Week Ahead for January 9, 2023: Three Notch’d Brewery seeks expansion in Charlottesville; Misty Mountain Camp expansion before Albemarle Planning Commission

The year of business has truly begun with a full week. As always, Tuesday seems to be that day when the air is ripe for a government meeting. And this week has a lot of interesting events:

  • The Charlottesville Planning Commission will consider an appeal of a denial by staff for permission for some streets in the 240 Stribling project to exceed eight percent grade in some locations. 
  • The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will hold a community meeting for the expansion of a manufactured home park near Claudius Crozet Park. 
  • The Louisa County Planning Commission will discuss future road designs for an urbanized Zion Crossroads that many community members do not support. 
  • Nelson County Supervisors will discuss the future of the public property near the middle and high school complex and hear more about financing for the Charlottesville Regional Jail 
  • Albemarle’s Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the expansion of Misty Mountain Camp Resort and on the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont 
  • Phase 2 of Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan is about to begin and the Board of Supervisors will get an update 
  • Fluvanna County Planning Commission to review request for solid materials recovery facility 

Just another week in local government! I hope to write about as much of it as possible. Thanks to all of my supporters for helping me learn to become more efficient with every passing week. 

And of course, that includes the Piedmont Environmental Council. I give many thanks for their sponsorship of this newsletter each week. Now celebrating 51 years! 

Monday, January 9, 2023

There’s no really big meeting today that I could see, so we’ll go with three blurbs. This is not an indicator of this week’s level of business.

  • The Albemarle County Fire EMS Executive Committee meeting will meet in person at 4:30 p.m. in the Albemarle County Department of Fire Rescue’s Conference Room 2. That’s at 460 Stagecoach Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902. The minutes for the September 2022 meeting provide a snapshot in the county’s conversations about incentivizing volunteers. At this meeting they will discuss the policy manual for ACFR. (meeting info)
  • The Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. at Greer Elementary School in the Media Center. They’ll discuss the new staffing situation for the CAC’s, developing calendars for 2023, and a discussion of the virtual meeting policy. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Council will meet at 6 p.m. in the Morris Room of the county administration building. (meeting page)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Greene Board of Supervisors considering rebate for personal property taxes

The five-member Greene County Board of Supervisors will meet at 4:30 p.m. in the administration building in Stanardsville. They’ll hold their organizational meeting first before going into closed session. (agenda)

The open session is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. The main idea on the agenda is a public hearing to provide a rebate on personal property taxes for qualifying vehicles for FY2022 and FY2023. (read the proposed ordinance)

There will be two presentations from the Virginia Department of Transportation with the second being a discussion of the intersection of Route 609 and U.S. 29 and potential improvements. 

Proposed improvements to the intersection of Route 609 and U.S. 29 (Credit: Virginia Department of Transportation)

Nelson County Board of Supervisors to hear Jaunt’s pitch for additional funding

The five-member Nelson County Board of Supervisors will meet at 2 p.m. in the General District Courtroom at the Courthouse in Lovingston. The first item on their agenda is the organizational meeting for 2023. (agenda packet)

There will be a presentation from the Virginia Department of Transportation, as well as a report on the financing for the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail Renovation. Then Jaunt will present their transit development plan. Currently they run a circulation bus that travels around Nelson, a route to Charlottesville, as well as the Lovingston Connect bus. Jaunt is seeking more money from Nelson in FY2024 with a $103,823 request, up from $67,176 in FY2023. (page 84)

Under new and unfinished business, there will be a presentation on the development of a master plan for the 300-acre Larkin property near the Nelson County High and Middle School complex. The county is hiring Architectural Partners to do the work. (page 100)

Then a request from judges for parking changes at the courthouse. 

There will be no evening session. Instead, the Board of Supervisors will hold a joint meeting with the Planning Commission on January 18. 

A presentation on the financing for renovations at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail (Credit: Davenport) 

Albemarle Planning Commission to select officers, review Misty Mountain campground expansion

There are supposed to be seven members of the Albemarle Planning Commission, but there’s been a vacancy in the Rio District since last summer. That’s a long time to go without representation on this advisory body. The six members will gather in Lane Auditorium at 6 p.m. (meeting info)

The first item on the agenda is the selection of chair and vice chair. Karen Firehock of the Samuel Miller District was the chair in 2022 and Corey Clayborne of the Rivanna district was vice chair. Both have the claim to fame of also having served as members of the Charlottesville Planning Commission. 

