Week Ahead for July 11, 2022: Public in-person open house for Regional Transit Vision; Greene Supervisors to vote on Wawa at U.S. 29 / 33

We’re still in the middle of a summer where federal issues have dominated, but there’s plenty happening at the local level even if many groups are taking some off. All of Albemarle County’s Community Advisory Committee will skip the entire month, but something new always comes up.

For instance, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will hold an in-person open house Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for people to get information about the Regional Transit Vision Plan. I’ve been following the development of that plan as much as I can, and I look forward to hearing what Nelson County Supervisors have to say about this project Tuesday afternoon. All of that’s happening on Tuesday. 

Each week, this newsletter seeks to encourage each of you to attend whatever you can, however you can. I also hope that other journalists will report on some of what’s happening, or will do their own previews of what’s coming up. I wish I could get to everything, but I’m limited by the hours in the day. I’m fairly certain the public wants more coverage of meetings and the day-to-day, week-to-week details.

I’m here for that, thanks to ongoing support of the Piedmont Environmental Council

Monday, July 11, 2022

Charlottesville Police Oversight Board to hold meeting on hearings

The Charlottesville Police Civilian Review Board was recently renamed the Charlottesville Police Oversight Board and tonight will hold a special meeting for a “prehearing conference.”

City Council adopted a resolution on November 1, 2021 on procedures for holding hearings. 

“The PCRB may, from time to time, upon receipt of information relating to a Complaint, as defined herein, conduct a Hearing related to that Complaint,” reads the resolution. “A ‘Complaint’ shall mean a complaint from a civilian regarding the conduct of law enforcement officers and civilian employees of a law-enforcement agency serving under the authority of the City (‘Civilian Complaint’).”

This meeting will go over how hearings will work in the future and provide a chance for Board members to ask questions. There is one coming up on Tuesday. It will be held virtually over Zoom beginning at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info)

In other meetings:

  • The Albemarle Fire EMS Executive Committee will meet virtually at 4:30 p.m. to discuss specific Lexipol policies they want to rescind. They’ll also discuss a medical questionnaire that will go for all EMS pieces. In-person meetings will begin in September. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Economic Development Authority meets at 5 p.m. in the Morris Room at the County Administration Building at 132 Main Street in Palmyra. They’ll get a presentation called EDA 101 from the General Counsel of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The public can watch via Zoom. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Nelson County Supervisors to be briefed on Regional Transit Vision Plan, asked to approve Santa’s Workshop 

The five-member Nelson County Board of Supervisors will meet for their afternoon session at 2 p.m. for regular business and again at 7 p.m. for public hearings. (agenda packet)

The afternoon begins with presentations including an update on the Firefly Fiber Broadband project funded through VATI and a portion of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act distribution. 

There will also be an update from Lucinda Shannon of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission on the Regional Transit Vision that is underway. The presentation begins on page 51 of the meeting packet. Here are some previous stories on this process:

There will also be an update from the Virginia Cooperative Extension (page 72) and a report from the Virginia Department of Transportation on a potential through truck restriction on Love Road. The latter would also include roadways in Augusta County. 

There are several pieces of new and unfinished business. The Nelson County Dixie Pre-Majors team will be competing in the World Series later this month. They’ll be asking for financial support. 

“We will be traveling for more than 13 hours and over 900 miles one way to get to the field in Louisiana,” reads a letter from the mother of one of the student athletes. 

They’ll also hear a request from the Nelson County Service Authority to waive building permit fees, and a street closure in Lovingston for the upcoming fall festival on October 1. They’ll also discuss financing for property acquisition and a review of the FY22-FY23 salary and classification system. This includes a new $15 hour minimum wage. 

The service area for the RISE Firefly Fiber project covers 13 counties

In the evening session, there are three public hearings. 

The first is for a “conference center” at Lovingston Winery. 

“The current owners are proposing to construct a 2,048 square foot barn to be utilized primarily for wine storage and on-site wine sale,” reads the staff report. (page 185)

The second is for a rezoning application for a property on Variety Mills Road in Arrington from residential to business for an office.A convenience store has operated there despite that zoning.

“This would bring the existing nonconforming use and structure into current compliance, and allow the applicant to use a proposed structure as office space and for Santa’s Workshop,” reads the staff report. (page 202)

In the final one, there’s a special use permit request for a campground site on property on North Fork Road in Montebello. 

“The owners are requesting to construct a 192 square foot platform to place a 120 square foot canvas tent to be utilized as a short term rental,” reads the staff report. 

Cover image for the application for the Lovingston Winery (Credit: Nelson County)

TJPDC to hold open house on the Regional Transit Vision Plan

If I am not mistaken, today’s open on the Regional Transit Vision Plan is the first in-person event to be held as part of the $350,000 project. Work got underway during the pandemic. So far, the entire community process has been conducted virtually, but this one will be held at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission’s offices at 615 East Water Street. That’s easy to get to on transit. How many will get there that way? 

