Week Ahead for March 14, 2022: Budget season continues with work sessions in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Fluvanna and Nelson; Greene PC to consider Lydia Mountain Lodge expansion

Make sure your clock is correct so that you don’t miss any of the exciting meetings coming up this week in local and regional government. It’s another week filled with opportunities to learn more about what’s coming up in the area. We’re still in a time when most meetings in Albemarle and Charlottesville are still virtual due to the pandemic, so take advantage while that still lasts. Albemarle Supervisors will vote on Wednesday to end the local emergency, paving the way for top-tier meetings to begin in April. 

Thanks as always to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their weekly sponsorship of this newsletter and the research that goes into it. I’m grateful to have had their support for over a year and a half. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Village of Rivanna CAC to get updates on transportation, continue master plan review

Albemarle has seven committees that provide guidance and perspective on the county’s designated growth areas. Members of the Village of Rivanna Community Advisory are vigilant about defending their interpretation of the master plan.. (read the plan)

“Remember, our master plan as derived in 2010 and 2015 has inconsistencies in it which we have to deal with,” said Dennis Odinov at the last meeting on February 7, 2022. (watch on YouTube)

The group will meet again tonight at 7 p.m. for a virtual meeting. (meeting info)

One of their concerns is with congestion on Route 250. County transportation planner Kevin McDermott will provide an update on projects that could provide relief. Albemarle maintains a list of transportation priorities and McDermott last gave a progress report to Supervisors in January. (read the report)

In other meetings:

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Albemarle EDA to discuss financing methods for affordable housing, Lewis & Clark Center loan

The Albemarle County Economic Development Authority meets virtually at 4 p.m. for a wide-ranging meeting. (meeting material)

On the agenda is an agreement to terminate a lease agreement between the EDA and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville related to the Southwood Mobile Home Park. The Authority loaned $6 million to Habitat’s March 2007 purchase of the 88 acre property. Habitat has now paid back the money, and the EDA will vote on a deed of release clearing Habitat of any further obligations. 

Following a report from Economic Development Director Roger Johnson, the EDA will discuss the use of a mechanism that can be used to fund housing developments that can be reserved for people who make beneath the area median income. The EDA entered into a performance agreement with Habitat in June 2019 for a synthetic tax increment financing arrangement worth $1.4 million in property tax rebates in exchange for at least 75 below-market units. 

They will also further discuss a loan the EDA gave to the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center to help with unanticipated construction costs related to its driveway in Darden Towe Park. The Center has asked for forgiveness, a request recently renewed. According to the minutes of the February 15 meeting, the EDA still considers this a “non-starter.” The Lewis and Clark Center owes $125,625 to the Authority and two of the center’s board members will appear at this meeting. 

Then there will be a closed session at which the EDA will discuss “possible litigation” against the Center, as well as potential investment in Downtown Crozet. 

The closed session motion for Tuesday’s Albemarle EDA meeting

Glenbrook developer seeks to change housing type proffer

There’s only one item on the agenda for the Albemarle County Planning Commission’s virtual meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. (meeting info)

The developer of the previously approved Glenbrook neighborhood in Crozet wants more flexibility in a 1.89 acre section of the development. When the rezoning was granted in 2016, there was a proffered condition that a minimum of 50 percent of the units would be single family housing. 

Since then, a new Crozet Master Plan has been adopted that designates the land as being for Middle Density Residential which allows for between six and 12 units per acre. 

“Instead of a minimum of 50 percent single family detached dwellings in the overall Glenbrook development, the applicant proposes a minimum of 40 percent single family detached dwelling units,” reads the applicant’s narrative.” This change will allow for the construction of affordable dwelling units in the final phase of the project. 

This would not apply to the remaining 36 acres that are not subject to this rezoning request. Staff recommends approval. 

The application plan for the new Glenbrook rezoning. Click to see a more detailed version.

Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review to discuss changes to zoning ordinance 

The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review will meet virtually beginning at 5:00 p.m. The end of the meeting will contain a discussion of the ongoing rewrite of the zoning code to clear obstacles to build more housing. 

“Today’s zoning also has a number of flaws and barriers to development previously identified by City planning staff, elected and appointed officials, and others,” reads a section of the Cville Plans Together website. “This process is an opportunity to cure these flaws and remove the barriers to the kind of development that is described in the updated Comprehensive Plan.” 

One of the items on the agenda for review is a preliminary discussion of a proposal to build an apartment complex on the grounds of a historic home at 1301 Wertland Street. The project would also include moving the building to a new foundation on the site closer to the street. 

