Cville Area Land Use Update: Week of June 26, 2023

It is the last week of the fiscal year. This doesn’t quite have the same cultural impact as the final week of the calendar year, but perhaps that can change over time. Nevertheless, this week does seem like quite a slowdown. And I for one will take it and try to recharge for what should be a very busy second half of 2023.

For various reasons, Albemarle County canceled three meetings this week. They are the Historic Preservation Committee on Monday and a special meeting of the Pantops Community Advisory Committee that has been scheduled for Monday to discuss the diverging diamond that’s still under construction at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Interstate 64. The regular meeting of the Albemarle Broadband Authority is also canceled. Perhaps they feel the need to recharge, too? 

Thanks to The Piedmont Environmental Council for their continued support of this newsletter.

Monday, June 26, 2023

CRHA Board to get redevelopment updates

The Board of Commissioners for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will meet at 6 p.m. (meeting agenda on cvillepedia) (Zoom link)

This time around there are no resolutions to purchase any more property but there are updates on the recent reopening of Crescent Halls and the opening of the first newly built CRHA units in a generation. 

“The past month has been historic,” writes Redevelopment Director Brandon Collins in his monthly report. “Crescent Halls began occupancy on May 30. I have spent most of my time helping to ready Crescent Halls for re-occupancy, being on site for the re-occupancy, and throwing parties for Crescent Halls and South First Street residents.”

Two out of three buildings at the first phase of South First Street are now occupied with the third going through final inspections. 

Collins continues work setting up the second phase of South First Street but there are some issues. 

“The escalating cost of construction has led to a stalling of the contractor selection process as originally envisioned,” Collins said. “The redevelopment partners began to investigate reasons for this problem and evaluated potential solutions.” 

At the same time redevelopment of some properties is underway, improvements to others are also happening in a process called Parallel Track. 

“Roofs, siding, and windows are finished up and some final work is being completed,” the report continues. “The City granted additional money to support the HVAC and associated electrical upgrades meaning we can move forward with that effort and the team has begun evaluating that process to start lining up a contractor.” 

In other meetings: 

  • The Charlottesville Social Services Advisory Board meets at noon in the City Hall Annex. On the agenda are various reports, none of which are included in advance. (meeting info)
  • The Executive Board of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Redevelopment and Housing Authority will meet at 2 p.m. at the Dairy Market at 946 Grady Avenue. The main item on the agenda is a presentation from James Monroe’s Highland. (meeting info)
  • The Board of Trustees for the Jefferson Madison Regional Library meets at 3 p.m. at Northside Library. That’s at 705 West Rio Road. Two items on the agenda are on the FY24 budget as well as the Board’s officers for FY24. (agenda)
  • The Fluvanna County Social Services Board will meet at 3 p.m. at the Department of Social Services First Floor Conference Room in Fork Union. (meeting info)

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Greene County Supervisors to take action on 600-home Woodpark rezoning

The five-member Greene County Board of Supervisors will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the administration building in Stanardsville. They begin with a closed session that opens up at 6:30 p.m. The public can participate in public comment periods remotely. (meeting agenda)

The main item on the agenda is a public hearing on leasing public property to the Rapidan Service Authority. Greene County has left that entity in order to pursue its own destiny in terms of building public water and sewer. That means the RSA now has to rent a building it has already occupied on Route 33. The nominal rent is $1. 

The consent agenda for this meeting reflects the need to appoint the new county administrator, Cathay Schafrik, to various boards and commissions. 

There are six action items:

  • There’s action on a rezoning request to transform 172 acres from Senior Residential to Planned Unit Development. The public hearing for what is now known as Woodpark had been held on February 14, 2023. The development would be built in six phases and the developer is proffering $600,000 for road improvements and $1.38 million for school improvements. 
  • There is a request to authorize a public hearing on changes to water and sewer rates on July 11. (memo and resolution)
  • There is a resolution to modify the bylaws of the Greene County Tourism Council (memo)
  • There is potential consideration of a modification of the personal property tax for business vehicles. (memo)
  • There will be an authorization to develop an ordinance related to speed cameras in highway work zones and school crossing zones. 
  • There will be an accompanying discussion of how to procure photo speed cameras in highway work zones and school crossing zones. 
A conceptual map for Woodpark off of U.S. 33 in Greene County (Credit: Roudabush, Gale, and Associates

Albemarle PC to hold two public hearings, get update on the AC44 process

The Albemarle Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. in Lane Auditorium of the county office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)

All across the Fifth District, Christian-based schools are seeking to expand. One of them is the Community Christian Academy operated at 1410 Old Brook Road. They seek to amend an existing special use permit granted in 2012 to expand from 85 students to 150 students to meet demand.

