Week Ahead for October 24, 2022: Several housing projects in Albemarle under consideration this week; Nelson County Comprehensive Plan subject of joint meeting

This was a week I had thought would be a light one. I was wrong. Whereas last week contained a lot of bureaucratic and technical items, this one goes back to land use items. 

  • Albemarle Planning Commission to review major rezoning on U.S. 29 for 275 units, commercial space
  • Pantops group to review rezoning amendment for 60 units at Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center
  • Places29-Rio to review rezoning amendment to allow more units at 999 Rio Road
  • Delays continue for public housing projects in Charlottesville
  • Greene County to consider sewer upgrade at Creekside to boost capacity

Thanks as always to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their sponsorship of this newsletter. There are just under ten weeks left in their 50th anniversary year. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

Move-in dates for Crescent Halls and South First Phase One still not known 

The seven-member Board of Commissioners for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority meets virtually for a work session at 5 p.m. and a regular meeting at 6 p.m. (work session agenda)

The work session begins with general announcements from Commissioners followed by a closed session. The Zoom link I got for the meeting is for the 6 p.m. meeting so it’s unclear at this moment if the links will work. (Zoom link)

None of the following items are on the CRHA website, which hasn’t been updated with meeting information since January 2021

Meeting resources:

From the public housing program report, we learn CRHA expected to close on the purchase of property on Montrose Avenue this past week. We also learn that in 2022, there has been nearly $150,000 in rent relief for CRHA tenants. As of 2022, the United Way contributed $42,240 and there has been $106,594 contributed through the Rent Relief Program. That brings the total unpaid rent to $52,550.24. 

From the report from Deputy Executive Director Kathleen Glenn-Matthews, we learn that there are still issues with people moving back into renovated or new units. 

“Crescent Halls and South First Street Phase 1 both continue to struggle with delays and the team is evaluating how we can improve and expedite the moving in of residents onto these sites,” writes Brandon Collins, the CRHA redevelopment coordinator. “In the coming months we will continue to reach milestones as the move-in dates for Crescent Halls and South First Phase 1 will be known and attainable.” 

Elevators at Crescent Halls won’t be renovated until January. There are issues with reaching “passive house” standards at South First Street and Collins writes there is no clear estimate for when move-in can take place.

Work continues to plan for the next renovations at South First Street, 6th Street, and Westhaven. 

Pantops panel to review homes at Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center 

The Pantops Community Advisory Committee will meet at 6:15 p.m. in the Kessler Conference Room, Martha Jefferson Hospital Outpatient Center. The main item on the agenda is the community meeting for an amendment to a previous rezoning that created the Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center.

“With this current 2022 [Zoning Map Amendment], the owner seeks to permit the development of 60 multifamily residential units on the property, for a proposed density of 6 [dwelling units per acre],” reads the narrative written by Shimp Engineering. 

The Pantops Master Plan designates this land for a potential public park. The narrative explains the landowner has a different idea.

“Integrating multifamily residential within Rivanna Ridge would bolster the Master Plan’ s characterization of this area as an Urban Center and would increase foot traffic to the existing office and commercial services,” the narrative continues. 

Site location for the rezoning at Rivanna Ridge (Credit: Shimp Engineering) 

Wine presentations on tap at regional tourism group meeting

The Board of Directors of the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau will meet at Chimm Thai and Southeast Asia Restaurant at 2 p.m. at 365 Merchant Walk Square. (meeting info)

There are two presentations on the wine industry. The first is from Matt Harmony of Harmony Wine and the second is from Steven Clenney of Zartico. Zartico bills itself as “The World’s Only Destination Operating System.” 

Albemarle history panel to meet

The Albemarle Historic Preservation Committee will meet in person at 4:30 p.m. in Room 246 of the county’s office building on McIntire Road. They’ll get updates on the marker dedication at Union Run Baptist Church and River View Farm. (meeting info)

They’ll also hear an update on the St. John Rosenwald School as well as a “namesake wall” at Virginia Lee Murray Elementary School. The latter lists the names of all of the precursor schools to Murray which educated Black pupils when schools were segregated by law. 

