Week Ahead for February 13, 2023: Crossroads Tavern expansion up for review in Albemarle; Greene PC to hold public hearing on Comp Plan

Every week I begin this work not knowing what I will write. Usually it takes me about eight to ten hours to go through everything, going through every single page to summarize it all for anyone who wants to read it. My hope is that as many people will do so because I want as many people to know what’s coming up at local meetings. Decisions that are made affect everyone and I’ve spent a good chunk of my career trying to show people where and when they are going to happen.  

Last week I asked if I should switch up the format for this and several of you said no. At least one of you asked if I would try to put some highlights at the top. I try to do that each week, but by the time I’ve got it all down, I’m already at over 3,000 words. Today I’m at about 3,500 words. Here’s some of what’s slated to happen this week:

  • Charlottesville City Council will interview firms Monday to search for a new City Manager with a goal of having finalists to interview by mid-April. 
  • A landowner seeks rezoning from R-4 to R-15 on Avon Street Extended, slightly higher than what the Comprehensive Plan currently calls for. The Albemarle Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Tuesday.
  • That group will also consider the Easton Porter Group’s request to expand for a total of 19 guest rooms at Crossroads Tavern in North Garden. That’s right next to Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards and the Bundoran Farm Community Association urges denial. 
  • Southern Development seeks rezoning of 172 acres off of U.S. 33 in Greene County from Senior Residential to Planned Unit Development. Supervisors will have a public hearing Tuesday night.
  • The Greene County Planning Commission is holding a public hearing Wednesday on its updated Comprehensive Plan.  The review was conducted in house. 
  • Nelson County will review a corridor study for Route 151, consider support for a federal grant to extend a trail from the Crozet Tunnel to Waynesboro, and will get an update on its debt capacity for up to $75 million in new projects. 

Gmail and perhaps other service cut off emails past a certain length, so you will have to click through to see all of it. Thank you for allowing me to continue to experiment with this work by being a reader. Please do send it on to other people who you think might want to know the details of what’s going on. 

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

Monday, February 13, 2023

Places29-Hydraulic group to review rezoning on Hydraulic Road

The Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. at Greer Elementary School. (meeting info)

The main item on the agenda is a community meeting for a request from the Meridian Planning Group for a rezoning of just under an acre of land from R-4 to R-15. The existing Comprehensive Plan calls for Urban Density Residential. 

The applicant points out in the project proposal that two adjacent properties have already been rezoned to R-15. The plan at Arbor Oaks Townes is to built 14 townhouses.

“This development will provide additional residential units that will benefit the public need for additional housing in this urban area,” reads the proposal.

The developer is proffering two units to be designated as affordable and specifies that the county’s Office of Housing will be involved in making sure the units find eligible renters or purchasers. 

The group will also review last week’s traffic town hall. 

A regional context map for the Arbor Oakes Townes project 

Charlottesville City Council to interview firms for City Manager search

Charlottesville’s Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers has been in the position for 54 weeks now and the city’s contract with the Robert C. Bobb Group remains in place. In December, the city issued a request for services for a firm to find a permanent replacement. According to the request, the firm will:

  • Help Council determine the best way to proceed with choosing a new City Manager
  • Assist Council to develop a candidate profile for the skills and qualifications the new City Manager should process
  • Produce recruit material
  • Conduct a “broad and thorough recruitment in consideration of diversity, equity and inclusion”
  • Identify specific candidates and conduct personal outreach
  • Accept and review applications and develop interview questions
  • Help Council with the selection of three to five candidates
  • Conduct background checks on the finalists 

Council will meet at 3 p.m. to go into closed session to interview firms for the position. The timeline in the request states that the firm will have until April 14 to produce the list of finalists to Council. (meeting info)

As a reminder, Rogers is the fourth person to serve in the position since the contract of Maurice Jones was not renewed in 2018. That does not include one person who initially took the job but opted to accept the position. 

In other meetings:

  • The Charlottesville Tree Commission will meet virtually at 5 p.m. There’s no agenda available listed on the meeting info page. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Rezoning for existing 600 unit development to go before Greene Supervisors

The five-member Greene County Board of Supervisors will meet at 4:30 p.m. for a budget work session on the Capital Improvement Program, followed by a closed session, followed by an open meeting at 6:30 p.m. (agenda)

The top priority for capital projects in Greene is the impoundment of White Run for a new reservoir as well as installation of a system to convey water to the county’s system. The five-year plan anticipates $101.45 million for this project. Another is a public safety building for Emergency Services. 

The five-year summary for the draft Capital Improvement Program in Greene. Read the full details here. (Credit: Greene County)

During the regular meeting, there is a public hearing on a rezoning of 172 acres from Senior Residential to Planned Unit Development for a project now known as Woodpark. The 600-unit project is now being developed by Southern Development and they are proffering $600,000 toward road improvements. 