Both the constrained and unstrained vision plans look to the future, and are intended to be aspirational. They are also being developed at a time when Charlottesville Area Transit has been unable to proceed with route changes put forth in the summer of 2021 due to a lack of drivers.  (Next steps for Charlottesville Area Transit route changes outlined at partnership meeting, June 24, 2022)

Is there a disconnect between the aspirational and the actual? I might go there myself to ask that question of the consultants, unless someone wants to beat me to it. 

I will also point out that there is no information about this meeting on the TJPDC website. It’s not on the project website. It’s not listed on TJPDC’s transit planning page. It is not listed as an event on the TJPDC calendar visible at the bottom of their webpage.  

I found it on the Albemarle County website

Checking my email, a press release for the event went out on July 1 with the headline “Virtual Public Meeting on June 23 to Envision Transit Future.” A revised release was sent out on July 6 with the correct headline. Here’s the rest of the release in case you missed it.

Open House on July 12 to Envision Transit Future

CHARLOTTESVILLE— The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) will host an open house from 10 am to 3 pm at the downtown transit center (615 E Water Street Charlottesville) to collect public input on a draft Regional Transit Vision for the Charlottesville Area, which includes the surrounding counties. Consultants prepared two concepts of a future transit network that would transform how people travel throughout the Thomas Jefferson region.

To learn more about this effort and participate in our online survey visit the project website at: http://www.tinyurl.com/transitvision.

Staff will be at the transit enter to share information and gather feedback about the proposed transit vision. In person survey participants will be entered to win $25 gift cards.

The Regional Transit Vision for the Charlottesville Area is a collaborative effort to evaluate transit services in Charlottesville and the surrounding region. It aims to establish a clear long-term vision for efficient, equitable, and effective transit service. The TJPDC leads this process with resources from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transit (DRPT) and matching funds from the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The Transit Vision Plan supports the Regional Transit Partnership’s (RTP) work, which strives to improve communication and collaboration between the three transit providers that operate in the Charlottesville Metro Area.”

Greene County Supervisors to consider rezoning for Wawa at U.S. 29 / 33

The Greene County Board of Supervisors will meet at the Administration Building in Stanardsville at 5:30 p.m. for a closed session and will resume in open session at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info)

The first public hearing is a request from Milestone Partners LLC and Haney Family Holdings LLC to rezone 3.5 acres from B-2 to B-3 for a convenience store with fuel pumps. The Greene Planning Commission recommended approval unanimously on June 15. Staff recommends the project because it would help build a piece of infrastructure called for in the Comprehensive Plan.

“The Comprehensive Plan supports commercial growth along the Route 29 and 33 corridor and the interconnectivity of adjacent parcels will begin the eastern loop road along route 29,” reads the staff report

The site recently was home to a microbrewery. One member of the Ruckersville business community has written to Supervisors to oppose the project in part because he laments the forthcoming demise of Octonia Stone Brewing

“The Rezoning request states, ‘The future land use map designates this parcel in a growth area as a mixed-use village center,’” writes Patrick Moctezuma.  “[Does] this Board feel that Wawa is a suitable centerpiece for this “village center”?

The location for the rezoning in Greene County for the future Wawa (Credit: Greene County)

In the next public hearing, Supervisors will consider adding meat processing facilities as a by-right use in A-1 and C-1 zoning districts. Facilities could be no more than one acre in size, must be set back by fifty feet from property lines, and would need screening. The Planning Commission recommended approval on a 4-0 vote On May 18, 2022. 

After that, Supervisors will discuss other business, including a fee proposal from WW Associates to do engineering work fo the next phase of the water supply project This includes construction of an access  road and relocation of an existing waterline. (staff presentation)

There will also be a presentation on the Emergency Services Advisory Board’s request for a training facility for public safety employees in Greene County. 

“The subcommittee is recommending to the Emergency Services Advisory Board [and by this presentation to the BOS] the development of a plan to design, fund, and build a public safety complex in phases and to include: a public safety training facility; a headquarters for law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, and emergency management; a 9-1-1 center; and an [Emergency Operations Center],” reads a presentation on the recommendation. 

Finally, there are introductions of three ordinances that will come back in August for approval. These include a litter ordinancean update to the purchasing policyand an amendment to the noise ordinance

Fluvanna County Planning Commission to get update on Comprehensive Plan, consider rezoning for 35 acres near Lake Monticello 

Fluvanna County is in the midst of updating its Comprehensive Plan, and the Planning Commission will have a work session beginning at 6 p.m. This will take place at the Fluvanna County Library at 214 Commons Boulevard in Palmyra. This will be followed by a regular meeting. (meeting packet)

The work session will also include a discussion of potential zoning text amendments to add definitions for brewpubs, microbreweries, data centers, emergency centers, vehicle impoundment centers. These new uses are “proposed based upon market driven factors and small business owner requests” according to the agenda. These were discussed at the June 7 meeting. 

In the regular session, There are two public hearings. One is for a rezoning request for around 35 acres of land on Lake Monticello Road from agricultural to business. 