Then the committee will review a report on recent demolitions of structures including the Ridgewood Motel which is being demolished as part of the RST Residences project on U.S. 29.

The committee will also discuss potential changes to meeting dates and times as well as the Comprehensive Plan. 

The former Ridgewood Motel was photographed before its demolition. (Credit: Albemarle County)

Nelson Supervisors to meet with School Board

The five-member Nelson County Board of Supervisors will have a joint meeting with the five-member Nelson County School Board at Nelson County High School in Lovingston. School Superintendent Dr. Amanda Hester has been in the position since July and will give a presentation on the system and its visions and its goals. There will also be a discussion on capital improvements followed by a tour of Nelson County Middle School and Nelson County High School. (agenda)

In other meetings:

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Albemarle PC to discuss preliminary application for 275 units on U.S. 29 

Two months ago, I went into C’Ville Oriental for the first time in 20 years of living here to obtain a Japanese spicy pickle. I thought that I would make a regular habit of going, because the food available opens up a world of cuisine. I’ve not been back since, and maybe I won’t get in the habit after all just in case I get too attached. 

The Albemarle Planning Commission will hold a work session at 4 p.m. to discuss a preliminary application for a proposal that would redevelop the 3.23 acre site for “a mixed-use project that would feature a single 5-story structure with 275 multifamily dwellings, and 7,400 sq.ft. of commercial space.”

An internal parking garage in the C-shaped building would have 326 parking spaces. Vehicular access would be on both U.S. 29 and Hillsdale Drive.The parcel is to the south of a Wawa at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Greenbrier Drive. 

I’m sure I’ll find another place to get the pickle. That stuff is really good. Between now and then, I’m sure I’ll go back. In the meantime, the work session is in Room 241 at 4 p.m. (meeting info)

Aerial overview of the proposed 275-unit building (Credit: WDG)

The regular meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Lane Auditorium. (meeting info)

There are five public hearings, two of which were originally scheduled for the October 13 meeting.

  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Ivy seeks a special use permit to operate a preschool for 24 students. (staff report)
  • Keswick School seeks to modify a special use permit to change the school’s conceptual plan for a new arts center, a storage building, and a horse barn. Enrollment will remain the same. (staff report)
  • Crown Orchard Company seeks a special use permit for farm worker housing off of U.S. 29 near Covesville. (staff report)
  • Appalachian Power seeks a special use permit for the expansion of a substation in Scottsville. (staff report)
  • Dominion Power seeks a special use permit for the expansion of a substation in the Hollymead area. (staff report)

A public hearing for a special use permit for a cell tower on county-owned land at Walnut Creek Park was not rescheduled to this meeting. 

Greene County Supervisors to consider covering cost of Creekside sewer upgrade

The five member Greene County Board of Supervisors meets at 5:30 p.m. for a closed session followed by an open session at 6:30 p.m. (agenda)

This year, Greene County formed a water and sewer department after it left the Rapidan Service Authority over a dispute about the impoundment of White Run for a drinking water reservoir. Now, the department can also work on ways the county can augment its sewer capacity. 

“The owners of the Creekside development in the Preddy Creek section of the growth area proffered the construction of a planned sewer pump station serving their development and the surrounding growth area,” reads a memo on a proposal for the county to agree to reduce cash proffers to cover the cost of increasing the pump station’s capacity. 

There will be updates from the Virginia Department of TransportationJABA, and the Sheriff’s office on a staffing study.  

An overview of the Greene County Sewer Infrastructure Plan (Credit: Greene County)

In other meetings: 

  • The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors will in the conference room at 695 Moores Creek Lane in Charlottesville. The Rivanna Conservation Alliance will make a presentation on their water quality monitoring efforts. There will also be an update on major capital projects. (agenda) (Zoom link)
  • The Charlottesville Tree Commission’s Arbor Committee will meet virtually at 5 p.m. (meeting info)
  • The Nelson County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission will meet to receive information from the Berkley Group on the Comprehensive Plan update. A 117-page community engagement summary was revealed at a meeting on October 16. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Albemarle Supervisors to meet with Scottsville Town Council

The Scottsville Town Council will travel to Room 241 of the Albemarle County Office Building on McIntire Road for a joint meeting beginning at 7 p.m. (agenda)

They’ll discuss ways to collaborate on parks and recreation topics. They’ll talk about road improvements in the region. They’ll talk about collaboration on tourism. They’ll talk about partnerships with Community Development. 

