Week Ahead for January 8, 2024: Another set of public hearings for Verve Charlottesville and 2117 Ivy Road; Albemarle to consider funding request for Premier Circle
Plus: The Regional Housing Partnership will have a webinar on upzoning across the United States
The second week of the year is here, and all of the decorations are put away. An atmosphere of joy and festive cheer is replaced with a sense it is time to get to work. Every Sunday edition of this newsletter is intended to help anyone who wants to get involved with local government by laying out what’s coming up in the next week. Here are some highlights this week:
The Boards of Supervisors in Greene County and Nelson County will have their first meeting of the year with votes for chairs happening at the start of both.
Nelson Supervisors will review two requests for funding for additional Fire / EMS positions, a common issue in this region.
Albemarle Supervisors will consider funding requests from Habitat for Humanity as well as Premier Circle.
They will also have a public hearing for a rezoning for 122 units in Crozet in the Montclair development.The Montclair item was deferred to a later date.
The Charlottesville Planning Commission will review the proposed capital improvement program and will have three land use items including new public hearings for 2117 Ivy Road and Verve Charlottesville. A rezoning for 46 units on Lankford Avenue will also return to the PC.
Albemarle County’s Planning Commission will get an update on the Broadway Blueprint study and will hold a public hearing on a special use permit related to the future Home Depot at Fashion Square Mall.
Louisa County’s Planning Commission will review the 20 year capital improvement program and will have a public hearing on a new Public Facilities chapter in the Comprehensive Plan.
Thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their continuing sponsorship of the work that goes into putting this out each Sunday.
Want to know what’s happening? So do I! That’s why I write all of the material in this newsletter. If you’re new, sign up and Substack will send you emails and encourage you to pay for a subscription. Decide for yourself, but I hope you do.
Monday, January 8, 2024
Places29-Hydraulic group to get look at climbing gym
One of the functions of Albemarle County’s Community Advisory Committees is to serve as a forum for community meetings for upcoming land use applications. At their first meeting of 2024, the Places29-Hydraulic CAC will review a special use permit for a climbing gym at 2200 Old Ivy Road. The Albemarle Architectural Review Board had a preliminary look on January 2. Take a look at my story if you want to learn more.
The Places29-Hydraulic CAC will meet at 5:30 p.m. at Greer Elementary School in the Media Center. That’s at 190 Lambs Lane. (agenda)
The group will also watch the 2023 Albemarle County Year in Review. Here’s the video:
In other meetings:
The Charlottesville Electoral Board will meet at 2 p.m. at the city meeting room at 120 Seventh Street NE, Room 142, Charlottesville. There’s no agenda available. (empty meeting info page)
The Albemarle Fire EMS Executive Committee will meet in-person in the department’s Conference Room 2. There is no posted agenda at publication time, nor are there minutes. If you’re interested in learning about the department’s strategic outlook, I have this story on Information Charlottesville. (meeting info)
The Economic Development Authority of Fluvanna County will meet at 5 p.m. in the Morris Room of the County Administration Building at 132 Main Street in Palmyra.The meeting can be reviewed by Zoom. (meeting info)
The Fluvanna County Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Council meets at 6 p.m. in the same location as above. Under old business they will discuss the tourism strategic plan and the renovation of the county’s historic courthouse. Under new business, they will review projects being considered by the Virginia American Revolution 250 Commemoration Committee. (agenda)
Tuesday, January 9, 2024
First meeting of Greene County Supervisors with two new Supervisors
The five-member Board of Supervisors in Greene County will meet at 5:30 p.m. for a closed session followed by the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. The selection of chair and vice chair will take place before they invoke a routine exception of Virginia’s open meeting laws. (meeting info)
This will be an interesting year for a Board of Supervisors that has two new members and one recently appointed to fill a vacancy. Steve Catalano was appointed late last year to complete the term vacated in September by former Stanardsville District Supervisor Abbey Heflin. He had formerly served as a Supervisor in an at-large seat, according to the Greene Journal.
For the at-large seat, Francis X. McGuigan defeated Todd Sansom 3,677 votes to 1,997 votes. His positions can be read on his website.
There was no candidate on the ballot in the Monroe District, and Timothy Goolsby won with 159 write-in votes.
