Cville Area Land Use Update: Week of June 13, 2022

There are a lot of patterns this week as several initiatives being run by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission go before various elected bodies. That includes a document intended to prepare for emergencies and natural disasters, as well as a plan to expand broadband to rural areas across the planning district. Fluvanna and Greene will also get a look at the Regional Transit Vision plan. 

How will all of the pieces fit together? In many ways, that’s up to you. It can take many years for an idea to go from concept to implementation. The pathway to broadband expansion is an example of what can happen when many stakeholders come together to accomplish a goal. 

It is my hope in writing this newsletter each and every week to increase awareness of the many details and nuances that go into public policy. What other issues could be solved, mitigated, ameliorated when more people have access to information? 

Either way, there’s a lot in this one. You will need to click through the email to see all the way to Friday. Please forward this on to other people so we can keep growing the audience.

As always, thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continuing support of the time it takes to produce this newsletter each week. 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Places29 group to get update on affordable housing in Albemarle

There is a lot to know about affordable housing and a lot of basic questions. 

“Who qualifies to live in affordable housing? What does affordable housing look like?” 

Those are two questions in a presentation that Albemarle Housing Policy Manager Stacy Pethia will make to the Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee at their monthly meeting. The Board of Supervisors adopted the Housing Albemarle plan last July and are going to direct staff to develop an affordable dwelling unit program to require more units. 

The presentation details how much money people need to earn an hour in order to not be considered cost-burdened. To put it in numbers recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, someone with an annual income of $22,480 can only afford to pay $562 a month in housing costs. HUD defines the fair market rent in Albemarle at $1,063 for a one bedroom unit. 

The Places29 Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee meets virtually at 5:30 p.m. Another item on the agenda is a presentation on the International Rescue Committee. (meeting info)

Some of the activities that Albemarle County is pursuing to increase housing stock in the area (view the presentation) Credit: Albemarle County 

In another meeting:

  • The Fluvanna County Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Council meets at 6 p.m. On the agenda are updates on a Fork Union Business Map, signs for Palmyra Village, and the restoration of the courthouse. (agenda)

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Albemarle Planning Commission to hold public hearing on Old Ivy rezoning

Staff recommends denial due to traffic concerns 

Father Goose and Filthy Beast want to build up to 525 housing units on Old Ivy Road. 

Or, at least, Greystar Development East seeks a rezoning to construct as many places to live on about 35 acres near the intersection of Old Ivy Road and the U.S. 250 Bypass. The Planning Commission will take up the matter at a meeting in Lane Auditorium that begins at 6 p.m. (meeting info)

Planning staff are recommending denial of what’s known as Old Ivy Residences due to several factors including an interpretation of a previous proffer on one of the properties involved as well as a concern that intensity of development will shut down the road network in the immediate vicinity.

“Traffic operations at the surrounding intersections are currently, or are projected to be, failing without the development of Old Ivy Residences as proposed,” reads the staff report. “Additionally, those operations will further degrade with the construction of the proposal, moving from acceptable to failing or failing worse than would be projected without the development.”

The wooded property is located near the Darden School of Business as well as University Villages. The University of Virginia has several offices on the southern side of Old Ivy Road. 

The land was rezoned in October 1982 for a continuing care facility, and that zoning was amended a couple of times in the 80’s to allow for residential. However, a proffer from one of those amendments stated that development should not occur until Old Ivy Road had been improved to handle more additional traffic. 

“To-date, the Board of Supervisors has not made the determination that Old Ivy Road has been improved to allow density at up to R-15 on these parcels,” the staff report continues. 

The applicant disputes this and has provided a timeline with aerial maps showing 27 improvements that have been made since those rezonings. 

Though the text states there would be 490 units, the rezoning would allow up to 525 and the conceptual drawing shows 477. (Credit: KTGY / Greystar) 

The proposal would see a maximum of 490 units constructed on 27 acres with the rest of the property designated as open space. According to the applicant’s narrative, there would be 65 single family detached units, 47 townhouse units, 54 duplex units, and 324 apartments. 

“This breakdown is approximate and is subject to change at the site plan stage,” the narrative continues. 

All of the units would “likely” be rentals and the density would be 14.9 dwelling units per acre. 

