Week of October 17, 2022: Greene County PC to review land use policies; Charlottesville Council to provide budget direction
Another summary of what's happening this week at government meetings in the Charlottesville area
We’re now well into autumn, and our local governments continue to be active in the last few weeks before the holiday season begins to really affect the schedule. This is a strange week with a lot of relatively technical meetings.
I produce this newsletter each week because I always want to know what all the technical things mean and I believe there are many who do. I have always had a curiosity about what government actually does and realized early on in my journalism career I had no interest in reporting at the national level. I’ve spent half of my career paying attention to Albemarle and Charlottesville, and am so excited to get paid by readers and listeners to keep paying attention. Thank you!
As I said, this is a very technical week, with a lot of nuts and a lot of bolts. Much in here may be impenetrable to many people. It is my hope that if you read this newsletter each week and follow along with other installments of Charlottesville Community Engagement, you’ll begin to learn more and perhaps feel more comfortable. Local government needs more people to be involved and I view my mission to open up the process.
Charlottesville City Council will begin the budget process for FY24 with a work session and will later take action on a lot of budget items for the current fiscal year.
Albemarle Supervisors will review both their strategic plan and an important part of the Comprehensive Plan.
Greene County’s Planning Commission will review the land use chapter of their Comprehensive Plan.
What is the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development? The director appears twice this week in both Fluvanna County and Louisa County to explain.
The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review takes up several large projects including apartment buildings on West Main Street and West Market Street.
Thanks as always to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their support of the research that goes into this newsletter. There are only ten more weeks left in their 50th anniversary year so now’s the time to go visit their website.
Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Monday, October 17, 2022
Council to begin FY24 budget process with work session; regular meeting features many FY23 budget actions
The Charlottesville City Council will meet at 4 p.m. for a work session to discuss the FY24 budget. That will be followed by a regular session with a lot of items to review. (meeting info)
In six months, Charlottesville City Council will adopt the budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2023. While they won’t get to see the City Manager’s recommended budget until next March 6, they’ve asked to be able to provide input at this early point.
In addition to selecting a date for the Community Budget Forum next March, they’ll review the $12.4 million year-end surplus from FY2022 and how it will be spent, as well as another $3.75 million in additional money expected in the current fiscal year. There will be a lot to report from that, including an additional $1 million to put additional buses on Route 6.
After a closed session, there will be the usual meeting items such as the consent agenda. Some highlights:
Second reading of an appropriation of $186,776 in funding from the State Corporation Commission’s Fire Programs Fund. (staff report)
Second reading of $29,524.18 in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to help cover the cost of unpaid utility bills. (staff report)
An apartment building owned by the Management Services Corporation at 525 Ridge Street build as part of the William Taylor Plaza Planned Unit Development experienced a water leak over the summer that resulted in consumption rate 30 times normal. The additional water, however, drained into the city’s stormwater network and not the sanitary sewer. MSC is asking for $31,516.31 in credit for water it didn’t send to the Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. (staff report)
Council will update its rules of procedure to explicitly ban all-virtual meeting, and to specify that public hearings are the first items of business under action. (staff report)
First of two readings on appropriating $240,000 from the Virginia Supreme Court for operations of the Charlottesville / Albemarle Adult Drug Court. (staff report)
First of two readings on $292,058 from the Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act that is to be matched by Charlottesville at $108,415 and by Albemarle County at $52,231. The funding is for delinquency prevention and youth development services. (staff report)
In the city’s manager report is the first quarter financial report for FY23. As expected, both real estate and personal property taxes are yielding more revenue for the city. (financial report)
There are lots of technical items on the action agenda.
Council will be asked to accept a new public utility easement as part of the development of 209 Maury Avenue. (staff report)
Council will be asked to approve a change to the city’s Business License Ordinance to address issues related to a recent Virginia Supreme Court that ruled that freelance writers could not be taxed in a certain way. The staff report recommends a change to ensure that freelance writers and authors are classified correctly. Take a look at the ruling in City of Charlottesville v. Regulus Books for more information.
