Charlottesville PC recommends Carlton Avenue rezoning

The return of a rezoning application for a property in the 1200 block of Carlton Avenue got the nod from the Charlottesville Planning Commission at their meeting on July 13, 2021. The seven-member panel considered a rezoning and special use permit for a vacant lot currently zoned R-2, which would allow two units on the property.

“The requested rezoning would be to R-3, residential multifamily medium density,” said Commission Chair Hosea Mitchell. “And then the following special use permit would then allow the applicant to build eight units.”

A similar application went before Commission and the Council in 2018 and was denied by Council in October that year. As part of this application, eight parking spaces would be provided on site. Here’s Matt Alfele, a city planner. 

“Residents are concerned that the code-required eight parking spaces will not be enough for this development and the overflow parking will impact the surrounding neighborhoods, especially the homes on Chestnut Street,” Alfele said. 

One change since 2018 involves how vehicles will get in and out of the site. Justin Shimp is the engineer on behalf of MSC. 

“We have worked with the traffic engineer and we have a one-way entrance off of Carlton because that is a narrow street and the one-way entrance is a safe entrance and we exit out the alley, so there’s no traffic concerns,” Shimp said. 

Shimp said the rezoning was consistent with the city’s desire to build more housing units.

“The reality is that if you look at the goals that are stated for the city in terms of providing housing to folks who take alternate means of transportation, and how to deal with climate change and other issues we face, these sort of in-fill projects are an excellent way to achieve those goals,” Shimp said. 

Though not a representative of the rental company that would manage the units, Shimp said the one bedroom units would be rented between $1,100 and $1,200, and the two-bedroom unit would be around $1,500. None of the units are being subsidized and will not be proffered to keep them below market.  

The situation may be different in the future when the Comprehensive Plan is adopted and the zoning ordinance is rewritten. Lisa Robertson is the city attorney.

“What we’re all waiting for so anxiously is a zoning ordinance that can have regulations that say if we’re going to require a certain amount of affordable housing for every development of a specific size, we want to be right upfront about what that means and what the paperwork that’s going to be required over the course of the affordability period will be,” Robertson said. 

Several residents of the immediate neighborhood asked for the rezoning to be denied or for more parking to be required. Another Belmont resident said there should not be more parking.

“I have to say I’m a little dismayed by the number of my neighbors who want more car storage here,” Gold said. “This is a really solid location for car-free living.”

This time around, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of both the special use permit for more density and the rezoning. It goes next to City Council at a future meeting. 

(This article originally appeared in the July 16, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement)

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