After the closed session, there will be a presentation on the county’s compliance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and the Conflict of Interests Act. (read the guidelines)
Supervisors will then adopt bylaws, meeting dates, and appointments to Boards and Commissions. There will be other items on the agenda, but it’s a pretty light one.
Nelson County Supervisors to consider two Fire/EMS budget requests
The five-member Board of Supervisors meet for the first time in 2024 with a new representative in the South District. Jessica Ligon defeated Mary Kathryn Allen 621 votes to 421 votes. J. David Parr won re-election against Mark Franklin 691 votes to 354 votes. (agenda packet)
Supervisors meet at 2 p.m. in the General District Courtroom at the Courthouse in Lovingston. The first item on the agenda for the afternoon work session is the annual organizational meeting of the Board which included elections of a new chair and vice chair. In 2023, East District Supervisor Jesse Rutherford was the chair and Parr was the vice chair. Nelson rotates their officers each year. This year it appears Parr will become chair and Central District Supervisor Ernie Reed will be the vice chair.
After public comments and the consent agenda, there will be a report from the Virginia Department of Transportation and an update from the Thomas Jefferson Conservation District. The latter organization provides resources to property owners in the interest of improving water quality and preserving agricultural land by funding projects such as methods to keep livestock out of waterways. The presentation begins on page 52 of the packet.
There are three items under new and unfinished business.
The first is a request from the Wintergreen Rescue Squad for an interest free loan of $100,000 to pay for part of the cost of a new ambulance to bring the total fleet up to five.
The second is a proposed shift schedule change for Nelson EMS for FY25. Currently there are 12 full time employees who work shifts of 24 hours on, 48 hours off. The proposal would be to shift to 24 hours on, 72 hours off. That would require hiring four new full time employees at an additional cost of $281,000 a year. Staff is recommending increasing the ambulance transport billing rates to cover some of the cost. (details on page 83)
The third is a request from the Nelson County Community Development Foundation to continue waiving solid waste tipping fees for affordable housing projects and allow a 24-month period to pay connections to public water and sewer. This is usually agreed upon annually but a resolution expression support hasn’t been adopted since July 2020. (page 86)
The afternoon session will conclude with various reports from staff.
The evening session will convene at 7 p.m. and there is one public hearing. Should Nelson County amend the tax ordinance to alter the personal property tax exemption for volunteer fire and rescue personnel? Currently, the first $5,000 of an item’s assessed worth would be exempted. The proposed change is to grant a $300 credit instead.
Four public hearings for Charlottesville Planning Commission including CIP
The Charlottesville Planning Commission will begin the year at 85.7 percent of its total capacity as there has been a vacancy since June when Commissioner Liz Russell left and was not replaced. The Commission will also continue the practice of holding a pre-meeting at 5 p.m. off camera in a conference room in City Hall. This is not a closed session and anyone can attend to witness discussions of the agenda. (meeting info)
At 5:30 p.m., they will walk down the hall to meet in City Council Chambers. City Council will join them at 6 p.m. for public hearings.
Will this be the first meeting for Michael Joy, the new non-voting representative from the University of Virginia? Joy will replace Bill Palmer, who has been in that position for five years, according to a letter sent by the UVA Architect to city officials in mid-December.
The first public hearing is on the Capital Improvement Program. The planning Commission had a work session in November on the $136M five-year plan and there’s a memo in the packet with additional information. Some highlights:
The city will produce a draft sidewalk priority list by the end of the fiscal year. That’s June 30 if you didn’t know.
The city has seven Smart Scale projects and three will begin work after July 1 when FY2025 begins. They are the Emmet Street Corridor Streetscape Phase 2, the 5th Street SW Corridor Streetscape, and the Ridge Street Safety Improvement project.
There is a table listing how many trees the city has been able to plant in the past several years. A metric I’d like to see is how many survived.
Items not currently in the CIP are continued investments to implement City Manager Sam Sander’s initiative to address homelessness, a pre-K center at Walker Upper Elementary School, and renovations of Central Library that would cost the city as much as $8 million.
The second is another public hearing for VERVE Charlottesville followed by an additional public hearing for 2117 Ivy Road. The developers of both agreed in December to increase the amount that would be paid into the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund, but that requires an amendment to the proffer statements for each rezoning. The amount for Verve Charlottesville is $6.8 million and the amount for 2117 Ivy Road is $3.25 million.
