Cville Area Land Use Update: Week of July 24, 2023

It’s the final week of July in a summer that has reminded us of the power of summer. There’s been heat. There’s been thunder. There’s been a lot of weeks with slower than usual meeting volume. But there’s always something of interested in a community with as many moving parts as this one. Here are some highlights:

  • Cornerstone Community Church wants to stop meeting in a movie theater and instead wants a new location on Stony Point Road in Pantops. That will take a rezoning.  
  • A 600-unit development near Stanardsville wants permission to connect to the limited access bypass of that town to avoid congesting local roads.  
  • Greene County Supervisors will hold a public hearing on whether a third party should be authorized to operate speed cameras in school and highway zones.  
  • The Places29-Rio Community Advisory Committee will take a look at a rezoning request for land from R-6 to R-15 near the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir as well as a request for the new Home Depot to have outdoor sales.
  • The Charlottesville Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board will get an update on the study to inform development of projects to address road congestion on Ivy Road 
  • The Albemarle Planning Commission will get an update on both the zoning modernization and the Comprehensive Plan process.

There does not appear to be a meeting in either Louisa County and this time I looked at both the new Louisa website as well as the new Nelson website. Fluvanna County only has one meeting. 

Thanks as always to The Piedmont Environmental Council for their sponsorship of this newsletter.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Pantops group to review Cornerstone Church’s rezoning request

One of the functions of Albemarle County’s Community Advisory Committees is to serve as a forum for land use applications for property within their jurisdictions. The Pantops CAC meets Monday at 6:15 p.m. and will hold a community meeting for a request from Cornerstone Community Church for 1395 Stony Point Road. (meeting info)

“The subject parcel has long been a single-family residential property owned by the Dettor family,” reads the narrative written by the firm Line and Grade. “Recently the church has put the property under contract for purchase as a part of the church’s intention to relocate their community’s primary place of congregation. 

The church currently meets in the Regal Cinema at Stonefield. 

Their request is for the 3.58 acre property to go from R-1 to C-1 for religious assembly and office use. The property is across the street from the Riverside Village project developed by the Stony Point Development Group

The proposal indicates redevelopment of the site would be done in two phases. The first would be to use the site as-is with minimal improvements including adding seating in the current garage and using the existing house.

A second phase is not as defined as the church is looking for partners to develop the land. The narrative states that there is potential for commercial or retail use. 

“Currently envisioned is an expansion to the church (current garage) structure, an additional office/commercial building up to 3-stories, outdoor recreational areas, and expanded parking,” the narrative continues. (try this link to see the narrative)

The current Comprehensive Plan identifies this parcel as within a Neighborhood Center (Credit: Albemarle County / Line and Grade) 

CRHA Board to meet and pick new chair

The seven-member Board of Commissioners for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will meet at 6 p.m. in CitySpace. While the CRHA now has a new website, this meeting is not yet posted there. (agenda on cvillepedia)

There will be a vote for a new chair as Dr. A’Lelia Henry is now longer on the board. Council appointed two new members last week. The Board will also offer resolutions of thanks for Henry’s service as well as that of outgoing Commissioner Airea Garland. 

Items of interest from the meeting packet:

  • As of July 19, 31 residents have moved back into Crescent Halls. Only the top four floors are available for occupation at this time while the renovation work is closed out. 
  • All three new buildings at the first phase of South First Street are now cleared for rentals.
  • CRHA now has possession of both the Dogwood Properties as well as 100 Harris Street
  • Planning continues for construction of 47 units at 6th Street in early 2024 according to the report of redevelopment director Brandon Collins. 
  • The CRHA is seeking a federal grant to hire a planning coordinator
An image from a presentation on planning for a federal grant for a planning coordinator for the CRHA

Catch up with the Albemarle Board of Equalization

The Albemarle Board of Equalization meets at 8 a.m. in Room 235 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)

The agendas aren’t posted in advance, but the meetings are posted on YouTube. So, why not catch up? 

In other meetings:

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Greene County Supervisors to hold public hearing on speed cameras 

The five-member Board of Supervisors in Greene County will meet at 5:30 p.m. for a closed session in the county Administration Building. That will be followed by a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. (agenda packet)

There will be a public hearing on an ordinance change that would allow a third party to install and monitor speed cameras in school zones, on school buses, and in highway work zones. Supervisors had a presentation on the technology on June 13 and expressed interest in pursuing the idea. 

“This ordinance does not obligate the County to install these cameras, or contract with a third party,” the staff memo reads. “This ordinance allows the County the ability to explore the concept further and start a procurement process with a third party vendor if necessary.” 

There are four action items. 

The first is approval of a letter to the Virginia Department of Transportation to allow for access from the proposed 600-unit Blue Ridge Meadows development on the U.S. 33 bypass of Stanardsville. The rest of this development near Stanardsville will access local roads.

“Since the By-Pass is a limited access highway, we are pursuing, on behalf of our client, a limited access control change (LACC) request to permit an entrance along the property’s nearly 3560’ of frontage on the By-Pass,” reads the staff memo. “As part of the LACC process, a resolution, letter of support or formal request from the locality where the LACC is being requested is required.” 

The developer of Blue Ridge Meadows seeks access to the U.S. 33 bypass and needs a letter of support from the Greene County Board of Supervisors (Credit: Shimp Engineering)

The second item is approval of both building inspection fees and planning and zoning fees. The latter hasn’t been updated since 2015. 

The third item is a resolution to appropriate $172,000 in grant funds from the State Rescue Squad Assistance Fund to Greene County Emergency Medical Services. 

“The grant award is for a new RAM 4500 Diesel MXP170 ambulance and MTS Power Load / Power Cot for the new ambulance,” reads the staff memo.