A large portion of the property is designated as Parks and Green Systems in the Future Land Use Map. The land had been owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation for the right of way for the now-defunct Western Bypass project, and the current owners acquired it after the project was canceled. That is not one of the reasons staff recommends denial of the request. 

“Now that the Western Bypass project has been terminated, there is no longer any need for such a large buffer area; since the concerns for visual and noise impacts from the Western Bypass were eliminated when that project was terminated,” reads the staff report. 

An existing pond on the property would remain 

The developer is offering some funding towards transportation improvements, but staff notes that no specific projects are currently in the works for the area. A portion of the Rivanna Trail would be relocated through the development, and they would also build a shared-use path from the development to Ivy Commons. 

They also want a reduction in parking spaces, but staff notes that there is no transit service to the area now. Without a plan, they can’t use theoretical transit to justify granting the reduction from 911 spaces to 730. 

The project also needs a switch for some hillsides to be switched from “preserved” to “managed” in order to proceed. 

If successful, Greystar will buy the property from Father Goose and Filthy Beast, as well as the Beyer Family Investment Partnership. 

Nelson County Supervisors to consider Smart Scale applications including proposed change to Lovingston light

The Nelson County Board of Supervisors meets at both 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. for their regular monthly meetings. (meeting info

The afternoon session begins with four presentations. The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will present the regional hazard mitigation plan they are developing for the member localities. Actions specified for Nelson include are listed beginning on page 148 of the packet

Then Supervisors will get an annual report from the criminal justice planner on how Nelson has utilized the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. That will be followed by Nelson County’s Smart Scale applications:

  • An R-cut intersection at the traffic signal at Front Street and U.S. 29 in Lovingston
  • Conversion of the intersection at Route 6 and Route 151 into a roundabout 
  • Intersection improvements at Route 6 and Tanbark Road 

Then a report from the Virginia Department of Transportation. 

A depiction of the new traffic pattern that would result from an R-cut intersection

Then there’s both new and unfinished business to complete. These include proposed amendments to the subdivision and zoning ordinance to update the definition of a kennel and a “assistance dog facility,” how to finances the $2.6 million the county wants to use to acquire a property, a request from the registrar to modify their offices, and the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. 

In the evening session there are four public hearings: 

  • A special use permit request for a two-site campground near Crabtree Falls 
  • A special use permit request to allow an automobile graveyard on James River Road in Shipman
  • A special use permit to allow an outdoor entertainment venue at the former Mark Addy Inn in Nellysford
  • A special use permit to allow Blue Mountain Brewery to continue advertising on two trailers on U.S. 29 near their facility on Cooperative Way

One item on the consent agenda is also worth noting. 

“Ryan Hall Elementary School is one of the few remaining examples of the type of schools attended by all African American children in Nelson County during the first half of the 20th century,” reads a resolution of support for the school’s nomination to the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. 

According to the nomination, there were three classrooms on the main floor with one basement room. The older of two buildings dates back to 1919 and was closed in the early 1960’s. 

“It is a tangible reminder of the segregated educational system that united the African American community in its efforts to overcome it,” the resolution continues. 

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources’s State Review Board will take up the nomination at its meeting on Thursday. A property in Albemarle County is also up for consideration. (Read more about La Forche)

Another consent agenda item is Nelson’s agreement to participate in the Firefly Broadband public-private partnership. 

An image of the now badly deteriorated structure that was built in 1919 (Credit: United States Department of the Interior) 

Greene Supervisors to review hazard plan, regional transit vision 

Also will consider opposition to JMRL name change

The Greene County Board of Supervisors meet in the administration building in Stanardsville with an open session beginning at 6:30 p.m. (agenda)

On the consent agenda is a resolution expressing the Supervisors’ opposition to changing the name of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library. Louisa County passed such an ordinance last week. 

In action items, there will be a public hearing on the proposed Secondary Six Year Improvement Plan for the next six years, as well as Greene’s approval of the agreement for the public-private partnership between TJPDC, Firefly Broadband, and the county. Jaunt CEO Ted Rieck will appear to update the memorandum of understanding by which his agency operates Greene County Transit. VDOT also wants a waiver of the noise ordinance to allow overnight construction at the intersection of U.S. 29 and U.S. 33. 