There are no materials available in advance. 

One tidbit of note. Town Administrator Matt Lawless is also on the county’s Economic Development Authority. 

Another tidbit of note. It’s been two years since Albemarle Supervisors have held a joint meeting with the Charlottesville City Council. It’s been a very long time since the two Planning Commissions met. Should they? 

Nelson County to consider new conservation district, restaurant

The Nelson County Planning Commission meets at 7 p.m. in the Nelson County Courthouse in Lovingston. (meeting packet)

A single family home at 2884 Rockfish Valley Road would be demolished to make way for a drive-through restaurant under a proposal before the Planning Commission. 

“The owner is proposing to construct an approximately 3,200 square feet structure to be utilized as a breakfast restaurant,” reads the staff report. 

The property is designated as Neighborhood Mixed Use in the Future Land Use Map. 

The PC will also revisit the creation of a new agricultural and forestal district with the name Glass Hollow. This would over 335.74 acres off of State Route 609 and includes several parcels. A public hearing was held in August but a decision on a recommendation was deferred. 

In other meetings:

  • The Charlottesville Retirement Commission meets virtually at 8:30 a.m. They’ll get the annual actuarial report from Sageview Consulting. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle Broadband Authority will have a hybrid meeting that takes place at 4:30 p.m. in Room 241 of the County Office Building on McIntire Road. There will be various updates and a discussion of the body’s strategic plan. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle Fire EMS Board meets in Room 235 of the Albemarle County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road. Under unfinished business there will be a discussion of guidelines to reimburse volunteers. (meeting info)

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Places29 panel to review amendment to 999 Rio Road project to eliminate commercial, add more residences 

The Places29-Rio Community Advisory Committee will meet in Room 235 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)

One of the last rezonings in Albemarle County before the pandemic was held on March 4, 2020. Supervisors agreed to rezone two acres at 999 Rio Road from R-4 to Neighborhood Model District for a mixed-use development with 6,000 square feet, a 14-unit apartment building, and an 11-unit cottage courtyard. 

A lot has changed in two and a half year and the rezoning would alter the code of development. 

“Due to the deceleration of the commercial market and rising construction costs, the Applicant requests to revise the 2020 Rezoning to eliminate the commercial portion of the Project and add up to 10 additional residential units,” reads the narrative written by Shimp Engineering

The narrative states that residents are within a quarter mile of the Center at Belvedere which has a coffee shop. This may be one worth attending in person to capture the conversation. 

Changes to the Code of Development for 999 Rio Road (Credit: Shimp Engineering) 

Partnership to review final Regional Transit Vision Plan 

The Regional Transit Partnership was formed in 2017 as a clearinghouse for information between the area’s transit providers. The idea is to make transit more frequent in order to make taking the bus a more viable commuting option. 

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission has been overseeing the creation of a Regional Transit Vision Plan. The plan created by AECOM and Jarrett Walker and Associates imagines what transit could look like in the region if money were no object. But because money is usually required to pay for things, there’s also a vision powered by a more realistic approach that imagines the creation of a regional transportation authority. (read the draft report)

For more details on the plan, take a look at previous stories I’ve written about it. There’s also a governance study on the way and we’ll get some information about that, too. 

City to hold information meeting on downtown tree removal

The City of Charlottesville’s Parks and Recreation Department is planning to remove several hazard trees from the city’s Downtown Mall. There will be a virtual meeting at 5:30 p.m. to educate the public about the process. (meeting info

In another meeting:

  • A subcommittee of the Albemarle Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee (SWAAC) meets to discuss operations. This will be at noon but the meeting information page does not list a location. (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.