Cville Area Land Use Update: Week Ahead for May 28, 2024

Memorial Day means there are no local government meetings, so I took yesterday to work on a different story that will come out later this week. More on that at the bottom of this newsletter. This is perhaps the slowest week since the one after Christmas, but there’s always something happening if you look long enough. 

Some highlights:

  • Albemarle County will hold a listening session Thursday for property owners and developers to find out what they perceive as the barriers to utilizing the “form-based code” intended to implement the “smart growth” principles of the Rio / 29 Small Area Plan.
  • Flow Hyundai is building a new showroom on undeveloped land nearby, and the Albemarle Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday on whether that can use the outside for sales and display. 
  • The Albemarle PC will also hold public hearings on enrollment expansion requests for both Olivet Preschool and Tandem Friends School. 
  • The Rivanna Authorities will both meet Tuesday to consider budgets for the next fiscal year. On the water and sewer side, there are hundreds of millions of dollars in capital projects proposed over the next five years.
  • Greene Supervisors on Tuesday will get an update on their fledgling water and sewer department and will hold two public hearings for support services for real area properties.
  • Albemarle Supervisors will hold a retreat on Wednesday, a good event for fans of team-building exercises.
  • There are no meetings in Fluvanna, Louisa County, or Nelson County. They’ll be back next week. Only two committees meet in Charlottesville. 

Thank you to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continued sponsorship of this weekly look at what’s coming up in local and regional government. There are still tickets left for their annual meeting on June 1 so order today!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Greene Supervisors to consider permits for duplex at equestrian center, larger structure at winery 

The five member Greene County Board of Supervisors will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the administration building in Stanardsville for a closed session, followed by a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. (agenda)

There are two land use public hearings. 

  • The first is for a special use permit for a two-family structure to be built on agriculturally-zoned land at 550 Sylvia Ridge Road at the site of a newly constructed equestrian facility. In April, the Planning Commission voted 3-0 to recommend approval with the condition that only one of the units could be used for short-term rentals. 
  • The second would be for a request for a farm winery to have a structure larger than 4,000 square feet. That takes a special use permit and the proposal from Beard Mountain Vineyards is for a building with a maximum footprint of 26,000 square feet. 

There are two presentations and no materials for either in advance. 

  • The first is from the Blue Ridge Committee for Shenandoah National Park Relations. That’s an appointed body consisting of officials from localities that border the park, which was created in the mid 1930’s. 
  • The second is a monthly update from Dave Hundelt, the interim director of water and sewer. Hundelt took the position on April 11 after a series of other people left the role as Greene’s takeover of operations from the Rapidan Service Authority met a string of problems. 

Supervisors will formally appropriate the FY25 budget after having adopted it on May 14. They held their first reading on April 23

The duplex would be built as part of a larger complex for equestrian use (Credit: Greene County)

Albemarle Planning Commission to consider enrollment increase at Tandem Friends School 

A phenomenon to keep tracking across Virginia is the growth in private school enrollment and how that might change public schools. The Albemarle Planning Commission will have a relevant public hearings on that matter at their meeting which begins at 6 p.m. in Lane Auditorium in the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (agenda)

But the first public hearing is on a special use permit for Flow Hyundai to be able to have outdoor storage, display, and sales at its new location between 2070 and 2150 Seminole Trail. As part of this application, there is also a request to be exempt from a requirement that vehicles awaiting repair be screened from public view. (staff report)

Next, Olivet Preschool at Olivet Presbyterian Church operates at 2575 Garth Road and wants to expand from a maximum enrollment of 24 to 48. They also want to increase the hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The main reason is that there is a growing waitlist due to demand. (staff report)

After that, Tandem Friends School will have a public hearing on their request to increase from 250 students to 400 students. 

“Increased enrollment capacity will give Tandem flexibility in their future planning and may help offset the County’s growing need for grade 9 through 12 schooling facilities,” reads the narrative. “Tandem currently has no plans for 400 students but foresees an immediate increase of approximately 15 to 30 students within the first two years of permit approval.” 

The narrative produced by Line and Grade states that a new building will be needed if enrollment hits 350. 

This would be the latest increase with permission for 250 students having been granted in 2013. 

Schematics for an expanded Tandem Friends School (Credit: Division Engineering)

RSWA and RSWA to meet, consider budgets for FY2025

Both of the “Rivanna Authorities” will meet today in the 2nd floor conference room in the administration building at 695 Moores Creek Lane. Both consist of one elected official from both Albemarle and Charlottesville as well as top staff. There’s one at-large community member. 

