Cville Area Land Use: Week Ahead for March 11, 2024

Daylight Savings Time. St. Patrick’s Day. The Equinox. This is the time of transition as winter is halfway to summer and it throws me off my beat a little. This is also the time when 2024 gets serious with many meetings about budgets. There’s so much to write about, and every week I produce this report to set up the new set of stories. Despite potential disorientation, public work moves on.

Some highlights this week: 

  • Albemarle Supervisors will hold two budget work sessions with one on Monday and one on Wednesday. Charlottesville will hold one on non-profit funding on Thursday, and Supervisors in Nelson County will be presented with theirs on Tuesday. Greene County Supervisors will vote on resolutions for tax rates, including a potential increase in the lodging tax.
  • Greene Supervisors will consider increasing fees for the disposal of some solid waste items and will consider seeking Congressional support for improvements to Stanardsville’s water supply.
  • Nelson County will consider Smart Scale applications for intersection improvements on Route 151 as well as new Comprehensive Plan
  • The Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee on Monday will get an update on installation of speed cameras around the Lambs Lane schools. They’ll also see a new map for Charlotte Humphris Park. 
  • Albemarle County’s Planning Commission will hold another work session on rural land use and transportation objectives in the Comprehensive Plan.

Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continued sponsorship of the time that goes into this newsletter each week. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Albemarle Public Schools to present budget request to Albemarle Supervisors at second budget work session

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors will hold the second in a series of budget work sessions at 3 p.m. in Room 241 of the county office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info) (agenda)

County Executive Jeffrey Richardson has recommended a $629 million budget for FY25 based with no tax rate increases, as I reported in late February. A handful of speakers took advantage of the first public hearing, and I wrote that up. I was unable to write up the first budget work session and hope to do so by Wednesday. 

The main event for this work session is a review of Albemarle County Public School’s request with Judy Le, the chair of the School Board. Lisa Martin has a summary of the budget request in the Crozet Gazette.

After that, Supervisors will continue to go through their list. I really do hope I can provide a story about what was said at the first one or that I can read one about these details. I wish I could be everywhere.

Hydraulic 29 group to review speed cameras at Lambs Lane, new map for Charlotte Humphris Park

The Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. at Greer Elementary School in the Media Center.  (agenda) (meeting info)

The first item on the agenda is a presentation on the forthcoming implementation of speed cameras in the area around county schools on Lambs Lane. Major Randy Jamerson and Captain Jason Marden of the Albemarle County Police Department will provide information.

Next there will be an update on Charlotte Humphris Park, one of the only such areas in Albemarle’s development area. Representatives from Albemarle County Parks and Recreation will provide updates including a new map for the 25 acre park.

In other meetings:

  • The Fluvanna County Economic Development Authority will meet at 5 p.m. in the Morris Room at 132 Main Street in Palmyra. There will be a presentation on the Freedom of Information Act. (agenda)
  • The Fluvanna Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Council will then meet at 6 p.m. in the same place. Under old business, they will get an update on the renovation of the historic courthouse, the gateway signs committee, and the Fluvanna 250 committee. (agenda)
  • The Albemarle County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Executive Committee will meet at 1630 hours, or 6:30 p.m. They will meet at Fire Rescue Conference Room 2. On the agenda is a discussion of the Training and Registration Policy. (agenda) (meeting info)
The trail map for Charlotte Humphris Park that’s posted on the county website (Credit: Albemarle County)

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Greene Supervisors to consider solid waste fee increases, potential lodging tax increase

The five-member Greene County Board of Supervisors will meet at 4:30 p.m. for a budget work session followed by a closed meeting at 5:30 p.m. followed by their regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. (meeting agenda)

There are three presentations at the regular meeting. The first is on potential changes to the way that the Agricultural Forestal District Advisory Committee operates. This comes at a time when Supervisors want more citizen groups to be involved with county government. 

“On February 27, 2024, the Board of Supervisors asked staff to recommend a plan for expanding the role of the Agricultural Forestal District (AFD) Advisory Committee to act as a stakeholder group advising the Board of Supervisors,” reads the staff report. “The committee is uniquely qualified to provide recommendations regarding agricultural land, land use and land conservation.” 