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will present an update of the regional Hazard Mitigation Plan as well as an update on the Regional Transit Vision Plan. 

There is also a presentation on the real estate assessment process from Pearson Appraisal Service, a discussion of a public safety training center, and a quarterly finance report

The unconstrained vision is aspirational and seeks to expand service throughout the TJPDC area (Credit: AECOM / JWA / TJPDC)

Charlottesville Planning Commission to hold three public hearings

Piedmont Realty tries again with 1000 Monticello Road 

The Charlottesville Planning Commission will meet in-person at City Space beginning with a pre-meeting at 5:00 p.m. followed by the opening of the regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. 

There are three joint public hearings with the Charlottesville City Council. Two of them involve Shimp Engineering. All three seek land use changes before the city completes work on an update to the city’s zoning code. We may be get an update on that. There was one in May.

The first regards a property in Belmont at 1000 Monticello Road for which Council denied a special use permit in February 2020 on a 3-2 vote. Piedmont Realty Holdings purchased the 0.81 acre property in February 2019 which included existing residential apartments. There is room to build at least one more structure.

This second application from Drew Holzwarth also sees the construction of a new building with 11 units. This time around, seven of the units would be designated as affordable. Two would be for individuals or households at 80 percent of the area median income and five would be at 65 percent of AMI. 

“The applicant has proposed a building that is 3-4 stories in height, which would be taller than any of the buildings in the Belmont commercial area, but would be comparable in height to the tallest building on the Virginia Industries for the Blind location adjacent to the Subject Property,” reads the staff report. 

The city’s Office of Community Solutions, which includes the city’s nascent attempt to keep track of affordable housing units, has reviewed the proposal and has concerns about the ten-year affordability term for the project. They also want assurances federal housing vouchers can be accepted. 

Massing diagram for 1000 Monticello Road (Credit: Design Develop / Shimp Engineering)

In the second public hearing, the Council and the Planning Commission will consider a proposal in the Rose Hill neighborhood. 923 Harris Street was purchased by 923 Harris Street LLC in December for $310,000, more than double the 2021 assessment for the 0.115 acre property. 

The proposal is to build a multifamily structure with seven units This requires a special use permit in the Industrial Corridor zoning. The city’s current affordable housing requirements will be triggered, but the applicant has stated they will pay into the affordable housing fund. The form will be four stories above a level of structured parking. 

“There is very little housing on Harris Street currently,” reads the plan’s narrative. “The future residents of the development will enhance the viability of adjacent and nearby businesses, just as the multitude of nearby businesses will provide potential employment and amenities to the residents.”

Information in the site plan included in the packet lists rent for a one bedroom unit at nearby McIntire Plaza at $1600 and $1800 for a two bedroom unit. 

Site location for 923 Harris Street (Credit: Shimp Engineering)

The third rezoning is for the Old Trinity Church at 415 10th Street NW. Stony Point Design Build acquired the property as part of their nearly $12 million purchase of the former Monticello Dairy in May 2017. They have since developed that property as the Dairy Market. 

Now they seek to convert the rezoning from R-1 to B-2 with many different kinds of uses being ruled out by the developer. The list of uses they want to keep include art gallery, auditorium, private club, music hall, educational facility, technology based business, or office.

“The site contains a church that according to the City’s tax records was constructed in 1939. The proposal would permit a broader number of uses for the structure,” reads the staff report. “The applicant has indicated that they intend to maintain the current structure in its current form, but there is no legal restriction on demolishing the structure.”

According to the applicant narrative, the intent is to utilize the space for weddings and other community events that are currently not prohibited under the R1-S zoning. The applicant has already made a significant investment in the existing building. 

After those public hearings, Milestone Development seeks an amendment to the code of development for the city’s portion of the Lochlyn Hill Development. I was unclear about what change is requested but will ask a question tomorrow morning in advance. 