Council will be asked to update the city code on transient lodging in order to incorporate changes made by the General Assembly this year. The staff report notes that the ordinance will make clear that the University of Virginia can be required to pay city lodging taxes. (staff report) (Corrected after publication - see comment below)
Council will update its ordinance on Charlottesville’s cigarette tax to reflect that the city is now a member of the Blue Ridge Cigarette Tax Board. (staff report)
Council will hold the first of two readings on an additional $700,000 from the capital improvement program contingency fund to cover cost overruns associated with a project to replace underground fuel storage tanks at its Avon Fuel Station in Albemarle County. (staff report)
Council will consider an extension to the Piedmont Housing Alliance for an $850,000 loan a previous Council gave for to help PHA facilitate the purchase of Dogwood Housing by Woodard Properties. In all, the company purchased 57 units and agreed to continue to rent them below-market. Now, Woodard Properties is seeking another five-year extension. (staff report)
Council will update the guidelines for use of the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act (PPEA) for construction of public buildings. (staff report)
Council will hold first of two readings of $107,203.32 to cover seven months rent for the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Rent for many years was covered through two payments totaling $950,000 from Council’s Equity Fund. This allocation would be as a donation to the organization. (staff report)
Council will hold first of two readings of $565,000 in the use of American Rescue Plan Act funding. $50,000 would pay for City Hall Ambassadors to help guide people through the reopened City Hall. $300,000 would be used to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AED) for city facilities. $15,000 would be used for City Access Control Badges. $200,000 would be used to continue paying the city’s share for a 92-bed emergency shelter operated by People and Communities Engaged in Ministry (PACEM), Blue Ridge Area Coalition for the Homeless, Piedmont Housing Alliance, and the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation (CACF). (staff report)
Council will consider a $20,000 appropriation to purchase reusable bags for households who receive SNAP or WIC benefits. (staff report)
Quiet meeting of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors to touch on economic development
The seven-member Louisa County Board of Supervisors meets at 5 p.m. in the Louisa County Public Meeting Room for a closed session. The open meeting begins at 6 p.m. (meeting packet)
There are no public hearings in this meeting, and no major items of business.
In the first presentation, a representative from the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development will appear before the Board. The group was created in 1995 to promote the region for business expansion. In addition to the localities in the Thomas Jefferson Planning District, the partnership also covers Culpeper, Orange, and Madison counties.
There will also be a presentation from the Louisa County Commission on Aging.
There are a lot of reports in the packet, which are interesting to look through.
Albemarle panel to review Misty Mountain camp expansion
The Albemarle Agricultural and Forestal District Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. in Room 246 in the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road. They will consider an addition to the Hatton AFD, review the Blue Run District, and get briefings on two special use permits near AFD’s. (meeting info)
The first special use permit is for Misty Mountain Camp Resort to expand by 53 campsites to a total of 158, permit 19 cabins, and to be able to rent out cabins year-round with a 30-day occupancy limit. The Board of Supervisors will make the final decision by the AFD is being asked to weigh in on whether the expansion would be contrary to the purpose of the districts. (staff report)
In the second, Pippin Hill seeks a special use permit to expand a historic structure called Crossroads Tavern at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Plank Road. (staff report)
In other meetings:
The Albemarle Architectural Review Board will not meet this week but will return on November 7.
The Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee will meet in-person at 5:30 p.m. at the Media Center in Greer Elementary School. Then they’ll get on a Jaunt bus and tour around the area. The public is welcome to attend on a first-come, first-serve basis. (meeting info)
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review to consider new residence in North Downtown
There are certain areas of Charlottesville where the city’s Board of Architectural Review must consider any new buildings or modification of existing structures. They meet this month at 5:30 p.m. in CitySpace as part of a hybrid meeting. (agenda) (meeting info)
There are two items that had previously been deferred. One is for new residence to be constructed on a vacant lot in the city’s North Downtown neighborhood. The 0.17 acre lot sold for $257,500 on April 20, 2022.
