Monthly Archives: March 2021

Regional planners crafting regional affordable housing plan

The Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership met earlier this month and got updates on various initiatives underway.  One of them involves helping outlying communities write policies for ensuring the existence of housing affordable to people with lower incomes. Christine Jacobs is the interim director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. 

“We are creating a draft Comprehensive Plan chapter for each of the jurisdictions within the planning district commission,” Jacobs said. “The City of Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson.” 

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Charlottesville seeking planning director, other leadership positions

Do you or someone you know want the chance to be Charlottesville’s next Director of Neighborhood Development Services? The city is taking applications through April 2 for the position, for which a vacancy was created when Alex Ikefuna was demoted to deputy director in February 2020. (Daily Progress article)

‘The ideal candidate must have experience and knowledge with all aspects of Planning and Development operations and a proven track record in managing a complex organization while demonstrating the ability to work with many stakeholders in a highly engaged community,” reads the application for the job, which has a salary range between $100,000 and $150,000. 

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Groundbreaking date set for Crescent Halls renovation

A groundbreaking date has been announced for the renovation of Crescent Halls. The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will hold a virtual renovation kickoff celebration at 4 p.m. on April 14 at 4 p.m. 

“The ‘skeleton’ of the building will be preserved, but all of the residential units, building systems, underground infrastructure, common areas, exterior spaces, parking areas, etc. will be as-new,” reads a description of the renovations on the CRHA website. 

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UVA President Ryan kicks off Tom Tom equity conference

Today marks the beginning of the Tom Tom Foundation’s Race and Equity Conference which is a pay-what-you-can virtual event that seeks to explore “the intersection of workplace and community.”

The title of the multi-day series is From the Classroom to the Boardroom and is intended to address income disparities. The conference website cites the latest report on family self-sufficiency from Ridge Schuyler of the Network2Work program at Piedmont Virginina Community College.  (Orange Dot Report 4.0, January 20, 2021)

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Low-income housing project gets $4.25 million boost from CACF

The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation has made its largest ever grant with $4.25 million going to Piedmont Housing Alliance for their redevelopment of land on U.S. 29. Piedmont Housing is working with the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless and Virginia Supportive Housing to redevelop the Red Carpet Inn site for a total of 140 units that will be guaranteed to be rented at prices for people with extremely low and very low incomes. Eboni Bugg is the director of programs for the CACF. 

“This first came on our radar last April when we received a grant application from TJACH and PACEM and the Haven regarding wanting to ensure that there was a non-congregate option for our homeless community members so that they could weather the pandemic without being in congregate shelter,” Bugg said.

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Rivanna Solid Waste Authority wants to install solar panels atop Ivy Landfill

Plans are being crafted to install solar panels atop 12 acres of the Ivy Landfill, which has been closed since 1998. The facility is now run by the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority to oversee a remediation program and now contains a Materials Utilization Center where people can discard various items. Dominion Power has been working on the project since 2017, but legislation allowing Dominion and Appalachian Power to proceed with solar energy facilities didn’t become law until last April. Phil McKalips is the director of solid waste. 

“We just found out about a month ago that our project has been selected by Dominion for the program,” McKalips said. “We’ve already reached out to neighbors in the area and seem to have gotten quite positive feedback from them.”

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Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority briefed on future of Buck Mountain land, FY22 operating budget

 the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority met and got a presentation on plans to continue owning and managing hundreds of acres of land in the White Hall district. 

“It’s up in the northern part of the county near Earlysville and Free Union,” said Andrea Bowles, the water resources manager for the RWSA      . 

The property was purchased in the 80’s for the proposed Buck Mountain Reservoir, but that project was abandoned when the presence of the endangered James River spinymussel was detected. That would have made permitting extremely difficult if not impossible.

“There’s a total of 1,314 acres and it cost the Authority $6.95 million,” Bowles said.

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Developers argue local policy affects cost of housing

How much of a role does local policy play in determining the cost of housing? That was one theme of a panel discussion held on March 18, 2021 by the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership. (watch the video)

“There are a lot of factors that go into making something affordable, many of which we just don’t control locally,” said Charlie Armstrong, the vice president of land development for Southern Development, one of the area’s most active property developers. 

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During Housing Albemarle discussion, Supervisors briefed on 2020’s building boom

Let’s go back for a moment to the March 17, 2021 meeting of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. Things are being built in the county. Here’s County Executive Jeffrey Richardson. 

“2020 was the greatest volume of building permits in over nine years,” Richardson said. “Just 9.7 percent of building permits were issued in the rural area. Over 90 percent of the building permits were issued in the development area.”  

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Security firm defends service to public housing agency poised to cancel contract

Since January, Sentry Force Security has held a contract to patrol properties owned and operated by the Charlottesville Housing and Redevelopment Authority. President Tim Sansone addressed the CHRA Board of Commissioners at their meeting at matters from the public and said there has been an increase in illegal activities and that Sentry Force personnel have been coordinating with the Charlottesville Police Department. 

“I understand there’s been some dialogue or conversations as far as the scope of our services and the contract that we have with CRHA,” Sansone said. “I think everyone would agree or know that the properties that we’re here to patrol and provide services with are definitely in need of some type of security service or coverage which is what we are providing.” 

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