Week Ahead for March 27, 2023: CRHA purchasing dozens of properties from Dogwood Housing; Greene County Supervisors to review Comprehensive Plan

This may be a more quiet week than usual, which is probably a good thing as so much has happened this month already and a nice break would be very beneficial. This week closes out the third month of 2023, a year that seems to be one of transition in a community that has grown so much and is poised to grow more. 

I write this newsletter about what’s coming up at meetings of local and regional governments in order to help get a sense of how all of the pieces fit together. My goal is to help as many people as I can know how to navigate the various systems in place that determine what this place is going to look like. I’ve been at this particular newsletter now for around four years or so and am here to keep track of how things develop. 

Some highlights this week:
  • Both Albemarle and Charlottesville will take the next small steps towards adoption of new zoning ordinances. On Tuesday, Albemarle’s Planning Commission will see drafts of two technical chapters, while Charlottesville’s advisory body will meet with the elected City Council to review important details about parking and affordability. 
  • Greene County Supervisors will review an updated Comprehensive Plan and I’d recommend those in other communities take a look. The entire community is poised for growth and it can be instructive to read how other places are preparing. 
  • Charlottesville’s public housing agency appears to be purchasing many properties owned by Dogwood Properties for $10 million. That seems like it should be a pretty big story with a lot of wide-ranging implications for housing affordability.
  • The budgets for both the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority will be presented. Rates are expected to increase to cover the cost of upcoming projects to increase and augment the capacity to provide drinking water in the urban area around Charlottesville.
  • There’s nothing from Fluvanna County or Louisa County this week so maybe it’s a good week to catch up on the Fluvanna Review or Engage Louisa

If you read this in the email, you will have to click through to the full post because there’s a lot to this one. Even slower weeks have a lot of details to go through! Thanks as always to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their sponsorship of this work each week.

Monday, March 27, 2023

CRHA purchasing a large amount of properties from Dogwood Housing 

The Board of Commissioners for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority meets virtually at 6 p.m. Meeting materials have not been posted on their website since January 2021, so I posted much of what I received to cvillepedia. (agenda)

I’m not at full speed this month so I’ve not had a chance to review last week’s meeting between City Council and the CRHA but it’s at the top of my queue. Some of this may have been discussed there, and I look forward to doing the reporting. Here’s some of what is on this agenda:

Albemarle Historic Preservation will attempt to meet 

Will the Albemarle County Historic Preservation Committee actually convene at 4:30 p.m. in Room 241 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road? The group has had a hard time meeting quorum of late. (meeting info)

If enough members show up, there will be a discussion of the Comprehensive Plan that is currently in phase two of review. The Committee previously offered comment in the first phase last May, as I reported at the time

After that, they will discuss moving the regular date and time for this meeting so that it may be more likely quorum can be met in the future. 

Then there will be elections of officers and the adoption of the rules of procedures. Other items include:

  • A list of resignations from the committee
  • A review of the recent dedication of a historic marker at Union Run Baptist Church
  • A review of the recent dedication of a historic marker at River View Farm
  • Discussion of having a committee member be a point of contact with the St. John Rosenwald School. 
  • The historic building called La Fourche near Keswick was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Virginia Landmarks Register last year.
  • There will be a review of recent and pending demolitions of properties (view the list)
Learn more about La Fourche on the website of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (visit website) (Photo credit: Robert Louis Brandon Edwards, 2021)

Pantops CAC to review FY24 budget, get update on climate action

The Pantops Community Advisory Committee will meet at 6:15 p.m. in the Kessler Conference Room at the Martha Jefferson Hospital Outpatient Center. (meeting info) (agenda)

On the agenda is a budget town hall. If you need more information, take a look at the county’s website for the development of the FY24 budget. Another option is to take a look at the handful of stories I’ve been able to write so far posted to Information CharlottesvilleOr just show up and listen and ask questions. This is also posted on the calendar as a separate item

