The seven-member Charlottesville Planning Commission and the five-member Charlottesville City Council will hold a public hearing tonight on the Comprehensive Plan, the second task performed by Rhodeside & Harwell as part of the Cville Plans Together initiative. That includes a Future Land Use Map which increases residential density across most of the city.
Yesterday, the elected body and the appointed body spent two hours asking questions about the plan. Councilor Lloyd Snook went first.
“A common criticism which I personally believe to be based on ignorance… is that the Future Land Use Map and the suggestions of higher density have not taken into account either… the effect of the University of Virginia, the effect of the student population, and the distorting effect on the poverty data for the student population,” Snook said.
Jennifer Koch with Rhodeside & Harwell said her team began their work based of a housing needs assessment conducted in 2018 by the Form-Based Code Institute and Partners for Economic Solutions. (download)
“There was a fairly robust discussion in that document about how students may or may not play into various impacts on affordability in the city,” Koch said. “The other way we are looking to include considerations for students in this plan is in looking at potential intensity near UVA, for example Jefferson Park Avenue, Fontaine Avenue area. We’ve included additional intensity in those areas and we’ve included a discussion of potential intensity in those areas as we move through zoning.”
The first step in the Cville Plans Together initiative was adoption of an affordable housing plan. The next step after adoption of the Comprehensive Plan will be a rewrite of the zoning code.
The University of Virginia is working on an initiative to identify space on land it or its real estate foundation owns to build up to 1,500 below-market units. In September, a top official at UVA told the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership that the work is slightly behind schedule. (UVA housing initiative website)
Other topics at the two-hour meeting included assumptions about population growth and the links between increased density and affordability requirements. Watch the whole thing in advance of tonight’s hearing, which begins at 6 p.m. (watch)
This article originally appeared in the October 12, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement.