Monthly Archives: October 2021

Charlottesville to hold forum on climate vulnerability on October 25

Charlottesville’s efforts to create a Climate Adaptation Plan move forward this month with a community forum to get input on potential threats from more extreme weather patterns. The October 25 event will be the first steps for the city to complete a Climate Vulnerability Assessment. 

“As part of the city’s climate action effort, it has committed to developing a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare and respond to our changing climate,” said Susan Elliott, the city’s climate protection program manager.

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Charlottesville EDA reauthorizes performance agreement for Friendship Court

The Charlottesville Economic Development Authority has reauthorized a performance agreement with the Piedmont Housing Alliance for a loan for the redevelopment of Friendship Court. Piedmont Housing Alliance would pay the money back through the incremental tax revenue the city would get from a more intense residential development. Here’s Economic Development Director Chris Engel. (staff report)

“Typically, our performance agreements are done to encourage business development, job creation, capital investment that creates office space or an industrial building,” Engel said. “In this case, the public good if you will is the rehabilitation and addition of not public housing, but affordable housing that would be owned and managed on a long term basis by the Piedmont Housing Alliance.” 

The city is currently considering using this tool to finance improvements to Stribling Avenue. This is also the same mechanism that was proposed by the owner of the skeleton Landmark hotel. 

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Charlottesville Comprehensive Plan hearing tonight

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. 

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General Atomics to rent in 3-Twenty-3

Another tenant has been announced for the new 3-Twenty-3 building in downtown Charlottesville. General Atomics Commonwealth Computer Research will lease just under 50,000 square feet in the building.

“With projects ranging from optimizing the world’s largest container port to predicting future asymmetric warfare events, CCRi has no shortage of experience in diverse client expectations,” reads a description of the company on their website

The 3-Twenty-3 building is being developed by Insite Properties and marketed by Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. A press release describes the building as a five-story office building on top of a four-story, 200 space parking garage. 

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First official roadside memorial unveiled in Charlottesville

There are several makeshift memorials to people who died in crashes on 5th Street Extended in Charlottesville. Yesterday, a city-sanctioned memorial to Quintus Brooks was unveiled with a family ceremony. Brooks died on October 1, 2020 and yesterday would have been his birthday. 

“A new application process is being launched for roadside memorials at the site of deaths resulting from automobile, bicycle or pedestrian accidents that occur on public streets within the City of Charlottesville,” said city Communications Director Brian Wheeler in an email announcing the event.

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Virginia Redistricting Commission Chair appears to quit during meeting

The Virginia Redistricting Commission met for nearly six hours yesterday and failed to reach consensus on a new legislative maps to submit to the General Assembly.  The future of the group is in doubt. 

Until this year, the majority in each house of the General Assembly controlled how the lines were laid out. Legislation and a Constitutional referendum passed in 2020 created the commission. 

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Harmful algae bloom at Chris Greene Lake

An algae bloom at Chris Greene Lake Park has caused Albemarle County to post an advisory closing the waterway to people and their dogs. According to a release, there have been no reported health problems but routine tests showed the presence of harmful algae. 

“People and pets are prohibited from contact with the water until further notice,” reads the release. “Mint Springs and Walnut Creek Lakes are not affected.” 

Other features of the Chris Greene Lake Park are still open such as the dog park and walking trails. The lake experienced an algae bloom in June of 2018 following heavy rains. Albemarle hired the firm SOLItude Lake Management to study the chemistry of the lake and they concluded the source of the algae from three years was likely the result of an accumulation of organic material on the bottom of the lake. 

“When levels of oxygen in the water drop during the heat of the summer, that large accumulation of lake muck releases a significant amount of phosphorus (i.e., plant food) into the water – ripe conditions for algae blooms,” reads an April report from the Facilities and Environmental Services office

The lake remains closed to dogs and people through at least Monday, when a new test will be conducted. 

“We need two tests with levels below the threshold in order to resume normal operations,”  said Emily Kilroy, Albemarle’s Director of Communications and Public Engagement. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the October 9, 2021 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

Area community members weigh in on redistricting

The Virginia Redistricting Commission next meets tomorrow after a week of public hearings in which participants were asked to weigh in on two different maps for both the 40 seats in the Virginia Senate as well as the 100 seat House of Delegates. 

The 16-member commission was able to reach consensus between different versions produced by Democratic and Republican consultants. Yesterday, it was the Charlottesville area’s turn to weigh in on the different maps. Here’s Commissioner Sam Kumar of Alexandria, who chaired yesterday’s public hearing. 

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Albemarle Supervisors learn more about upcoming Comprehensive Plan process

For decades, Albemarle County has planned for growth and investments such as the Pantops public safety station by concentrating residential development into designated areas. That’s codified in the county’s Comprehensive Plan which was last adopted in July 2015. Michaela Accardi is a senior planner with Albemarle County. 

“The Comprehensive Plan or the comp plan establishes Albemarle’s long-range vision that guides growth, development, and change for the next 20 years,” Accardi said. “The Comprehensive Plan serves as the basis for land use development regulations and decisions, such as rezoning and special use permits, capital improvements, new county programs and the distribution of county budget dollars to programs and agencies.”

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Remembering Leigh Middleditch

When the Albemarle Supervisors met on Wednesday, Supervisor Ann Mallek noted the passing of Leigh Middleditch, a lawyer with a long history in Charlottesville affairs, at the age of 92.

“People of his and my parents’ generation worked in so many different ways to build community here,” Mallek said. “He was always focused on collaboration and finding solutions with people of all comers, all ages, all neighborhoods, all locations.” 

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