Week Ahead for April 10, 2023: Charlottesville’s FY24 budget continues to grow; Eight-story building proposed for 1709 JPA

The primary reason this newsletter exists is to make it easier for people to learn what’s happening in local government. One of the main tools at my disposal is to provide direct links to meeting agendas of various meetings. 

In the past year, several governments across the Fifth District that use the CivicPlus software to run their websites have had upgrades that have made it more difficult to provide those links. Perhaps this is an oversight, but it is worth drawing your attention to how this affects the ability for me provide this service. 

My time has been limited of late and I have not had time to ask each government in the Fifth District if they know this functionality is broken. I also am taking steps to make sure I can provide a direct link to resources by uploading them to cvillepedia. That website is one I helped create in the late 2000’s when I was at Charlottesville Tomorrow. The primary reason cvillepedia exists is to make it easier for people to know what’s happening in local and regional government. 

This edition is too long for all email clients. Make sure you click through to see through to Saturday!

In any case, here are some of the highlights this week:

  • Charlottesville’s will vote to Tuesday adopt a budget for FY2024, a budget that has increased in size since the first reading last week. What are the increases and how does the city keep finding new money to spend?
  • The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will take a look Wednesday at a proposed 137-unit development that would straddle the Lickinghole Creek basin. There are also competing agendas for this meeting.
  • There are often details that need to be ironed out after a divorce and the Greene County Board of Supervisors will take care of two of them on Tuesday.
  • The Charlottesville Planning Commission will get a look at a proposed replacement of a four-story building at 1709 JPA with an eight-story one 
  • Charlottesville’s Economic Development Authority will take up changes to S&P Global’s building downtown 

Thanks as ever to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their support of the research that goes into this newsletter. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

Fluvanna County Economic Development Authority to view research

The Economic Development Authority of Fluvanna County will meet at 5 p.m. in the Morris Room of the County Administration Building at 132 Main Street in Palmyra. (agenda packet)

The main item on the agenda is a presentation from the Virginia Realtors Research Committee and chief economist Ryan Price. The specific presentation isn’t in the package, but there’s a lot of interesting material in their archives. 

Under unfinished business, there will be an amendment to the authority’s by-laws to allow for public comment.

At the conclusion of the meeting, there will be a closed session for discussion of two items. One is discussion of the acquisition of real property related to the Fork Union Business Park. The other is discussion of a prospective business related to Project Storage. 

Places29-Hydraulic group to hold budget town hall

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

The first item of business will be a budget town hall featuring Deputy County Executive Trevor Henry and Andy Bowman of the Office of Finance and Budget. In fact, this is listed as a separate item on the Albemarle County calendar. 

The second item will be an update on the Comprehensive Plan update known as AC44.

Then an update on Charlotte Humphris Park as well as an update from the Boys and Girls Club on their new facility in the Lambs Lane Campus. 

Then there will be various updates from Jack Jouett District Supervisor Diantha McKeel, Julian Bivins of the Albemarle Planning Commission, and Kate Acuff of the Albemarle School Board. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Charlottesville budget increases again before final adoption

My concern about links in Charlottesville’s upgraded CivicPlus iteration doesn’t extend to agendas of City Council meetings, which appear to be easily shared. That’s good because there is a lot to look at in the agenda for City Council’s special meeting that begins at 5:30 p.m. (meeting info) (agenda

When interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers introduced the budget for Fiscal Year 2024, it was balanced on revenues of $226,239,155. Last week, that increased by $1.4 million to $227,696,055. As Council nears a second vote to adopt the budget, even more additional revenues have been found. 

“Note the Budget Ordinance authorizes a total General Fund Budget of $230,390,146, a difference of $4,150,991 from the $226,239,155 presented in the City Manager’s Proposed Budget,” reads the agenda memo.

Of that amount, roughly $1.96 million will remain unspent as of June 30, 2023 and carried over to the next year’s budget. The remaining $2.2 million will be spent according to Council’s direction at the final work session last Thursday which I still hope to write about but time is running out. 

Those expenditures in the operating budget include:

  • $186,993 for the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center 
  • $40,000 for the Public Housing Association of Residents
  • $100,000 for additional staffing for Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority
  • $126,400 for Child Health Partnership
  • $225,000 for operation funding for the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program
  • $500,000 for the Pathways program which provides direct support to people in need
  • $850,721 to implement the employee compensation study (learn more about the study)
  • $200,000 for violence prevention programs

The capital improvement program budget is also being increased by $17,473,798 for a total of $116,386,179 in revenues for FY24. That’s a 17.67 percent increase from the recommended budget. 