The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority will go first. They’ll begin with a recognition of Gary O’Connell, who is retiring from the Albemarle County Service Authority after 14 years. Before that, O’Connell was Charlottesville’s city manager from 1995 to 2010. (agenda packet)

Under other business, the RSWA Board will vote on the proposed rate schedule and budget for FY25.

“A budget totaling $9.8 million is proposed to provide our essential refuse disposal and recycling services,” writes executive director Bill Mawyer in the introduction to the budget

In the year to come, the RWSA will begin construction of a new baling facility that will be used for paper recycling. They will also complete the design for the Northern Convenience Center which will operate on county-owned property in the Brookhill development. 

As part of the budget, the RSWA will increase tipping fees for municipal and construction debris from $54 a ton to $58 a ton. The fees for vegetation disposal will increase from $50 a ton to $54 a ton. 

There will also be a recycling update from Phil McKalips, the director of the solid waste division. 

Rivanna Executive Director Bill Mawyer (left) and ASCA Executive Director Gary O’Connell (right) at the April meeting of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority 

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority meeting will begin as soon as the solid waste meeting concludes. There are four items on the agenda.

  • The first is a presentation and vote on the proposal $371 million capital improvement program for FY25 through FY29. That amount includes the cost of building the nine mile pipeline to connect the Ragged Mountain and South Fork Rivanna reservoirs as well as several water transmission lines throughout the area. (learn more)
  • The second is a public hearing on the rates for the next fiscal year as well as the $55,136,000 budget for the next fiscal year. The rates portion begins on page 248. (learn more)
  • The third is a vote on the issuance of revenue bonds to pay for capital projects. (learn more)
  • The fourth is an update on properties the RWSA bought to build a reservoir in northwest Albemarle at Buck Mountain. There will be a vote on whether to sell 1706 Buck Mountain Road (learn more). 

In other meetings: 

  • The Charlottesville Social Services Advisory Board will meet at noon in the City Hall Annex at 120 7th Street NE. On the agenda is an overview of the various services offered by the city. (agenda)
  • The Charlottesville Sister Cities Committee’s grants subcommittee will meet at 4:30 p.m. No location or agenda is posted in either calendar #1 or calendar #2.  
(image) A list of the the various water infrastructure projects in the five year capital improvement program (Credit: Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority)

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Albemarle Board of Supervisors to hold retreat

The six members of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors will hold a one-day retreat at the Hilton Garden Inn at 1793 Richmond Road on Pantops in Peter Jefferson Room A. (agenda)

This one will be facilitated by the Berkley Group, a government consulting services firm that is quite prolific in Virginia. The morning portion will include team building exercises, review the interviews Supervisors have had with facilitators, and review the Board’s operating guidelines and rules. This will continue throughout the afternoon before they adjourn. 

In another meeting:

  • The Albemarle Audit Committee will meet at 2 p.m. in a virtual meeting. Given that this group consists of two Supervisors, members of the School Board, and staff, this meeting likely means the Board’s retreat will be over by 1:59 p.m. There’s no agenda available at publication time. (meeting info)
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors will hold a retreat in the morning (Credit: Albemarle County)

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Albemarle to hold listening session on Route 29 Form-Based Code

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors adopted the Rio/29 Small Area Plan in December 2018 to help imagine a more urban character for what developed in the mid-to-late 20th century as suburban sprawl. Nearly three years later, Supervisors adopted a “form-based code” in an overlay district to try to encourage developers to take advantage of streamlined rules to build what county planners desired. 

“At the time of adoption, it was anticipated that the first reviews of site development plans completed under the new code would reveal that revisions would be needed to the text of the code,” reads a website for an initiative in 2024 to make those changes

Albemarle has hired the firms EPR PC and Dover Kohl and Partners to make the adjustments based on feedback from developers. One source for that feedback is a listening session to be held on Thursday in Lane Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. 

“This update does not seek to rewrite the code completely or take out foundational elements,” the website continues. “Instead, the purpose is to refine the code to improve clarity, eliminate ambiguity, respond to changing trends/limitations in development, and ensure compatibility with the requirements of partner departments and agencies.”

Since then, many of the developments in the scope of the small area plan have been automotive in nature or continued development trends of the 20th century. For instance, the former Goodwill building has been developed as a body repair shop. A retailer of heavy equipment is moving into the building next to the Northside library. Home Depot purchased a portion of Fashion Square Mall and is building a new store there. 

The scope of the form-based code overlay district for the Rio/29 area (Credit: Albemarle County)

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.