Analysis shows that the project could generate 180 school children and would provide $12 million in water and sewer connection fees. Southern Development is also proffering $1.38 million toward school improvements and are also agreeing to build no more than 75 units a year. 

The conceptual plan for Woodpark (Credit: Southern Development) 

Next the Supervisors will get a presentation on the audit for FY22. (take a look)

The meeting concludes with two action items. One is to accept and appropriate $50,000 from the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency FundThe second is to designate a 72-unit mobile home park as a revitalization area

Nelson County Supervisors to review debt capacity, Route 151 study

The five-member Nelson County Board of Supervisors will meet at 2 p.m. in the General District Courtroom at the Courthouse in Lovingston. They also have a session at 7 p.m. (agenda)

There are five presentations, beginning with one from the Virginia Department of Transportation. Then a second presentation on a corridor study of a 14-mile stretch of Route 151 (page 85). 

One of the slides in the presentation of the Route 151 Corridor Study conducted by RK&K (Credit: VDOT / RK&K) 

Then MAG will present the results of a compensation study. Then Davenport will present an update on Nelson County’s debt capacity. 

“Our analysis herein is intended to provide the Board with an understanding of the preliminary cash flow and affordability impact of implementing upwards of $75,000,000 of capital projects over the next 3-5 years,” reads a portion of the presentation (page 124). 

Finally, the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership will go before Supervisors. This group went before Council in January, as I write about.

Under new and unfinished business, Supervisors will consider adoption of the Hazard Mitigation Plan that’s been put together by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. (page 149)

They will also consider support for a federal RAISE grant that the city of Waynesboro will be putting in for the next phase of improvements. 

“Phase 4 includes the construction of a paved multi-use trail from the western portal of the tunnel into the City of Waynesboro,” reads the presentation. (page 191) “The Western Portal Trail is important because it enables the Crozet Tunnel to go from being a remote tourist attraction to a landmark regional transportation facility.” 

In the evening session, there will be a public hearing on a change for the Central Absentee Voter Precinct location from the Nelson County Memorial Library to the registrar’s office at 571 Front Street in Lovingston. 

A map for Phase 4 of the Crozet Tunnel project for which the city of Waynesboro is seeking a federal RAISE grant

Crossroads Tavern and Inn expansion to go before Albemarle PC 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. in Lane Auditorium in the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. They are still down a member with a vacancy in the Rio District. (meeting info)

There are two public hearings. The first is for a rezoning at 1906 Avon Street for 3.643 acres from R-1 to R-15. 

“A maximum of 38 dwelling units is proposed, with a mixture of single-family attached and multi-family structures, at a gross and net density of approximately 11 units/acre,” reads the staff report.

That’s above the three to six units per acre called for in the Comprehensive Plan under the Neighborhood Density Residential category. Staff recommends denial.  A community meeting for this project was held last June at the Fifth and Avon Community Advisory Committee and the video can be reviewed here.

The project is being guided through the review process by Shimp Engineering who argue the the development would fit into the emerging character of Avon Street Extended. 

“While the density is more than what was imagined when the Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 2015, Albemarle County is slated to grow in population, and density where appropriate, would contribute towards housing supply aligning with the projected growth,” reads the narrative from Shimp Engineering.

Shimp Engineering put together a chart describing existing conditions in the built environment along Avon Street Extended. (Credit: Shimp Engineering)

The second public hearing is for a special use permit for the expansion of the Crossroads Tavern and Inn in North Garden at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Plank Road. The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

“Crossroads Tavern was built sometime in the 1820s by the Morris family to serve travelers along the Staunton and James River Turnpike in Albemarle County,” reads an entry on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources’ website. “An excellent representative of the simple vernacular hostelries that once dotted Virginia’s roadways, the brick building preserves the long front porch that was a common feature of these buildings.”  

Two hundred years later, the owners of Pippin Hill wants to expand the existing operation of seven guest rooms to 19 rooms while preserving the historic structure. There is also an existing 30-seat restaurant. The Agricultural-Forestal Districts Advisory Committee did not find a conflict with an adjacent district. Planning staff recommend approval despite one unfavorable factor.

“The additional water and sewer capacity needed to support the proposed use does not fully comply with recommendations for the Rural Area chapter of the Comprehensive Plan,”  reads the staff report

The property is currently served by well and a septic field and the applicants have indicated new wells and drainfields. If a central sewer system is needed, the Board of Supervisors would have to approve that use. 

The narrative from Pippin Hill  details what they plan to do.

“An engineered New Generation wastewater treatment system, already in use at Pippin Hill, will be installed that will exceed [Virginia Department of Health] current requirements with the removal of nitrogen, UV disinfection and anaerobic + aerobic field drip dispersal, treating wastewater to potable quality levels,” reads that narrative.