In other meetings:

  • The Nelson County Electoral Board meeting meets at 10 a.m. but no location info is available on the (meeting info) page. 
  • The Fluvanna County Social Services Board has a preparation meeting at 11:30 a.m. at the Wahoo Barbecue Restaurant at 10 Centre Court in Palmyra. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Economic Development Authority’s Board of Directors will meet virtually at 4 p.m. They will get a presentation on the ENVISION grant program as well as an update on the S&P Global Building. (meeting info)
  • The Fluvanna County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meets at 4:30 p.m. There’s no location information on the (meeting info) page 
  • The Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission will meet virtually at 4:30 p.m. (meeting info)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Albemarle Supervisors to address panhandling, get jump start on 2023 General Assembly

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors meets in Lane Auditorium at 1 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. (meeting info) (agenda)

The work of the 2022 General Assembly is not technically done, as the special session is still happening pending Governor Glenn Youngkin’s action on the recently approved conference report for the FY23-24 biennium budget. However, local governments are always thinking of what they may need addressed next year.

Albemarle Supervisors will have an initial discussion on what potential legislation they may seek to have filed on their behalf next winter. They’ll review what happened in 2022, such as the defeat of a bill that would have allowed localities to use photo-speed cameras in rural areas. Delegate Rob Bell carried HB747 but it did not make its way out of the House Public Safety Committee. (staff report

Next, Supervisors will hold a work session with the title “Homelessness, Panhandling, and the System of Care.” Staff wants a direction on how to proceed with approaching panhandling and have included in the packet a memo from July 27, 2019 on the topic. In it, Anthony Haro of the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless states that stopping panhandling is not one of the direct goals in a continuum of care “that includes prevention services, street outreach, day shelter, low barrier and traditional emergency shelter, transitional housing programs for families, rapid re-housing program, and permanent supportive housing.” (staff report)

After that, there is a presentation on the Acquisition of Conservation Easement program  which uses county resources to pay for conservation easements for property owners who might not otherwise qualify for other programs.

The staff report notes that the program has not been changed since 2001. Supervisors last got an update on the program in September 2021. Conservation easements have been part of a growth management policy that discourages suburban sprawl. About a quarter of the rural area is under easement. (view that presentation)

The discussion will also cover the role of the Albemarle Conservation Easement Authority as well as Rural Preservation Developments. 

The presentation includes several justifications for conservation easements (view that presentation)

Following that, there will be a presentation on the regional hazard mitigation plan being put together by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors had a similar briefing earlier this month. Take a look at the staff report for more details on mitigation steps that are recommended for Albemarle. 

There is one public hearing In the evening session that begins at 6 p.m. Supervisors will consider a request from the developers of the Albemarle Business Campus to allow 25,000 more square feet of non-residential use. The cover letter to the staff report notes a request to allow for the construction of a parking garage is no longer part of the project. Five members of the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval. 

On the consent agenda:
  • Supervisors will officially vote to direct staff to prepare an affordable dwelling unit program to allow for the county to take additional steps to require more units be rented or sold to people who make less than the area median income. This follows a May 4 work session on the item. See alsoAlbemarle Supervisors discuss incentives for housing plan, May 19, 2022 (resolution)
  • The Galaxie Farm development in the 5th and Avon development area seeks a special exception to allow for some of the approved Code of Development to be changed to allow what the developer says will be more flexibility. (request) (materials)
  • A special exception is requested for a cell tower (materials)
  • The Building Report for the first quarter of the year shows 179 permits issues this year so far, with 134 in the development area. (staff report)
  • There’s also a report on Certificates of Occupancy as well. There appears to have been a decline in the past two years. (report)
  • The county’s Climate Vulnerability and Risk Assessment report is complete and available for review. I’ll have something in an installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement before Wednesday. What jumps out at you? (staff report)
  • Like the details of tracking road projects? Take a look at the June 2022 VDOT report!
Building permits issued in Albemarle County 2014 to 2022 (view the report) (Credit: Albemarle County)

Fluvanna Supervisors to get briefing on transit vision plan, public hearing on Louisa utilities

The five-member Fluvanna Board of Supervisors meets in the Fluvanna County Library in Palmyra beginning at 7 p.m. That is a change from the recent location of the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center. (meeting packet)

After the usual beginning to the meeting including updates from County Administrator Eric Dahl, there will be three public hearings on two items. 

In the first, Supervisors will consider whether to grant Louisa County permission to build major water and sewer lines from Ferncliff to Shannon Hill along U.S. 250. The Planning Commission recommended approval on a 4 to 0 vote on May 10. 

