Monthly Archives: December 2021

Rivanna Conservation Alliance publishes 2021 water quality report

The Rivanna Conservation Alliance has issued its annual stream health report based on water quality monitoring from 2018 through 2021. Based on their data, the number of impaired streams increased. (read the report)

“The percentage of our sampled streams that failed to meet water quality standards for aquatic life grew from 68 percent in last year’s report to 82 percent in this one,” reads the report. 

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New look for tourism website

The quasi-government entity charged with marketing the region to tourists has updated their website. The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau launched an refreshed version last week of visitcharlottesville.org. The designer is a firm called Tempest as we learn in a press release.

“In addition to better serving visitors and industry partners, the new website will also reduce costs for the CACVB, in anticipation of a significant budget decrease projected for Fiscal Year 2023,” reads the release. “The reduction in budget for the upcoming fiscal year is a direct result of decreased transient occupancy tax collection from local lodging properties, due to the impacts of COVID-19.” 

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Avon Street Extended project to go before Albemarle PC

Tonight, the Albemarle Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on a rezoning for a planned residential district in the 1800 block of Avon Street Extended. Andy Reitelbach is a senior planner with the county.

“It involves a request to rezone two parcels of land on Avon Street right south of Avinity,” Reitelbach said. “The two parcels together total about 3.6 acres and the applicant is requesting a maximum of 85 two-family and multifamily resident units.” 

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Regional broadband expansion projects nets $79M in state funding

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District has been awarded a $79 million grant from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative for a project to expand broadband to nearly every home across a 13-county area. Governor Ralph Northam made that announcement yesterday as part of a $722 million funding package for similar Internet expansion meetings across the Commonwealth. The TJPDC was the lead applicant for the RISE project, which stands for Regional Internet Service Expansion. 

Several localities including Albemarle are contributing a total of $33.5 million as a match for the public-private partnership involving Firefly Fiber Broadband, the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, and Dominion Energy. Over the next three years, more than 5,000 miles of fiber will be installed across an area that spans from portions of Campbell County to the south to Goochland County to the east to Greene County to the north. In all, an additional 36,283 homes will be connected. They will then ne able then purchase Internet from Firefly Fiber. 

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UVA announces three sites for affordable housing projects

The University of Virginia has announced three sites upon which it will work with a developer to build affordable housing units, two of which are in Albemarle County. They are:

  • The low-density Piedmont housing site on Fontaine Avenue
  • The corner of Wertland and 10th Street
  • Properties at the North Fork Research Park 
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UVA Academic and Student Life Committee introduced to new A-School Dean, Democracy Institute director

After the Buildings and Grounds Committee concluded on Thursday, the Academic and Student Life Committee met and heard from the new dean of the School of Architecture and the director of the Karsh Institute for Democracy.  

First up: Malo Hutson took over as Dean of the School of Architecture at the beginning of the academic year. He previously was at Columbia University where he directed the Urban Communities and Health Equity Lab. Hutson said the study of architecture is focused on the public realm. 

“We’re focused on addressing some of the biggest issues of the world, ranging from climate change all the way to the importance of cultural landscape and heritage, to thinking about do you build with healthy materials and so forth and transportation,” Hutson said. 

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UVA Building and Grounds Committee briefed on Sustainability and Emmet-Ivy Corridor

The December 9 meeting of the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting was a shorter one than usual, but members were briefed on several items of note. One related to UVA’s sustainability efforts. Colette Sheehy is the Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government at UVA.

“You’ll recall that the big audacious goal for sustainability is to be carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil-fuel free by 2050,” Sheehy said. “Overall our emissions are down by 44 percent over the last decade which is equivalent to about 160,000 tons of carbon.” 

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RFP for Charlottesville managerial services due tomorrow

The window closes tomorrow at 4 p.m. for firms who are interested in assisting the city of Charlottesville with interim management services until a new top official is appointed. The RFP issued on December 3 requires a firm to provide someone with at least ten years of municipal management experience to run the city on an interim basis. Two addendums to the proposal were made Friday. (read the proposal)

This process is not without precedent in Virginia. The Town of Amherst hired the Berkley Group in 2017 to hire a former Pulaski County administrator to serve as interim manager. Peter Huber served for five months as part of the Berkley Group’s Executive Transition Assistance program.  Huber is now serving in a similar position in Alleghany County according to his LinkedIn profile. According to Berkley’s website, they’ve provided this service in dozens of Virginia localities, from the town of Abingdon to the town of Windsor. 


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 December 13, 2021 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

Charlottesville Tree canopy continues to decline 

A contractor working on the calculation of the Charlottesville’s tree canopy has turned in the first set of data. Chris Gensic is with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and he spoke to the Tree Commission on Tuesday. (watch the meeting)

“We have lost some canopy,” Gensic said. “I think their average right now is in the 40 percent plus a little bit of change, not quite to 41 percent. I think the first one we did, we were in the 47 realm maybe in ‘08.” 

That number dropped further to 45 percent in 2015. (Urban Canopy Reports)

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Redevelopment continues for Charlottesvile public housing sites

The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners will have a work session Thursday night. They last met at a regular meeting on November 22 and got a series of updates. One was on the CRHA budget from Mary Lou Hoffman, the agency’s finance director. CRHA’s fiscal year runs from April to March 30. (financial statements through October 31, 2021) (watch the meeting)

“We’re $517,000 ahead of budgeted at this point but that includes $644,000 worth of for all intent and purposes non-recurring money,” Hoffman said. 

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