Also on the agenda is an application from the owner of Chap’s Ice Cream to remodel the storefront. The project was last before the BAR in January 2020 but was deferred until now. 

Proposed massing for the 1301 Wertland Street if the historic structure were to be moved to a new location on the site. (Credit: Design Develop)

In other meetings:

  • The Nelson County Board of Supervisors will hold a budget work session beginning at 10 a.m. in the county courthouse at 84 Courthouse Square in Lovingston. (meeting info)
  • The technical committee of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization will meet at 10 a.m. with updates on Smart Scale submissions and the latest on the Rivanna River Bike/Ped Crossing. (meeting info
  • The first of two public meetings will be held at 1 p.m. to take input for the installation of an inclusive playground at Pen Park. Bennett’s Village is a nonprofit group seeking to raise funds for the park. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle County Department of Social Services Advisory Board meets virtually at 3:30 p.m. There will be an update on the Community Response Team that is funded in the recommended budget for FY23. (meeting info)
  • The Greene County Emergency Services Advisory Board meets at 6 p.m. in-person at the county administration building in Stanardsville. (meeting info)
  • The second of two public meetings will be held at 6 p.m. to take input for the installation of an inclusive playground at Pen Park. (meeting info)

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

James River Water Authority to meet 

The James River Water Authority meets at 9 a.m. at the Fluvanna County Library. This is a different time than usual as the March 9 meeting was rescheduled. The agenda is not posted at this time, but consultants with the authority are continuing to evaluate an alternative site for a pump station to bring water from the James to a pump station in Louisa County for an urban water supply for Zion Crossroads. The Monacan Indian Nation objected to a site that was located on an important ancestral land. 

The JRWA website has a link to the archaeological study for an alternative. Allison Wrabel has been covering this story for years and the Daily Progress has an archive of these stories for anyone who wants a deeper look into where we are.  (meeting info)

An overview of the scope of the archaeological study for Alternative 1C for a pump station and waterline for an urban water supply for Zion Crossroads (download the study)

Albemarle Board of Supervisors to get update on unpaved road funds, Community Development projects

Another era ends in Albemarle as the Board of Supervisors honor outgoing County Attorney Greg Kamptner in a proclamation. That’s one of the first items on the agenda for the meeting that begins at 1 p.m. (meeting info) (agenda)

Next is a discussion of the county’s allocation of Secondary Six Year Plan funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation. The amount is established by formula and the money goes to smaller roads that have numbers above 600. At this point in history, the funds go to pave roads and the county maintains a list of requests from community members. That list also includes roads that have been removed from further consideration. (staff report)

A map of unpaved roads in Albemarle and their status. Numbers represent priorities on the unpaved list

Next, the Community Development Department will update the board on initiatives to work on various land use policies. Several projects have been completed recently including the Crozet Master Plan and the Urban Rivanna River Corridor Plan. The department is hoping to complete both phases of the Rio Road Corridor Study by May and an incentives package for affordable housing developments by June. Albemarle is also reviewing the Acquisitions of Conservation Easements program and that work is also expected to be completed in June. 

After that there will be an annual report from the Albemarle County Department of Social Services. The presentation has the title “Creative Pivot for Community Well-being.”

“This theme reflects the amazing work done by the department during the year in a changing and changeable context,” reads the report’s introduction. “DSS staff responded to national, state, policy, family, agency, and individual-level changes throughout the year, always focusing on sustaining or improving community well-being.”

There are several initiatives underway such as the first phase of the Comprehensive Plan review. One proposed study in the future is for a Three Notched Trail between Charlottesville and Crozet (review the presentation)

In the evening session, there are three public hearings. One is for an amendment to an existing rezoning that would clear the way for a hotel to be built on the southern side of U.S. 250 on Pantops to the west of the Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center. (staff report)

The second is related. For the hotel to be built according to the concept plan, a required landscaping buffer on the Auto Superstore must be removed. That will take an amendment to that existing and approved rezoning. (staff report)

In the third, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville is requesting the county apply for $1.3 million in funds from the Virginia Community Development Block Grant program as part of a $6 million project to build additional 25 Habitat homes in Southwood’s Village 2. The county’s portion would build 1,860 linear feet of sidewalks, 1,360 linear feet of asphalt walkway, and a portion of the 25 homes. (staff report)

“[The grant] will provide funding to build 25 affordable homes for 85 [low and moderate income] homebuyers in a mixed income neighborhood of 49 homes,” reads the application. “The 25 LMI homebuyers will move from their existing aged and substandard trailers into safe, decent and energy efficient homes.”