“We had incremental growth for multiple years, but when the pandemic shut down the public schools for in-person education, we suddenly filled up all our classes,” reads the narrative. “Increasing enrollments in many, if not all, of our private schools emphasize the desire and need for more educational options.” 

The second public hearing is to bring an existing 73-unit mobile home park in Crozet into compliance. That’s also required in order to grant a request to add an additional 14 units. There is also an accompanying request to approve an existing private water and sewer system. 

The narrative from Shimp Engineering cites a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development study that calls manufactured housing as a major source of unsubsidized affordable housing. 

“It is incredibly burdensome to realize the establishment or expansion of manufactured housing in Albemarle County as this type of housing is not permitted by-right in any of Albemarle’ s conventional residential zoning,” the narrative states. “This type of exclusionary zoning has disincentivized the increase of this housing type to the housing stock in Albemarle County.”

The meeting ends with an AC44 update with no information provided. In local media, the AC44 process appears to have a very low-profile with very few if any articles written about any of it. A google search shows one in the past month. I’ve yet to figure out how to crack the code to get my articles classified as “news” in Google searches but this is a topic I hope to cover as much as I can as this work continues.  

There are a lot of conversations happening and I wish I had the resources to cover it all. I will likely be distracted all summer, but please know that my goal is to cover as much as I can. As the community changes, we need stories about the various perspectives. Otherwise it all devolves into an endless us versus them. Is that what you want? 

Location map for the Crozet Mobile Home Community (Credit: Shimp Engineering)

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Albemarle Fire EMS Board to review Fire Service Agreement with Charlottesville

The Albemarle Fire EMS Board will meet at 1800 hours (6 p.m.) in Room 235 of the Albemarle County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road. For anyone interested in the changing face of public safety, these meetings are crucial to understand the recent shift from volunteerism to professionalism. This is also an area that could use more attention from journalists to explain. 

Let’s review the minutes from the May meeting. There was a discussion of an “Interim Directive Policy” and the fact that the chief of the East Rivanna Volunteer Fire Company read a statement from their attorney saying they would not sign the draft document.  

“The fire and rescue chief’s proposal to create a policy allowing interim directives is an attempt to make an end run around the policymaking procedure set forth in Chapter 6, Section 6-109, violates the governing legislation set forth in Chapter 6 of the Albemarle County Code, and would therefore be void.” 

Chief Dan Eggleston responded that his department only takes legal advice from the county attorney, who supports the Interim Directive. The very detailed minutes go on to describe a production conversation in which the policy language was changed and then voted on with unanimous approval. I’d like to read an article explaining more about this. 

We also learn that the cost of a fire engine has increased 76 percent over the past nine years. There was a robust conversation about how to cut costs. 

Under new business is a review of the Fire Service Agreement between Albemarle and Charlottesville. There’s nothing included in the packet, but this would be another story that would be worth reading. 

“Under the current contractual agreement for fire services, the Charlottesville Fire Department is dispatched into the County under automatic aid to certain designated areas in the County, under automatic mutual aid to certain other designated areas of the County, and mutual aid by special request to certain other designated areas of the County,” reads a section of the Charlottesville Fire Department’s annual report for FY2021

What’s in the new agreement? What’s the cost to both parties? Is the Charlottesville Areas Rescue Squad included? What about the University of Virginia? 

In other meetings: 

  • The Charlottesville Retirement Commission will meet at 8:30 a.m. in the City Hall Basement Conference Room. (meeting agenda)
  • The Greene County Board of Zoning Appeals will meet at 6:30 p.m. There’s no information on the county meeting page about what will be discussed. 
  • The Nelson County Board of Supervisors and the Nelson County Planning Commission meet at 6 p.m. but there’s no information on the website at publication time. 

No meetings on Thursday or Friday? It’s an end-of-fiscal-year miracle!

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.