In the second and third, Johnston & Co. seek a conditional rezoning from agricultural to business for a property near the intersection of Turkeysag Trail. The use would be a contractor’s storage yard as well as a 60,000 square foot self-storage facility. 

“The applicant has proffered out higher B-1 land uses such as retail convenience stores and fast food restaurants,” reads the staff report. “These land uses can be more obtrusive to surrounding residential uses and they can generate higher amounts of traffic beyond neighborhood land uses serving the surrounding neighborhoods or the community.”

In other business, Fluvanna County will approve an agreement to move forward with participation in the regional broadband initiative being administered by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. That agency secured a $79 million grant from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative. Fluvanna will pay $601,500 in matching funds. 

The TJPDC will also brief the Board of Supervisors on the Regional Transit Vision plan, which extends to the rural localities. The plan, funded by Albemarle, Charlottesville, and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, imagines what could be done with a hypothetical $70 million in annual funding. The plan does not identify where that funding would come from. 

“What would you do if the region could build a network to meet its land use, climate, and other policy goals?” is the question asked in the vision. 

A customized slide for Fluvanna County and what they may stand to gain from a regional transit system where $70 million could be spent. The slide does not state how much that might cost and who would pay. (Credit: AECOM / JWA / TJPDC) 

Greene County Planning Commission to continue Comprehensive Plan review, new Wawa at U.S. 29 and U.S. 33

Greene County continues a low-key and slow review of its Comprehensive Plan with a Planning Commission work session on the Parks and Recreation chapter. This could lead to a future park in Ruckersville on a county-owned parcel on Deerfield Drive. Take a look at the edits in progress. (meeting agenda

At 7 p.m. there are two public hearings. In the first, Milestone Partners on behalf of Haney Family Holdings seeks a rezoning from B-2 to B-3 near the intersection of U.S. 29 and U.S. 33. This would be for a convenience store and gas station. 

“The property owners have secured a commitment from Wawa, one of the leading convenience store/gas retailers in the mid-Atlantic, to open a store at this corner,” reads the application’s narrative. 

Staff recommends approval in part because the proposal will facilitate the construction of internal service roads for local traffic. 

In the second proposal, a landowner seeks a rezoning of 40 acres on Celt Road from residential to agricultural to make way for a 144-unit tourist lodging facility with a restaurant, a pool, a spa, and a meeting facility. This is the project known as the Sojourner Glamping Resort. 

The proposed Wawa is part of a larger study of adjacent properties that would include the construction of two service roads for a future residential development marked in yellow 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Fifth and Avon CAC will hold community meeting for 38-unit project 

One of the main roles of Albemarle County’s Community Advisory Committee is to serve as an introduction for land use projects that will go through the county’s community development process. The Fifth and Avon CAC meets virtually at 7 p.m. (meeting info)

The project is at 1906 Avon Street Extended and seeks the rezoning of three parcels from R-1 to R-15. Shimp Engineering is representing a landowner who seeks to build 38 units in a mix of single-family detached, single-family attached, and townhomes. This would be at nearly 11 units per acre. 

“While the proposed density is nearly twice that of the recommended 3 to 6 dwelling units per acre, the proposed density would align with the existing character of Avon Street Extended,” reads the applicant’s narrative.

In other meetings:

  • The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will have a closed room in Room 235 in the County Office Building beginning at 11 a.m. The purpose of the closed meeting has not yet been identified on the website that contains the agendas
  • The Charlottesville Board of Zoning Appeals will meet virtually at 4 p.m. An agenda had not been posted at publication time. (meeting info)
  • The Charlottesville Human Rights Commission meets virtually at 6:30 p.m. (meeting info)
The applicant’s narrative includes this chart depicting other residential densities that have been allowed at nearby projects (Credit: Shimp Engineering) 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Albemarle County will hold a virtual open house on the Comprehensive Plan update from noon to 1 p.m. They are calling these meetings “office hours.” (meeting info)

“Our AC44 Comp Plan team will be available to share information about the County’s current growth management policy, recent development trends in the county, and how our Development Areas may potentially build out in the future,” reads the information page. “We will be asking community members to share input on various options for growth management in our county, and how these options impact equity, climate action, and other quality of life factors.”

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.