Week Ahead for June 14, 2021: Chipotle to replace College Inn on the Corner; Albemarle takes up affordable housing update

The third week of June looms, and it’s another week of decisions to be made in local and regional governments in and around Charlottesville. As the second half of the year approaches, the pandemic continues to recede even as community health officials continue to monitor new cases. A new sense of normality has taken hold, while community conversations about growth and its impacts are becoming more common. 

This newsletter is your best source to get involved in those conversations. This is where you can get the information you need to evaluate claims made by others, and to bolster the arguments you may want to make. Or perhaps there’s an idea that you want to bring forward and turn into a reality. My role with this newsletter is to just point you in the right direction so whatever you decide to do comes from a position of knowledge. 

Thanks as always to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continued support of this endeavor. 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Crozet is not considered a town under Virginia law, but the Downtown Crozet Initiative that has been working since 2015 to shepherd development of the former Barnes lumberyard. The current and draft Crozet Master Plan both envision this area as commercial mixed use, and developer Milestone Partners is seeking to build a public plaza to anchor future buildings. At 7 p.m., they’ll convene a “community-wide meeting” to provide updates on the plans. (meeting info)

A concept plan for the proposed plaza in downtown Crozet

Tuesday, June 14, 2021

Charlottesville is a city in transition. A local restaurant in operation since 1953 will soon go out of business, giving way to a chain restaurant with over 2,600 outlets across the world. One item before the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review is a review of storefront alterations at 1511 University Avenue, the site of the soon-to-be-closed College Inn. (meeting info)

The property has been owned by Amorgos LLC since September 1995 and has a 2021 assessment of $4.27 million. Now there’s a request for a Certificate of Appropriateness from the BAR. 

“Chipotle Mexican Grill plans to renovate and occupy the existing College Inn restaurant,” reads the staff report. “The changes proposed in this submittal are intended to embrace and preserve the history of the building and ‘The Corner’ historic district while incorporating an appropriate level of trade dress for the Chipotle Mexican Grill brand into the overall design.” 

Also on the BAR agenda are:

  • A security gate for the alley between City Hall and the General District Court 
  • A mural at the new Starbucks at 1001 West Main Street that has been produced through a collaboration with the Charlottesville Mural Project and the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative that “is intended to be a welcoming, joyful burst of positivity created by and for the community.”
  • Construction of a new two-story residence at 905 Rugby Road to be constructed after an existing building is razed. The current building was constructed in 1951 and has an improvement value of $337,100. The land value is $252,100 for a 0.298 acre lot.
A rendering of the Chipolte that will replace the College Inn (Credit: Red Architecture + Planning)

Multifamily apartments proposal goes back to Albemarle PC

Another major item Tuesday is a second public hearing before the Albemarle Planning Commission for a multifamily residential complex at the intersection of Ashwood Boulevard and U.S. 29. The RST Residences proposal went before the Planning Commission in March and received over 90 minutes of organized opposition from the Forest Lakes Community Association. The applicant asked for a deferral to address comments. Read my story or listen to my podcast from March 5. (meeting info)

Since last time, the project has been reduced in scope from 370 units to 332 units according to the staff report.  That will consist of 254 multifamily apartments and 86 townhomes. 

“The applicant has proposed significantly more affordable housing, with 75 percent of the 254 multi-family units to be offered as affordable rental housing for 30 years for those earning between 30 percent and 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with an average income of 60 percent of the AMI,” the report continues. 

The Albemarle Planning Commission will also have a work session for a maintenance facility the Albemarle County Service Authority proposes to build on Avon Street Extended. 

The new layout for the RST Residences proposed development 

In other meetings: 

  • The Albemarle Economic Development Authority meets at 4 p.m. On the agenda is a presentation from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership on international trade and “economic gardening.” There’s also a presentation from the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Sister City Commission meets at 4:30 p.m. The agenda isn’t available at production time, but I ask once again: Whither Pleven? (meeting info)

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

For the second time this month, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors will begin their meeting later than usual with a start time of 3:30 p.m. They’ll begin with a work session on how Albemarle will use the $21.2 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan. The county received the first half on May 21 and staff will present possible ways it may be used. They’ll vote on an appropriation on July 7. (meeting info)

The main event of the meeting is a public hearing on the Housing Albemarle plan, an update of the county’s policies to encourage, incentivize, and require places to live that are affordable to those making less than 80 percent of the area median income. The Planning Commission recommended the plan at their meeting on May 4. 