The other is for a new apartment building to be constructed on a property on Wertland Street that contains an existing historic structure known as the Wertenbaker House.
In new items:
Neighborhood Investments seeks to rehabilitate siding and trim at properties it owns at 1109 and 1121 Wertland Street.
First United Methodist Church seeks to install rooftop solar panels
The developer of Six Hundred West Main Street are asking for a modification for the façade design for a new building at 612 West Main Street.
The developer of Six Hundred West Main Street also will have a preliminary discussion on the required step backs for a new structure planned for 218 West Market Street.
Neighborhood Investments wants to move an apartment building at 1025 Wertland Street 25 feet toward the street.
In other meetings:
The Greene County Emergency Services Board will have a workshop beginning at 3 p.m. that will go over all aspects of public safety in the county. There will be a discussion of the Emergency Medical Services Department, the Emergency Communication Center, the Fire Department and its relations with volunteer groups, the Sheriff’s Office, and more. This will take place in the county meeting room. (meeting info)
The Albemarle County Department of Social Services Advisory Board will meet at 3:30 p.m. in Room 231 in the county office building at 1600 5th Street. There’s no agenda available at publication time. (meeting info)
The Albemarle Economic Development Authority’s Board of Directors meets in person at 4 p.m. in Room 241 of the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road. The main item on the agenda is a resolution to appropriate $300,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville for the redevelopment of Southwood Mobile Home Park per a performance agreement. They’ll also go into a closed meeting to discuss Project Cowboy. (meeting info)
Charlottesville’s Sister Cities Commission will meet virtually at 4:30 p.m. There’s no agenda available at publication time. Learn more about the five communities Charlottesville is paired with on the Commission’s non-governmental website. (meeting info)
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Albemarle Board of Supervisors to review Strategic Plan, Comprehensive Plan framework
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors meets at 1 p.m. in Lane Auditorium in the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road. (agenda)
After matters from Supervisors and the public, action items begin. The first is yet another special exception request for a homestay.
Next, Supervisors will have another work session on legislative priorities for the 2023 General Assembly. These include greater flexibility on allowing advisory bodies to hold virtual meetings and expanding use of photo-speed cameras to rural roads. Here’s my summary from their September 7 discussion and here is the staff report.
After that they’ll review the new strategic plan which comes out of a retreat held last summer. This plan would cover FY24 through FY28 and would be used to help guide major budget decisions. There are six goals in the draft. A community survey closed on October 11. Here’s another summary I wrote and here is the staff report.
To end the afternoon, Supervisors will review the Draft Framework for an Equitable and Resilient Community. That is intended to guide the development of the next Albemarle Comprehensive Plan to be reflect climate adaptation and equity, as well as an increased footing for economic development. The Albemarle Planning Commission had a work session on the framework on September 27. I also have a summary about that, too.
After a closed session there will be a public hearing on a request to extend public water to 3756 Richmond Road, a structure that used to be a Moose Lodge. The property is within the rural area and the building is slated to become a church. There are issues with area wells and the request is made for public health reasons. Staff recommends approval. (staff report)
The consent agenda has many items of interest.
There’s a resolution to officially begin the modernization of the zoning code. You can learn more from the staff report or read my coverage of the Planning Commission discussion from late August.
The third quarter report from the Albemarle Facilities and Environmental Services Department is well worth a read for updates on county projects.
Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors to update noise ordinance
The five-member Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors meets at 7 p.m. in the Carysbrook Performing Arts Center at 8880 James Madison Highway in Fork Union. (meeting packet)
There will be a public hearing on changes to the noise control ordinance.
“The principal purpose of this action would be to provide for a new standard for review of noise complaints which the Sheriff believes will be easier and more equitable to enforce, as well as to substitute civil penalties as specifically authorized by statute in lieu the current criminal penalties,” reads the staff report from County Administrator Eric Dahl.