Next will be a presentation on the tipping fees for solid waste collection and possible increases to offset fuel and transportation costs. 

“In 2023, 99.5 percent of the trash was brought in bulk and measured by ton on the scales,” reads the staff report. “Trash companies, construction waste, brush and trash in trailers make up this component of the waste stream.”

The remaining percentage is for items brought to the facility at 386 Mays Road in Ruckersville. The bulk products brought in $2,684,025 whereas the individual items and bagged trash brought in $82,111. The fee increase would seek to generate more revenue from items for some of those individual items. 

“Using 2023 as an example the newly recommended fee structure would have added a additional $421,250 in revenue,” the staff report continues.

Some of the proposed tipping fee increases suggested in Greene County

The third presentation is on several federal grants for projects that the county could apply through a program operated by 7th District Representative Abigail Spanberger. These are for requests by local governments and nonprofits that can seek federal funding by getting support from a member of the U.S. House of Representative of a U.S. Senator. 

“For Fiscal Year 2025 Members of Congress are allowed to submit 15 requests but there is no guarantee on how many of those will get funded,” reads the staff report from Terry Beigie, grant writer for Greene County. “Requested projects must have a ‘federal nexus’ tied to a Federal Authorization Law.”

One of the requests is actually two related to improving the water system in Stanardsville. One would be a new water storage tank and the other would be improvements to the water main. 

“We recommend submitting these as separate projects with price tags of roughly $6 million each,” the report continues. “Rep. Spanberger’s office will have the final say on what projects she submits from her office.”

There are three items on the consent agenda and two of them are to accept grant funding that Beigie has already secured. One is a $29,950 grant to help the Circuit Court with an indexing project and the other is a $26,188.50 grant to preserve county records dating back to 1841 and through to 1958

Then we get into action items. 

To authorize tax increases, elected bodies have to advertise what they will be first so that members of the public can decide if they want to make a comment. There are three potential increases associated with the FY25 budget with one of them being an increase in the lodging tax to something above five percent. The others are a Courthouse Renovation fee as well as an increase “in the fee used to maintain the law library.” (read the memo)

Then the budget workshop will resume if needed. 

Busy afternoon for Nelson Supervisors with FY25 budget introduction, Route 151 safety projects

The five-member Nelson County Board of Supervisors will meet at 2 p.m. in the General District Courtroom in Lovingston. (meeting agenda) (packet)

There are a few items on the consent agenda worth mentioning.

  • There’s a resolution to support a Creative Communities Partnership Grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. This requires a $4,500 match from local funds. The funding is used to bring performances to the county in collaboration with Wintergreen Music. (page 128)
  • There’s a resolution to oppose a rate increase from Aqua Virginia that would affect customers in Nellysford. The private utility is seeking permission to increase its revenues by $6,911,013. For more information on the background for this issue, read a February 8 Fluvanna Review story from Heather Michon. A letter from Aqua Virginia’s president explains the increase is to cover the cost of upgrading the system. A hearing is to be held on April 30, 2024. (page 142) (review the case – PUR-2023-00073)
  • There’s a resolution related to compliance for the Virginia Main Street program run by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The resolution would assign the director of tourism and economic development to serve as the county’s liaison to the program that supports activities in Lovingston. (page 162)
A section of the notice for PUR-2023-00073, the case number for Aqua Virginia’s request to increase connection fees and rates 

There are four presentations with the first two from the Virginia Department of Transportation. The first is a general report and the other is a briefing on pre-applications for Smart Scale. Nelson County is in VDOT’s Lynchburg District. A study of Route 151 has yielded several potential projects for Round 6. (page 168)

  • A potential roundabout at Route 151 at Tanbark Drive
  • Add a northbound left turn lane at the intersection of Route 151 and Mill Lane 
  • Add right turn lanes at intersection of Route 151 and Rockfish School Lane

This round of Smart Scale will be different as the Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved changes to the process to ensure submissions include more internal review from VDOT as well as validation the projects will deliver their intended benefits. 