The additional revenues come from an additional $1.5 million from the school system, the use of $1.425 million from the CIP contingency fund, and an additional $14,548,798 in bond sales. 

This would generate an additional $13,473,798 for the school reconfiguration projection, $600,000 to convert streetlights to LED, an additional $750,000 to the Stribling Avenue sidewalk, $75,000 for invasive plant removals, an additional $2 million for the 250 Bypass station, and $575,000 for the renovation of the City Hall Lobby. 

I will make an effort to have more details in one of the next two editions of Charlottesville Community Engagement. Sounds like a lot of changes to a budget to make in a week. It’s almost like we need reporters to write about this sort of thing. 

Some of the additional expenditures made possible by the discovery of new revenues. (download the full list of changes)

Greene Supervisors have two RSA-related items on their agenda

The five member Greene County Board of Supervisors will meet at 5:30 p.m. for a closed session followed by the regular session at 6:30 p.m. (agenda packet)

There will be a public hearing on a lease that will allow the Rapidan Service Authority to keep renting space that will soon be owned by Greene County. 

“Greene County will take ownership of the RSA office building on Route 33 as part of the withdrawal and transition agreement,” reads the memo for the item. “The withdrawal agreement has a provision that allows RSA to rent back this office building for $1.” 

Greene County left the Rapidan Service Authority when it appeared that the entity did not want to proceed with a plan to impound White Run for a new reservoir to provide a larger urban water supply. 

Next Supervisors will be briefed on the Secondary Six Year Plan for roads in Greene County. 

“The recommendation for this year is to allocate the future funds to a flexible account that allows the board to choose a new unpaved road or to utilize the funds for another authorized project,” reads this memo. “Since it will be several years before the Welsh Run paving is completed and there is no rush to add a new road at this time.” 

There are three action items:

  • The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will seek a vote on Greene County’s support for the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. Last week, the Charlottesville City Council wanted more information before taking a vote. Read that story here. (view the presentation)
  • There will be an action for Greene County to pick up service for 13 properties served by urban water in Orange County that are otherwise close to municipal service. These properties had been on a community well system that failed and service was extended. 
  • Supervisors will announce a meeting on April 17 at an undisclosed location to interview candidates for the County Administrator position.

Nelson County Supervisors to consider permit for restaurant

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

The meeting begins with presentations from the Virginia Department of Transportation, a work session on the Secondary Six Year Plan for paving roads, an application from Region 10 to use a portion of the county’s share of the opioid settlement, and a presentation from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Every single one of these is a potentially interesting news story. 

I can imagine others will be writing about the proposal for the Nelson Memorial Library to become an affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (Credit: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library )

Under new and unfinished business, there will be an update on the proposed Family Trust Zoning as well as proposed amendments to the subdivision.

“In conjunction with the proposed Subdivision Ordinance Amendment, this proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment would increase the minimum required lot area for family division lots in both A-1 Agriculture and R-1 Residential zoning districts from 1 (one) acre to 2 (two) acres,” reads the staff report from Dylan Bishop, Nelson County’s Director of Planning and Zoning.  

There will also be the establishment of personal property tax relief for 2023. 

There is also an evening session which begins at 7 p.m. with two public hearings.

The first is for a special use permit for a restaurant to operate at 66 Saddleback Farm in Afton on a 28.1 acre property owned by the Hodson Living Trust. One exists as part of a rezoning in January 2022 but this is a way to bring it into compliance.

“Because this restaurant addition was attached to the existing bed and breakfast operation, there was difficulty determining an efficient and cost effective method to comply with statewide building code requirements, such as firewall separation,” reads the staff report. “The owners have diligently pursued a path forward, and have determined that the most appropriate way to proceed would be to construct an entirely separate facility for the restaurant use.” 

The Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the permit. 

The second is for an amendment to the county code on animals related to recent changes to state law. 

Charlottesville Planning Commission to review another eight-story building on JPA

A preamble about links 

Let me be more clear in how the city’s CivicPlus upgrade has broken my routine. Since the switch to a new website in the first year of the pandemic, I’ve used this link to look at the city calendar. Clicking on “more details” for each item is the link I use to connect to the (meeting info) bit I include for each blurb. 

