Week Ahead for October 31, 2022: Southwood rezoning back before Albemarle Supervisors; Fluvanna property values up 10.6 percent in reassessment

It is strange to start a week off with the last day of the month, but that’s where we find ourselves at the end of this very spooky month. We’re now in the holiday season, with Diwali earlier this month and Halloween on Monday. This time of year affects the gravity of government meetings quite a bit.

And then there’s Election Day, with the Congressional races the major item on the ballot in Virginia. No matter how that race turns out, many people may begin to think about running for office themselves. In a year from now, three seats on the Charlottesville City Council will be up for election, as will the Rivanna, Scottsville, and White Hall seats in Albemarle County. The world always turns, and so does local government. 

Between now and next Election Day, this newsletter will continue to summarize what happens in local meetings, where decisions are made about all manner of things that affect people’s lives. Thank you to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their sponsorship of this weekly newsletter. 

Monday, October 31, 2022

There are no meetings today. This newsletter is published a day later than usual because work on Fifth District Community Engagement took longer than anticipated. That newsletter takes a look at what’s happening at meetings of elected officials across all 24 districts in the new Fifth District. Readers of this newsletter who really appreciate the finer details should consider subscribing. There’s a lot to learn through comparative government.  So take a look at the latest installment!

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Albemarle solid waste group to hold visioning session

Albemarle County created the Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee (SWAAC) in the spring of 2016 to serve as an advisory body to the Board of Supervisors. According to the charter, they are to review and recommend policies on public education and outreach, materials reuse, waste disposal, waste and litter reduction, recycling and composting, and greenhouse gas reduction. 

The 2022 annual report will give you a glimpse into what this 12-member group has been up to, including assistance in drafting the plastic bag tax, efforts to increase glass recycling, and creation of anti-litter public service announcements. 

What next? That’s the topic of the SWAAC Planning & Vision group. I think. There’s no agenda, but that’s I can imagine. It’s at 4 p.m. in the Totier Room at the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville. 

(image) Some of the education and outreach events from the 2022 annual report (download the annual report)

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Albemarle Supervisors to resume consideration on Southwood, take up $200K for Premier Circle

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors will meet in Lane Auditorium at 1 p.m. for their first regular meeting of November. (agenda)

The first item on the agenda are two action items related to supporting homeless services and to help subsidize the cost of some housing projects. The Blue Ridge Coalition for the Homeless is asking Albemarle for $200,000 for continued operations of the emergency shelter at Premier Circle on U.S. 29 through April 2023. 

“The property on which the project operates was a former motel (Red Carpet Inn) that was purchased by [Piedmont Housing Alliance] with financial support from [Charlottesville Area Community Foundation] CACF, with the intent to provide non-congregate emergency shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic for individuals experiencing homelessness with complicated health conditions that place them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19,” reads the staff report

According to the report, about 84 individuals are currently at the site. Virginia Supportive Housing expects to break ground on an 80-unit permanent supportive housing facility and soon after Piedmont Housing is expected to build 60 below-market units. 

“As a result of this construction, the number of units available for use for emergency shelter operations will reduce to 26 units contained in a single building referred to as ‘’Building One’ beginning in May 2023,” the report continues. 

Additional funding would be required for those 26 units. An amount suggested in the staff report is $1.32 million to keep those units in operation through April 2025. 

This is the same request that Charlottesville City Council held first reading on at its meeting on October 17. An additional request of $100,000 has been asked of the University of Virginia Health System. (Council holds first reading of $200K to keep Premier Circle shelter open through end of April, October 25, 2022)

In the second request Albemarle Supervisors will review today, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville is seeking $80,000 as a local match through the Affordable Housing and Special Needs Program of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. 

“This funding would support the construction of four homes purchased by the families at or below 60 percent of the area median income,” reads the October 12, 2022 request letter.

These homes would be at either the Lochlyn Hill subdivision on the city border or at Old Trail in Crozet. 

Next, Supervisors will hold a work session on the five-year financial plan. 

“A long-range financial plan is different from the annual budget in that it emphasizes where the County may be headed at the end of the plan rather than the coming fiscal year,” reads the staff report. “This planning can provide a helpful framework to inform the annual budget to ensure funding recommendations are aligned with County priorities.”

This is where the Strategic Plan comes in. Supervisors adopted goals and objectives at their meeting on October 19, as I reported in the October 26 newsletter

In the evening session beginning at 6 p.m. there are three public hearings followed by an action item. 

All three public hearings related to changes to the county code related to licenses (Chapter 8) and taxation (Chapter 15) to make various changes. These include allowing the finance director to approve any erroneous tax refund up to $10,000. For the details on the rest, view the staff report

On the consent agenda, there is a long list of erroneous tax payments over $10,000. These are worth putting into the newsletter because it’s an interesting list. Also this week is slow, and I have to keep the word count up somehow. 