After officers are selected and in place, there are three public hearings.

The Botanical Garden of the Piedmont has spent many years doing the legwork to get a facility off the ground in McIntire Park. Three of the 14.7 acres of the proposed public garden are located within Albemarle County. That means the Planning Commission will be asked to weigh in on whether this will be consistent the Comprehensive Plan. 

“Public uses are permitted by-right in all zoning districts,” reads the staff report. “However, if the proposed facility/use is not specifically identified in the locality’s Comprehensive Plan, a review for the facility’s compliance with the Comprehensive Plan is required by Virginia Code.” 

When opened, the garden will be free to the public and open seven days a week. They anticipate four events a year including a winter light display. The nonprofit organization will be responsible for paying for the public buildings on the site including a visitors center. 

“Our founders recognized that Central Virginia area lacks a central, well-planned, natural area,” reads a letter from BGP officials to the county. “They also recognized that modern botanical gardens have evolved and can actively help communities deal with community challenges by creating food forests, working with schools and camps to develop curricula, partnering with senior centers and providing green industry job training programs for at risk and challenged adults.”

Location map for the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont (Credit: Albemarle County)

The second public hearing is for a special use permit for Appalachian Power Company to rebuild a six-mile transmission line between Esmont and Scottsville. This will “replace existing power-line support poles with an average height of approximately 40 feet with new poles with an average height of approximately 60 feet in order to install a new 46-kiloVolt powerline.” 

The third is for a proposal for Misty Mountain Camp Resort to amend an existing special use permit to add 53 campsites for a total of 158, to increase the number of cabins to 18, and to allow the resort to operate year-round. Guests would be restricted to 30 days stay. 

The county’s Agricultural-Forestal Districts Advisory Committee found no issue with the expansion and neighbor concerns about noise and trespassing are to be worked out on site. 

“The existing campground contains six wells, and a new seventh well has been drilled at the southeast corner of the property,” reads the staff report. “The applicants have stated that the new well yields seven gallons per minute, which is sufficient for the new camping area.”

This is the kind of sign that will be installed to keep guests on the resort’s property (Credit: Line + Grade)

Three Notch’d Brewery expansion goes before Charlottesville Planning Commission 

I would like to sincerely thank city staff for listing the 5 p.m. start time for the Charlottesville Planning Commission meeting. They’ll be in City Space.

While the meeting doesn’t officially start until 5 p.m. there is a pre-meeting at which the seven Commissioners discuss items on the agenda. This has been practice for the entire time I’ve been reporting on Charlottesville land use and it’s just important for people to know when public business is being discussed. This is also part of the official Zoom call, and now will be part of the official video transmission as well. (agenda)

The main item on the agenda is a public hearing on a special use permit for the expansion of Three Notch’d Brewery. 

“The applicant currently operates a microbrewery on site and seeks to expand production from the current maximum of 15,000 barrels per year to a maximum of 30,000 barrels per year,” reads the staff report. 

“Microbrewery” and “small brewery” are not the same in zoning code definitions. Technically “small brewery” is “brewery (small).” Now you know.

Staff identifies additional truck traffic as one of the biggest impacts, with 19 a week up from 13. 

Next is a public hearing on a special use permit for the 250 Bypass Fire Station. This would replace the existing station with a new facility. The city has been allocating money to this in the Capital Improvement Program for several years. The project will also need a critical slopes waiver. 

Conceptual drawing of the new fire station proposed for the U.S. 250 Bypass (Credit: Timmons Group / H G) 

Next, Southern Development is appealing a denial of a waiver issued by the City of Charlottesville to allow construction of a road in excess of eight percent grade. The staff note reports that staff mentioned that the roads might not be compliant in some places. Southern Development listed five reasons why they need the additional steepness. 

In a letter to staff, Charlie Armstrong of Southern Development said that the adoption of the Standards and Design Manual called for instances where grade could be exceeded and that the code was supposed to be updated to reflect this. 

