Week Ahead for April 12, 2021: Charlottesville planners to consider two housing projects, Greene to review 55-unit townhouse project

Monday, April 12, 2021

Every three years, Charlottesville selects a neighborhood to receive federal funds that come through a process known as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). A task force is selected to review potential projects. The Ridge Street neighborhood is the current recipient and Council approved a set of recommendations at their meeting on March 15, 2021. (staff report) (infocville story)

The Belmont Priority Neighborhood Task Force selected a sidewalk project on Franklin Street that was not completed in time due to right of way issues. This past March, the funding was transferred to a rent relief program with the expectation the $244,951 would be refunded to the project. 

To discuss the matter, the task force will meet once again to get an update. They start at 6 p.m. (meeting info)

In other meetings:

  • The Fluvanna Economic Development Authority meets at 5 p.m. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Electoral Board will meet in person at the City Hall Annex beginning at 6 p.m. (meeting info)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Charlottesville planners considers two housing projects

The Charlottesville Planning Commission has two items on its regular meeting for April, and both are related to additional residential density. They start with a pre-meeting at 5:00 p.m and then move into their regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. (meeting info)

In the first, the Planning Commission will consider a special use permit for additional residential density for the Lyndhall Apartments property at 64 University Way. If granted, an existing nine-unit apartment building would be redeveloped with 16 units. Under the proposal, all units would be market-rate and the project does not trigger the city’s requirements to designate some of the units below-market. 

The project is within the Rugby Road – University Circle – Venable Neighborhood Design Control District. The Board of Architectural Review voted unanimously on March 16 that the redevelopment would not have an adverse effect. The existing building footprint would be kept and renovations would be internal. 

The structure was built in 1913 according to the city’s property records (Source: Henningsen Kestner Architects)

In the second item, the Charlottesville Planning Commission will consider a critical slopes waiver for a property in the city’s Strategic Investment Area just to the east of the Ix building. The property is in the Downtown Extended Corridor zoning district and this is the second time the applicant is seeking a waiver. 

“The current request features a different design and less disturbance than the prior critical slopes request on the property,” reads the applicant’s request which was crafted by Shimp Engineering.

This time around, Rayonix LLC is seeking to build 21 apartments in a three-story building that would front onto 6th Street SE. To do so, they will need permission to disturb critical slopes. 

“With nearly 70 percent of the City’s land zoned as R-1 Single-Family Residential, mixed-use corridors such as the property’s Downtown Extended District need to take advantage of their by-right uses to realize higher density here appropriate,” reads the applicant’s request. 

The staff report notes the environmental changes that will be made. 

“The site currently has significant tree canopy coverage (including on the critical slopes) and a portion including 15 large trees is proposed to be removed,” reads the staff report. “Wildlife habitat is likely to be reduced by the clearing of existing mature canopy and understory growth on the site.”

Staff recommends a condition that three trees are planted for every one removed. 

Image depicting location of critical slopes in the area (Source: Shimp Engineering)
Albemarle Planning Commission to get update on Comprehensive Plan

So far this year, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors has had two presentations on planning for the update of the Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission gets their update tonight at a work session that begins at 6 p.m. 

“Board members shared a desire to see work be started on the Zoning Ordinance update sooner than waiting until completion of a Comprehensive Plan update,” reads the report from planning manager Rachel Falkenstein. 

Albemarle last updated the Comprehensive Plan in the summer of 2015, but has since updated a small area plan for the Rio Road / 29 vicinity as well as the Pantops Master Plan. 

“The purpose of the April 13 Planning Commission work session is share the initial feedback and direction that staff received from the Board of Supervisors during the recent discussions and for staff to share a potential revised approach that could allow for concurrent and phased Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance updates,” Falkenstiein continued. 

Read my story from the March 23, 2021 Albemarle Board of Supervisors meeting to learn more

More townhouses in Greene

The Greene County Board of Supervisors meets in closed session at 5:30 p.m. and in open session beginning at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info)

One item on the agenda is a rezoning of 7 acres on U.S. 29 from business highway / high intensity to residential. If granted, there would be 55 units in what would be known as Cedar Run Townhomes. Greene’s current Comprehensive Plan designates the land as “Mixed-Use Village Center.” The Greene Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval on March 17, 2021. 