“As SMART SCALE is a data-driven process, the study data used for projects must be up to date for our internal departments within VDOT to check off on the project submission,” reads the presentation. 

Then there will be an update on upcoming parks and recreation projects. From this we learn that there is an effort to cover the Piney River Caboose  and another to return a portal-stone to the western side of the Blue Ridge Tunnel. (page 179)

“This two-piece portal stone, or plaque, once filled the now-empty space you see at the highest point of the western portal entry arch,” reads the report. “It features the names of public figures important to the tunnel’s planning and completion in the 1850’s.”

A conceptual image of the potential roundabout at Route 151 and Tanbark Road

Then there will be an introduction of the County Administrator’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2025. The materials in the packet indicate a $2.277 million reduction from the current fiscal year’s budget. About $400,000 in that decrease is related to reductions in federal funds. 

There are two items under new and unfinished business. The first is a discussion of a cost share for an application for the Shipman Historic District which would cover about 90 acres three and a half miles southwest of Lovingston. 

“The small commercial core of Shipman is centered at the intersection of James River Road, Craigtown Road, and the rail line,” reads a portion of the work completed to date. “The siting of these resources around the railroad tracks represents the close ties between the railroad and the community.”

Supervisors agreed last March to contribute $16,000 to hire a firm to conduct preliminary information form for a nomination for the district to be on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the National Register of Historic Places. The Hill Studio was hired to begin the work but another grant is being sought to pay them to complete the work. (page 231)

The second is a discussion of the Planning Commission’s recommendation on the new Comprehensive Plan after their public hearing. The advisory panel voted 6-0 to recommend approval of the plan with some changes. 

  • They asked that Montebello be removed as a “Rural Destination” and instead be a “Rural Area” and “Conservation Area.” They also want it made clear that large scale development should not occur in Montebello. 
  • They want a section on transportation to reflect that the railway that passes through Nelson County does not serve county residents. 
  • They want a line that refers to the number of vacant houses in Nelson County to be removed.
  • They want it to be known that Sentara does not provide dermatology services in Nelson County. 

The Supervisors will hold their public hearing on March 20. 

There will be no evening session at this meeting due to upcoming budget work sessions. 

Almost empty agenda for Charlottesville Planning Commission 

The Charlottesville Planning Commission will meet at 5 p.m. for a pre-meeting in the Neighborhood Development Services conference room. This is not recorded or televised. They then move to City Council Chambers at 5:30 p.m. for the regular meeting. (meeting info)

This will be the first meeting of the Charlottesville Planning Commission for new Commissioner Betsy Roettger, but there’s almost nothing on the agenda. 

The new Development Code has reduced many duties previously conducted by the Commission such as making recommendations on special use permits and rezonings. The Housing Advisory Committee has been playing a more direct role in establishing affordable housing policy. For instance, the Planning Commission’s input into a potential land bank has not yet been sought, but the HAC discussed the idea at its meeting in February. Those meetings are not recorded or televised. 

Additionally, Council did not ask the Planning Commission to review the Affordable Dwelling Unit Manual adopted in February. The Housing Advisory Committee, which contains three directors of three developers of low-income housing, provided extensive comment. 

Public hearings before the Charlottesville Planning Commission will likely now be very rare and the appointed body will do much of their business as the Entrance Corridor Review Board. At Council’s retreat in January, it was decided to no longer schedule joint public hearings with the Planning Commission. 

At the March 12, 2024 meeting of the Planning Commission, there is only one action item and it is on the consent agenda which means a discussion is not expected. This is for a final site plan for the Flint Hill Planned Unit Development that the Planning Commission has almost no influence on.

“Site plan approval is a ministerial function of Planning Commission in which no discretion is involved,” reads the staff report. “If this final site plan contains all required information, then it must be granted approval.”

There’s no work session scheduled on March 26, 2024 for the Planning Commission. In April, the Planning Commission will return to review a certificate for appropriateness for the Verve project near the University of Virginia. They’ll do that as the Entrance Corridor Review Board.