The fourth item on the agenda is for a rezoning and special use permit for 108 Lankford Avenue. This application was last before the PC on November 14 and civil engineer Justin Shimp sought a deferral as I reported at the time.
“The applicant is proposing a multifamily residential development with up to 46 units through new construction,” reads the agenda.
This project is still under the old development rules but the Future Land Use Map designates the property as General Residential. Is this project above that level? And what changed?
“The application materials (Attachments B and C) now show retention of two of the three existing structures along the front of the property, which staff finds consistent with the neighborhood pattern and scale,” the staff report continues. “However, the three proposed buildings will be taller and have a larger footprint than the typical patterns of the Neighborhood.”
The staff report also notes that several residents of Lankford Avenue voiced concerns about speeding on the street at the November 6, 2023 City Council meeting. The report also notes that no one spoke at the Planning Commission’s public hearing on November 14.
The Charlottesville Planning Commission will next meet on January 23 for a work session to follow up on the adoption of the Development Code.
Albemarle County PC to get update on second phase of Broadway Blueprint
One of the strangest land use quirks in the community is the 46 acres of Albemarle County on the western side of the Rivanna River within Charlottesville. In recent years, Albemarle’s economic development department has identified the land along Broadway Street as a key location for future business growth. A first phase of the Broadway Blueprint was conducted in 2019 but full implementation was affected by the pandemic.
A survey was opened for a second phase last year, as I reported at the time.
“Phase 2 is focused on developing actionable recommendations for physical improvements to the corridor and business development and retention efforts but will also provide recommendations related to land use,” reads the staff report for the Albemarle County Planning Commission meeting that begins at 6 p.m. tonight in Lane Auditorium. (meeting info)
The county has hired two firms to work on the study. They are 3TP Ventures and Line and Grade. The project lead for 3TP Ventures is Rachel Falkenstein, a former county planner.
One of the items in the packet is a prescriptive look at potential transportation improvements. How long has it been since the Charlottesville and Albemarle Planning Commissions have met? What sort of coordination exists between the two planning departments?
There will also be a public hearing for a special use permit for outdoor display for the new Home Depot proposed at Fashion Square Mall. (staff report)
Fluvanna PC to hold public hearing on amendment to short-term rental ordinance
The Fluvanna County Planning Commission will meet for their regular meeting at 7 p.m. at the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center at 8880 James Madison Highway in Fork Union. (meeting packet)
Officers were selected at the organizational meeting on January 3. The first action item is a resolution to amend the county zoning code to make short-term rentals a by-right use across the county. That’s followed by a public hearing on amendments to the current ordinance.
In other meetings:
The Albemarle County Board of Zoning Appeals will meet at 2 p.m. in Lane Auditorum for their annual organizational meeting. There are no public hearings. (agenda)
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Albemarle Supervisors to consider requests for housing fund including Premier Circle
The six-member Board of Supervisors in Albemarle County meets for the first regular meeting of the year at 1 p.m. in Lane Auditorium. They met last week for an organizational meeting at which they selected Jim Andrews as Chair and Diantha McKeel as Vice Chair. (agenda)
After a proclamation marking Martin Luther King Jr. day, they will have a discussion of several funding requests for housing projects. (staff report)
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville seeks $1.5 million for 14 units at Southwood in the Cardinal Hill Apartments to ensure they are affordable for another 28 years. (view the request)
Virginia Supportive Housing seeks additional funding for the Premier Circle project to close a shortfall, and staff is recommending $700,000. That’s less than the $750,000 City Council allocated last week. Materials from VSH state that the shortfall was $1.4 million, but those are from September 2023. (read those materials)
Albemarle County has previously allocated $2.4 million in federal COVID funding for the project. (materials)
Supervisors will then go into closed session with a scheduled time of 2 p.m. though there is not yet a published citation of what exemption of Virginia’s open meeting laws will be used to allow for a private conversation.
There are several public hearings in the 6 p.m. session with the first on amendments to the budget for Fiscal Year 2024. (staff report)
The second and third are associated with a request to rezone 14.9 acres of land in Crozet to the Neighborhood Model District to allow for a mixed-use development for up to 122 residential units and 16,500 square feet of non-residential use. This is the Montclair development that at one point had been named White Gate Village. There’s an associated request to change the jurisdictional areas for the Albemarle County Service Authority to allow water and sewer extension to new buildings. (staff report #1) (staff report #2) This item was deferred to a future meeting.
