In many ways, this is the real start of the new year. In addition to the opening of the 2022 General Assembly session, Virginia’s new governor takes office on Saturday. But this newsletter has a focus on what happens at the local level. This is the week where things really get going with the first of many full weeks. This is a rare one in which the elected bodies of all six localities I cover will meet.
Last week’s winter storm extended the beginning of the new year for both Fluvanna and Louisa County. Greene County’s Board of Supervisors has its first meeting of the year on Tuesday and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors take up their first major items of business on Wednesday. Charlottesville City Council had a full meeting last Wednesday but may make a significant hire on Tuesday morning.
Thanks as always to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their sponsorship of the program.
Monday, January 10, 2022
Louisa BOS to meet
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors meets in closed session at 2 p.m. and in open session to begin a meeting postponed twice last week.
Trash (alternatives) talk
At noon, a subcommittee of the Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee (SWAAC) will meet. They’ll get an update on efforts to increase the efficacy of glass recycling, efforts to bring composting at county schools, and an update on solid waste planning. There is talk to try to ban glass from single-stream recycling due to the certainty the glass will be too contaminated to use as anything else other than landfill cover. This meeting will be held in-person at the picnic tables at the county office building at 401 McIntire. This meeting was rescheduled from Friday. (meeting info)
In other meetings:
- The Charlottesville Airport Commission meets virtually at 4 p.m. but there’s no agenda on the website. (website)
- The Albemarle County Fire EMS Executive Committee will meet virtually at 4:30 p.m. On the agenda is a discussion of Lexipol, a knowledge management system that according to the December 13, 2020 meeting “provides public safety policies for fire and police across the nation.” Read those minutes for more information. (meeting info)
- The Blue Ridge Health District will hold a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. on the pandemic. This was rescheduled from last week. (meeting info)
- The Village of Rivanna Community Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for this evening has been canceled.
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Council may select interim city manager
One of the last actions by the last City Council was to hire the Robert Bobb Group to take on the task of providing an executive to run the city government while the search is conducted for a permanent city manager. The new City Council will meet Tuesday at 11 a.m. to interview candidates that the D.C. based firm will provide in-house. The agenda states they might approve a candidate. (meeting info)
First meeting for the new Albemarle Planning Commission
The Albemarle Planning Commission gets off to a fast start with three public hearings. They will meet virtually at 6 p.m. (meeting info)
Last week, the six-member Albemarle Board of Supervisors appointed Luis Carrazana and Fred Missel to the seven-member Albemarle Planning Commission. Both have ties to land use interests of the University of Virginia. Carrazana is the associate architect who has been serving as anon-voting member of the commission. Missel is the director of design and development for the UVA Foundation, which was created in 1986 as part of a three party agreement between UVA, Charlottesville, and Albemarle County. Missel is also a member of the Albemarle Board of Architectural Review.
The first thing will be to select a chair and vice chair. Julian Bivins of the Jack Jouett District has served in the position since 2020.
The first two public hearings are related to a hotel on Pantops on the south side of U.S. 250. The Overlook Hotel would be built on two parcels of land, and a land use change is needed for both. Each is zoned Planned Development Mixed Commercial (PDMC). Among other things, the developers need a special use permit (SUP) to allow the use and the zoning amended to remove a tree conservation area depicted in the existing zoning documents. Those also have to be updated to allow an entrance from U.S. 250. A community meeting for this rezoning was held in January, as reported on Information Charlottesville. (staff report)
The third public hearing relates to how private streets are maintained. A proposed ordinance would require that if a street is to remain private, the plats submitted must have a statement from the property owner acknowledging that maintenance is their responsibility. The ordinance change would also remove a requirement that the county must approve maintenance agreements. (staff report)
Charlottesville PC to review Urban Rivanna River Corridor Plan
Albemarle and Charlottesville share a common border that doubles as an amenity that serves the entire community. The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission has conducted a series of studies regarding the waterway and the Charlottesville Planning Commission and City Council will hold a joint public hearing on the latest. (meeting info) (packet)
“The purpose of the Urban Rivanna River Corridor Plan is to set a detailed vision for the Urban Rivanna River Corridor area to guide the future development and environmental preservation of the urban portion of the Rivanna River,” reads the staff report.
Should the document be added to the Comprehensive Plan? That’s the main question before the Planning Commission. This is one of the first items to come through the Planning Commission following the adoption of the new Comprehensive Plan on November 15, 2021.
There’s no other business on the agenda.
Greene County to amend transient lodging ordinance, require registration
The five-member Greene County Board of Supervisors will meet for the first time in 2022 with one new member. Abbey Heflin was elected to represent the Stanardsville District. They’ll select a new chair and vice chair and get into business.