Other items on the agenda include a  replacement of a historic marker on Route 33 at the Greene/Rockingham lineGreene County’s six-year secondary road plan for paving, and a quarterly financial report

Location map produced by Shimp Engineering for the concept plan
Nelson Supervisors asked to cancel Smart Scale project

The Nelson County Board of Supervisors meets twice Tuesday at the same location in the General District Courtroom in the Courthouse in Lovingston. (meeting info)

In the afternoon session, there will be a discussion of a request from the Virginia Department of Transportation to withdraw a project to build a Restricted Crossing U-Turn (RCUT) at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Route 6 north of Lovingston. The project was funded in the third Smart Scale round for $2.75 million. Concurrently, VDOT installed flashing beacons in 2019 at the intersection to warn motorists of its dangerous nature.

“Since installations of the beacons, both total crashes and angle crashes have reduced by 50 percent,” reads the email from VDOT’s Rick Youngblood to county administrator Steve Carter. 

If canceled, the funding would revert to VDOT’s Lynchburg District, which includes Nelson County. Youngblood recommends the funding be transferred to the intersection of Route 29 and Oak Ridge Road for which a Smart Scale application was not successful. 

In the evening session, there are two public hearings related to land use rules. In the first, Supervisors will consider the ability to grant special use permits for “Social Temporary Events.” In the second, the zoning code would be amended related to restaurants and artist communities. 

In other meetings:

  • Albemarle’s Police Citizens Advisory Board meets at 9 a.m. (meeting info)
  • The Nelson County Broadband Authority meets in person at 1 p.m. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle County Department of Social Services Advisory Committee meets at 3:30 p.m. (meeting info)
  • Charlottesville City Council meets virtually at 5:30 p.m. to officially adopt the budget for Fiscal Year 2022 and the tax rate for calendar year 2021. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Planning Commission will have a work session solar siting requirements beginning at 6 p.m. There will also be a regular meeting beginning at 7 p.m. (meeting info)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Both Fluvanna County and Louisa County have designated Zion Crossroads as a growth area. The two localities are members of the James River Water Authority, which has been working on a plan to bring treated drinking water to support growth.

Until last summer, the plan had been to build a pump station at the confluence of the James and Rivanna Rivers. However, the site is the location of a major Monacan community known as Rassawek and the JRWA opted to pursue alternatives after public outcry. According to the minutes from the January 13 meeting, two sites were under consideration. The next meeting is today at 9 a.m. (meeting info)

In other meetings:

  • The Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee meets virtually at noon. On the agenda is a discussion of the draft future land-use map presented to the Charlottesville Planning Commission on March 30. (review the map) (meeting info)
  • The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will meet at 7 p.m. The agenda is not posted yet, but I anticipate they will get an update on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors’ April 7 discussion of the land use chapter of the Crozet Master Plan update (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on the budget for fiscal year 2022 and the tax rate for calendar year 2021. (meeting info)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

One of the biggest topics across America is the cost of housing. To increase awareness and knowledge about the issue, the Central Virginia Housing Regional Partnership is conducting a spring speaker’s series. The first was a panel discussion from the perspective of local developers

The second seeks to explain what it takes to build new housing that can be sold or rented to people who cannot afford the market rate. William Park, the president of Pinnacle Construction and Development, will go through what it takes to secure financing for such projects. Pinnacle has built many affordable developments in the community including Treesdale Park and Brookdale. (register here)

While not a government meeting, the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation recently made its largest ever gift to a project to redevelop the Red Carpet Inn property on U.S. 29 in Albemarle County. The Piedmont Housing Alliance, Virginia Supportive Housing, and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission are working on the project which will create up to 140 units on the property. The CACF will hold a panel discussion on the item at noon. (register)

In other meetings: 

  • The Albemarle County Service Authority meets at 9 a.m. (agenda)
  • The Albemarle Conservation Easement Authority meets at 4:45 p.m. (meeting info)
  • The 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee meets at 7 p.m. (meeting info)
  • Charlottesville’s Human Rights Commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info)

Friday, April 16, 2021

There are no meetings today. I also suspect I may be missing something? Please let me know if I have done so. And please let me know if you have any feedback. It’s always good to hear from you. 

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.