The only action item on the Planning Commission’s agenda is a final site plan for a Planned Unit Development approved by Council in August 2020 (Credit: City of Charlottesville) 

Albemarle PC to continue AC44 discussion on rural land use and transportation

The Albemarle County Planning Commission will meet at 4 p.m. for a work session followed by a regular meeting at 6 p.m. (meeting info) (agenda)

The work session will be another check-in with the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan review known as AC44. Specifically another look at the draft goals and objectives for the Rural Area Land Use and Transportation section. That was also the topic of the February 27, 2024 meeting. I so wish I could freeze time so I could write all of these meetings up. (staff report)

In the session that begins at 6 p.m. there are two public hearings.

  • The first is for the Charlottesville Climbing Gym, a proposed indoor facility that would be located on Old Ivy Road at the former site of Hospice of the Piedmont. Feedback at a community meeting held on January 8 was generally favorable according to the staff report for the special use permit request. 
  • The second is for a special use permit for an automotive repair business to be located at the intersection of Virginia Route 20 and Coles Rolling Road. Staff recommends approval in part due to the location of other nearby businesses in this area designated rural. (staff report)

Fluvanna PC to get updates on solar policy, Comprehensive Plan

The Fluvanna County Planning Commission has a work session at 6 p.m. followed by a regular session at 7 p.m. They meet at the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center at 8880 James Madison Highway in Fork Union. (agenda packet)

The work session will include a discussion and update on the development of a new Comprehensive Plan. That will be followed by an update on the county’s emerging policy on utility-scale solar projects. I was unable to write up the Board of Supervisors vote last week on an ordinance to remove that use as a potential on agricultural land.

There are no staff reports for either item. Here’s a link to the website for the Comprehensive Plan review process.

There will be a review of a site development plan for a 11,600 square foot automobile service center at Starlite Park on U.S. 15. 

“The applicant plans to relocate Mac’s Tire Pros and Auto Repair from the adjacent property,” reads the staff report. 

The location for the proposed relocation of Mac’s Tire Pro and Auto Repair

Albemarle Board of Zoning Appeals to review appeal for setback requirement near Premier Circle 

The Albemarle Board of Zoning Appeals meets periodically to serve as the first stop for anyone who disagrees with determinations made by Albemarle’s zoning officials. This meeting will be held at 2 p.m. in Lane Auditorium. (meeting info) (final packet)

The scope of review for the BZA is very narrow according to boilerplate language in the staff report.

“The BZA’s decision on appeal is limited to whether the Zoning Administrator’s decision was correct and whether the Zoning Ordinance was applied correctly,” reads the staff report. “This appeal does not consider whether the proposed use is appropriate, whether it is in the public interest, or whether a zoning regulation is invalid or needs to be amended.”

In this case, the owner of property adjacent to the Premier Circle project wants to build a storage shed but the rezoning in February 2021 to the Neighborhood Model District will not allow that within 50 feet of the property line without a special exception. An official letter of determination confirming this was sent out on November 22, 2023 and the BZA will take up this appeal. 

Charlottesville EDA to review Kindlewood agreement, S&P Global lease

The Board of Directors of the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority will meet at 4 p.m. in CitySpace. These meetings are not recorded or televised. (agenda packet)

From the minutes of the February 13, 2024 meeting, we learn that the city has extended a lease with the owner of York Place for the rental of restroom space. This arrangement began in the fall of 2022 as I reported at the time. We also learn that the EDA will manage the lease that the Rivanna River Company has to operate on floodplain land that is now owned by the City of Charlottesville.  

There are four items during new business. The first is a review of the city’s new economic development strategic plan and mainly Goal 5. There was a discussion of Goal 3 at the February 13 meeting but the minutes don’t contain a description of what was said. (view the new plan)

Goal 5 is about marketing Charlottesville as a place where companies would want to invest.

“With a strong brand, people become aware of and are drawn to what makes a region unique,” reads the plan. “This increases talent in the region and also increases local attachment and retention through a strong sense of place.”

