Monthly Archives: January 2021

A quick look at Charlottesville real estate transactions from January

As a reporter who writes a lot about land use, one of my frequent practices is to look through property transactions. This gives me a sense of what’s happening across Charlottesville.

As a Substack subscriber, you are helping cover the cost of my time to do this work. As a result, I want to share it my research with you. Everything comes from Charlottesville’s records such as the open data portal and the GIS system. If you spot an error, please let me know.

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Charlottesville’s draft capital budget includes $50 million for middle school reconfiguration

The Charlottesville City Council will be presented with a $160 million five-year capital improvement program (CIP) that anticipates spending $50 million on a reconfiguration of middle school education. 

Council and School Board will meet Thursday, January 28 at 5 p.m. to discuss budget preparations. (meeting info)

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Pantops CAC gets a look at the Overlook Hotel

At their January meeting, the Pantops Community Advisory Committee learned more about a proposal to build a four-story hotel next to the Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center. Andy Reitelbach is the lead reviewer for the 125-room Pantops Overlook Hotel, which requires an amendment to the existing zoning. 

“Sometimes the zoning that designates what can be developed by-right and the future land uses identified in the master plan do not always line up,” Reitelbach said. “That is way a rezoning may have to come in.” 

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Group seeks information from beverage producers on glass recycling

An ad hoc group of environmental professionals working on a way to reduce the amount of glass that winds up in landfills resumed the conversation earlier this month. The work is an outcome of Albemarle County’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee and Better World Betty. They have been asking area wineries and breweries to tell them how much glass they discard in an online survey that is open through February 1

“There’s just a lot of glass to be had and we’re excited about the survey results that we’ve received,” said Teri Kent, the founder of Better World Betty. 

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Osteen steps down from CRHA board; redevelopment updates

There’s a new vacancy on the Board of Commissioners for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Michael Osteen has resigned in the midst of his second term. CRHA Chair Betsy Roettger read from a resolution last night

“And whereas his tenure on the CRHA Board, Mr. Osteen has worked diligently to represent the needs of CRHA residents and brought his expertise in design, building, and property management,” Roettger said. “And whereas Mr. Osteen’s commitment to a resident-centric approach to the management of CRHA demonstrates the fundamental values of true-asset based community leadership…”

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Albemarle BOS updated on economic outlook before FY22 budget process begins

The shape of Albemarle County’s budget for fiscal year became a little more clear with the announcement that property values are up at an average of 1.4 percent according to assessor Peter Lynch. 

“Out of all of the properties in Albemarle County, we review twenty percent each year so we try to cover over a five-year period all of the properties to make sure our data is up to date,” Lynch said. 

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VDOT enters into land conservation agreement for Monarch butterfly habitat

The Virginia Department of Transportation is participating in a program that seeks to help provide a safer journey for winged creatures that majestically migrate across the Commonwealth. Angel Deem is the director of VDOT’s environmental division and she spoke before the Commonwealth Transportation Board on January 19. 

“So I’m happy to present to the Board today an overview of what’s termed the Monarch Butterfly Candidate Conversation Agreement with Assurances,” Deem said. “That’s a long title and its shortened up to CCAA.”

CCAA is a program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that works with other government agencies to conserve land for at-risk species, such as the Monarch butterfly. Deem said the goal is to conserve millions of acres of land across the nation that are currently being used by state highway agencies and land used to produce energy. Another specific goal is to plant milkweed on 2.3 million acres. 

Last December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services updated the endangered species list, and the Monarch is listed as “warranted but precluded.” Deem explains. 

“What they mean by precluded is that there are other priority listings ahead of this one so they are essentially going to put it on hold if you will and continue to monitor its progress,” Deem said. 

Progress would be made if existing habitats aren’t threatened to be converted to some other uses. The use of pesticides and mowing of state right of way are other threats. 

“Those things are impacting the available foraging and breeding habitat for the Monarch,” Deem said. 

Under the CCAA, VDOT would agree to taking several conservation measures. 

“We would do some specific seeding and planting and brush removal to encourage suitable habitat for the Monarch,” Deem said. “We would also participate in what’s called conservation mowing, allowing food sources to be available to develop for the Monarch as well as breeding sites.”

VDOT entered into the agreement last November and the goal in the first year will be to apply the measures to 1,567 acres. Deem said VDOT has already achieved that goal and is now making progress towards the five year goal of doubling that amount. For more information on the program, watch the entire presentation on YouTube. (view the slides)

This post was originally made in the January 22, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement.

Nine out of ten Smart Scale applications recommended for funding

The Smart Scale funding process has recommended nine out of ten transportation projects in Albemarle County submitted in the latest round. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will consider the projects this spring and will take a final vote in June. 

“The total amount of Smart Scale funds that would come to Albemarle from these projects is just over $60 million,” said Albemarle transportation planner Kevin McDermott sent in an email to the Board of Supervisors. 

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CHRA Board briefed on public housing budget

This being budget season, the Board of Commissioners for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority are also getting ready for the next fiscal year. Their budget is being prepared with assistance from consultant Hayley Fetrow of HSF Consulting. Fetrow briefed the CHRA Board at a work session on Wednesday. (watch the work session)

“The goal of today is to provide you with an overview of the budgeting process,” Fetrow said. “And this year, interestingly, we have some new revenue lines that we’re getting additional levels of funding that we can talk a little bit about.” 

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Tree Commission briefs Council on canopy decline, annual report

At their meeting on January 19, Charlottesville City Council got a briefing from the Charlottesville Tree Commission on their annual report.

“This past December marked ten years since Council established the commission with the charge to ‘protect and improve the urban forest in pursuit of a better quality of life for city residents and environmental and aesthetic benefits,” said Brian Menard, the chair of the Tree Commission.  

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