Some key items on the consent agenda:

Fluvanna Board of Supervisors to vote to set tax rates, get updates on strategic initiatives

The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors meets in person at the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center beginning at 5 p.m. for a work session on the Fiscal Year 23 budget, followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. You can join remotely via Zoom or you can watch live on the county’s YouTube channel. (meeting info)

There are two public hearings. In one, Dominion is seeking a special use request for electrical substation. The Fluvanna Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the Grapevine substation in January on a 3 to 1 vote with one member abstaining. Supervisors held a first public hearing and deferred the request after a neighboring landowner asked for more screening. 

In the other, the county seeks comment on how administrators will use Fluvanna’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Last June, Fluvanna received around $2.65 million and will receive a second tranche of the same amount this June. 

Supervisors will also vote to advertise tax rates for the FY23 budget for a future public hearing on April 13. The proposed rates are $0.884 of $100 of assessed real estate property and $4.35 per $100 of assessed personal property for residential use, the same as the current rates. The proposed budget is $96,290,621 for FY23 which includes over $4.3 million in capital spending. That budget is 12.9 percent lower than the one for FY21. 

They will also get an update on the strategic initiatives that the Board adopted in 2021. These kinds of updates are incredibly useful and allow people to know the progress their local government is making. Take a look at the agenda beginning on page 153 to get all of the details on what has changed since November when the last update was given. You’ll learn that the Columbia Area Renewal Effort group has completed their work. A master plan for water and sewer infrastructure is nearly complete. 

 In other meetings:
  • The city of Charlottesville will hold a site plan review for the new General District Court in Court Square that will be for both Albemarle and Charlottesville. For more information, visit Albemarle’s web page on the topic. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee will meet at noon. They will review applications for the $750,000 in funding available for low-income housing projects through the city’s affordable housing fund. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Youth Council meets at 6 p.m. (meeting info)
  • The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee meets virtually at 7 p.m. Their agenda is similar to the MPO Tech committee. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Tree Commission Codes and Practices Committee meets virtually at 7:30 p.m. (meeting info)

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Greene Planning Commission to continue Comprehensive Plan review, consider lodge expansion

Different communities in Virginia conduct their Comprehensive Plan reviews in different ways. Greene County has taken the option of having the Planning Commission review updates made by staff. That continues this week when the appointed body will take up chapters on broadbandemergency services, and water and wastewater. They meet in-person in the county administration building in Stanardsville beginning at 6 p.m., but there is a zoom option. (meeting info)

There’s also a public hearing on a request to amend an existing special use permit to add additional rooms for lodging at the Lydia Mountain Lodge on Laurel Mountain Pass. The owner wants to add a pool, a new pavilion, twelve additional cabins, and four tiny houses. 

“With the addition of the Lydia Mountain Lodge, we are hosting numerous additional weddings for local as well as out-of-town guests who need additional lodging,” reads the applicant’s letter to the county. “Lydia Mountain has over 100 acres and only half this property has been developed at this point.”

A special use permit was granted in 2003 for the property owner to operate a maintenance shop and construction business. In December 2010, the Board of Supervisors granted a request to add the use of outdoor recreation. That allowed for a lodge and twelve cabins to be built. Staff recommends the additional space be built. 

Neighbors want more scrutiny. 

“While we support Mr. Shifflet’s contributions to Greene County, we strongly believe this particular SUP requires a careful, informed, holistic, and professional review of its impacts,” wrote Robert and Debra Stohlman.

Map of where the White Run Reservoir would be under the approved permit for a dam to create an urban water supply for Greene County. 
In other meetings:
  • The Albemarle Board of Supervisors will have their third budget work session beginning at 8 a.m. (meeting info)
  • The Board of Directors for the Albemarle County Service Authority will meet at 9 a.m. They will be presented with the proposed capital improvement program for FY23 and proposed rates. (board packet)
  • The Board of Commissioners of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will meet at 5 p.m. This meeting has been rescheduled from the previous Thursday. There is no notice on the CRHA’s website, but I learned about this change from their Facebook page
  • The Albemarle Places29-North Community Advisory Committee meets virtually at 6:30 p.m. They will also get an update on transportation projects. (agenda)
  • The Charlottesville City Council will hold its second budget work session beginning at 6 p.m. This will be their second. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Human Rights Commission will meet virtually at 6:30 p.m. The meeting packet is 116-pages long! (meeting info)

Friday, March 18, 2022

I don’t see any meetings on the calendar. Have I missed anything? Do let me know if I have!

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.