Week Ahead for August 16, 2021: Albemarle to review homestay rules; Fluvanna to consider increasing by-right density in R-4 zones

Every week, I spend several hours going through the agenda of every public meeting agenda in the Charlottesville area in order to produce this report. Like every other spot on the globe, this area faces challenges in a changing world where uncertainty is seemingly the only constant. I am aware that many of these topics may seem small at first glance. But I do this work to try to help us all achieve a better place.

According to the 2020 Census, there are nearly 260,000 people in the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. Where do people live? Where do they work? Are there enough houses? What about jobs? These are the questions that I seek to answer with each and every story I write. 

This week, rules for tourist lodging in residential areas will be discussed by both the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and the Greene County Planning Commission. Charlottesville City Council will take a final vote on a rezoning in Belmont. Fluvanna County will consider a zoning change that could yield more places to live. The Louisa County Board of Supervisors is taking the week off and they have canceled their second meeting in August. There are no meetings in Nelson County. Read on, for more! 

Thanks again to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their support of the research that goes into this newsletter each and every week. 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Charlottesville City Council meets at 6:30 p.m., forgoing a 4:00 p.m. work session in which they get reports from staff and nonprofits. This is a fairly light agenda in which the rezoning of 1206 Carlton Avenue for an eight-unit building will have a second reading. Council had a long discussion of this on August 2, and you can read my write-up on my archive website. (meeting info)

Council will also decide whether to allow city employees to form a union or employee association for collective bargaining purposes, something that was prohibited until earlier this year. The General Assembly adopted legislation in 2020 to make the change. Both the city of Alexandria and Loudoun County have put such policies in place. Employees of the city’s Fire Department have requested the city provide rules for collective bargaining. City Manager Chip Boyles is recommending rejecting that proposal, but instead develop an ordinance for how collective bargaining might work. (staff report)

On the consent agenda:

  • Charlottesville is on notice from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for not spending Community Development Block Grant and HOME funds in a timely manner. In this case, Habitat for Humanity did not use $21,384.80 in funds allocated for a down payment assistance program for new homeowners. That money will be transferred back to a pool. “Funds will be used for shovel-ready housing related activities per the HOME grant requirements and will be committed based on a priority system” laid out in an agreement between HUD, the city, and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. (staff report)
  • Only reading of a repayment of $63,009.25 to an unnamed NONPROFIT ENTITY that was charged business license taxes and later proved they were exempt. This entity has two locations within city limits. (staff report)
  • First of two readings on an ordinance to de-gender language in the Charlottesville ordinance (staff report)
Calculation of refunds owed to the NONPROFIT ENTITY

First look at new development on Route 20

The Albemarle Architectural Review Board meets at 1 p.m. The first item is a look at the initial site plan for Galaxie Farm, a planned residential development that is partially within an entrance corridor. The property is between Scottsville Road and Avon Street Extended and the section with townhomes requires a certificate of appropriateness. The staff report says no architectural designs were submitted with the initial site plan. (meeting info)

The other item on the agenda is a new auto repair facility slated for the intersection of U.S. 250 and and Pantops Corner Way. The latter is the access road for the new hotel, storage facility, and chain convenience store that are also part of this development.

General location of Galaxie Farm

In other meetings: 

  • The Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. They will get a COVID update from Dr. Denise Bonds of the Blue Ridge Health District as well as from Emily Kilroy, the county’s communications and engagement director. There will also be update on developments in the area. (meeting info)
  • The Columbia Area Renewal Effort (CARE) Task Force will meet at 7 p.m. according to the Fluvanna County meetings calendar. There is no agenda available yet for the group, which was set up in the wake of the dissolution of the town government. (meeting info)

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A quiet Tuesday as the Albemarle Planning Commission takes another week off.  So, to the pointed list!

In other meetings:

  • The virtual meetings of the Albemarle Board of Equalization continue at 9 a.m. There’s no information about whose appeals will be heard. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle County Emergency meets at 2 p.m. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle County Economic Development Authority’s Board of Directors meets at 4 p.m. On the agenda is a presentation on the CvilleBioHub. (meeting info)
  • Charlottesville’s Sister City Commission meets at 4:30 p.m. Can you name the four communities? Are you a fan of Pleven, Bulgaria? You’re out of luck. No Sister City for you. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review meets at 5 p.m. One item on the agenda is a proposal for a three story apartment building at 605 Preston Place. They’ll also discuss guidelines for the Architectural Design Control districts. (meeting info)
  • Greene County’s Emergency Services Advisory Board meets at 6 p.m. in person at the administration building in Stanardsville. (agenda)

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors meets virtually at 1 p.m. (register for Zoom) (agenda)

They’ll begin the meeting with an update with new details on how Albemarle may be able to use its remaining portion of $21.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding. So far, $3 million has been allocated to broadband efforts, and staff is recommending using another $1.5 million. (staff report)

Next they will review a special exception for a homestay on Fosters Branch Road in northeast Albemarle County. Immediately after that they will take up the entire matter of homestays at a work session. Albemarle has hired a third-party to make sure those offering the service are complying with the rules. 