“We’re going backwards, reopening issues we made good progress on several years ago, in what seems like an arbitrary way,” in a December 5, 2022 email. 

Fluvanna Planning Commission to consider solid waste recovery facility, review Comprehensive Plan draft

The Fluvanna County Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. at the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center at 8880 James Madison Highway in Fork Union. They’ll begin with an organizational meeting. (agenda packet)

There is a public hearing for a special use permit for a solid waste material recovery facility on about 90 acres. The site was previously zoned for an auto parts recycling facility. 

“S.B. Cox Inc. (Applicant) is a family-run Virginia-based demolition and recycling facility that has been in business for over 50 years,” reads the staff report (page 12). The applicant is requesting a Special Use Permit to construct and operate a materials recovery facility for construction and demolition debris on an approximately sixteen (16) acre portion.” 

The rest of the property would be used for a future industrial park. The materials recovery facility would employee between ten and 12 people according to the staff report. 

There will also be a presentation on the draft Comprehensive Plan and where things stand. There will be a work session on February 7 to prepare for a public workshop  to take place in the spring. 

The conceptual site plan for the Materials Recovery Facility (Credit: LaBella)

In other meetings:

  • The Albemarle Police Citizens Advisory Committee meets at 9 a.m. in Room C of the county’s office building at 1600 5th Street. There will be a review of Albemarle Police’s response to violence in the community, as well as a discussion of how the department is doing in reaching out to the area’s Hispanic community. There will also be a discussion of public policing and mental health. (meeting info)
  • The Nelson County Broadband Authority meets at 1 p.m. in the General District Courtroom in the Courthouse in Lovingston. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Electoral Board will meet at 6 p.m. in the City Hall Annex. On the agenda is reprecincting, election of officers, and ranked choice voting. (agenda)

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Albemarle Board of Supervisors to review community engagement plan for Comprehensive Plan phase 2

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors will meet for the second time of 2023 having elected officers in a brief meeting on January 4. They meet in Lane Auditorium at 1 p.m. (agenda)

The first item on the agenda is a special exception for a homestay in the Rivanna District. Under the current ordinance, Supervisors weigh in on certain questions related to specific applications for tourist lodging. In this case, the applicant wants to have a manager onsite rather than be present themselves. (staff report)

Next, Albemarle County’s review of the Comprehensive Plan and the zoning code are underway, with the first phase of the plan review complete. The firm EPR PC is assisting the county with this work. Supervisors have not yet seen the full results of phase 1, but did have work session on October 19 on the “Framework for an Equitable and Resilient Community.” (view that work

At this work session, they’ll get a check-in on phase 2 which will take place for much of the calendar year. 

“This phase will identify main topics for the Comprehensive Plan, such as transportation, land use, and economic development,” reads the staff report. “The expected deliverables for Phase 2 are updated policies for each topic and the development of toolkits for land use, transportation, and other topics as needed.” 

The suggestion is to streamline the existing plan which has over 400 pages in the main section and over 900 pages in appendices. While this may seem like housekeeping paperwork, the idea is to make it easier for the average person to understand the plan.  There will also be a review of the engagement plan. 

A slide presentation on the “Family of Plans” concept (view the slides) (Credit: Albemarle County / EPR, PC)

Next, Supervisors will be presented with the reassessment figures for calendar year 2023. This is a major piece of information that will factor into the development of the budget for FY2024. As this is the first discussion of reassessments this year, the following section from the staff report is worth reviewing for reference.

“The Constitution of Virginia, Article X, Taxation and Finance, Section 2, Assessments dictates that ‘all assessments of real estate and tangible personal property shall be at their fair market value, to be ascertained as prescribed by law.’”, reads the staff report. “State Code § 58.1-3201 also requires all real estate assessments to be made at 100% of fair market value.”