For all of those years, I get to the agenda by clicking on “Download Agenda” in the upper right hand corner of the screen. This link looks like this:


This would take readers directly to the agenda. Now that URL directs to this one:


Which is now a dead end, as we’re told there’s no agenda. You can imagine that for people who don’t do this stuff for a living, this would be discouraging. 

Yet, we can get to an agenda. If we look at the new CivicPlus Portal, we get the same meetings that are visible via the above link. In the lower right hand corner of each meeting’s box, there is an icon to download the file. This brings up a pop-up with any available information for the meeting. In this case, I want to look at the agenda packet. 

Clicking this link brings up a prompt to download the file. A more tech savvy person than me would perhaps know how to find a link I could place to make it easier for people to access the information. After all, there’s a reason this newsletter is called Charlottesville Community Engagement

So, I’ve uploaded the 80 page agenda to cvillepedia, with a note explaining when I downloaded the agenda as these can always be changed and updated. I will from now on designate such uploads with the use of the phrase (agenda on cvillepedia). 

On to the PC meeting:

The seven-member Charlottesville Planning Commission meets at 5 p.m. in CitySpace for a pre-meeting at which business is often discussed, followed by the official opening at 5:30 p.m. The early portion is televised via Zoom and the city’s streaming channels, but the BoxCast version omits the discussion. Or at least it did in March. Take a look here.

After all of that preamble, this is a relatively light meeting. There’s only one public hearing with City Council and that’s on the plan to use $410,468 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds as well as $98,161 in HOME funds. The report is prepared by the city’s new grants analyst, Anthony Warn. (page 5)

“The city’s CDBG and HOME programs are informed by the results of a lengthy public participation plan, part of which involves a representative taskforce of city residents who review requests for funding (RFPs) from community-based nonprofit organizations and make funding recommendations to the Planning Commission for review,” reads that staff report. 

There are three other items.

The first is a preliminary discussion for a project at 1709 Jefferson Park Avenue. Neighborhood Investments bought the existing eight-unit apartment complex in January 2022 for $1.3 million. Now that firm has hired Mitchell Matthews Architects to pursue a special use permit under the existing zoning. 

“The applicant is proposing to replace the existing building with an eight (8) story (approximately seventy (70) feet) residential building that would have twenty-seven (27) units and twenty-three (23) parking spaces (nineteen (19) structured spaces off JPA and four (4) surface spaces off Montebello Circle),” reads the staff report on page 19.

The project would also need a critical slopes waiver. Under the draft zoning, this property is designated as Commercial Mixed-Use 5. What’s the significance of developers still investing time and money into the existing zoning code? A breakdown of the possibilities in play at 1709 JPA can be seen on page 23

A conceptual rendering of 1709 JPA (Credit: Mitchell Matthews Architects)

The second item is an update on transportation projects from transportation planning manager Ben Chambers which appears to be similar to the one he gave to Council on March 20. Take a look at the story I wrote for a preview. One item he will discuss is progress toward a new contract with Veo for scooters and e-bikes. Take a look on page 53 for the advance materials. 

The third is a discussion of the zoning ordinance.  I still have yet to write a long article about the second draft module but hopefully that will be happening before this meeting. 

The rest of the agenda from page 54 on are minutes from previous meetings. 

Charlottesville Economic Development Authority to adjust lease for S&P Global

The Charlottesville Economic Development Authority will meet at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers. (agenda

Under new business, the seven-member body will take up potential changes to the 30-year lease the authority holds with S&P Global. Last year, City Council was briefed on the history of the lease of a building that had been the home of the National Ground Intelligence Center. S&P has earned credits toward its rent for upgrades. 

There will also be a review of the FY24 budget as well as an update on the economic development strategic plan. This is expected to be complete in July 2023. The firm Resonance is working on the study, which is being overseen by a 16-member steering committee. A total of 280 people filled out a survey. (Survey launches for Charlottesville economic development plan, February 1, 2023)

The S&P Global building is located within what was the old NGIC building (Credit: Charlottesville GIS)

In other meetings: 