One change in the policy is a requirement that developers who need a rezoning or special use permit must build at least 20 percent “affordable” units. The current requirement is 15 percent. Housing Albemarle, which will become part of the Comprehensive Plan, calls for an affordable dwelling unit program, establishment of a housing trust fund, creation of a housing advisory committee. 

The plan also calls for the construction of 11,750 new housing units in the next 20 years to meet population projections. There are over 9,000 housing units approved but not yet built, requiring an additional 2,719 to be created through additional rezonings and land use applications. 

From page 15 of the housing plan 

There’s also a public hearing on a proposal for a utility-scale solar facility near Batesville that requires a special use permit. The Planning Commission recommended approval on April 20 on a 6-0 vote for the project which is being planned by Sun Tribe Development. The energy will be purchased by the Central Virginia Energy Cooperative.

A third public hearing will be on a two percent increase in compensation for Albemarle Supervisors from $16,972 a year to $17,311 a year. 

On the consent agenda:

  • A resolution to set a date for a public hearing for an ordinance to ban firearms in public spaces (staff report)
  • A request to create an additional staff person to support the Office of Housing (staff report)
  • A monthly report from the Virginia Department of Transportation (report)

Greene panel to talk tourism

The Greene County Planning Commission meets in person at 6 p.m. in the county administration building in Stanardsville. However, the meeting can be accessed via Zoom. On the agenda is a discussion of tourism inside of the Comprehensive Plan. One idea is for the county to create a Purchase of Development Rights program for “sites of interest” and another is to find days to help Stanardsville become more of an attraction. 

Three land use items are on the agenda. One is a request to rezone 5.43 acres on Route 33 from B-2 to B-3 to help the marketing potential for a newly vacant building.

“The applicant is requesting to rezone the property to B-3 to accommodate uses such as low-impact distribution, service contractors, and light industrial,” reads the staff report. 

Another property owner in Greene Mountain Lakes seeks a special use permit to provide tourist lodging, and Lamm Properties seeks a rezoning from B-3 to Planned Unit Development for the 282-townhome Villages at Terrace Greene on U.S. 29 in Ruckersville. 

In other meetings:

  • The Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee meets virtually at noon. On the agenda is a discussion of the Future Land Use Map that is part of the Comprehensive Plan update. Piedmont Housing executive director Sunshine Mathon will present an item titled “Land Use Map and Affordable Housing Overlay.” (meeting info)
  • The joint meeting of the Albemarle and Charlottesville “Community Policy and Management Team” meets at 3:30 p.m. For fans of acronyms, there is an action to reappoint something called the “FAPT Private Provider” and the “FAPT Parents Rap.” (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Human Rights Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. There’s no agenda at publication time. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors meets at 7 p.m. On the agenda is a public hearing on the county’s Secondary Six-Year Plan for Virginia Department of Transportation funding, as well as several action items. These include a mutual aid agreement between Louisa County and Fluvanna County, additional funding for a hazardous waste collection event, and an increase in salaries for Fluvanna Supervisors. But there’s also another public hearing on a request from Dominion Energy to rezone 224.5 acres at the Bremo Power Station from agricultural to industrial for a landfill for 6.2 million cubic yards of “coal combustion residuals” that have until now been stored in ponds. Legislation passed in 2019 ended the legality of that practice. (meeting info)

Thursday, June 17, 2021

This newsletter is produced on a Sunday, and occasionally misses meetings scheduled for Thursday because they have not been posted yet. I’ll update if this changes for the week. 

In the three known meetings: 

  • The Charlottesville Towing Advisory Board meets at 1 p.m. They’ll discuss potential revisions to the towing ordinance as well as receive a report on how many people have applied to be on the board. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Human Rights Commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. There’s no agenda available at publication time. (meeting info)
  • The 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee will meet at 7 p.m. There’s no agenda available at press time. (meeting info)

Friday, June 18, 2021

Albemarle and Charlottesville governments are closed to mark Juneteenth. Let’s find out more about the day from the website of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center:

“The now national holiday, marks the day when federal troops marched into Galveston Texas, two months after the surrender of confederate general Robert E.Lee at Appomattox, VA to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation made official on January 1, 1863,” reads a notice for their celebration of Juneteenth.

“With the reading of proclamation number 3 by Union General Gordon Granger, 250,000 enslaved people living in Texas were liberated on June 19, 1865,” the notice continues. 

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center will celebrate from noon to 4 p.m. with food, music, and “a non-sewing sewing event” from Stitch Please. That’s the podcast hosted by Lisa Woolfork. The event is free, but donations are encouraged.(register)

What other Juneteenth events are happening? Let me know and I’ll update this article accordingly.

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.