Charlottesville Community Engagement
Charlottesville Community Engagement
June 30, 2023: Latest survey results out for Albemarle's Comprehensive Plan

June 30, 2023: Latest survey results out for Albemarle's Comprehensive Plan

Plus: Regional Housing Partnership to assist Albemarle with creation of developer' incentives for affordable housing

Welcome to the last day of the fiscal year of 2023, a day that perhaps could use a few carols and celebrations. Perhaps such things will occur in the future if Charlottesville Community Engagement can return to full form? Either way, this is also the 550th edition of a newsletter and podcast intended to bring people information about things happening as we head into a summer holiday slowdown. I’m Sean Tubbs. 

On today’s program: 

  • UVa reacts to yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action 

  • One of Albemarle County’s swimming lakes is closed due to an algae bloom

  • A very small percentage of Albemarle County’s population responds to a survey on the Comprehensive Plan

  • Two groups seeking to promote entrepreneurship receive $300,000 from Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development 

  • The Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership to assist Albemarle Supervisors with roundtable on developer incentives for affordable housing

  • New pickleball courts coming to Farmington and more development news from Albemarle County 

Charlottesville Community Engagement is a unique publication with a lot of stories about what’s happening in the community. Consider becoming a free or paid subscriber!

First shout-out: eBike Lending Library 

In today’s Patreon-supported shout-out, one Patreon supporter wants you to know that Charlottesville now has an eBike Lending Library!  E-bikes are a great way to get around the community but there are many brands and styles to choose from. Because many e-bikes are sold online, it can be a challenge to try an e-bike before buying one.

The Charlottesville E-bike Lending Library is a free, not-for-profit service working to expand access to e-bikes in the area. They have a small collection of e-bikes that we lend out to community members for up to a week, for free. You can experience your daily commute, go grocery shopping, or even bike your kids to school, and decide whether e-bikes are right for you. Check out this service at

UVA responds to Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action 

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court ruled that higher education institutions cannot use race as a factor in deciding who will be admitted as a student. The 6-3 ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v President and Fellows of Harvard College reversed a lower court ruling that upheld the practice. (read the opinion and dissent)

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan and Provost Ian Baucom immediately sent out a statement stating that the institution is still evaluating how the opinion will change its practices. 

“We will of course continue to follow the law,” reads their statement. “We will also continue to do everything within our legal authority to recruit and admit a class of students who are diverse across every possible dimension and to make every student feel welcome and included here at UVA.” 

Further information about how UVA will respond will be released later this summer. For more information, UVA Today has a Q&A with UVA Law professor Deborah Hellman. 

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Algae bloom leads to closure of Albemarle lake 

A rapid growth of cyanobacteria in the lake at Mint Springs Valley Park near Crozet has led to the prohibition of swimming there. However, hiking trails, fishing, and boating are still allowed. 

“There have been no reported health problems,” reads a press release sent out today. “ “However, the Department of Parks and Recreation closed the lake after test results showed harmful algae present.”

The beaches at Walnut Creek and Chris Greene Lake are not closed at this time. Chris Greene Lake was closed late last July due to an algae bloom.

“Most algal blooms are not harmful but some do affect fish and humans, as well as other animals like birds and marine mammals,” reads the website of the Virginia Department of Health

This current incident is not currently listed on the VDH’s map of known algae blooms in the state.

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Albemarle County releases results of Comprehensive Plan survey 

Albemarle County remains in the second of a four-phase effort to update its Comprehensive Plan to prepare for a future projected to have thousands more residents. The current estimate from the Weldon Cooper Center is 115,495 people as of last July 1 with a current projection of 138,525 by 2044. 

The Comprehensive Plan update is being called AC44 to reflect the target year of 2044. The first set of results are in for the first round of public input for the second phase. 

“The AC44 team reviewed community input from the first round of engagement in Phase 2, from 532 questionnaire responses, six pop-ups in each magisterial district, and approximately 130 participants in 15 community chats,” reads an email sent out this morning. 

That response rate is around 0.4 percent of the total population. 

A summary of the responses has also been sent out. Question ten sought to gauge concern about housing affordability in the future. Seventy-four respondents were very concerned, 217 were somewhat concerned, and 231 were not concerned at all.

All of the data from the full questionnaire are also available for review on the AC44 website. The vast majority of respondents live in single-family homes (432 out of 526) and own their homes (460 out of 519). 

One of the results from the first questionnaire of the second phase of the AC44 Comprehensive Plan review process

A second set of surveys is currently open with responses taken through July 14. In all there are four subject areas.

For more on the first one, take a look at an article I wrote in the June 7 edition of this newsletter.

There will also be a virtual open house on July 12 that will double as a joint meeting of all of the Community Advisory Committees. You can register for that meeting here

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Venture Central wins $300,000 grant from GO Virginia

A proposal to create a regional strategy to promote entrepreneurship in the region has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. 

The Community Investment Collaborative and Venture Central will use the “Growing Opportunity” funding for the Regional Entrepreneurship Initiative.

“This project will engage a broad range of stakeholders in the region, inventory available resources and small business funding sources, and develop actionable strategies to increase the rate of new business formation and improve survival rates for early-stage businesses in urban and rural areas,” reads the notice of awards sent out this morning. 

The geographic scope for the initiative covers what’s known as Region 9, which covers Albemarle, Culpeper, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange, the city of Charlottesville and the town of Culpeper.

For more on Region 9, take a look at their annual report from fiscal year 2022. Anticipate a story on the next annual report when it’s ready in the near future. 

Region 8 covers communities to the west. The Shenandoah Community Capital Fund was awarded $395,067 for a project called the Capacitor Incubator. 

“These services will include validation stage development services, a physical working location hub and connecting entrepreneurs to the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem resources, including capital,” reads the press release announcing the awards. 