After that there will be a discussion on what the county’s been doing with climate action, but no advance materials are available. The county has a website devoted to climate protection which will give you information about the $100,000 grant program that’s taking submissions through April 30. Alternatively, you can read the brief article I wrote on it

In other meetings:

  • A subcommittee of the Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee will meet at noon to discuss the walking tour map that is under development. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Social Services Advisory Board will meet online at noon. On the agenda is an overview of adult protective services. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Social Services Board will meet at 3 p.m. in the first floor conference room at 8880 James Madison Highway. There’s no agenda posted. (meeting info)

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Greene Supervisors to review Planning Commission’s Comprehensive Plan update

The provision in state code that requires localities to create and maintain a Comprehensive Plan for the future gives a lot of leeway for how this is to be accomplished. While the process in Albemarle and Charlottesville involves a lot of attempts to get engagement and input from the public, other localities take a more low-key approach.

The Greene County Planning Commission and staff have been reviewing their Comprehensive Plan for the past few years going chapter by chapter and making small updates rather than re-write the whole plan. At 4:30 p.m., Supervisors will be presented with the draft plan which exists in both clear form as well as a redline version that shows changes that have been made.  

One paragraph remains intact except the new capitalization of County:

“Greene County is very much a community in transition, a reality that underscores the importance of ensuring that whatever the County evolves into reflects the wishes and aspirations of those who live here,” reads the conclusion of the opening section of the county’s history. 

Much of this update is wordsmithing, but there is also a lot more description of existing conditions in Greene. Some of those changes are worth reviewing:

  • There is now a memorial at the county’s administration building to the 64 families in Greene County who were displaced by the creation of the Shenandoah National Park in 1935. 
  • There’s a lot more language about the role that agriculture can play in Greene’s economy, though this section also acknowledges the economic challenges that come with farming as well as other desired uses of land. Population went up 33 percent between 2002 and 2017, but the amount of land dedicated farming decreased 12 percent. 
  • Like Albemarle, Greene County has policies that focus growth into designated areas. The number of jobs increased 12 percent from 2010 to 2020, but most people commute to other areas to work. 
  • The suggested future for the Town of Stanardsville is one in which “it must develop and ambiance and market positioning built around its historic designation, small-town atmosphere, and special services.” 
  • In 2020, Supervisors designated Greene as a Defense Production Zone to help attract defense contractors and other businesses that could benefit from being close to Rivanna Station.
  • All references to the Rapidan Service Authority have been deleted as Greene County has now created its own department to build, operate, and maintain its own municipal water supply and sewer treatment services. RSA members in Madison and Orange counties had opposed the construction of a new reservoir, so Greene parted ways. 
A graph from the draft Comprehensive Plan depicting population trends since 2000

After the work session, there will be the regular closed season followed by the open session at 6:30 p.m. The main item is a public hearing on amendments to the Chapter 31 of the county code that deals with water, sewers, and sewage disposal. One change is a statement that landowners in R-1, R-2, A-1, and C-1 districts are not required to connect, but may be if the zoning ordinance is updated in the future. 

There will also be a presentation from Ted Rieck, the CEO of Jaunt as well as an update on a proposed 120-foot-tall emergency communications tower proposed for county-owned land on Pocosan Mountain.  Public comment is being taken through April 25, 2023. (read the memo)

Supervisors will also be asked to authorize advertisement of the budget for FY24. 

“The proposed County budget is balanced on a real estate tax of $0.73 per $100 of assessed value,” reads the staff memo from interim county administrator Brenda Garton. “The real estate tax rate is being advertised at $0.76 per $100 of assessed value in the event that following public input at the public hearing advertised herein the Board of Supervisors decides to approve additional expenditures.” 

