Hello. The main purpose of today is just to say: Hello. We’re in the season of holidays, and today is World Hello Day. According to one account, this occasion was created by two brothers in Arizona in 1973 as a way of promoting peace. In a cluttered calendar of holidays, Hello Day sounds okay and gets us in the spirit for this week of Thanksgiving. I’m Sean Tubbs, and simply put: Hello, world!
On today’s program:
Delegate Sally Hudson will seek the nomination for Senate District 11 prompting a primary with Senator Creigh Deeds
A nonprofit that seeks to funds scholarship at the University of Virginia has purchased the site where 64 apartments had been expected
The city of Charlottesville seeks people to join a committee to plan for the future of the Downtown Mall
Updates on Greenbrier Elementary School, reusable trash bags, and the city’s economic development strategic plan in Procurement Round-up
First shout-out: WTJU presents Unsilent Night
In this first Patreon-fueled shout-out: UNSILENT NIGHT. Wednesday, November 30, 7 - 8 p.m.
WTJU is pleased to host the third annual Charlottesville edition of Phil Kline’s “Unsilent Night,” a luminous soundscape played by the audience on mobile devices & bluetooth speakers as participants walk through the streets of Charlottesville’s downtown. A group will convene at IX Art Park, 522 2nd Street SE and will then promenade along a carefully chosen route through downtown Charlottesville, creating a unique mobile sound sculpture which is different from every listener’s perspective. Advance registration is requested at WTJU.net/unsilent2022.
Hudson to run against Deeds in Senate District 11 primary
Say hello to election season.
Delegate Sally Hudson has announced on a campaign fundraising website that she will seek the nomination for the new Senate District that covers Albemarle, Amherst, Charlottesville, and Nelson.
“The best way to safeguard our future is to send innovative, energetic representatives to Richmond who remind voters every day why their state reps matter,” Hudson writes on the site.
Hudson’s main website also states she is seeking the seat.
Senator Creigh Deeds, who represents the obsolete 25th District, has moved to Charlottesville in order to run for the seat. This will likely mean a contested primary on June 20 next year.
If she wanted to stay in the House of Delegates, Hudson would have campaigned for House District 54, which covers all of Charlottesville and a portion of urbanized Albemarle County. This leaves the seat open.
Hudson ran for the open seat vacated by former Delegate and City Councilor David Toscano. Hudson defeated former City Councilor Kathy Galvin in the 2019 primary on a roughly two to one margin. She was unopposed in 2019 but defeated Republican Phil Hamilton on a four to one margin in 2021.
Deeds was first elected to the General Assembly in 1991 when he defeated an incumbent. According to his campaign website, he entered the Senate ten years later when winning a special election. He also ran for attorney general in 2005 and governor in 2009.
All 140 seats in the General Assembly are up for a vote in the November 7 general election. Democrats control the Senate with 21 seats to the Republicans’ 19. The Republicans control the House of Delegates with 52 seats to the Democrats’ 47.
House District 35 is currently vacant. Ted Keam resigned to join the Biden Administration. A special election will be held on January 10, one day before the General Assembly convenes for the 2023 session.
Jefferson Scholars buys property slated for 64 apartments near UVA
An entity associated with the Jefferson Scholars Foundation has spent $4.3 million to buy six properties near Scott Stadium that had been planned for construction of a 64 unit apartment complex on 1.59 acres.
Maury Holdings LLC paid 253.8 percent over the 2022 assessment to buy the properties, five of which are undeveloped. A historic structure built in 1911 is on the fifth.
The Jefferson Scholars Foundation is located across the street about a tenth of the mile from the site. Directly across Maury Avenue from this site is the Cavalier Court Apartment complex that was built in 1963.
Southern Development sought and won a rezoning for the property in 2019 when the classification was changed to R-3. An original plan would have seen 33 units, but a special use permit was granted earlier this year to increase that to 64 units. The Future Land Use Map in the Comprehensive Plan designates this property at High Intensity Residential.
Activity on the site appeared headed toward construction. City Council agreed in October to relocate a sewer line in order to facilitate redevelopment. Southern Development declined to comment for this story.
James H. Wright, the president of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, is a party to a lawsuit against the city of Charlottesville for granting a special use permit in September for a 119-unit apartment complex at 2005 Jefferson park Avenue. Wright owns a property on Observatory Avenue according to the complaint.
The home at 209 Maury Avenue was designed by architect Eugene Bradbury in 1911, according to a 1982 historic survey which refers to the two story building as the Walsh-McShane House.
The current home of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation is on the site of a former structure also designed by Eugene Bradbury on property purchased by the Foundation for $3 million. At the time the property was assessed at nearly $1.1 million.
In June 2007, City Council endorsed an $18 million bond package financed by what was then called the Charlottesville Industrial Development Authority. That September, the Foundation sought to increase that amount to $21 million.
At the time, members of the group Preservation Piedmont appealed to Council to require the Foundation to keep what’s known as the Compton House as part of their redevelopment plans. When it appeared Council was set to require that as a condition for the increase, the Foundation opted to proceed with the lower amount and the project went ahead.
A request for comment from the Foundation was not received in time for publication of this story.
Entities related to the University of Virginia have resources to pay well over the usual assessment. On October 19, an entity associated with the University of Virginia Foundation purchased 2119 Ivy Road for $2.575 million. That’s 177.66 percent over the 2022 assessment of $927,400.
The 0.46 acre site is between Copeley Road and the section of the Ivy Square Shopping Center the Foundation purchased last December for $20 million. The Foundation has been slowly assembling properties on Ivy Road for many years. The property remains on the tax rolls until transferred to the Board of Visitors. RMD Properties continues to own 2117 Ivy Road.