Updates on Albemarle County transportation projects

After that will be the latest updates from the county’s transportation planner, Jessica Hersh-Ballering. The major piece of information coming up later this month will be the scoring of Smart Scale submissions.  As a reminder, here’s what Albemarle submitted:

Here’s what the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission submitted: 

Here’s what the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning District Commission submitted:

There will also be updates on the Three Notched Trail shared use path, the Lambs Lane Campus, the future of Free Bridge Lane, and improvements to Old Ivy Road. The latter are a reason why the Planning Commission recommended denial of a rezoning for a 525-unit housing development next to University Village.  (read the story)

“A consultant under contract with VDOT has identified potential vehicular improvements to the Old Garth Rd/US 250/Canterbury Rd intersection,” reads the quarterly report. “These improvements are expected to address safety and congestion issues on the US 29 Bypass Southbound exit ramp near St Anne’s Belfield Entrance. Pedestrian improvements on the eastern end of the corridor have not yet been identified.” 

Those who push the city of Charlottesville for specific transportation improvements could benefit from taking a look at the full report. To actually bring projects from idea to implementation, you need a planning department that understands how to match up specific road improvements to specific pools of funding. A full comparison between how the two jurisdictions work would be very useful. 

I’ll have more details later this week from the meeting. And there will also be a report from the Virginia Department of Transportation. (read the VDOT report)

The report also identifies where staff know increased development will have an effect on the transportation network (Credit: Albemarle County) 

In the evening there are several public hearings. 

  • There will be an appropriation of various funds in the FY23 budget. This will include the receipt of $153,250 in funds from the Inflation Reduction Act for solar panel installations at Red Hill and Scottsville elementary schools. (staff report)
  • The Regents School seeks an amendment to a special use permit allowing for a private central sewer system. The request is to increase the number of connections and to also develop a central water system. (staff report)
  • The Crown Orchard seeks a special use permit for housing for farm workers at their location in Covesville. (staff report)
  • The Appalachian Electric Power Company seeks a special use permit for the expansion of a substation in Scottsville. (staff report)
  • There is a review of the Blue Run Agricultural and Forest District. (staff report)

On the consent agenda:

Crozet group to hear details about manufactured home park

The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will meet at 7 p.m. in the Crozet Library. (meeting info) (agenda)

After a period called “Community Concerns,” there will be a community meeting for a special use permit for an expansion of an existing manufactured home park near Claudius Crozet Park. There are 73 units currently and the request to become compliant with zoning also comes up with a request to add 14 new units on site. (SP202200029)

A photo from the presentation on existing conditions at the manufactured home park (Credit: Shimp Engineering)

In another meeting:
  • The James River Water Authority will meet at the Fluvanna County Administration Building at 132 Main Street in Palmyra at 9 a.m. There will be a project status update on the effort to get a permit for an alternative waterline between the James River and a future water treatment center to serve the urbanized portion of Zion Crossroads. (agenda)

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Louisa County PC to discuss Zion Crossroads intersections

The Louisa County Planning Commission will meet at 5 p.m. in the Louisa County Public Meeting Room for a long-range planning work session. They’ll review the Capital Improvement Program. (agenda)

At 7 p.m. the Planning Commission will have a regular meeting in which there are no public hearings. But there’s a lot to discuss! 

Under unfinished business there will be a review of the Zion Crossroads Transportation Network. The packet contains many calls of opposition against a solution that has been suggested for future intersection designs. 

“The bowtie concept would be a disaster for Zion Crossroads,” reads one (page 8). “Yes, there’s increasing traffic, but this concept would [be] utterly confusing and create more aggravation than the existing intersection does.”

The proposed “bowtie” design (Credit: VDOT)

There are dozens of comments like that, as well as other commentary from community members about the proposed solution as well as the idea of growth in general. 

Under new business there’s a discussion of a waiver for a private road in the Sunset Pointe development. There will also be a review of the Planning Commission’s by-laws. 

In other meetings: 

  • The Albemarle Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee meets at 4 p.m. in Room 235 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. The outreach subcommittee will convene afterward. (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. There’s no agenda at publication time. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle County School Board will hold its organizational meeting. This will be the first meeting for new Board Member Rebecca Berlin. (updated with correct name!) (meeting info page)
  • The Places-29 North Community Advisory Committee Meeting meets at 6:30 p.m. in Hollymead Elementary School in the media center. There’s no agenda at publication time. (meeting info)

Friday, January 13, 2023

Charlottesville’s Historic Resources Committee will meet at 11 a.m. via zoom. (agenda)

After public comment, there will be a work session on the downtown walking tour. Then, the annual reorganization meeting which will see election of officers. 

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.