Nelson County Supervisors to review FY24 budget

The five-member Nelson County Board of Supervisors will meet at 2 p.m. in the old Board of Supervisors room in the Nelson County Courthouse at 84 Courthouse Square in Lovingston. (board packet)

The budget for fiscal year 2024 is the main focus of this special work session which will be followed by additional sessions on March 30, April 4, and April 6. If there are to be changes in any of the tax rates they will need to be made by that latter date. The public hearing for any tax rate increases would be held on April 20 with the budget public hearing on May 9. 

“The introduced budget for FY24 is $49,451,927, a decrease of $3,483,786 or 6.58% less than the FY23 amended budget,” reads the materials provided in advance. “Revenues projected for FY24 are estimated at an equivalent decrease from FY23 resulting in a balanced budget.” 


  • Several new full-time positions were requested but none of them have been funded. These include a new chief deputy registrar, an evidence technician, an administrative assistant to support building inspections and zoning, and an animal control shelter manager. 
  • There’s $172,000 in funding to participate in an adult drug court.
  • There’s $196,205 that will go to “paid EMS” as well as a 10.2 percent increase in funding for “Local EMS Council.” 

Supervisors will also discuss potential applications for school construction funding through the Virginia Department of Education. Applications are due on March 31 and the candidate project for Nelson is a renovation of Nelson County High School. Supervisors are being asked to consider a letter of support. 

“The School Construction Grant Assistance Program funding is awarded based on competitive criteria through a school division application process,” reads the guidelines (page 72). “These guidelines establish the competitive criteria and criteria point values used in evaluating school division applications for awarding grant funding to eligible public school projects.”

The broad overview of the proposed budget for Nelson County for FY2024 in comparison with the current year (Credit: Nelson County) 

Albemarle Planning Commission to review zoning

All eyes primed for land use reform are mostly focused on Charlottesville’s zoning update, but Albemarle County is also in the process of reviewing its code through a modernization. Albemarle has hired the Berkley Group to assist with a five-phase analysis. We’re currently in phase one, which featured a diagnostic report in December. 

“The ordinance has not undergone a complete overhaul since it was adopted in 1980,” said county planner Lea Brumfield at a December 13, 2022 work session with the Planning Commission. “We have made a number of amendments in the intervening 40 years but the  ordinance is in need for an overall reorganization and an overall cleaning up.” 

You can read all about that in the story I wrote at the time. I did not write about the open house that was held on January 30, 2023. 

The Albemarle Planning Commission will hold their second work session at 4 p.m. in Lane Auditorium of the county office building at 401 McIntire Road. This one will cover the technical aspects of “general provisions” and “administration.”  The latter designates the basic rules for who interprets the zoning code and under what criteria. It sets out the roles of the Zoning Administrator, the Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and the Architectural Review Board. 

There is no regular meeting of the Planning Commission this week. They won’t meet again until April 11. 

What is the purpose of zoning? Here’s some of what Albemarle’s new zoning code has to say about that in the new General Provisions chapter

Rivanna authorities to meet to review budgets

The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority will meet back to back beginning at 2 p.m. for a virtual meeting. (RSWA agenda)

The main item on the RWSA agenda is the introduction of its $7.941M budget for FY2024 as well as a preliminary rate schedule. One change is a move to give mulch away rather than sell it. 

Some of the items planned for the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority in FY24 (page 45)

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority’s Board of Directors will meet immediately afterward. They will also be introduced to their agency’s budget for FY24. (agenda packet)

“I am pleased to present the proposed FY 2023-2024 budget totaling $47,698,000 for your consideration,” writes RWSA Executive Directir Bill Mawyer in a staff report. “This budget includes $24,406,000 for Operating expenses and $23,291,000 for capital Debt Service charges, and represents a 13.9% increase above the current budget.” 

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority provides treated water at wholesale rates to the city of Charlottesville and the Albemarle County Service Authority who in term sell the services to property owners and other ratepayers. 

Several major capital projects are pending and all of these have estimates higher than originally anticipated because of inflation. The RWSA is also moving up a long-planned project to connect the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir with the Ragged Mountain Reservoir from 2033 to 2030. 

