Week Ahead for December 7, 2020: Albemarle officials to review draft housing strategy that seeks thousands of additional homes
There are only three and a half weeks left in the year, but the next two will likely be the busiest when it comes to government meetings. And, in many ways, the next year has already begun as localities begin to hope for better-than-expected revenues as they build their next budget.
This week, one major item to watch is the joint meeting of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission. They’re set to discuss the county’s draft housing plan, which calls for changes to county policy to allow more housing to be built.
Recently, the Planning Commission recommended denial of a rezoning to allow for 130 single-family units near the Glenmore community. On November 30, the Crozet Community Advisory Committee voted 10-3 against a proposal in the Crozet Master Plan to have encouraged construction of “middle missing” housing in the form of duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes on single family lots. What do such individual actions mean for the overall housing strategy?
Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continued support of this newsletter.
Monday, December 7
Charlottesville City Council meets in open session beginning at 6:30 p.m. with a relatively light agenda with several budget matters, as well as an extension of the city’s COVID-19 ordinance. In that case, the resolution will also bring the city’s ordinance up to date with Governor Ralph Northam’s Executive Order 67 which restricts public and private gatherings to 25 or fewer people. (full agenda)
On the consent agenda, Council will hold the first of two readings of a rezoning for 817 Nassau Street and will also officially adopt a resolution that alters the disposition of several boards and commissions.
Four groups will stop being advisory bodies for Council but will continue to meet to advise staff. These are the Parking Advisory Panel, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, the PLACE Design Task Force, and the Water Resources Protection Program Advisory Committee. The latter helped establish the stormwater utility fee that pays for infrastructure improvements to help the city meet its Chesapeake Bay clean-up goals.
There’s a resolution for Charlottesville to gain a new sister city in Huehuetenango, a municipality with about 118,000 people in western Guatemala.
“A hub of activity, ‘Huehue’ is home to numerous universities, hospitals, hotels, businesses, and cultural sites that draw numerous tourists to the area,” reads the staff report. “It is one of the most diverse cities in the region, as many of the 23 indigenous Mayan cultures of Guatemala are represented and deeply woven into the history and identity of the city.”
The city has four existing partnerships, though the one with Pleven, Bulgaria, has been given ‘emeritus’ status because of a lack of activity.
Next, Council will approve their legislative agenda for the next General Assembly, which convenes on January 13. They’ll also approve a regional list of legislation put together by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. The city’s list includes a request to allow housing for teachers to be constructed on school property, as well as new powers to require more affordable housing units through inclusionary zoning. Check through the list to see the rest.
Finally, the city will be presented with the audited budget that will close out Fiscal Year 2020, which ended on June 30. (staff report)
There’s a full meeting at the Albemarle County Architectural Review Board beginning at 1 p.m. The first item is consideration of a final plan for the new Sheetz slated for the northwest corner of U.S. 29 and Airport Road.
Next, the ARB will get an initial look at the design of the Albemarle Business Campus, a mixed-use development across from the county’s southern office building. The Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning earlier this year. According to the ARB staff report, the project will consist of “apartments, retail and office buildings, a hotel, and a self-storage building.”
The third project is an initial site plan for a 3,700 square foot car wash at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Worth Crossing. There will also be a discussion of the sign for the new Aldi proposed for Albemarle Square Shopping Center.
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors has continued to meet in person through the duration of the pandemic and will do so again at 5 p.m. One reason is a lack of widespread broadband internet throughout the county. Tonight, the Board will vote on a proposal to use $340,000 in federal CARES Act funding to a subsidiary of the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative to expand service in southwest Louisa. (agenda)
Tuesday, December 8
The six members of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors will meet at 6 p.m. with the seven members of the Albemarle Planning Commission for a joint work session to discuss housing policy.
“To ensure the County continues to provide sufficient and appropriate housing opportunities for current and future residents, the County embarked on an effort to update our housing policy in October 2019,” wrote County Executive Jeffrey Richardson in a staff report. “The new policy recommendations provide the tools necessary to meet the diverse housing needs of all County residents regardless of income, race, age, or other special needs.”
For anyone who wants to better understand housing policy, the 75-page draft is a good place to start. The work has been coordinated by Stacy Pethia, who was hired by Albemarle County in November 2018 from a similar position in Charlottesville. The first objective is to increase the housing supply to meet the needs of an Albemarle population projected by the Weldon Cooper Center to be 138,485 by the year 2020, up from a current estimate of 109,722.