  • For the second week in a row, the city’s calendar lists a site plan conference but does not indicate where the meeting is to be held. This is another one for 0 East High Street, a proposed 245 unit development that last week received a third denial from city staff. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Finance Board will meet at 11 a.m. in the Morris Room in the County Administration Building. There will be an update of combined bank balances history and a discussion of investment of funds. (agenda)
  • The Fluvanna Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. There’s no agenda and the meeting calendar doesn’t list a location. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Electoral Board will meet at 6 p.m. The meeting info page is useless with no link to an agenda or a location. The other link is also pretty useless, too. (agenda on cvillepedia)

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Fluvanna County Supervisors hold public hearing on FY24 budget 

The five-member Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. in the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center in Fork Union. (agenda packet)

The main item is a public hearing on the tax rates for the year 2023 as well as the budget for fiscal year 2024.  Following the public hearing there will be a discussion by Supervisors. If you’ve not seen the budget, take a look here

Crozet Community Advisory Committee to review 137-unit Oak Bluff project

The Crozet Community Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. in the Crozet Library at 2020 Library Avenue. (meeting info) (agenda)

The first item on the agenda is an hour update from the Crozet Community Association, a group formed in 1985 “by a group of local Crozet residents who saw the need to work together to protect, preserve, and enhance our Crozet community and establish a forum where all are welcome.” 

Their website has an alternate agenda for this meeting which has more links to items at this meeting, including links to videos provided by the Crozet Gazette.

The unofficial agenda also contains a link to the materials for a proposed rezoning for five parcels totaling 32.887 acres for a 137-unit development called Oak Bluff. 

“Additional housing density is achieved in this key growth area, affordable housing is provided and environmentally sensitive features of the site are preserved and highlighted,” reads the narrative from Riverbend Development. 

The proposed rezoning is to to Planned Residential Development from R-1. The land is currently owned by developer Vito Cetta. This proposal would be developed at about six dwelling units per acre. 

“These are the last parcels to be developed in a vast network of neighborhoods, trails and transportation infrastructure that is planned for the Crozet area,” the narrative continues. 

I’m grateful for the possibility of being able to review the video of this meeting. 

A location map for the proposed Oak Bluff  development. 

In other meetings:

  • The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors budget work session scheduled for this day will not be held according to the meeting info page. 
  • The James River Water Authority will meet at 9 a.m. in the Morris Room in the Fluvanna County Administration Building. Among the items on the agenda is a status update on the permitting for an alternate intake on the James River to provide water for Zion Crossroads. (agenda packet)

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Louisa County Planning Commission to take up 20 megawatt solar project 

The Louisa County Planning Commission will meet at 5 p.m. for a long range planning meeting for which there is no agenda, followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m. They meet in the Louisa County Public Meeting Room. (agenda packet)

The main item on the agenda is a conditional use permit that an entity called Horsepen Branch Solar seeks for a utility-scale facility. 

“The applicant is requesting approval for a more or less 304 acre utility-scale solar generating facility producing up to 20 Megawatts of Alternating Current (MWAC),” reads page 10 of the agenda packet. “Approval of such a facility requires the County of Louisa Planning Commission to find the project substantially in accordance with the 2040 Louisa County Comprehensive Plan pursuant to Virginia Code 15.2-2232, and approval of a Conditional Use Permit.” 

Energy generated by the project will be linked to the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative. If approved, construction and operations would begin in early 2025. According to an economic analysis, the project would generate nearly $1.75 million over its 35 year life-span compared to $82,210 from agricultural uses. 

In other meetings:

  • Albemarle’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee will meet at 4 p.m. in Room 235 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. The agenda is not posted at publication time. (meeting info)
  • 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. They will take up a donation of land from Yonder Hill Farm. Take a look at those materials here. (agenda) (meeting info)
  • The Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee’s Outreach Group meets at 5:30 p.m. also in Room 235. This one does have an agenda at publication time. They’ll discuss education of composting in school, as well as recycling ambassadors. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Police Civilian Oversight Board will meet at 6 p.m. in the large conference room in CitySpace in a hybrid meeting. There is no agenda available for download so nothing to upload to cvillepedia. (meeting info)
  • There will be a budget town hall for the White Hall District at Brownsville Elementary School at 5870 Rockfish Gap Turnpike in Crozet. This is the first of three town halls hosted by Supervisor Ann Mallek. (meeting info)

Friday April 14, 2023

No meetings today that I know of, but perhaps I’m missing one? 

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Supervisor Ann Mallek will hold the second of three town hall meetings on the FY24 budget. This one will be at the White Hall Community Building at 2904 Browns Gap Turnpike. (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.