Cville Land Use Update: Week Ahead for January 29, 2024

Welcome to a much slower week due to the position of the month. The 29th is the first of five Fifth Mondays for 2024, and no one schedules regular meetings on that particular day. So, it’s a bit of a lull. 

As evidence of how such a week affects the calendar, there are no meetings in Fluvanna County, Greene County, or Louisa County this week. 

Still, some highlights:

  • The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority has plans to purchase a mixed-use building on the Downtown Mall for $2.65 million, and will finalize plans on Monday to sell 405 Levy Avenue to the City of Charlottesville.
  • Nelson County residents and stakeholders have the opportunity to weigh in on the future at a Planning Commission public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan on Wednesday.
  • Albemarle is hosting an open house Wednesday for property owners who have questions about dams on their land and resources available to help maintain them. 
  • On Thursday, Albemarle County is hosting a meeting on the development of a greenway connector between Fifth Street Station and the future Biscuit Run Park. 
  • Albemarle’s Natural Heritage Committee will meet at UVA on Thursday to hear from UVA Professor Tim Beatley on Biophilic Cities. 

Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their sponsorship of this weekly newsletter.

Monday, January 29, 2024 

CRHA plans to buy 310-312 E Main for $2.65M; Board to sign off on $4M Avon sale 

The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners meet at 6 p.m. at Crescent Halls. The meeting is not listed on their online calendar nor are the meeting materials posted on the website. This meeting was postponed to the fifth Monday due to City Council meeting on the fourth Monday due to a snowstorm the week before.

The materials are usually posted after the meeting has concluded. Check here for their archives. I posted the agenda to cvillepedia for the purposes of this newsletter. (agenda)

After announcements, comments from the Public Housing Association of Residents, and updates from Commissioners, the Board will go into closed session to discuss the sale and purchase of property. 

The acquisition is $2.65 million for 310-312 East Main Street, an office building known as the Milgraum Center built in 1916 that last sold for $1.9 million. A 2014 news article describes the structure as a 25,000 square foot mixed building that at the time housed Silverchair and Vita Nova. Charlottesville GIS lists a gross of 17,895 square feet. The purchase price is 15.33 percent below the 2023 assessment of $3.129 million. Read Resolution #1468 for the details

The CRHA plans to purchase 310-312 East Main Street for $2.65 million (Credit: Charlottesville GIS)

The next item is consideration of resolution #1469 of the sale of 405 Levy Avenue to the City of Charlottesville for $4 million. More on that in the next newsletter.  

Highlights from the Deputy Director’s Report:

  • A new coordinator is in place for the Family Self-Sufficiency Program and signed up 11 new participants in their first two weeks on the job. 
  • There are 219 people enrolled in the CRHA’s Section 3 program. That’s a federally-mandated job training program, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs’ website. One individual was served, another is currently receiving support for employment, and there is one person employed through the Section 3 program. 
  • There are 1,570 individuals signed up for CRHA’s Resident Services program. Seventy-nine people were assisted in the most recent reporting period. 
  • At the January 9, 2024 Resident Services Committee, Crescent Halls residents reported elevators were down and that more transparency was needed. 
  • CRHA will publish their Capital Fund on February 1, according to the report from Redevelopment Director Brandon Collins. Demolition of the older units at South First Street will begin around that time as well. Construction is expected to begin in April. 
  • Breeden Construction is now working to complete the renovation at Crescent Halls and more apartments are expected to be available for occupancy in February. The contract with GMA was terminated in August. 
  • An architect will soon be selected for the redevelopment of Westhaven. 

There will also be an update on the CRHA’s finances as well as an updating on housing choice vouchers run by the CRHA. As of December 31, the CRHA administers 722 vouchers in a variety of different categories, not including the 63 additional ones through the Charlottesville Supplemental Rental Assistance Program. Look at the details here

A look ahead at CRHA’s Redevelopment Activities planned for 2024 (Credit: Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority)

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

No meetings today? Must be Fifth Tuesday, the first of five this year! I really suspect I’ve missed something. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Nelson County PC holding public hearing on the Planning Commission

If you want to know where a community’s leadership wants to go in the future, you take a look at the locality’s Comprehensive Plan. 

If you want to provide input, you speak at a public hearing. 

“The Plan establishes a shared vision and provides the direction to achieve that vision,” reads the website for Nelson County’s Comprehensive Plan. “It is the County’s most important document for navigating growth, development, and change.”

The Planning Commission will have their public hearing on the draft plan beginning at 7 p.m. at the Nelson County High School, 6919 Thomas Nelson Highway in Lovingston. The appointed body reviewed the draft at their meeting on January 24 and I wish I had gone so I could have something to report. The PC meetings don’t appear to be on the county’s YouTube channel, but you can find Board of Supervisors’ meetings there. 

The latest draft is from December 7, 2023 and was put together by the Berkley Group. (review the draft)

“Residents place high value on the rural character of the County and the strong sense of community, but they are concerned about unbalanced growth and limited economic opportunities,” reads an introductory paragraph. 