Strategies under Goal 5 are:

  • 5.1 — Develop a competitive identity for economic development
  • 5.2 — Update promotional materials (website, investor pitch, and target profiles) to grow economic development brand and investment opportunities
  • 5.3 — Invest in technology and data infrastructure that supports business development and marketing.
  • 5.4 — Develop a communication and marketing plan to share success and wins with Charlottesville policymakers, businesses, and residents.

It should be noted that the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission is also creating an economic development strategic plan for the region. (visit their website)

The second item is a review of the performance agreement between the EDA, the City of Charlottesville, and Piedmont Housing Alliance for the second phase of the redevelopment of Friendship Court into Kindlewood which has an estimated cost of $55 million. In exchange for a grant, Piedmont Housing Alliance is to deliver 100 affordable units for specific income groups:

  • Ten units will be restricted to households below 30 percent of the Area Median Income
  • Fifty-eight units will be restricted to households below 50 percent of AMI
  • Nine units would be reserved for households below 60 percent of AMI
  • Twenty-three units would be restricted to 80 percent of the AMI

The third item is the approval of the EDA’s budget. This document is not in the packet. 

The fourth is an update on the EDA’s lease of a building to S&P Global. This document is not in the packet. I wrote about this in June 2022 if you want to go back in time just a bit.

A map with the various parcels for the various phases of the redevelopment of Friendship Court into Kindlewood 
In other meetings: 
  • The Albemarle Police Citizens Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. has been canceled. (meeting info anyway)
  • The Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission will meet at 4:30 p.m. in City Space in the Small Conference Room. They’ll learn about new member Salvatore Moschella, talk about the upcoming state conference on March 16 and will propose hosting the state conference on November 16. There’s also a report that since the recent visit from officials from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, “there has been minimal contact or display of interest from the Huehuetenango Mayor and Commission.” Is the courtship over? (meeting info)

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

James River Water Authority to get status update on water project

The James River Water Authority consists of officials from Louisa County and Fluvanna County and the goal is to bring treated drinking water to the Zion Crossroads area. They’ll meet at 9 a.m. in the Morris Room at the Fluvanna County Administration Building at 132 Main Street in Palmyra. (meeting packet)

After financial reports, there will be a status update on the permitting for the pump station and waterline to bring water from the James River to a treatment facility at Zion Crossroads. The Timmons Group has completed the design for the raw water intake, the pump station, the site plan, and the raw water main. 

Then there will be action items to issue revenue bonds, to approve the FY25 draft budget, and to approve remote participation. 

Preservation of Affordable Housing to discuss role in UVA Housing initiative

My article in the March 6, 2024 edition of C-Ville Weekly provides an update on the University of Virginia’s initiative to build between 1,000 and 1,500 affordable housing units on land that either UVA owns or its real estate foundation owns. Go read it for the latest.

The Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership has invited representatives from a group called Preservation for Affordable Housing to talk on a webinar about their role in the initiative. UVA selected them to develop a two-acre site at the intersection of 10th and Wertland in Charlottesville. 

The event takes place at 1 p.m. and is open to the public. Register on Zoom here.  I’ll put in another plug for them, too. 

“To join the RHP email newsletter, please subscribe at,” reads the plug. 

In other meetings:

  • The Albemarle Board of Supervisors will hold their third work session on County Executive Jeffrey Richardson’s proposed $629 million budget for FY25. This will be held at 3 p.m. in Room 241 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors will hold a budget work session at 5:30 p.m. at the county administration building in Palmyra. The recommended budget can be reviewed here

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Sanders’ FY25 budget recommends big increases for several nonprofits 

The Charlottesville City Council will hold a second budget work session on Thursday at 6 p.m. in CitySpace. There’s no agenda yet but the calendar describes this as a time when staff will go through the recommended allocations for nonprofit groups and other third parties. Details begin on page 151 of the budget book which you can download here. (meeting info)

Some funding for nonprofits comes through memorandums of understanding and these are referred to as “intergovernmental” agencies. These range from the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail to the Virginia Cooperative Extension. 