The main item is an update of the transient lodging ordinance and the addition of a requirement that owners of short-term rentals get a business license and register their property with the Commissioner of Revenue. (agenda)
Nelson County Supervisors to meet
There are no new members of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors following an election in which of the five magisterial districts were up for a vote. Ernie Reed and Thomas Harvey both fended off challengers, and Jesse Rutherford ran unopposed.
On the agenda for the afternoon session is approval of a firm to study compensation of county employees. Management Advisory Group International will do the work for $24,500. There’s also a presentation on the relocation of the Department of Health and the Department of Social Services to a new building at Callohill Drive.
In the evening session, there are two public hearings on land use items. One is for a rezoning from residential to agricultural on a property on Critzer Shop Road in Afton. The property is also seeking a special use permit to allow an existing dentist’s office to operate on the site. The use is currently non-conforming and if granted, this would allow for the office to expand. An adjoining neighbor wants the county to require a rezoning to B-1, arguing that the property would still be non-confirming because it doesn’t meet the minimum lot requirements of two acres.
The other public hearing is for a rezoning and special use permit for a restaurant to operate at Saddleback Farm in Afton. Currently there is a bed and breakfast there, and this request would allow access to the general public.
In other meetings:
- The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will meet in closed session beginning at 8 a.m. The agenda doesn’t specify what exemption to Virginia’s open meeting rules will be called in the motion to meet. (meeting info)
- The Nelson County Broadband Authority meets at 1 p.m. (agenda packet)
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
CenturyLink Lumen representatives to answer complaints of poor service in Albemarle
After announcements and comments from the public, the Board will have two work sessions. The first is an update on the pandemic. This day marks the 22-month anniversary since County Executive Jeffrey Richardson declared a county emergency that remains in effect and allows meetings to remain virtual.
“As part of this work session, staff will present an update on County operations as they pertain to the pandemic and facilitate a discussion on Reconstitution,” reads the staff report.
In the second work session, Supervisors will meet with representatives of CenturyLink Lumen on their service issues in the community, as well as “the pending transfer of telecommunications assets in the County to a new company.” The county’s Broadband Accessibility and Affordability Office has produced a briefing document for the discussion. (staff report)
“Preparation of this document follows months of receiving emails and phone calls from residents and Supervisors regarding service issues that go unresolved after repeated attempts,” reads that document. “The complaints cover a wide set of issues: delays in initiating service, property damage during installation and trenching, negligent line placement, service interruption, telephony and broadband outages, and deficiencies in customer service.”
The late afternoon is reserved for transportation issues with new reports from Albemarle transportation staff and the Virginia Department of Transportation. The ten-page county report is a summary of what took place in 2021, including the reclassification of several roads in order for them to quality as Entrance Corridors. There’s also information about pending Smart Scale pre-applications including these projects already endorsed by the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Board.
- A roundabout at District Avenue and Hydraulic road
- A bike/pedestrian bridge to connect South Pantops and Woolen Mills (see Friday)
- Avon Street Corridor Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements
- 5th Street Extended Multimodal Improvements
Other projects under consideration for submission by either Albemarle County or the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission:
- U.S. 250 Corridor Improvements – Hansen Road to Peter Jefferson Parkway
- Avon Street Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements
- Ivy Road / U.S.29 / 250 Bypass Interchange
- Belvedere Boulevard / Rio Road Intersection Improvement
- 5th Street Extended Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements
- Crozet Avenue / US 250 West Intersection Improvements
- U.S. 250 / Route 22 / Milton Drive
The VDOT report tracks projects in planning and construction. Preliminary engineering is underway for a roundabout at Route 240 and U.S. 250 east of Crozet as well as a connector road between Berkmar Drive and Airport Road. When the latter is completed, Berkmar Drive would connect all the way to the UVA North Fork Research Park. Three more roundabouts are planned and funded in the county at these locations:
- John Warner Parkway and Rio Road
- Route 53 and Route 20
- 5th Street Old Lynchburg Road
Public hearing on bonus densities
Staff in Albemarle County’s Community Development Department have been working behind the scenes on a directive from the Board of Supervisors to address zoning issues at the same time as a review of the Comprehensive Plan. In the evening session, Supervisors will have a public hearing on ordinance revisions related to rules on how developers can get bonus densities.
“This amendment is expected to improve the administration of these Zoning regulations, provide clarity to the public regarding which density bonuses are available, and simplify the regulation formatting in preparation for a zoning text amendment (ZTA) addressing the affordable housing goals and strategies of the Comprehensive Plan,” reads the staff report.
There are several items of note on the consent agenda including a budget appropriation.
- The Albemarle County Service Authority received $195,359 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to help some ratepayers with bills. The county serves as the fiscal agent the money.
