’s another $3 million slated for FY26. Demolition got underway last week. This funding is always in the Capital Improvement Program and comes as no surprise. (memorandum of agreement)

Item #8 is a lease agreement with the International Rescue Committee to operate a garden on the banks of Moores Creek on land the city purchased last year from the late George Cason. IRC has been operating their New Roots Farm at the location since 2015. The IRC will pay $3,600 a year to rent the land. As part of the agreement, a public trail may cross the property. 

Five public hearings before Louisa Supervisors including the end of an ag-forest district

The seven-member Board of Supervisors in Louisa County meet at 5 p.m. in the Louisa County Public Meeting room followed by a regular session at 6 p.m.  (meeting agenda)

Some items on the consent agenda are worth reviewing:

  • There is a resolution to approve $7.5 million for upgrades to the Lake Anna Waste Water Treatment Plant and $174,689 in county funding for a new fire and rescue boat. The Foundation for Lake Anna Emergency Services contributed $108,000 to the latter. (resolution)
  • The Virginia Tourism Corporation has awarded $16,000 to the Louisa County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department for a “General Destination Marketing” grant. The resolution doesn’t say what it is for specifically. Thanks to a CBS19 story, we learn this is for the overall Visit Louisa campaign.  (resolution)
  • Mountain Valley Tower Services will be awarded a contract to build a new public safety radio tower. (resolution) (list of all of the eight companies that bid)
  • There’s a resolution to approve several purchases for Louisa Fire and Emergency Medical Services. This consists of $1.05 million for purchase of fire apparatus, $800,000 for rescue apparatus and $29,070 for new cameras for the fleet. (resolution)
  • Louisa Supervisors will be asked to approve the county’s participation in an opioid settlement with Kroger. (resolution)
  • Supervisors will be asked to approve Patricia Smith as the new county attorney. More on this in the next newsletter. (resolution)

There are two discussion items. The first is a contract for the construction of a synthetic turf field. There are no materials available in advance for this topic. 

The second relates to landscaping and buffering standards in the Growth Area Overlay district. 

“The proposed amendment will give the Zoning Administrator the ability to waive or alter the planting requirements for (a) Commercial and civic uses; multifamily dwellings, provided the project meets the intent of the requirements. Subsection (b) Industrial uses, currently includes provisions for the requirements to be waived or altered by the Zoning Administrator,” reads the staff memo

There are two options to proceed. 

There are five public hearings. 

The first is a request from a property owner to have 10 acres of a 75 acre property removed from the Gold Mine Creek Agricultural and Forestal District. 

These types of districts where landowners voluntarily state they won’t seek to convert land to a more intense use for a specific period into the future. In Louisa, that means lower taxation through the land use program as well. But sometimes a landowner might want to withdraw.

“The subject parcel is zoned Agricultural (A-1), and the acreage is being requested for removal for completion of a division of the property for the owner’s son,” reads the staff memo

The second is also a request for removal of an entire district. 

“The Inez Agricultural and Forestal District encompassed approximately 377.48 acres, made up of eight (8) parcels,” reads that staff memo. “A response was received from one owner on five (5) parcels, requesting that the parcels be removed from the district.”

The owners of five other parcels also asked to be removed which brings the total amount below the threshold for such a district to exist. 

The soon-to-be former Inez Agricultural and Forestal District (Credit: Louisa County)

The third is for the renewal of a conditional use permit for Virginia Electric and Power Company to continue using a property in the Cuckoo election district for storage for spent nuclear fuel. There are fifteen conditions associated with the request including that the permit be renewed every seven years. The Planning Commission recommended approval at its meeting on June 13. (staff report)

The fourth public hearing is to get the sense of the Board of whether a 195-foot public safety communications tower in the Mountain Road district is compliant with the Comprehensive Plan. 

The fifth public hearing is related to changed to the county’s Technology Overlay District. Two are to ensure that many of the uses allowed under the district would require a conditional use permit. There are also some properties that want out of the district. 

ARB to review new building in Crozet

There’s only one item on the agenda of the Albemarle Architectural Review Board for their meeting at 1 p.m today. They gather in Lane Auditorium in the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)

The Three Notch’d Center is a proposed two-story mixed use building proposed at 5370 Three Notch’d Road across the street from Starr Hill Brewery and Music Today in Crozet. 