  • $40,550.00 will be refunded to Six3 Intelligences Solutions LLC due to business closure.
  • $35,256.24 will be refunded to Monticello Community Surgery due to business closure.
  • $25,683.42 will be refunded to AllTell Corporation due to business closure.
  • $24,373.46 will be refunded to The Le Myers Company due to business closure.
  • $24,217.23 will be refunded to Albemarle H & R Opos LLC due to business closure.
  • $21,727.05 will be refunded to AllTell Corpration DBA Verizon due to business overestimation.
  • $21,568.85 will be refunded to Marshalls of MA. Inc. due to taxpayer miscalculation.
  • $19,601.00 will be refunded to Medical Facilities of America due to business closure.
  • $13,630.48 will be refunded to Rexel USA Inc. due to business closure.
  • $12,657.27 will be refunded to BJ’s Restaurant Operation CO due to taxpayer miscalculation.
  • $10,627.33 will be refunded to Cornerstone Partners LLC due to business closure.

Southwood rezoning continues

Finally, Supervisors will take up the rezoning for the second phase of Southwood. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville purchased the mobile home community in 2007 and has been planning for redevelopment of a mixed-income, mixed-use community for much of that time. A first phase includes land on Southwood’s periphery along Old Lynchburg Road and is under construction. 

In September, Supervisors held a public hearing on the rezoning of the second phase and that covers the existing park where people currently live. Supervisors had concerns about the cost to purchase seven acres for a school site from Habitat as well as transportation impacts. (Albemarle delays final action on rezoning of Southwood’s second phase, September 22, 2022)

“During the public hearing, the applicant revised the [school site] proffer to include a not-to-exceed sales price of $680,000, through July 1, 2027,” reads the staff report. “However, the current proffer would require the County to cover the cost of any necessary relocation of residents, environmental remediation, and site preparation.”

The staff report states further study would be required to come up cost estimates for those activities. Still, staff recommends approval. 

Location map for Southwood

As for transportation impacts, county staff have produced an analysis of potential improvements to help address congestion concerns and draws from a recent study of the Fifth Street / Old Lynchburg corridor

This document notes that one Smart Scale project is underway that would put the four-lane highway on a “road diet.” 

“County staff recently submitted a smart scale application to construct a “road diet”, which would replace one southbound travel lane with a multi-use path,” reads the analysis. “A future application could include a phase II on the opposite side of the roadway. The reduction from four down to two travel lanes would significantly improve safety associated with turning movements. 

The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded Albemarle County funding to convert the intersection of Old Lynchburg Road and 5th Street Extended into a roundabout in Smart Scale Round 4. The scores for Round 5 will be made public in January, but there’s no estimate yet for how much funding will be available statewide as the CTB learned last week

Fluvanna Supervisors to be briefed on $347K in additional housing funds 

The five member Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors will meet at 5 p.m. in the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center in Fork Union. (agenda packet)

There are no public hearings this time around but there’s a lot on the agenda. 

In the first action item, David Blount of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will present the regional legislative agenda for the 2023 General Assembly. The three main priorities are public education funding, budgets and funding, andbroadband. 

In the second, there is a request to set a public hearing for an amendment to the county code chapter on fire protection and public safety to clear the way for a new government service. 

“The current Chapter 8 Fire Protection and Public Safety ordinance is being significantly revised to allow the County in the near future to establish a Fluvanna County Department of Emergency Services, which allows the County to hire employee to provide EMS, and assist to augment the existing volunteer agencies providing EMS,” reads the staff report. (page 18)

The third is an appointment to the Board of Equalization. 

The presentations are for:

  • The president of the Community Investment Collaborative, Stephen Davis, will give an update on the organization. 
  • The director of the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center, Rebecca Haydock, will give an update on what that group offers.
  • County Administrator Eric Dahl will provide an update on additional HOME funding provided through the American Rescue Plan Act. Each of the six localities in the TJPDC will receive $347,404.92 (page 69) There’s a proposal from the Fluvanna-Louisa Housing Foundation to build an eight-unit complex for seniors using this funding and other resources. (page 103)
  • Randy Willis with Pearson Mass Appraisal will give an update on planning for the 2023 reassessment. A report in the packet states that market value is up 10.6 percent. (page 113)
  • Dahl will also give an update on funding for the waterline for Zion Crossroads West. (page 117)
A slide from the TJPDC letter to localities regarding the HOME-ARP funding depicting the gaps in the area’s ability to provide services to unhoused individuals (page 76)

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Albemarle Biodiversity Group to meet 

Albemarle County’s Natural Heritage Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. in Room 235 in the county office building at 401 McIntire Road. The agenda is not available at publication time. For anyone interested in getting more involved with biodiversity efforts in Albemarle, this is a group worth further investigation. (meeting info)

This is an image from a fact sheet on the purposes of the Albemarle Natural Heritage Committee (view the fact sheet)

Friday, November 4, 2022

Albemarle Supervisors to meet with legislators

The 2023 General Assembly is fast approaching and Albemarle Supervisors have a legislative agenda of items they would like to get enacted. Legislators from the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate have been invited to attend a work session to discuss the matters. The calendar does not list who will be in attendance, but this will take place in Room 241 in the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville. (meeting info)

Except for location there’s no information about the agenda. So, before you go, take a look at two stories about Albemarle developing their legislative priority list. 

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.