- The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau (CACVB) received $660,000 from the tourism recovery program portion of the American Rescue Plan Act. The money will be used for a project “to increase awareness of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to markets that haven’t been reached before, increase the knowledge of the movement of visitors and residents in the destination, craft a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan for the local visitor economy, generate stays during winter, and provide a safer space for visitors at the downtown mall.”
- The Facilities and Environmental Services Department will use $173,458 from the Capital Advancing Strategic Priorities Reserve to “to inspect, review, assess, analyze, and recommend potential plans regarding the development of the Brookhill proffer.” That refers to a requirement that a seven-acre parcel of land be reserved for an elementary school. (proffer statement)
Also on the consent agenda:
- There’s a resolution to schedule a public hearing for an amendment to the CACVB to reduce the number of officials on that entity’s Board. Council approved the changes on December 6. (staff report)
- Albemarle County Service Authority needs an easement near Hollymead Town Center to upgrade a sanitary sewer line. (staff report)
- There’s another resolution of support to extend the Scenic River designation of the James River to include more of its span in Albemarle County. (staff report)
- The owner of a homestay on Mountain Brook Drive seeks a special exception. (staff report)
Community meeting for Montclair development in Crozet
The Crozet Community Advisory Committee meets virtually at 7 p.m. and the year begins with a review of a rezoning of two parcels of land on Route 240 in Crozet to the west of Wickham Pond. This is the first application to proceed following an update of the Crozet Master Plan. (meeting info)
One parcel is currently zoned light industrial and the other is zoned for rural uses. The applicant seeks rezone both to the Neighborhood Model District. The 2010 version of the Future Land Use Map designates one of the properties for green space, and the other light-industrial and green space. The updated plan designates both as having elements of Middle Density Residential, Low Density Residential, and green space.
According to the narrative written in September 2020 by Shimp Engineering, the proposed development is a “mixed-unit residential community with limited complementary commercial uses.” The project would be most intense along Route 240, tapering back towards a conservation along a stream.
The project was deferred while the Master Plan update was under development. A new code of development has been submitted that increased the maximum request from 125 units to 157 units.
In other meetings:
- Last week’s meeting of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors was postponed due to power outages due to the winter storm. It will be held today instead. Read last week’s Week Ahead to learn more. (agenda packet)
- The Charlottesville Electoral Board meets in person at 6 p.m. at the Charlottesville Office of the Registrar. The topic is redistricting. (agenda)
- The Charlottesville Youth Council meets virtually at 6 p.m. There’s no agenda published at publication time. (meeting info)
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Discussing Louisa’s capital needs
The Louisa County Planning Commission will meet in person at 5 p.m. to discuss requests for new projects in the capital improvement program. Items include two new fire stations and transportation enhancements for a regional business park. (agenda packet)
In the regular meeting at 7 p.m., the commission will elect a new chair and vice chair. They’ll have two public hearings. The first is a request for an agricultural operation to take place on Owens Creek Road on land zoned residential. (agenda packet)
“No swine, alpacas, or lamas shall be allowed on the properties,” reads on the recommendations from staff.
The second public hearing is on an ordinance change to remove the phrase “impoundment lot” from the Land Development Regulations and add “Motor Vehicle Impoundment Yard” and “Motor Vehicle Towing Services.”
In other meetings:
- The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee meets virtually at 5:30 p.m. This will be the first meeting for new director Dana Kasler. (meeting info)
- The Places29-North Community Advisory Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. There’s no agenda yet for this meeting. (meeting info)
- The Albemarle County School Board will meet for the first time of the year at 6:30 p.m. (agenda)
- The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners will have a work session at 5 p.m. on the Annual Plan, a document required each year by the U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development. The most recent draft is dated December 28, 2021 and can be reviewed here.
Friday, January 14, 2022
A stakeholder group overseeing planning for a potential pedestrian bridge over the Rivanna River will meet to tour potential locations. The event will take place from noon at a location to be determined. This work is being overseen by staff at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. I’m in the process of updating a page on cvillepedia about this topic, so keep checking back there to learn more.
This is from the Albemarle County quarterly transportation report:
“The Rivanna River bike and pedestrian bridge was a priority recommendation from the Jefferson Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and is identified in the Rivanna River Corridor Plan, among other plans. VDOT performed an evaluation on potential locations for this bridge in 2020 and focused in on two locations in the Woolen Mills/Riverview Park/State Farm/Martha Jefferson area. The Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO has recommended an application for this project in the upcoming Smart Scale round. Additional planning and conceptual design by VDOT will be necessary. CA-MPO staff have begun facilitating monthly stakeholder meetings on this project; the stakeholder group membership was approved by the CA-MPO Policy Board.”
In another meeting;
- The Charlottesville Historical Resources Committee meets virtually at 11 a.m. (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.