“By developing new options for shopping, dining, and gathering, the project works to create a vibrant downtown corridor,” reads the narrative from Design Develop. “The ultimate goal of the design is to preserve the charming and eclectic spirit of of Crozet and enhance the attributes that make it unique.” 

The new building will replace a concrete block building currently on the property. There’s also a car wash on the property. 

This is the only meeting in Albemarle County this week. The Board of Supervisors is skipping this week.

A location map for the project 

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

On this Tuesday before a holiday, there are just bulleted points: 

  • The Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission will meet at 4:30 p.m. in CitySpace. Reading the minutes from the last meeting, there’s hope yet for Pleven, Bulgaria! (meeting packet)
  • The Fluvanna Solar Ordinance Review Committee will meet at 5 p.m. in the Morris Room in the county administration building at 132 Main Street in Palmyra. There’s no agenda available but it’s possible they will talk more about the potential for a new S-1 district where utility-scale solar would be allowed. (calendar page)
  • The Charlottesville Tree Commission will meet at 5 p.m. in the Parks and Recreation Office in the Market Street Parking Garage. (meeting agenda)

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Public hearing before Fluvanna Supervisors on stripping solar as allowed use on agricultural land 

The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors meet at 5 p.m. in the Circuit Courtroom in the Fluvanna Courts Building. (meeting packet)

There are eight items under action matters. 

  • Supervisors will consider four position upgrades in the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office which will increase the salaries for those positions while requiring more skills. (learn more)
  • Supervisors will authorize a letter sending a letter of willingness to a company that’s commemorating the farewell tour across the United States that the Marquis de Lafayette took 200 years ago. More on this later in the week. (learn more)
  • Supervisors will be asked to contribute $2,500 to the 2025 Regional Housing Summit to be held by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. This will be third such event. (learn more)
  • Supervisors will be asked to consider a position upgrade in the Department of Emergency Services, a relatively new county function. This would also reorganize the department with a command structure featuring a captain and four lieutenants. (learn more)
  • Should the county waive the rules for a non-compliant sign to be placed at the new Wawa at Zion Crossroads? That will be the subject of a public hearing if Supervisors authorize one for the larger-than-allowed sign. (learn more)
  • Another public hearing authorization is for one to allow the county to assess an electronic summons fee. That would be held on August 21, 2024. (learn more)
  • Supervisors will be asked to appropriate nearly $300,000 for two projects related to the Fork Union Sanitary District to be produced by Dewberry Engineering. One is for a preliminary engineer report for a water supply expansion. The second is for waterline and valve replacements along about 3,000 feet on Bremo Road. (learn more)
  • Supervisors will also be asked to spend $4,500 from a FY2025 Board contingency fund on a facilitator for a future leadership retreat with the Berkley Group. (learn more)

There is a closed session scheduled after action matters. 

There are four public hearings. 

  • There’s an application for a rezoning of 4.125 acres of land in the Zion Crossroads Industrial Park from Agricultural to Industrial. This would allow for a boundary line adjustment to enable a road connection to the parcel. (learn more)
  • There’s an application from Fluvanna-Louisa Housing Founation for their Mountain Hill subdivision. They’re requesting a waiver from the rural cluster requirements for a community that will be targeted at seniors and disabled individuals. There would be nine lots and as drawn there’s not enough open space to qualify without the exemption. (learn more)
  • There are fee increases for the review of erosion and sediment control plans. (learn more)
  • The Board of Supervisors will consider the removal of utility scale solar as a possible use on agricultural land with a conditional use permit. The Planning Commission recently recommended deferring on the idea until their meeting July 9, 2024 while another idea is further fleshed out. This would be a special S-1 district that would allow solar panels. (learn more)
A drawing of the Mountain Hill subdivision (Credit: RK&K)

Supervisors will not meet again until August 7. Until then, let’s ponder some of what’s on the consent agenda for this meeting. 

  • Fluvanna County will also join the opioid settlement against Kroger (learn more)
  • Fluvanna County received an additional $26,048 from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles for stop fees in FY24. (learn more)
  • A new private road in the Carol Farm subdivision will be called Still Waters Lane. (learn more)
The proposed fee increases for review of erosion and sediment control plans (Credit: Fluvanna County)

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.