The City Assessor has determined that the transaction at 2119 Ivy Road is an invalid sales, which means it will not factor into the calculation of fair market value in the 2023 assessments.
Charlottesville convening Committee to plan for Mall celebration
In just under two weeks, the city of Charlottesville will hold another Grand Illumination at the Charlottesville Pavilion to say hello to a new holiday tree. This will take place in a space that is now the eastern anchor of a former city street, and thousands will be there.
Perhaps some of the attendees will be doing research into the future of the Downtown Mall, an initiative that dates back to the late 1950’s. The first section opened in 1976 and there’s a lot of history from before and after. But what about the future?
“The City Manager is forming a Downtown Mall Committee for the purpose of discussing and vetting ideas for the future management and operations of the mall,” reads a press release. “The intent of this committee is to be a representative public forum for the discussion of the challenges and potential solutions for the Downtown Mall.”
The goal will be to create an action plan within a year. Here’s one of the questions in the application:
“From your perspective, why is the downtown mall important and what is the most important consideration for its future? (2 paragraphs max)”
I’d also love to hear your answers! Leave a comment below. Two paragraphs, max!
Second shout-out: Livable Cville event on helping the unhoused
Want to learn how to help our unhoused neighbors find affordable permanent housing? LivableCville is hosting a webinar, "Homelessness in Charlottesville: From Stigma to Solutions", on Wednesday, December 14 at 5:30 PM. Learn from experts from The Haven and the Blue Ridge Area Coalition for the Homeless about housing, homelessness,and policy recommendations to address homelessness in Charlottesville. Registration information is available at LivableCville.org
I write a lot about budgets, including descriptions of what elected bodies have agreed to spend taxpayer money on. Sometimes these aren’t really more than one paragraph stories, so every now and then I will just share interesting things I find. Some of them update stories I’ve already written about what elected bodies have agreed to spend taxpayer money on.
Reusable bag program still on despite sourcing issues
Charlottesville has canceled a request for quotations for a firm to provide reusable bags for eligible community members.
“Specifically, none of the bidders were able to meet the delivery date stated within the solicitation,” reads the memo sent out last week by Procurement and Risk Management Services.
The new five cent tax on plastic bags at retail stores goes into effect on January 1, 2023 in both Albemarle and Charlottesville. City Council allocated $20,000 toward the effort in late October.
Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders said the program will proceed despite the sourcing issues.
“We are working on an alternative approach to securing the bags for Department of Social Services to distribute to eligible SNAP and WIC recipients,” Sanders said in an email to Charlottesville Community Engagement this morning.
Greenbrier Elementary modernization
The city has issued an invitation for bids for the modernization of Greenbrier Elementary School.
“Project involves renovation of parts of Greenbrier Elementary School, including but not limited to flooring, ceiling replacement, minor HVAC duct work, storefront glass and finish work,” reads the bid description. “Project will require coordination with other work on related and unrelated projects on the school site.”
There is a 456 page manual for the project. A pre-bid conference is scheduled for November 29, 2022. Submissions will be received through December 14, 2022. Work is expected to begin June 12, 2023 with substantial completion on August 11, 2023.
Geothermal drilling at Buford
Another school related project is a request for quotes for a firm to “provide vertical geothermal test bore and formation thermal conductivity testing” at the lower play field at Buford Middle School. A total of two test bores are required and the cost includes transportation of either a mud-rotary dwelling rig or a compressed-air drilling rig.
“Each bore hole shall be a minimum of 500 feet,” reads attachment E of the RFQ. “The completed depth shall be determined by the placement of the u-bend. The distance from the bottom of the u-bend to the surface shall constitute the completed bore depth.”
Economic development plan strategic plan contract awarded
Earlier this year, the city announced it was seeking a firm to conduct an economic development strategic plan. This week the contract was awarded to Resonance Consultancy of New York City
“As leading advisors in tourism, real estate and economic development, Resonance helps places understand market trends, assess their strengths and weaknesses, engage local communities, plan for the future, and create branding and communications in order to realize their full economic potential,” reads the website.
Economic Development Director Chris Engel told the Economic Development Authority in September that the plan would include public input opportunities and that this would be the first such plan in a decade.
For contrast, Albemarle County has their Project Enable for economic development.
Reading material for this particular installment:
SCC judge’s resignation will leave 2 of 3 seats empty, Kate Andrews, Virginia Business, November 18, 2022
Proposed Lovingston housing development puts zoning update on the agenda, Emma Martin, Lynchburg News and Advance, November 18, 2022
In central Virginia, there aren’t enough candidates to fill open seats in local governments, Jessie Higgins, Charlottesville Tomorrow
Housekeeping for #461
Another holiday week, another set of plans to get through a week in which some get time off from work, but many others do not. The world never stops moving, this newsletter aims to pay attention and remain vigilant. This week, though, there will most likely be two more installments of the program. How will you know? The best way to stay in touch with me as I produce the newsletter is through Substack Chat, where I post daily production updates. Check it out!
I’m able to do those daily production updates thanks to the support from listeners and readers, and for those who support Town Crier Productions on Patreon. Coming up sometime this week is the October 2022 property transactions, which will go first to subscribers. This would be a great week to join!
And if you do sign up through Substack, Ting will match your initial payment. Hooray for Ting! This helps provide additional support as I keep an eye on the boiling kettle, the drying paint, and the scintillation of bureaucracy.
And even if you don’t sign up for a paid subscription to this newsletter, Ting wants your business, and if you sign up through a link in the newsletter you will get free installation, a $75 gift card to the Downtown Mall, and a second month for free. Just enter the promo code COMMUNITY.
Thanks today to Jenn Finazzo and Bree Luck for soundbites. Now, let’s get back to the world turning!