The fourth public hearing is related to the effective date for restructuring of fees paid by developments to cover some of the cost for the Department of Community Development to process land use applications. (staff report)
Charlottesville City Council to meet with School Board
Updated January 10, 2024
The Charlottesville City Council and the Charlottesville School Board will meet at 5 p.m. at Walker Upper Elementary School at 1564 Dairy Road in Charlottesville. (agenda)
There are three discussion items on the agenda.
The first is an update on the city’s purchase of the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center, which will become the Charlottesville Area Technical Education Center on July 1, 2024. I last wrote about this in March 2023.
Next up is an introduction to Knight School.
“Knight School is an educational option for students in need of additional support that cannot be offered at CHS or Lugo-McGinness (LMA), a CCS funded alternative academy supporting students grades 8-12,” writes Sophie Brissett in the Charlottesville High School student newspaper.
Finally there will be a discussion of the pre-K center proposed at Walker Upper Elementary School that is not yet funded. The topic came up at last night’s capital improvement program joint work session of the Planning Commission and the City Council.
In other meetings:
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will hold a meeting at 4:30 p.m. at the Nelson Memorial Library on U.S. 29 on efforts to improve water quality in Hat Creek and Black Water Creek. This will provide details on work to reduce levels of phosphorous. (meeting info)
The Greene County School Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the School Board office meeting room and will immediately go into closed session. Then at 7 p.m., the open session will be held in the County Meeting Room at 40 Celt Road in Stanardsville. (meeting info)
Thursday, January 11, 2024
Louisa PC to review capital requests, add public facilities chapter to Comp Plan
The Louisa County Planning Commission will meet at 5 p.m. for a work session in the Louisa County Public Meeting Room, followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m.
There are three items of new business at the work session. (meeting overview)
The first is a review of the Capital Improvement plan. Louisa County takes a 20-year approach for a planning horizon. There will be presentations from the Louisa County Water Authority, Louisa County Public Schools, Economic Development, Fire / EMS, General Services, Parks and Recreation, the county airport, and broadband. Many of these items are detailed in the 111-page book of budget requests.(view that book)
The second is consideration of proposed amendments to the Land Development Regulations related to design standards for projects on the shoreline of Lake Anna. You can review the proposed changes here. This item is up for a public hearing at this meeting.
The third would be to add a public facilities section to the Comprehensive Plan. Read the draft chapter here. This item is up for a public hearing at this meeting.
The regular meeting will begin with an election of a chair and vice chair. (meeting overview)
There are three public hearings, with the second and third being the Lake Anna shoreline design guidelines and then the Public Facilities chapter for the Comprehensive Plan.
The first is for a rezoning from the Essex Concrete Corporation for a manufacturing plant at the intersection of U.S. 250 and State Route 208 near the Ferncliff exit on Interstate-64. No one attended a neighborhood meeting for the item that was held on December 13. Staff recommends approval.
In other meetings:
The Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership will hold a “lunch and learn” webinar at noon on upzoning. From their website: “We will be joined by Yonah Freemark, Senior Research Associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute and Jenna Davis, PhD student at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University to discuss the relevance of upzoning nationally and at the local level.” (register)
The Charlottesville Police Civilian Review Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. in CitySpace. There’s no agenda posted at publication time. (empty meeting page)
The Places29-North Community Advisory Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. at North Fork Discovery Park at 994 Research Park Boulevard. There’s no agenda at publication time. (meeting info)
Friday, January 12, 2024
Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee to meet
Charlottesville has an advisory group charged with the following:
Advocate for historic preservation
Promote an appreciation of local historic resources, both tangible and intangible
encourage and coordinate, with appropriate municipal agencies, civic organizations, institutions and individual scholars, the documentation and interpretation of local history
The Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee will begin 2024 at 11 a.m. with a meeting at the Neighborhood Development Services Conference Room in City Hall. (meeting info)
The agenda topics for this meeting are often perennial. There’s an update on the Downtown Walking Tour map. There’s a discussion identifying mid-20th century people and places identified with the Civil Rights movement. Then an update on historical markers. An update on the Herman Key Rec Center Memorial. If time allows, a discussion of Engagement of Descendant Community with regards to Court Square. Then staff updates.
There will be a discussion of coordination of an agenda for a joint meeting with the Human Rights Commission scheduled for February.