“To accommodate this growth, the County will need to add approximately 11,750 new units to our housing stock over the next 20 years,” reads the plan. “The majority of this need—8,134 units or 69% of the required new housing – is projected to be met with units already in the residential development pipeline. This means the county must support the development of an additional 3,616 units to fully accommodate projected household growth through 2040.”
Meanwhile, Charlottesville’s Planning Commission will hold three public hearings at their meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. with reports from Commissioners. This is often the best way to find out what’s happening in the land use portion of city government. Since their last meeting, a person hired to direct the city’s next director of Neighborhood Development Services decided to take a job in Prince William County, instead.
The first two public hearings pertain to Community Development Block Grant and HOME funding from the federal government. The first relates to $335,024 in emergency funding from the CARES Act.
$130,970 in funding for a microloan program administered by the Community Investment Collaborative
$45,563.26 went to Habitat for Humanity for a COVID-19 Response Program
$91,485.94 went to the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority for their eviction diversion program
$67,004.80 went to administration
The second deals with $419,367 in funding for the 2021-2022 program year. Most of this funding is designated to be spent in the Ridge Street Neighborhood and recommendations will come out of a task force.
The third public hearing is for a special use permit for 1000 Monticello Road, an existing 23 unit apartment complex that was purchased in early 2019. The proposal is for additional density to accommodate a new 11-unit building, for which nine units would be designated as affordable to households making up to 80 percent of the area median income.
“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.
Following the public hearing, the Commission will get an update on the Cville Plans Together initiative. That’s the name for the creation of the city’s affordable housing plan, the completion of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, and the rewrite of the zoning ordinance.
The Greene County Board of Supervisors meets in open session at 7:30 p.m. They’ll get an update on COVID from the Blue Ridge Health District, Greene’s Emergency Services Director, and county officials on how Greene has spent its CARES funding.
There will be three public hearings. One is for a rezoning of 5 acres on Carpenters Mill Road from single-family residential to Business Highway and High Intensity. Another is for a special use permit for tourist lodging in Stanardsville in the Green Mountain Lake subdivision. Finally, there will be a request for bonuses for county employees.
In other meetings:
The Albemarle Police Citizens Advisory Board meets at 9 a.m. (meeting info)
The Albemarle Department of Social Services Advisory Board meets at 3:30 p.m. (meeting info)
The Charlottesville Economic Development Authority meets at 4 p.m. (meeting info)
Wednesday, December 9
The day begins in Charlottesville with a site plan conference for the Flint Hill neighborhood. Council approved the project in July, and the site plan is for 50 residential units in two multifamily units as well as 37 townhomes. This is a Planned Unit Development, which is a kind of customized zoning district. (meeting info)
The Crozet Community Advisory Committee returns to their regular meeting time after a series of special meetings to provide recommendations on the Crozet Master Plan. This meeting will focus on transportation improvements to accommodate additional growth expected by 2045. (meeting info)
Thursday, December 10
The Places29 North Community Advisory Committee has not met for some time. At a meeting that begins at 6 p.m., they will get a briefing of the CAC’s purpose, guidelines on how to stay within the Freedom of Information Act, and an overview of the development process in Albemarle County. There is a lot of activity under way in this area, such as construction at the North Pointe development that was rezoned in May 2006.
As noted above, Charlottesville’s PLACE Design Task Force will become a body that advises staff, not Council. PLACE was created in 2012 to make recommendations on urban design issues. The members at that time encouraged the city to hire a consultant to create a master plan for the development of West Main Street and recommended alternatives to the Belmont Bridge design. Since then, the group has struggled to find a focus. On this agenda is another discussion of its future.
In other meetings:
The Albemarle County Conservation Easement Authority meeting begins at 4:45 PM to consider two easement applications (meeting info)
The Places29-Rio Community Advisory Committee will meet at 6 p.m. There is no agenda at publication time. (meeting info)
The Louisa Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. (meeting info)
Friday, December 11
Charlottesville’s Historic Resources Committee will meet at 11 a.m. On the agenda is continued review of the city’s Honorary Street Names Policy. They’ll also review and make recommendations on eleven applications. (meeting info)