In the rhythm of our local government, the second full week of a month is usually a bit more slow. Yet, there are key meetings worth knowing about so you can listen to the discussions.
Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for support to allow this work to continue. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s something I have missed.
Monday, October 12, 2020
For the first time ever, Virginia will commemorate the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day. Governor Ralph Northam made the proclamation on Friday.
“Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrates the resilience of our tribal communities and promotes reconciliation, healing, and continued friendship with Virginia’s Indian tribes,” Northam wrote in a release. “In making this proclamation, we pay tribute to the culture, history, and many contributions of Virginia Indians and recommit to cultivating strong government-to-government partnerships that are grounded in mutual trust and respect.”
In all, there are eleven state-recognized tribes, seven of which are federally recognized. One of the latter is the Monacan Indian Nation which has spent much of the past year raising awareness of the historical significance of Rassawek near the confluence of the Rivanna River and James River.
The James River Water Authority (JRWA) had been planning to place a water pump station at the site for a public water supply at Zion Crossroads, but pressure from an onslaught of public comments has them looking now at alternative locations. The JRWA has a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, but there is no agenda. (meeting page)
To learn more about the Monacan Nation, read this March 2018 piece in C-Ville Weekly by Erin O’Hare.
The Village of Rivanna Community Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for tonight has been canceled. Learn more about VORCAC here.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Should Albemarle zoning ordinance be changed to allow recycling facilities to operate more easily in the county’s industrial districts? That’s one of the main questions behind a Planning Commission work session that begins at 6 p.m. tonight. (meeting info)
For the first time, a county staff report includes information about how this would advance goals in the recently adopted Climate Action Plan. Specifically, more recycling facilities could “increase the amount of recyclable materials put to positive use and diverted from landfills.”
At issue is the Northside Materials Recovery facility on U.S. 29 near the airport that has not yet been fully approved for operations because they have not yet been granted special exceptions. One of those would allow the operator to store remnants of demolished buildings outside while the debris awaits processing.
“The facility processes materials such as concrete, asphalt and masonry products,” reads the staff report. “The products are primarily from demolition sites and are brought to the site. In order to establish that facility, a number of special exceptions were approved by the Board to allow that use.”
This summer the Board directed the Planning Commission to determine whether the need for the special exceptions should be adjusted.
Another change would include reducing setbacks from agricultural and residential properties. However, staff does not recommend any changes.
“Staff believes there are too many variables and impacts that can occur to residential neighbors or protected resources which is why relief from this requirement should only be granted through the special exception process, allowing careful review and conditions to mitigate impacts,” the staff report continues.
There is a full meeting at the Greene Board of Supervisors this evening beginning at 7:30 p.m., including an initiation of the review of the county’s Comprehensive Plan. The last one was adopted on June 25, 2016. (agenda)
Other public hearings include a request to rezone 5.5 acres of agricultural land on U.S. 29 in Ruckersville to business to allow for expansion of a self storage facility, a special use permit for a stables and equestrian facilities on Amicus Road, and a lease agreement between Greene County and the Stanardsville Volunteer Fire Company. This is the week that the county will begin running its own Emergency Medical Services (EMS), according to Terry Beigie of the Greene County Record.
There will also be a presentation for a proposal for Stanardsville to become twinned with the village of Tarland in Scotland.
“They both are nestled in a rural landscape, surrounded by rolling fields in the foothills of nearby mountains,” reads the materials. “The Piedmont region of Virginia and the Howe O’ Cromar in Aberdeenshire.”
There will also be an update on the Shenandoah National Park, which gets a new superintendent this month when Patrick Kenney takes over.
“Compared to 2019, Shenandoah National Park is enjoying a slight increase in visitation and in entrance fees,” writes Bill Henry in an email. “Visitation through August was up 1.6 percent. Weekends have seen visitation numbers that rival October leaf season weekends.”
However, SNP has had to forgo many of their offerings such as ranger-led interpretive programs. However, they have stepped up virtual ones.
The Charlottesville Planning Commission will gather virtually at 6:30 p.m. for a meeting with one public hearing on a zoning text amendment, a work session on 1613 Grove Street, and an update on the city’s Comprehensive Plan update. (agenda packet)
The zoning change relates to family day homes to make it easier for child care facilities to operate. The Commission reviewed the code in September and the public hearing will be based on their recommendations.
Next, the Commission will discuss a proposal to build up to 20 units in four structures on vacant property at the end of Valley Road Extended in the Fifeville neighborhood. Doing so would a rezoning, a special use permit, and a critical slopes waiver. The current Comprehensive Plan has the land designated as Low Density Residential. The Commission will be asked to provide direction.
“Development of the property aligns with the goals and opportunities of the Fifeville Neighborhood as outlined in the Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan Draft,” reads the project’s narrative. “The multifamily development on Grove Street Extended could be an opportunity to address the challenge of meeting housing demand in the largely single-family zoning district in the Fifeville neighborhood.”
The project points to the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which depicts a pedestrian underpass in this area. This property is immediately south of the Brandon Avenue corridor at the University of Virginia.
Next, the Commission will review the status of the C’Ville Plans Together initiative, which is intended to finalize the review of the Comprehensive Plan, the zoning code, and establish a housing policy. The work is being overseen by Rhodeside and Harwell at a cost of nearly $1 million. That group is also the consultant for the West Main Streetscape.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
The Crozet Community Advisory Committee convenes virtually at 7 p.m. for a meeting that includes more than just the Master Plan. There is a community meeting for a special use permit to amend previous approvals for the private Claudius Crozet Park to allow for a “Community Recreation Facility.”
“This amendment to the existing Special Use Permit is to expand the use of the Community Center,” reads the narrative prepared by Collins Engineering. “Included with the expansion of the pool and new fitness facility will be additional parking areas, walking trails and sidewalk connections, and stormwater management facilities.”
There will also be a presentation on the many projects the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is planning for the Crozet Area. The RWSA Board of Directors were given this presentation in late August. There’s a capital cost of about $41.5 million in projects to increase capacity and improve safety at Beaver Dam. (slides)
Charlottesville has a site plan conference at 10 a.m. for something called the Christian Study Center. No information is available in the meeting announcement. (meeting info)
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Now that the Albemarle Board of Supervisors has adopted a Climate Action Plan, The Natural Heritage Committee is pondering how it may help advance some of the goals related to carbon sequestration. They’ll hold a special policy meeting today from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. before they hold their regular meeting. An agenda wasn’t posted on the website at production time.
The 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee will meet at 7 p.m. Topics will include Albemarle’s new housing study and updates on Habitat’s redevelopment of the Southwood Mobile Home Park.(meeting info)
Charlottesville’s Human Rights Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. (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.