There are three action items and the first two are on the same topic. The Fluvanna Fire and Rescue Association is seeking additional funds for a tanker truck. The amount in the capital improvement program budget set aside $604,00 for the vehicle and apparatus, but the lowest bid came in at $669,171. Supervisors already approved additional funding in September, but more is needed to cover the cost of closing on Rosenbauer Commander 2000 Gallon Tanker.
Fans of procurement documentation will love the packet. Over 800 pages in the 886 meeting packet pertain to this item.
Palmyra has been awarded a $1.271 million grant from Virginia Department of Transportation for the Palmyra Village Streetscape. Supervisors have to agree to a resolution to accept the funds.
“It is important to emphasize the [Commonwealth Transportation Board] policy for [Transportation Alternatives Program] requires that the project reach construction within four years of awarding the first federal TA funds,” writes Terry Short with VDOT’s Local Assistance Division.
The project will see construction of five foot wide sidewalks, crosswalks, and curb ramps from a park on Main Street to Court Square.
Helen Cauthen of the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development will provide an update on her agency’s work.
Greene County Planning Commission to take up land use chapter of Comprehensive Plan
Different communities review their state-mandated Comprehensive Plan in different ways. Some hire consultants. Some just use their planning department and the Planning Commission. The latter is the case in Greene County, which has been reviewing their plan for the past couple of years. They meet at 6 p.m. at the County Meeting Room in the Administration Building in Stanardsville, though members of the public can join a Zoom call. (meeting agenda)
The topic this time is future land use in a locality that the Weldon Cooper Center projects will increase in population to 27,315 people by 2050. Like Albemarle County, Greene has a designated growth area with an intention to preserve the rural areas.
“A total of 8,770 dwelling units currently exist in Greene County, and over half of them have been built within the last 20 years,” reads the draft chapter. “ An average of 159 detached single-family building permits was issued per year between 2000 and 2021.”
There are 3,538 jobs in Greene County, which means many people who live there leave the county to go to work. This could be changing and planners want to be prepared.
“These projections are relevant to land use because they help Greene County set planning goals in the context of a realistic expectation for both growth and the distribution between different kinds of growth,” the chapter continues.
The Planning Commission will also have a public hearing on the draft capital improvement program and will prioritize requests. The staff report in the packet, however, goes to a February 2020 meeting so I’m a little unclear what’s happening.
In other meetings:
The Education/Advocacy Sub-Committee of the Charlottesville Tree Commission will meet virtually at 4 p.m. There’s no agenda available. (meeting info)
Charlottesville’s Board of Zoning Appeal meets virtually at p.m. The agenda is not available at publication time. (meeting info)
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Four meetings, no agendas yet. I will try to update as I go.
The Albemarle County Service Authority’s Board of Directors meets virtually at 9 a.m. The agenda was not available at publication time.
The Charlottesville Minority Business Commission will meet virtually at 3 p.m. One task of this body is to serve “as a liaison between the Office of Economic Development and the Department of Finance’s Procurement Division and the citizens of the City of Charlottesville.” There’s no agenda available at publication time. (meeting info)
Charlottesville’s Human Rights Commission meets virtually at 6:30 p.m. There’s no agenda at publication time. If you’d like to help me keep this up to date, email me the agenda when you see it published. I’d like to keep this newsletter up to date throughout the week. (meeting info)
There is no Fifth and Avon Community Advisory Committee taking place. It was canceled due to a lack of community meetings. That group’s last virtual meeting was held on August 18, 2022 and has 30 views on YouTube. Under current Virginia law, CAC’s can only meet virtually twice a year.
Friday, October 21, 2022
There’s nothing on the agenda today that I am aware of, but I could be missing something. Let me know if I have so I can add anything I need to update.
Saturday, October 22, 2022
There are two events today. One is a meeting and one is a community event.
The Charlottesville Planning Commission will hold a retreat from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The location is not listed on the city’s meeting page, but last week a top official in the Department of Neighborhood Development Services said the retreat would be held either outside at the Ting Pavilion or in CitySpace. There’s no information about the agenda for the retreat listed on the city’s website.
It’s Community Day at Simpson Park in Esmont. (Community Day info)
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