This is a strange week, serving as both the tail end of March and the beginning of April. The first three days are the fifth of their number for the month, which usually means no regularly scheduled meetings. Thankfully the Charlottesville Planning Commission will meet, sparing us from an evening off.
There are no meetings in Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties, but there are still a lot of things going on in Albemarle and Charlottesville.
Yet, this week is perhaps the most quiet we’ve had so far in2021. This week also marks the end of the third quarter of the fiscal year. We’ll have a better sense of how the local economy is doing as new reports come in. While it may seem the world never stops, at least there are benchmarks.
Thanks as always to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their support of this weekly newsletter.
Monday, March 29, 2021
This year, Albemarle’s budget process has been extended slightly with adoption scheduled for May 5, a few weeks later than normal. That has allowed for more time to go through County Executive Jeffrey Richardson’s $466 million budget, which was unveiled on February 24. (video)
So far there have been four work sessions:
- March 10 – General Operating Budget (video) (slides)
- March 15 – General Operating and Capital Budget (video) (slides)
- March 18 – Fire and Rescue Budget (video) (slides)
- March 22 – Cigarette Tax, Voter Registration, and Transit (video)
The fifth work session will be held today beginning at 3 p.m. This time around will be a discussion about how the county might use its share of the American Rescue Plan. The public hearing will be held on April 28, so bookmark this newsletter to refer back easily to the discussions that have been held so far (meeting info)
There will also be a budget town hall for the Rio District. (meeting info)
Some of the previous town halls:
- March 11, 2021 town hall at Places29-North Community Advisory Committee (video)
- March 15, 2021 town hall at Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee (video)
- March 18, 2021 town hall at 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee (video)
Have you weighed in?
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Charlottesville has been reviewing the Comprehensive Plan for over four years. One of the reasons the process stalled in 2019 is a dispute over something called the Future Land Use Map. This map is intended to be a guide for future development and designates the intensity and use desired. An updated map is required to inform a rewriting of the city’s zoning ordinance.
Last week, the firm hired by a previous City Council to complete the plan unveiled a new version of the future land use map as the latest milestone in the Cville Plans Together initiative. Rhodeside & Harwell will present this plan to the Planning Commission at a virtual work session beginning at 5:30 p.m. (meeting info)
A change from the 2019 draft is a move toward designating future use for each parcel of property, rather than a gradient.
“By having more specific discussions about land use at this stage, we are hoping to support a more successful zoning rewrite,” reads one slide in the presentation. “While a gradient map provides more flexibility in zoning, it offers less certainty to the community about future land use.”
What do you think of the current version of the map? If you live in Charlottesville, is this something your neighbors are talking about? Let me know what you are hearing!
In the only other meeting:
- In Albemarle County, there will be a virtual budget town hall for the Scottsville District. (meeting info)
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
The Clifton Inn has been operating 15 guest rooms and a renowned restaurant since the late 1980’s, and is now petitioning Albemarle County for permission to expand.
“The inn with its associated amenities has experienced concurrent success of the restaurant and special events on the property,” reads the narrative for the rezoning and special use permit request. “It has been difficult for Clifton Inn to meet the demand for its various hospitality services within the limits of the existing special use permit.”
To make that happen, they are requesting a downzoning of adjoining properties from Planned Residential Development to Rural Area. That would allow the existing special use permit to those properties, as the historic inn and restaurant uses aren’t allowed in PRD districts.
“With this special use permit request, the owner proposes to increase the number of guest rooms on the Clifton Property from 15 to 40 rooms and to seasonally provide primitive glamping sites on the Clifton Property,” the narrative continues.
Under the proposal, special events at the Clifton Inn would move to a new 10,500 square foot structure to be built on an existing concrete pad. Another new structure would eventually be built to add 16 new guest rooms for a total of 61 guest rooms on the consolidated Clifton Property.
A community meeting for the process will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. (meeting info)
In two other meetings today:
- The Charlottesville Human Rights Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing meets at 6 p.m. (meeting info)
- The Charlottesville Human Rights Committee Subcommittee on Accessibility meets at 7:30 p.m. (meeting info)
Thursday, April 1, 2021
After a few lighter days, government blossoms anew with the beginning of a new month.
The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission meets at 7 p.m. (agenda)
One item on the agenda is an update on creating a regional board to oversee administration of a regional cigarette tax. Legislation passed the 2020 General Assembly that gave taxing authority to counties. Previously, only cities could levy such a tax. The TJPDC has been exploring the creation of a tax board with officials in several localities including Orange County.
Other items include an update on transportation projects and studies, a recommendation that Michael Baker International be hired to conduct the study for transit expansion in Albemarle County, and a report from Interim TJPDC Director Christine Jacobs.
In other meetings:
- A sixth budget work session for Albemarle County is scheduled for 3 p.m. if needed. (meeting info)
- The Charlottesville Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meets at 5 p.m. On the agenda is a discussion of the city’s snow removal policy. (meeting info)
- The Natural Heritage Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. (meeting info)
- Charlottesville will hold a community meeting at 6 p.m. for a proposal to remove on-street parking on Preston Avenue / Barracks Road in favor of a bike lane. (meeting info)
- Albemarle School Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. On the agenda is a presentation of a request from the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority for an easement behind Albemarle High School for a future waterline to connect the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir and the Ragged Mountain Natural Area. The school system would be paid $51,861 for the easement. (agenda)
Friday, April 2, 2021
There are two meeting today, and the first at noon is the latest in Albemarle’s Stream Health Community Learning Center series.
“Join technical experts from the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District (TJSWCD) and Albemarle County to learn about Best Management Practices (BMPs) for stream protection and types of financial assistance available to help residential, agricultural, and forestal landowners implement BMPs and other conservation practices on their land,” reads the meeting info page.
Some previous installments:
- February 26, 2021: Introduction to the Rural Area
- March 5, 2021: Local Water Supply and Source Water Protection (video)
- March 12, 2021: Water Protection Policies and Programs (video)
- March 19, 2021: Stream Ecology and Monitoring (video)
At 5 p.m., the outreach subcommittee of the Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee (SWAAC) will meet to discuss ways to increase people involved in recycling. This includes how to recruit volunteers to be Recycling Ambassadors and presentations for youth. (meeting info)
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.