Others are deemed to provide “fundamental” services and range from the Charlottesville Free Clinic to Shelter for Help in Emergency. 

Other funding comes through a process called the Vibrant Community Fund, a process that for many years was conducted with collaboration with Albemarle County. There’s a full report that evaluates and scores all of the applications which can be downloaded here.

The recommended budget increases the amount of funding for “health agencies” from $3.56 million to $4.51 million, a 26.64 percent increase. 

Some changes of note from the adopted fiscal year 2024 budget:

  • The allocation for the Emergency Communications Center jumps 22.35 percent to $2,429,298. 
  • Funding for Offenders Aid and Restoration increased 16.13 percent to $439,287. 
  • The amount for the Charlottesville Free Clinic would go up by 35.67 percent to $162,000. 
  • The mandatory payment associated with the remediation of the now-closed Ivy Landfill would drop ten percent to $450,000. 
  • Bridgeline’s allocation would increase 44.32 percent to $64,400. 
  • The amount of Birth Sisters would increase 30.43 percent to $60,000. 
  • The allocation to the Loaves and Fishes food pantry would drop $5,000 to $40,000. 
  • The Reclaimed Hope Initiative would see their allocation increase by 66.66 percent to $150,000. 
  • New Hill Development, which received $500,000 to create a Starr Hill Small Area Plan and another $500,000 toward their Beacon Kitchen, will have an 185.71 percent increase in their allocation.
  • 100 Black Men of Charlottesville would see their funding increase from 73.91 percent to a total of $34,200. 
  • The amount for City of Promise Inc. would increase 117.39 percent to $150,000.
  • The BUCK Squad received $161,000 in FY24 and the proposal is to increase that to $456,000 in FY25. That’s a 183.22 increase. 
  • A group called Wartime Fitness Warriors would receive a 118.18 percent increase to $60,000. 
  • Shelter for Help in Emergency would receive $285,600, a 66.85 percent increase.
  • United Way Child Care would go up 28.04 percent to $246,500. 
  • Boys and Girls Club funding would increase 86.79 percent to $116,000. 
  • The Public Housing Association of Residents would get an additional $28,000 for a total of $68,000. 
  • Big Brothers / Big Sisters would see a 28.26 percent decrease to $33,000. 
  • The amount for “Food Equity” that has gone to Cultivate Charlottesville would increase 22.58 percent to $190,000. 

I’m hoping to write up Council’s first budget work session before this one begins.

The FY25 budget has eschewed pie charts in favor of columns (Credit: City of Charlottesville) 

Supervisor LaPisto-Kirtley to kick off series of Albemarle Town Halls

Albemarle County has a series of community town halls scheduled to coincide with the development of the budget for fiscal year 2025. But these open houses and Q&A sessions also will feature presentations on traffic and safety issues as well as transportation projects.

“Following the presentations, the floor will open for audience Q&A,” reads the meeting info for this event

This event will coincide with the March meeting of the Places29-North Advisory Committee and will be held in North Fork Discovery Park in Building 4 at 994 Research Park Boulevard. (meeting info) (agenda)

Solar permit goes before Louisa County Planning Commission 

The Louisa County Planning Commission will have a work session at 5 p.m. and a regular session at 7 p.m. There do not appear to be materials available for the work session at publication time. (7 p.m. meeting info)

The notice available for the regular meeting indicates there will be two public hearings. 

The first is for a conditional use permit for a utility-scale solar facility on land near the intersection of Goldmine Road and Peach Grove Road. The materials aren’t in the packet as there is no packet at publication time. 

The second is for a conditional use permit for a mini-warehouse and parking on Duke Street near the intersection of Route 22 and Route 208. This is within the Louisa Growth area. 

In other meetings:

  • Charlottesville’s Community Development Block Grant Task Force will meet in the S&P Annex at 700 East Jefferson Street on the 2nd Floor. There’s no materials for the meeting at this link.
  • The Charlottesville Police Civilian Oversight Board does have an agenda posted for their all-virtual meeting that begins at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info)

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.