Scottsville Town Council defers on density requests

The Town Council on Tuesday night took up two special use permits to allow for additional residential density for projects on Bird Street and Blenheim Road. The Blenheim Heights projects would see 24 houses on 9 acres and the Bird Street project would be 48 houses on 12 acres. Both take advantage of provisions in an updated zoning code that allows for clustered development. 

Before the meeting, the town put on three informational meetings at which the details were given. The public hearing opened without a presentation from the applicant. Several speakers asked for Council to deny the request. One of them was Kim Schmitt, who moved to Scottsville in 1995. 

“We moved from Florida and one of the reasons was to get away from development,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt said she wanted to see what the by-right development would look like.  

Another speaker mentioned a petition calling for “responsible” development and she asked this be entered into the record.

“There are a total of 299 signatures from the paper and online petition,” the woman said. “This petition shows that there are many people who want development and that’s what the petition says. We want development but we want responsible growth commensurate with the size of our town.” 

Others were supportive. Thomas Unsworth who lives on Bird Street. He supported a project that would give him new neighbors.  

“And I cannot stress how excited I am to see it happen,” Unsworth said. “The historic downtown area is already a dense settlement that encourages people to get out and walk to enjoy local amenities like the library, parks, and the farmers’ market and the many businesses that we have. Building new housing in this part of town is the perfect way to allow Scottsville to grow without putting an undue stress on the parking and traffic situations downtown.”

However, he said he did not support the Blenheim Heights project because it is a cul-de-sac, more common in suburban development. The majority of speakers asked for a denial or more time to come up with conditions. 

When the matter came before the Town Council, Scottsville Mayor Ron Smith suggested taking time for a vote later. 

“Technically we could vote on this right now but with all that information that came out of this weekend’s meeting I feel like Town Council needs to have a special session to discuss all that information before they take a vote,” Smith said. 

The items will return to the Town Council for a vote on February 22, with a special session to be scheduled between now and then. 

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 January 20, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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