Access to the site would continue to come from the adjacent Pippin Hill property. 

There are 346 pages of correspondence related to the permit running the gamut from support from other wineries and those in the wedding industry to opposition from some who live in neighboring Bundoran Farm. The Bundoran Farm Community Association is opposed to the project because of the pedestrian connection between the tavern property and the winery. (see page 248)

One person opposed to the permit filed a Freedom of Information Act request for correspondence between county staff and the applicant. In one of them, Dean Porter Andrews of the Easton & Porter Group seeks advice on how to avoid going to a public hearing.

“Also got a confidential email that the usual suspects at Bundoran are circulating ginning up opposition – so can’t really risk public hearings I fear,” Andrews wrote in an April 12, 2022 email to Economic Development Director Roger Johnson.  

Staff encouraged the project to go through the public process.

“Even if there are a few people who don’t like this proposal, I think staff supports it and most of the issues being brought up by the community members out there we can address with our report to the PC and Board,” wrote Principal Planner Kevin McDermott in an April 19, 2022 email to Johnson. “I just don’t think saying transportation will be an issue will go very far once we look at the actual trip generation numbers.”

Andrews agreed to go through the public process which continues with this public hearing. 

A conceptual site plan for the project (Credit: Easton Porter Group)

Charlottesville Planning Commission to discuss zoning 

The Charlottesville Planning Commission’s February meeting begins at 5 p.m. in City Space with a pre-meeting. The public can take part in comment periods remotely. These often feature questions about what’s coming up in the regular meeting and sometimes the discussions are substantive. (meeting info)

On the consent agenda is a critical slopes waiver for Buford Middle School. Last week, the city issued an invitation for firms to bid on the project

There’s also a list of site plans adopted administratively. In a future without public hearings for land uses, this may be one of the places to find out what is being built. For this month, this includes a final site plan for the 250 Bypass Waterline Extension. It also means amendments to site plans at Burley Middle School for a Walk of Fame, 1000 Main Street for a pool/patio conversion, and the East McIntire Park Grove. 

There are no public hearings this month. Through the magic of a wooden gavel, the Commission will transform into the Entrance Corridor Review Board to review 2005 Jefferson Park Avenue. Council approved a 119-unit apartment building there in September. Read my story for background.

Then the Commission will get an update on the zoning ordinance. This will be the first public discussion since the first module was released earlier this month. If you’ve not had a chance, take a look at the story I wrote on this as soon as I could. There does not appear to be any new information for this meeting. 

In another meeting:

  • The Charlottesville Economic Development Authority will meet at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers. There is no virtual version for this meeting. On the agenda is an economic impact study for the Charlottesville Pavilion. There will also be an update of the EDA’s lease with S&P Global. Council had a discussion of that lease last June as I wrote about at the time. (meeting info)
A conceptual rendering of how the eight story building will look if you are walking on Washington Avenue (Credit: Timmons Group and Mitchell / Matthews Architects and Planners)

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Ivy vet clinic and catering kitchen goes before Albemarle Supervisors 

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors meets at 1 p.m. in Lane Auditorium at 401 McIntire Road.  (agenda)

The first action item on the agenda is an action item on a special exception for a homestay in the White Hall Magisterial District. The county’s rules on transient lodging left a lot of room for interpretation by the Board of Supervisors. In this case, an applicant on Pea Ridge Road seeks permission to allow a resident manager to live on the site rather than requiring the property owner to be on site. They also seek a second request to allow up to three new accessory structures. Staff recommends approval. (staff report)

Next, Supervisors will be asked to approve changes to tipping fees and other charges at the Ivy Materials Utilization Center (MUC). Though operated by the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, Albemarle County covers the costs of operations after revenue from tipping fees is factored in. 

“In response to a steady increase in annual tonnage received and to rising costs for operation of Ivy MUC, the RSWA Executive Director formally proposed that the Board of Supervisors consider an increase in tipping fees for [Municipal Solid Waste], Construction Debris, and Vegetation/Yard Waste,” reads the staff report.

The new proposed rates for tipping fees at the Ivy Materials Utilization Center (MUC) (Credit: Rivanna Solid Waste Authority)

After that, Supervisors will revisit a request from a landowner to allow for an exemption from the county’s relatively new regulations on importing fill dirt. Supervisors denied a request last July, as I wrote about at the time. Now the landowner has come back with a new plan that has conditions and specificity. (staff report)

After a brief recess, Supervisors will see two presentations that have already gone before the Charlottesville City Council. The first is on the financing strategy for renovations to the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail. The second is a progress report for the United Way of Greater Charlottesville’s strategic plan from FY23 to FY27. 

