There’s an age-old question in land use. Which comes first? The development, or the infrastructure? Should developments be limited in size if all of the pieces aren’t yet in place to support additional residents?
The topic came up during Council’s consideration on August 2 on the rezoning of 1206 Carlton Avenue which will allow development of an eight-unit apartment complex on a currently empty lot in Belmont. The project also requires a special use permit. City planner Matt Alfele represented city staff.
“The applicant is also requesting side setbacks be modified from 13 feet to 8 feet,” Alfele said. “The application materials indicate the height of the building would be approximately 40 feet but no greater than the R-3 allotted 45 feet.”
A developer that builds rental housing throughout the world has filed an application with Albemarle County to rezone 36 acres of undeveloped land on Old Ivy Road for 525 units. Greystar wants to build on property to the west of the University Village retirement community and Huntington Village.
“The residences planned for the Property are proposed to be entirely for rent, at least initially, in response to a strong interest in rental properties in the area,” reads the narrative for the proposal.
In all there are five properties involved in what’s being called Old Ivy Residences, all but two of which are zoned already at the R-15 zoning category required for density. One 5.52 acre property is zoned R-1. However, there is also an application to change the status of steep slopes on the property from preserved to managed. The lands are currently owned by the Filthy Beast LLC, Father Goose LLC, and the Beyer Family Investment Partnership.
According to the narrative, there would be 77 single-family homes, 43 townhouses, 58 duplexes and 312 apartments. Again, all rental.
“Market research demonstrates a demand for single- family residences for young families, young professionals, graduate students and retirees who desire more space but are not interested in, or able to purchase a home at this stage of their lives,” the narrative continues.
An existing pond on the property would be retained and serve as open space and for stormwater management. Some of the land had been purchased by the Virginia Department of Transportation for the Western Bypass, a project that was canceled in 2014.
Charlottesville has a new director of the department that oversees land use and zoning within the city. James Freas will be the next Director of Neighborhood Development Services, a position that’s been held by Alexander Ikefuna for the past six years. Freas is currently the director of Community and Economic Development in the town of Natick in Massachusetts, a position he has held since November 2019. Before that, he worked in land use positions in Newton, Massachusetts. He also served four years as a city planner in Hampton from 2005 to 2009.
This will be a return to Charlottesville for Freas, who graduated from the University of Virginia with an undergraduate degree in psychology. He also earned a Master of Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island and a Master of Studies in Environmental Law from the Vermont Law School.
“I am excited to be returning to Virginia and eager to get started with the City,” Freas said in a release. “There are a number of important conversations happening right now around development and zoning and I look forward to engaging with the community.”
Freas will report to Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders and begins work on September 13.