“The applicant indicated that they seek to establish a traditional commercial center use which may include uses such as an anchor grocery store, emergency center, outparcel bank, retail, office and sit-down restaurant uses that would provide the necessary neighborhood services that are lacking around the Lake Monticello development,” reads the staff report account of a community meeting held on June 29, 2022. 

This property is within the Rivanna Community Planning Area. Staff said the emergency center use would assist the county in being able to serve the needs of an aging population, citing Census data that shows over sixty percent of Lake Monticello residents are over the age of 60. 

“The time has come for Fluvanna County to seek out better medical providers and emergency center facilities to be located in the county rather the long commutes to surrounding jurisdiction,” the staff report continues. 

The applicant is agreeing to not ever build several uses including commercial kennels, boarding houses, automobile repair establishments, and indoor shooting ranges. 

The other public hearing is on the above mentioned new commercial uses that were discussed in the work session. Information on this can be seen in the minutes of the June 7 meeting as there’s no new presentation. 

Location map for the undeveloped property that Wolfpack seeks to convert to business use to serve Lake Monticello (Credit: Shimp Engineering)

Charlottesville Planning Commission to consider historic status of church near Dairy Market

The seven-member Charlottesville Planning Commission will have a hybrid meeting in CitySpace that begins at 5 p.m. for a pre-meeting followed by the regular session at 5:30 p.m. (meeting info) (agenda packet)

There’s one item on the main agenda. The owners of the Dairy Market are seeking to rezone the former church they own at 415 Tenth Street NW so they can use it for events. The underlying zoning is residential, and that use is not allowed. The recommended solution is to designate the structure as an Individually Protected Property.

There’s one item on the consent agenda, which means it won’t be discussed but will be up for approval. The Charlottesville Planning Commission is also the Charlottesville Entrance Corridor Review Board. Strategy 7.4 of the Land Use Chapter of the new Comprehensive Plan calls for the duties of the ECRB to be transitioned to the Board of Architectural Review. That group did not meet in June for lack of a quorum. 

In any case, the PC as ECRB will review signage for 920 East High Street. That’s where Sentara Martha Jefferson is building a new urgent care facility, within the site of the former building the hospital vacated in 2011. 

The packet contains other interesting tidbits. One is a final site plan for the right of way for the University of Virginia Contemplative Commons project. However, there’s no details in the packet. A Three Party Agreement from 1986 calls for UVA to share its site plans with Albemarle and Charlottesville, but there is nothing in the document that requires those plans to be online and easily accessible to the public. (read the agreement)

Sample signage for 920 East High Street 

In other meetings:

  • The Albemarle Police Citizens Advisory Committee meets virtually at 9 a.m. Topics will include immigration, the intersection of public policing and mental health, and an update on a potential camera program. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Social Services Board will have its preparation meeting at 11:30 a.m. at  the Wahoo Barbecue Restaurant at 10 Centre Court in Palmyra. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Human Rights Commission Equity in City Government Committee will meet virtually at 1 p.m. There’s no agenda at publication time. (meeting info)

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The James River Water Authority will meet at the Fluvanna County Public Library at 9 a.m. for a public information meeting. There will be an update on the design work for the pump station and waterline that will eventually take water from the James to the urbanized portion of Zion Crossroads. They’ll also discuss applying for grants from the Virginia Department of Health to cover some of the costs. (agenda packet)

That appears to be it for the day.

Thursday July 14, 2022

Charlottesville Police oversight panel to hold hearing  

The Charlottesville Police Civilian Oversight Board will hold what I believe will be its first hearing in a hybrid meeting to take place in CitySpace. The meeting can be viewed online. (meeting info)

Attorney Jeff Fogel has brought the complaint but the agenda does not identify any specific. 

This will be the order of the procedure:

a. Motions and requests by parties

b. Statement by Complainant and Complainant’s Witnesses

c. Statement by Charlottesville Police Department Representatives and CPD Witnesses

d. Closing arguments

e. Board deliberations

f. Board member vote on findings

g. Discussion of findings and Review Report

In other meetings: 

  • The Charlottesville Human Rights Committee’s subcommittee on community engagement will meet virtually at 11 a.m. There’s no agenda. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle Solid Waste Alternatives Authority will hold an online meeting beginning at 4 p.m. On the agenda are several updates from subcommittees. This is one of those areas where I want to devote more attention and hope to build reporting capacity in the near future. There are not nearly enough articles on my Information Charlottesville archive for this topic! (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle Conservation Easement Authority will discuss three proposals for land donations at a meeting which begins at 4:45 p.m. (meeting info)
  • There is a work session of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority but I only know of this because of my notes. There’s nothing on the CRHA meeting page, which has not been updated since January 2021. I’ll add what can I as learn more. (meeting page)
  • The Louisa County Planning Commission will have a meeting that begins at 7 p.m. in the Louisa County Public Meeting Room. On the agenda is a public hearing for a rezoning of land to A-2 on 18 acres of land in order to increase subdivision rights. (meeting packet)

Friday, July 15, 2022

No meetings are on the calendar that I am aware of. Am I missing something? Please let me know! It’s very likely I am and I’ll add what I can. 

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.