The Planning Commission will take a vote on a recommendation on their meeting on February 28. Following any changes, the Board of Supervisors will hold their public hearing on March 20 and will not adopt the plan before April 9, 2024. 

One of the images in the Comprehensive Plan related to potential future areas for growth (Credit: Nelson County / Berkley Group) 

Albemarle holding meeting to discuss dam safety

In Virginia, there are thousands of dams on private land whose structural integrity is up to property owners to maintain. These are regulated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. 

“DCR’s dam safety staff works to ensure that dams are properly and safely designed, built, operated and maintained,” reads the DCR’s website. “Dams in Virginia are classified by hazard potential – high, significant or low. Classification may change according to how a given dam’s failure might affect lives and property downstream.”

More details on the DCR website

Increased intensity precipitation has raised concerns about the destructive power of potential breaches. To raise awareness of potential resources, Albemarle County is holding an open house from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Room 241 at the county’s building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)

“Staff with dam expertise from Albemarle County and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority will be on hand in an informal setting to provide information and field questions about dam operation, maintenance, repairs, and compliance activities,” reads the meeting notice

Albemarle is in Region 5 of the DCR’s Dam Safety Division

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Albemarle holding community meeting on the Biscuit Run Greenway

To find out the status of infrastructure projects in Albemarle County without asking a question, you can take a look at the quarterly reports of the Facilities and Environmental Services. The last one was published as part of the agenda for the October 18, 2023 Board of Supervisors. (read the report)

One item of note is that design for a component of what’s classified as part of Biscuit Run 1-B. That’s a Greenway Connector that the FES report lists as “On Hold.” 

Albemarle County is holding a community meeting at 5:30 p.m. on the project at Monticello High School. 

“This meeting aims to foster an open dialogue about the current status and next steps of this proposed project,” reads the meeting notice. “We encourage residents to attend, learn more about the project, and share their thoughts, questions, and concerns.”

According to the summer 2023 FES report, the 2.3 mile connector would run from 5th Street Station to the main loop trail that will be in Biscuit Run Park. According to that report, the FES department is working with the Parks and Recreation Department to secure easements. In July, the project was listed as in the “initiation” phase. 

According to the October 2023 report, there are several other Biscuit Run projects, including Phase 1A which would build an entrance and parking area with a budget of $4,784,403.  Design was still underway in October. The budget has increased from $4,621,755 from the February report. That same report had anticipated construction having been complete by now.  

Preliminary engineering for a pedestrian bridge at Biscuit Run has a budget of $150,000. Design of other bridges and a boardwalk for Phase 1B has a budget of $110,700 and design of a maintenance building has a budget of $187,300. 

A description of the Greenway Connector from the Summer 2023 FES report (Credit: Facilities and Environmental Services)

Albemarle and Charlottesville CPMTs to meet

One of the core tenets of writing about public policy is a need to define acronyms. CPMT stands for Community Policy and Management Team and both Albemarle and Charlottesville’s groups get together once a month to coordinate on programs and services related to the Children’s Service Act.

According to the meeting notice for the February 1 meeting, CPMT groups are responsible for:

  • Establishing policies and procedures that govern the provision of services to children and families in the community and access to CSA funds
  • Developing and appoint members to subcommittees, including the Family Assessment and Planning Team, in order to accomplish CSA requirements
  • Collecting and reporting data to the Office of Comprehensive Services, State Executive Council, and Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services regarding youth and families served through CSA
  • Managing and administering CSA funds for the respective locality
  • Coordinating planning that ensures the development and procurement of resources and services needed by children and families in the community
  • Establishing quality assurance and accountability procedures for program utilization and funds management 

At this meeting, there will be a financial presentation for the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2024 and an audit on Charlottesville’s operations. There’s an action item on “provider revision” followed by a review of how the system is functioning. This includes an update on FAPT, which is most likely not onomatopoeia for a Don Martin cartoon. There will also be a review of the workplan and a review of a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. (agenda)

Interested to learn more? Review the draft minutes from the January 4, 2024 meeting. You can learn about CANS, CHINS and GREAT. 

Albemarle’s Natural Heritage Committee to learn more about Biophilic Cities at UVA

The Albemarle Natural Heritage Committee will change venues for their February meeting. They’ll gather at 5:45 p.m. in the Bishop Conference Room in Campbell Hall at the University of Virginia at 110 Bayly Drive. (meeting info) (agenda)

At this meeting, UVA Professor Tim Beatley will discuss the concept of Biophilic Cities. Learn more on the website

Before that, there will be a discussion of the Natural Heritage Committee work plan and a discussion of wildlife corridors. If you want to learn more, read the minutes from January

In other meetings:

  • Charlottesville City Council will hold a budget development work session at 5 p.m. in City Space. (meeting info)
  • Charlottesville’s Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will meet at 5 p.m. in a virtual meeting. (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.