“Staff believes that 90 percent of homestays are now compliant and $287,871 total revenue, including transient occupancy tax (TOT), has been captured,” reads the staff report

Staff are also recommending amending the ordinance to alter a provision that requires the homestay to be beyond a 125 foot setback. Forty requests have been made to amend this, and 23 have been approved.

“Staff recommends amending these County Code sections to save staff resources and build capacity for other work program priorities,” reads the report. 

Following this work session, Jordy Yager will give a presentation on his Mapping Charlottesville. The project was the topic of an Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society in late December, which you can watch on YouTube

In the evening after 6 p.m., Supervisors will consider the adoption of an ordinance to prohibit firearms in county buildings and parks. The public hearing was held on July 21. (staff report)

Lots on the consent agenda:

  • The Historic Preservation Committee is recommending a historical marker at the Ivy Creek Natural Area for River View Farm, owned in the late 19th century by the formerly enslaved Hugh Carr and Texie Mae Hawkins Carr. (staff report)
  • Albemarle has leased a section of Walnut Creek Park to Verizon Wireless for a cell tower that requires approval from the Board of Supervisors. To complete the application, County Executive Jeffrey Richardson has to sign the document. That also requires approval from the Board of Supervisors. (staff report)
  • Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Proffit Road and Route 20 requires a new utility easement on land on which Albemarle County holds a conversation easement. This requires Board approval. (staff report)
  • A portion of Hillsdale Drive Extended has been realigned but not yet accepted into the secondary road system. Changing this and deleting another section required Board approval. (staff report)
  • The University of Virginia Foundation recently built an extension of Lewis and Clark drive to connect the UVA North Fork Research Park to Airport Road. The Board needs to approve the new roadway into the secondary road system. (staff report)
  • Supervisors will approve a proposal to study updates to the zoning code related to bonus densities. One whereas: “It is desired to consolidate the bonus density regulations to eliminate repetitive text, to eliminate bonus densities for incentives that are now requirements, and to amend related regulations.” (staff report)
  • The new developer of what had been known as Parkway Place on Rio Road is asking for a deferral of the existing rezoning application before the county. Here’s a link to the latest review
  • Supervisors will get an update on proposed priorities for the 2022 General Assembly. Requests include a desire to have farm structures designed for public use to be required to meet minimum building code standards, expanded use of speed cameras in the rural area, and putting a portion of the recordation tax toward affordable housing projects. 
  • Supervisors will get the second quarter building report, which saw 156 permits issued. There were also 138 certificates of occupancy issued from April 1 to June 30.
  • There’s a Virginia Department of Transportation report for August. (report)
Design for the roundabout

Two meetings in Charlottesville

While Charlottesville plans, developers move forward with building. 

There’s a site plan conference at 10 a.m. for a building at 1223 Harris Street near McIntire Plaza. There’s no information in the meeting notes, but this is likely related to a six-story apartment building approved by City Council originally in March 2020 and amended by Council in April to increase the amount of units to 120. (meeting info)

The Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee meets at noon. If you’ve been paying attention to the Cville Plans Together initiative, you’ll want to watch this one. What has happened in the five months since the City Council adopted an affordable housing plan? What’s the latest news from Albemarle County? What about the University of Virginia’s pledge to build up to 1,500 below-market units? These may come up under the general “update” categories listed on the agenda. (meeting info) (affordable housing plan)

In other meetings:

  • The Greene County Planning Commission meets in person at the administration building in Stanardsville at 6 p.m. They will continue their review of the county’s Comprehensive Plan with a review of the county’s broadband initiative. They’ll also review the county’s rules on tourist lodging in R-1 zones at the direction of the Board of Supervisors. (agenda)
  • The Fluvanna Board of Supervisors meets at 7 p.m. There is a public hearing on a proposal to increase the by-right density for multifamily units in R-4 zones from 2.9 dwelling units per acre to 5.5 if the units are connected to public water and sewer. There’s also a vote on whether to proceed with participation in the regional cigarette tax. (agenda packet)

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Another quiet day. 

But if you’ve ever wanted to know what the county’s Architectural Review Board does and what the entrance corridor guidelines are for, tune in to the Fifth and Avon Community Advisory Committee meeting at 7 p.m. That’s the first item on the agenda. Then there will be an update on development projects in the area, such as Galaxie Farm. (meeting info)

The Charlottesville Human Rights Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. The agenda was not posted at publication time. (meeting info)

Friday, August 20, 2021

No meetings today that I am aware of. Perhaps I am wrong? If you see anything that does not look right, please drop me a line. Have something going on that I don’t know about? Send me an email. Want to just say hello? Sure thing! 

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.