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Our community, state and country all face an uncertain future as a series of crises continues. The pandemic is straining every aspect of society. Many continue to risk becoming infected to protect systemic racism, demanding new forms of accountability. The threat of a world altered by climate change requires adaptation and resilience.
This weekly list of what’s happening in local government may not contain the one solution to any of these serious issues, but each week our appointed and elected officials sort through important questions that affect our future. Read ahead and let us know if you have any questions.
Monday, July 13, 2020 – A Day to Look Ahead
There do not appear to be any meetings for this day. Perhaps it’s a day to review previous meetings from the last week or so? How do you start your week?
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 – A Tale of Two Planning Commissions
On the agenda are two main items. In the first, the Planning Commission and the Charlottesville City Council will hold a joint public hearing on how to use $246,699 in additional Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds approved by the federal CARES Act. Such grants grants “will be used to facilitate projects to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” The plan is to use $98,679 to help provide scholarships for the Community Investment Collaborative, $49,017.82 to help the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless to track people, $49,661.78 for the Thomas Jefferson Health District, and $49,339.80 for administration and planning. (staff report)
In the second, Commissioners and Councilors will hear a rezoning application for 909 Landonia Circle, a commercial property just north of the U.S. 250 bypass just to the west of Free Bridge. If granted, this would allow the All-American Car Wash on an adjacent property that has recently been the home of Hilltop Day Care Center. The property is currently zoned B-1 which does not allow car washes, but the requested B-2 district would allow it by right. (staff report)
On the consent agenda is a request for an approval of a site plan for a development that will replace the University Tire building with a four-story apartment building with 45 residences and 6,700 square feet of commercial retail space. A site plan conference for this plan had been scheduled for March 18 but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (staff report)
In the first, Commissioners will consider whether to recommend a special use permit for the development of two parcels in Ivy on land zoned commercial but outside of the designated growth area. The applicant, LENVIC LLC, seeks to build a 6,500 square foot building on land currently undeveloped. One tenant would be a veterinary clinic. The project would also require special exceptions to disturb critical slopes and to build within 200 feet of a residential property line. A virtual community meeting for this project was held on June 4. (staff report)
In the second public hearing, Stanley Martin Homes is seeking a request to fill in the flood plain to allow a crossing of Powell’s Creek. That will allow for the development of land that is zoned R-6. The Crozet Community Advisory Committee adopted a resolution supporting the plan in April 2019. There’s a lot of nearby development, so this is an application worth careful review. (staff report)
The Greene County Board of Supervisors has a full agenda beginning at 7:30 p.m. In addition to items related to COVID-19 and the county’s budget, there is a public hearing for a proposed series of increases to the water service facility fees for each new connection. The additional money would go to pay for the creation of the White Run Reservoir as part of the county’s 50-year water supply plan. (agenda)
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 – AirBnB in Charlottesville, Albemarle’s Big Day
How are short-term rentals altering the housing market in Charlottesville? The city’s Housing Advisory Committee will be presented with the findings of analysis and visualization conducted for the group by a team of data scientists.
“The team used a method called “scraping” to extract data about City-based Airbnb properties,” reads an entry on the SmartCville blog. “This is a notoriously difficult thing to do.” This entry goes on to say that the visualization is a first step in the discussion. There are twenty minutes allocated to the conversation at the beginning of the meeting. Other items on the agenda include continuing details about the response to COVID-19 as well as discussions about an accessory dwelling ordinance and the city’s affordable housing program. (agenda) (AirBnB report) (register for meeting)
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors begins a fourth month of virtual meetings at 1 p.m. with an electronic gathering that spans from a recognition of the outgoing finance director to a public hearing on special exceptions for recent construction at the R.A. Yancey Lumber Corporation. It’s a packed day with lots on the agenda.
- For nearly thirty years, Albemarle and Charlottesville collaborated on a joint process to fund nonprofit agencies in the community. This included “human services” groups that provide support to people in need. The joint process ended in fiscal year 2020 when the city opted out of what had been called the Agenda Budget Review Team. Supervisors will be presented with ways Albemarle will approach the process as the budget for fiscal year 2022 gets underway. (staff report)
- On July 1, Supervisors approved a spending plan for $9.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds. At this meeting, they’ll hear more information about how $1.25 million would be used for a business grant program.
Supervisors will hold a work session on proposals to improve stream health in the county’s development areas. A series of ideas have been working their way from concept to policy recommendations for several years. (staff report)
- The 2020 General Assembly concluded just as the pandemic hit the nation, leaving little time for updates on legislation that passed in this historic first year of a Democratic majority in both Houses. County Attorney Greg Kamptner will review what legislation passed and will look ahead to both the upcoming summer session and 2021. (Kamptner’s eleven-page briefing)
- Both the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority and the Albemarle County Service Authority will report to Supervisors. The RWSA was briefed on a water demand report from Hazen & Sawyer in June, an important next step in determining when a pipeline will be built to connect the community’s two drinking water reservoirs. (RWSA report) (ACSA report)
- Transit ridership is down for a variety of reasons, but the need for public transportation remains important for many in our community. Jaunt is working on several initiatives to provide on-demand transit service, and will brief Albemarle supervisors on progress.
- Albemarle County will apply for $1.18 million in Virginia Department of Housing and Community and Virginia Community Development Block Grants to address the needs of low-income and moderate-income households. If successful, the funds would be used by Habitat for Humanity for Greater Charlottesville, the Piedmont Housing Alliance and the Thomas Jefferson Coalition for the Homeless. A public hearing kicks off the evening session. (staff report)The second public hearing of the night is on changes to the county’s Erosion Protection Design Standards. How does this relate to the work session below? We’ll find out together! (staff report)
- Finally, there will be a public hearing on a series of special exceptions to bring the R.A. Yancey Lumber Corporation in compliance with the zoning code. The Planning Commission heard the requests in June, and your review might start with their action letter. (staff report)
Thursday, July 16, 2020 – An assemblage of meetings
Lots of meetings today that you might want to know about.
- The Albemarle County Service Authority meets at 9 a.m. (agenda) (register)
- The Charlottesville Minority Business Commission meeting begins at 3 p.m. An agenda for this meeting has not yet been published. (register for meeting)
- The Charlottesville Human Right Commission meeting begins at 6 p.m. (agenda)
Field Representative – Albemarle, Charlottesville and Greene
The Piedmont Environmental Council
Past blog posts:
- Weekly Update – July 6, 2020
- Weekly Update – June 29, 2020
- Weekly Update – June 23, 2020
- Weekly Update – June 1, 2020
- Weekly Update – May 18, 2020
- Weekly Update – May 4, 2020
- Weekly Update – April 27, 2020
- Weekly Update – April 20, 2020
- Weekly Update – April 13, 2020
- Weekly Update – April 6, 2020
- Weekly Update – March 30, 2020
- Weekly Update – March 23, 2020