Venture Central is a nonprofit formed in 2021 to encourage and promote people who want to turn an idea into a business. One of their programs is an Angel Academy that starts this October to expand awareness of the availability of capital funding. 

The Community Investment Collaborative is a nonprofit that seeks to connect would-be entrepreneurs with skills and resources. Their website states they’ve helped create 153 businesses and created 317 full-time jobs. 

The geographic scope of GO Region 9 which is administered by the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development, taken from the FY2022 annual report. 

Second shoutout: Friends of Downtown Charlottesville contest winners

In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out, the Friends of Downtown Charlottesville spent the month of May with a series of events designed to promote Downtown in Bloom. One of the activities involved businesses decorating flower boxes for a competition. Now, Friends of Downtown Charlottesville have a tie for the winners!

Both Pikasso Swig and Central Place came in first with a tie of 110 voter each! Third place goes to Common House. Hooray to all for participating! 

Want to know what’s happening today? Check out the event calendar to learn what’s on offer. Stay tuned for more activities put on by Friends of Downtown Charlottesville and visit their website at

The display at Pikasso Swig is one of two winning entries in Friends of Downtown Charlottesville’s flower display contest this past May


More conversations on the way about incentives for affordable housing in Albemarle

It has now been two years since Albemarle adopted a plan to increase the amount of housing units in the county. Housing Albemarle encourages the development of housing types other than single family homes to meet demand for places to live. 

“Albemarle County’s housing will be safe, decent, and sanitary; available to all income and age levels; located primarily in the Development Areas; and available equally to current and future County residents,” reads the overarching goal of Housing Albemarle. (read the plan

At the time of the vote on July 7, 2021,  Supervisors did not approve a mandate that 20 percent of new units be designated as affordable, though signaled they would do so in the future. 

“The policy itself got put on hold until incentives could be designed to help the developers meet what the policy states needs to happen,” said Albemarle Supervisor Ned Gallaway. He chairs the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership. 

The developer incentives are called for in the Housing Albemarle plan (read the plan

Another step that is delayed is to establish a minimum affordability period of 30 years for rental units and 40 years for sale units

There have been multiple work sessions on the topic as I’ve covered previously. This is not an exhaustive list of all of the sessions to date. 

Admittedly I need some help with these headlines. 

The Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership is poised to help with the creation of incentives or a grant program or something that would allow that mandate to be finally enacted. The entity run by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District will hold a roundtable on July 12 at the North Fork Discovery Park. The public is allowed to attend and make public comment. 

“Over the last few weeks we solicited input from partnership members about who we should invite so we selected developers, nonprofit developers,” said Ian Baxter, a planner with the TJPDC. “We tried to cast a new as wide as possible.”

Attendees will be asked to read through the Housing Albemarle document in advance and will be asked to fill out a survey.

“Basically their top three developer incentives,” Baxter said. 

The roundtable will result in a memo that will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors to help with their deliberations. 

Albemarle County Community Development update

This newsletter and podcast has goals and one of them is to let the public know as soon as possible what’s going to be built. It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to take a look at what’s coming up in Albemarle County. 

  • There is a site development plan for a new Airport Auto at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Northside Drive on land zoned for Heavy Industrial. This would be for automotive repair as well as tire sales, but not self-storage. That had been proposed in a pre-application but the developer was told that’s not an approved use in HI land. The civil engineer is Line and Grade. (SDP202300028)

  • There are plans to add two buildings at the existing commercial center at 2030 Avon Court just across Moores Creek from Charlottesville city limits. There’s an existing 22,500 square foot building that will be converted from office space to manufacturing. The two new buildings would be for laboratory and manufacturing space. The civil engineer is Line and Grade. (SDP202300042)

  • Farmington Country Club has plans to build a tennis and fitness building that would include eight pickleball courts. The civil engineer is WW Associates. (SDP202300043)

  • The Rivanna Water and  Sewer Authority has submitted plans for a pump station for raw water from Ragged Mountain Reservoir between Reservoir Road and Foxhaven Farm. There would be a new entrance, fencing, and landscaping. (SDP202300045)

  • An application for a zoning clearance has been filed for the former Kingswood Christian Preschool to become the Christian Avenue Christian Preschool. (CLE202300086)

  • Imbibe Solutions, a company that conducts quality control tests on fermentation for alcoholic beverages, will take over the space in Liberty Hall in Crozet formerly occupied by Crozet Eye Care. The application states there will be three employees. (CLE202300087)

  • The space formerly occupied by the Hair Cuttery in Stonefield will become a new business called Clean Juice. (CLE202300088)

  • A new restaurant called Crozeli operated by H&C Catering LLC will open up in Piedmont Place in Crozet. Their website states they are coming soon. (CLE202300089)

The site plan shows the layout for the new tennis courts at Farmington (Credit: W W Associates)

Reading material: 

Final thoughts from this 550th edition:

This is the first regular newsletter in about nine days. I think. It’s been a time of great change in my family and at some point I hope it will all inform my reporting. I have a sense we all need to take better care of each other and I’ve had my eyes opened.

The goal of my journalism is always to open people’s eyes and minds to what’s happening around them and encouraging readers and listeners to think things through. I’m grateful to have made it this far and hope soon I’ll be able to settle in to the capacity I know i’m capable of when times are more stable.

I’m grateful because hundreds of you are supporting the work either through Substack or Patreon. All of this supports Town Crier Productions, a business that exists to provide me a way to get this material out as often as I can.

And if you sign up for Ting at this link and enter the promo code COMMUNITY, you’ll get:

  • Free installation

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Charlottesville Community Engagement
Charlottesville Community Engagement
Regular updates of what's happening in local and regional government in and around Charlottesville, Virginia from an award-winning journalist with nearly thirty years of experience.