The fourth item is an appropriation of $172,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to serve as a match for the above.  

Zoning modernization and Comprehensive Plan update to go before Albemarle Planning Commission

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

As the summer of 2023 continues, work is underway in Albemarle County for both an update of the zoning code as well as the Comprehensive Plan. For the first time, both topics will be reviewed by the Planning Commission at the same meeting, though in two separate items on the agenda.

The first is a work session on the zoning modernization that the county hired the Berkeley Group to conduct. I last wrote about this process in late December.

“The ordinance has not undergone a complete overhaul since it was adopted in 1980,” said planner Lea Brumfield in December. “We have made a number of amendments in the intervening 40 years but the  ordinance is in need for an overall reorganization and an overall cleaning up.” 

There was also a work session on March 28 but I wasn’t able to get around to writing it out in detail. Commissioners will be asked to review draft language and review best practices for how to streamline the application process.

There will also be an update on the AC44 process. I’m hoping the next regular edition of the newsletter will provide some more answers. This is also a preview of the Planning Commission’s upcoming August 8 work session on the planning tool kits.

For now, here are two articles on what those tool kits entail:

Rivanna authorities continue strategic planning process

The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority (RSWA) and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) are roughly the same body with a couple of exceptions. The two groups meet at the conference room in the Rivanna administration building at 695 Moores Creek Lane. 

The RSWA will meet first at 2 p.m. and the only regular item is the strategic plan for both agencies. (agenda packet)

The RWSA meets at the conclusion of the RSWA meeting. The main item again is the strategic plan for the two entities. (agenda packet)

One item in the RWSA report from executive director Bill Mawyer is an update on the shutdown of the North Rivanna Water Treatment Plant due to the presence of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, or PFAS. For background, read my July 10, 2023 story.

“The NRWTP will remain out of service until additional testing indicates production may be resumed,” reads the report. “Additional drinking water samples from the NRWTP have been collected and sent to specialized labs in Indiana and Michigan for testing. We expect to have those results by early August.” 

The report from RWSA executive director Bill Mawyer has the latest usage report for the water system broken down by locality. (Credit: Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority)
In another meeting:

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

MPO to get update on unified bike/ped map, long-range transportation plan 

The Policy Board of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization meets at 4 p.m. for what appears to be a virtual meeting. (meeting packet)

Much of this meeting is a repeat of what the two technical meetings saw last week including something called OneMap.

“OneMap is a collection of the bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure within the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (CA-MPO),” reads the staff report.

Take a look at the OneMap here.

There will also be an update on Moving Toward 2050. The staff reports that public engagement for the process has been “modest” so far. 

I’ve had a few articles on the process to date.

I am hopeful to write up information from the MPO Tech meeting before this meeting but time is limited. 

One item at this meeting I hope to write about is an update on two study areas for “pipeline projects” being planned by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The latter study area had been mentioned the night that the Albemarle Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a rezoning for up to 525 units on Old Ivy Road. 

“VDOT has been engaged in a study to determine transportation improvements that address some of the significant issues at both ends of Ivy Road Corridor,” said acting planning director Kevin McDermott at the time. “We have been looking at this area for a while. VDOT has been trying to identify improvements.”

In other meetings:
  • The Albemarle Board of Equalization meets again at 8 a.m. though they are back in Room 241 for this meeting. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle Broadband Authority meets at 5 p.m. in Room 241 as well as virtually. (meeting info)
  • The Albemarle Fire EMS Board meeting that had been scheduled for 6. p.m. on this date has been canceled. (meeting info)
  • The Greene County Board of Zoning Appeals meets at 6:30 p.m. but there’s further information on the county meeting page

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Home Depot and Berkmar Flats projects to go before Places29-Rio CAC

The Places29-Rio Community Advisory Committee meets at 6 p.m. in Room 241 of the county’s office building at 401 McIntire Road. (meeting info)

There are two community meetings. 

The first is for a rezoning request for 3.62 acres of land south of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. The firm Third Mesa LLC wants to go from the R-6 zoning to the R-15 designation in order to provide more “missing middle” housing. (materials for ZMA202300005)

“A rezoning to R-15 residential would enable a greater density of units to be developed, which could permit a greater range of housing affordability,” reads the narrative. “The owner seeks to develop the property as ‘stacked flats’ which would house multifamily units within structures that appear as townhomes.” 

A previous site plan for this property sought additional density through the provision of bonus factors but the county denied. There was an appeal of a letter of determination.  (LOD202200005)

The second community meeting is for a special use permit for outdoor storage and sales for the Home Depot that will be built on the site of the former Sears building at Fashion Square Mall. The possibility of such a request came up at the May 15, 2023 meeting of the Architectural Review Board meeting. (materials for SP202300007)

A conceptual plan for the Berkmar Flats project by the reservoir (Credit: Shimp Engineering)

City of Charlottesville holding public hearing on pay structure, compensation policy

In roughly 16 years of paying attention to Charlottesville government, this one’s new to me. 

The City of Charlottesville will hold a meeting at noon related to something of important to city employees. 

“The City of Charlottesville will hold a Public Hearing to provide employees and other interested persons with the opportunity to comment on the proposed draft (unaffiliated) employee updated pay structure and updated compensation policy,” reads the legal notice for the meeting

The classification and compensation study was made available in late March and went before City Council on April 3, 2023. Take a look at it here if you’re interested.

In other meetings:
  • The Albemarle Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee (SWAAC) Operations Subcommittee (SWAACOS?) meets at 4 p.m. in Room 246 at the McIntire County Office Building. There’s no agenda at publication time. (meeting info)
  • The Regional Transit Partnership was scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. but the meeting appears to have been canceled. The RTP meeting for June was also canceled. (RTP website)

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.