Cville Area Land Use Update: Week of August 28, 2023

This week is structured oddly and for that reason it’s one of the slower ones of 2023. Yet, there is a lot in this edition worth your review.

August 28 is a fourth Monday, followed by three fifth days for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then there is a first Friday! This week sees the end of August, a month which may or may not have actually happened.  

There are no meetings in Fluvanna County, Louisa County, or Greene County this month.

  • On Tuesday, the Charlottesville Planning Commission and the City Council will discuss the process by which the new Development Code will be adopted this fall. 
  • Two new members will join the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners on Monday.
  • Earlier that day, the Executive Board for the regional tourism body meets and will get an update on current trends. 
  • The Pantops Community Advisory Committee will ask what topics are facing that particular growth area. 
  • What’s the future of Nelson County? That’s the overarching theme behind the Comprehensive Plan that’s underway and the subject of an open house on Tuesday. 

One thing to note this time around. I’ve upgraded the Information Charlottesville website with a new theme and one that tries to make a little more like a newspaper site. I’m excited about this but want to see what you all think. Click on some of the previous stories and let me know what you think and what I should address.

Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their sponsorship of this weekly look into what’s happening in local and regional government.  

Monday, August 28, 2023

Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority to welcome new members

The seven-member Board of Commissioners for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will meet at 6 p.m. in City Space. The meeting can be observed via Zoom. (agenda on cvillepedia)

The meeting begins with an introduction to the two new Commissioners. Council appointed Alice Washington and Javier Raudales to two open seats in July. They will also appoint new officers. Outgoing Commissioners A’Lelia Henry and Airea Garland will be recognized for their service on the Board. 

They will also approve minutes from the May 22 meeting. At that meeting, the CRHA passed a resolution to purchase 100 Harris Road. That transaction closed on July 14 for $275,000. 

Highlights from the various reports:

  • Forty-six residents have returned to the renovated Crescent Halls aiming for a total of 50 by the end of the month. However, the project is not complete. CRHA terminated the contract with GMA “due to inability to complete the work as scheduled.” 
  • This week should see the return of residents to the third building in the first phase of the South First Street project. The report cites a lack of staff as well as heavy language barriers for the delay. There are only fourteen residents left at the old South First Street and ten of these will move into the new units. Two households will move to Crescent Halls and two will head to Westhaven.  
  • The second phase of the South First Street project will redevelop the existing buildings. The plan is now to have Martin Horn built the apartment units and Greenwood Homes to build the townhouses. A third party will do the site work. 
  • CRHA has applied for a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a 54-month program for the Westhaven community. “The program is to develop locally-based, job-driven approaches to increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement technology skills, and financial literacy for residents of public housing.” 
  • There are 219 individuals in the Section 3 databank and only one was served in the past month. Forty-four individuals were helped by Resident Services in the same period. 

What issues exist on Pantops that the Community Advisory Committee can help with? 

The Pantops Community Advisory Committee will meet at 6:15 p.m. in the Kessler Conference Room at the Martha Jefferson Hospital Outpatient Center. (meeting info)

There are two items today including a presentation from the Charlottesville Area Alliance. 

“The Charlottesville Area Alliance was formed by 5 nonprofits serving seniors in 2015,” reads the agenda. “The focus of CAA was and is to works towards a region that is welcoming to all ages.” 

The second item is an open discussion sparked by two questions:

  1. Are there issues or concerns in Pantops that need more attention? How might our committee help get greater attention focused on these? 
  2. Given that one of the goals of the Master Plan is to foster connectivity within Pantops, what concrete ideas do you have that could help strengthen a sense of community in the Pantops area? 

I’d love to hear your responses, too, either in email or in the comment section. 

Leave a comment

The Pantops Master Plan was last adopted in June 19, 2019. Have you taken a look? 

Tourism group to get look at recent trends in hospitality 

The Executive Board of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau will meet at 2 p.m. at the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center at 1490 Darden Towe Park. (meeting info)

This month’s industry presentation will be from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission’s Planning and Transportation Director. The agenda doesn’t specify. Could this be on the Moving Towards 2050 Long Range Transportation Plan? This could provide for some interesting feedback. (presentation)

There’s some interesting data in the packet worth reviewing. Visitors from the Lynchburg / Roanoke market make up the largest origin market followed by Washington D.C.. However, the origin market that spends the most money in the area is from the Richmond area followed by Norfolk/Portsmouth. 

Some of the insights in the presentation on tourism spending to be reviewed at the CACVB meeting

In other meetings:

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Planning Commission and Council to discuss how the Charlottesville Development Ordinance will be considered for approval

The clock is ticking for the Charlottesville Planning Commission to make a recommendation on the city’s Development Code. Earlier this month, the City Council officially referred the new zoning and subdivision ordinance to the PC. A week later, the city released the final draft of the rules which I’ve detailed in this article.

There are some other items to review on what may well be the final release of new information to the Cville Plans Together website.  One is an affordability manual that is intended to govern how the city’s new requirements to provide below-market units will work. I have a story on that here.

Another is an eight-page Community Engagement report from February 2023 to June 2023.

“There were nearly 600 comments provided, with a range of topics,” reads that report. “This section contains a high-level summary of the most common themes from input received via all methods noted in the previous section.”

There is a spreadsheet that has several hundred comments from this period worth reviewing. 

One omission from the final ordinance is the complete removal of the “Sensitive Communities” areas. I’ll be writing about that as soon as I complete this newsletter today. These were identified in the Comprehensive Plan but not specifically called out in the Affordable Housing Plan. The zoning code will offer no specific tools for how to prevent displacement. 

Nelson County to host open house for Comprehensive Plan 

How might decisions made by the Nelson County Board of Supervisors direct that locality’s future? That’s a core question behind the development of a new Comprehensive Plan.

“Planning will allow Nelson County to manage growth and capitalize on opportunities for our community,” writes Planning Commission Chair Mary Kathryn Allen on the website announcing an open house to be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

“The new plan will build on the 2014 Comprehensive Plan with public input, data collection, visioning, goal definition, and strategies to ensure that it all gets put into action,” Allen continues.

The draft for public review is available for you to read. The Berkley Group has provided technical assistance during the development of the document. 

“Nelson is a welcoming community that values its natural resources, encourages economic growth, and provides excellent quality of life for all community members,” reads the vision statement of the draft plan. 

“As we blaze a trail to the future, how do we preserve our rural character as we grow and evolve with our changing times?” the introduction continues. “How do we increase housing choices for different types of individuals and families?” 

The plan notes that Nelson County is in between the cities of Charlottesville, Waynesboro, and Lynchburg which provide employment, shopping, and other services. The plan notes that growth in Nelson County is far behind the statewide average. 

“Population projections forecast a negative growth rate for the County for the next 20 years,” reads a portion of chapter two. “The reasons for Nelson’s declining population numbers are multi-faceted and complex, but reflect the realities of an aging population and a locale which has not retained young people and families in recent decades.” 

Agricultural production continues to decline and many employees of service industries commute into Nelson for work. Tourism has been the driving industry. The top employer is Wintegreen Pacific LLC and the third largest employer is Devils Backbone Brewing Company. 

Regardless of whether you live in Nelson or not, reading the Comprehensive Plan can help you understand the various forces at play that will affect its future. Perhaps it will affect yours as well? (Credit: Nelson County)

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Albemarle Fire EMS Board to meet

The Albemarle County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Board will meet at 1800 hours in Room 235 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. There will be various committee updates as well as a development update. Under new business they’ll discuss the community engagement plan, radio channel assignments, mayday procedures, and ratings from the insurance service office. (meeting info)

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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.