“The over-arching goal is to eliminate barriers for minority and economically-disadvantaged populations and enable them to achieve financial stability and thrive economically,” reads a sentence in the presentation that was made to Council last week.

I had hoped to write about both of those events and perhaps I will. There are so many potential stories.  

The evening session begins at 6 p.m. There are three public hearings, but two are related to each other. The first is for a special use permit for Maple Grove Christian Church in Hollymead to operate a daycare.

The second is a special use permit request for a veterinary clinic to operate in Ivy within 200 feet of a residential property. There are several parcels on U.S. 250 that are zoned commercial but are not within the designated area. 

“Ivy epitomizes one of Albemarle County’ s rural communities complete with a full -service garage, a U. S. Post Office, a four-season nursery and garden center, and an old motel converted to retail and service-oriented enterprises servicing the community, and, of course, Duner’s Restaurant,” reads the applicant’s narrative. “We propose to add a small-animal

veterinary office to this mix of services. Currently, the closest veterinary services are at least five miles in either direction.” 

The third is a request to use more than 348 gallons of water a day for the 6,500 square foot multi-tenant commercial building that the vet clinic will be within. The building is not on public water and sewer and the request is to use up to 850 gallons a day. This request also contains a special use permit request to operate a 2,000 square foot catering kitchen. 

“This location is ideally suited for a catering business that serves the greater Charlottesville community, Crozet, and the burgeoning event-industry throughout Albemarle County,” reads the narrative for this application

There’s a lot of information on the consent agenda, but I’ll have that information in a future edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement.

Location of the Ivy Proper property)

Fluvanna Supervisors to hold public hearing on solid waste material recovery facility 

The five-member Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors meets at 5 p.m. at 8880 James Madison Highway in Fork Union. (agenda packet)

The meeting begins with a discussion of the budget for Fluvanna County Schools. That information is not available in advance in the packet. 

There is one public hearing on a special use permit for S.B. Cox. for a solid waste materials recovery facility. The Planning Commission recommended approval in January on a 4 to 0 vote. 

“S.B. Cox Inc. is a family-run, Virginia-based demolition and recycling facility that has been in business for over 50 years,” reads the staff report. “The applicant is requesting a Special Use Permit to construct and operate a solid waste material recovery facility for construction and demolition debris.” 

Location map for the proposed solid waste materials recovery facility

Under action matters, a contract will be approved for the remediation of the Kents Store Firehouse after a recent incident. 

“While pumping the grease pit in the kitchen, a septic pump truck accidently back flowed into the building causing sewage sludge to seep onto the floors of these three rooms and the intermediary hallway to a depth of around a half inch to one inch,” reads a report from TJL Environmental Health Consultants. 

In all, around 3,000 gallons of sewage contaminated water were involved. 

There will be a presentation on projects at Pleasant Grove Park including installation of a new controls system. 

“This presentation is to inform the BOS of a fence and gate installation near the front of Pleasant Grove Park,” reads the staff report. “The fence and gate will be able to block the gravel portions of Pleasant Grove Drive and Lippard Lane in the park.”

There will also be an update on the renovation of the Fluvanna County Community Center. 

Greene Planning Commission to complete work on Comprehensive Plan 

Virginia law requires localities to create a Comprehensive Plan “for the physical development of the territory within its jurisdiction and every governing body shall adopt a comprehensive plan for the territory under its jurisdiction.”  

There’s a requirement to review the plan every five years. Greene County has taken the approach to go chapter by chapter to do an update rather than a rewrite. The Planning Commission will have a public hearing on the full draft update at a meeting that begins at 6:30 p.m. (agenda

Then there will be a public hearing on changes to Greene County’s sign ordinance to comply with a recent Virginia Supreme Court ruling. 

There are also items of interest in the development update

Some of the changes that have been made during this review (Credit: Greene County)

Thursday, February 16, 2023

5th and Avon CAC to see AC44 

The 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee will meet at 7 p.m. in the 5th Street County Office Building in Room B for their monthly meeting. After officer elections and a discussion of upcoming topics, Community Connector Allison Wrabel will provide an overview of the county’s Comprehensive Plan review. (meeting info)

Albemarle Supervisors got a status report in January and here’s a paragraph from a story I wrote back then

“The comp plan is being updated using a four-phased approach moving from big ideas and visioning to more details policies and action steps,” said Tori Kannellopolos, a senior planner with Albemarle County’s Community Development Department. “We just completed phase one where we focused on reviewing the growth management policy and building the framework to build the next phases of AC44.” 

In other meetings:

  • Albemarle County will hold the third of three traffic town halls. This one will be at the North Garden Volunteer Fire Company at 4907 Plank Road. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Human Rights Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. for a virtual meeting. The agenda is not posted at publication time. (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.