“Accelerating this project will enhance the capacity, reliability and resiliency of our community’s drinking water supply,” reads a bullet point in the presentaiton. “Extended droughts and more intense storms are predicted. Completing this pipeline and increasing the water storage capacity in RMR by 700 MG will optimize our infrastructure and mitigate this concern.” 

A public hearing will be held on May 23, 2023. 

In one other meeting:

  • Albemarle County’s budget town hall process continues at 6 p.m. with an event to be held for the Rivanna District. This will take place at the Forest Lakes Community Room at 1828 Pavilion Circle in Forest Lakes. (meeting info)
A snapshot of how the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority’s operating budget is used 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Next set of Charlottesville’s future zoning rules to go before Council and PC 

Today is a big day for the city of Charlottesville’s future as the next piece of information will come out from the Cville Plans Together initiative. The second module of the proposed zoning code was supposed to have come out the week of March 13, but has been delayed to today. This second batch will include more specifications about parking requirements, affordability rules, and other details that will provide more certainty about what can be built in the future. 

A few hours after it is released, Charlottesville City Council and the Charlottesville Planning Commission will meet in CitySpace at 5 p.m. to get a presentation on the second module and to have a discussion on the first. We will all get the information around the same time and I hope to be able to write up what’s in it. (meeting info)

To catch up on the details, take a look at a story I wrote about the first module. Here’s a link to a lot of the primary sources: 

Resources from Cville Plans Together:

In other meetings:

  • The Albemarle Board of Supervisors have another budget work session scheduled at 3 p.m. if needed. This will be in Room 241 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. As of this writing, I still have to review the last two sessions so I can’t say for sure if this will happen, but I suspect there’s enough for elected officials to talk about after all of the town halls. (meeting info)
  • A subcommittee of the Emergency Communications Center will meet at 1 p.m. in Zehmer Hall, Room E, at 104 Midmont Lane. This is the Emergency Management Coordination Steering Committee. According to the agenda, this is a work session on the renewal of the charter led by the Olson Group. (meeting info)

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Charlottesville City Council to review capital improvement program 

The development of Charlottesville’s budget for fiscal year 2024 continues with another work session to be held in CitySpace beginning at 6 p.m. (meeting info)

This time around the focus will be on the capital improvement program according to the budget calendar.  You can peruse the entire document via either the online budget book. This is a direct link to what will be discussed.

Some highlights from the capital improvement program:

  • $4.217M is programmed for FY25 for projects to bring Stribling Avenue as per the Planning Commission’s recommendation for approval. (April 28, 2022 story)
  • There are $1 million for “climate action initiatives” 
  • There is $3 million a year slated for “public housing redevelopment” 
  • Piedmont Housing Alliance has a lot of matching funds for various projects and at some point I need to write up a story with an update of all they have on the table. For now, here’s what’s in there:
    • The project approved by Council to build apartments at the MACAA site is slated to receive $1.885M in FY24 and another $1.885M in FY25. (January 2022 story)
    • The project approved by Council to build apartments at Park Street Christian Church will receive $1.125M in FY24 and the same amount again in FY25. (January 2022 story)
    • Just over $2M in funding for the third phase of Friendship Court is slated for FY27. 
    • Just over $1.5 million in funding for the second phase is slated for FY26. 
    • Infrastructure for Friendship Court won’t get any funding in FY24 but would get $210,000 in FY25, $1.19M in FY26, $650,000 in FY27 and $350,000 in FY28.

There’s a lot to review and that’s what this newsletter is here for. I’ve had come bandwidth and capacity issues this month, but I’m glad to do this work each and every day.

In another meeting:

  • The Nelson County Board of Supervisors will hold a second work session. It’s not on their calendar at publication time, but it’s listed in the budget memo I wrote about for Tuesday. 
The revenue side of the five-year capital improvement program shows a large bond sale in FY24 to provide the costs of renovating Buford Middle School (view on online budget book)

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.