Monthly Archives: March 2022

CHRA Director wants Crescent Halls reopened by August

On Monday, the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Directors voted to approve a $12 million budget for the fiscal year that begins tomorrow. They also learned that at least one revenue source for the current fiscal year is coming in much lower than had been anticipated. The CRHA had expected there would be some residents at Crescent Halls while it was renovated, but a flood last summer changed the plan.

“There was some knowledge as to what was going to happen but obviously with the flood it created a different wrinkle and deficit,” said Mary Lou Hoffman, CRHA’s finance director. 

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High bacteria levels in area stream

Charlottesville is warning the public to stay out of Pollocks Branch between Elliott Avenue and Rockland Avenue due to elevated levels of E. coli. Pollocks Branch is a waterway that travels south from downtown Charlottesville and is one of many locations monitored by the Rivanna Conservation Alliance.

“E. coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria and when it is found in water, it is a strong indicator of sewage or animal waste contamination which can cause disease or illness,” reads an announcement from the city

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Charlottesville City Council discusses reform for affordable housing fund

The Affordable Housing Plan adopted by Charlottesville City Council in March 2021 established a moral commitment for the city to spend $10 million each year on affordable housing projects and administration. But how have previous funds for that purpose been spent since 2010?

“In summary, you’ve administered $46.7 million in funding [and] this is broken down into operating, program, development, and city administration,” said Callahan Seltzer, a principal with HR&A Advisors. “And when we see development here, we’re talking about new construction and rehab, so specific hard costs related to construction and rehab of affordable housing.”

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Solid waste update: Mulch madness, clean fill, and the FY23 budget

The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s Board of Directors most recently met on March 22, 2022 and got an introduction to the budget for fiscal year 2023. The RSWA’s Board is made up of one Charlottesville City Councilor, one Albemarle Supervisors, two city staffers, two county staffers, and a citizen appointed by both elected bodies.

This year’s winter storms wreaked havoc on many trees across the region, and there was much debris for government crews and property owners. In January, the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority waived fees to drop off downed limbs and trees at the Ivy Materials Utilization Center where it was turned into mulch. 

“We had so much mulch available after the free vegetative debris disposal program from the storm in January that we had so much mulch, we were giving away the first two tons and then charging people after that,” said Bill Mawyer, the executive director of the RWSA and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority. 

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Council weighs in on budget, real estate tax rate

Charlottesville City Council held a community forum last night on the recommended budget for FY23. They had held a public hearing on Monday, but their own conversation at that time was somewhat limited. Staff asked Councilors to offer their perspective. (watch the budget forum)

Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers has recommended a two cent increase on the real estate tax rate with the approximately $1.84 million in revenue going to a fund dedicated to paying for renovation of Buford Middle School. 

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City Manager Rogers to negotiate with Southern Development on Stribling sidewalk agreement 

As Charlottesville contemplates a more dense future with more people, how can today’s elected officials ensure the infrastructure is in place before new homes are built? 

The fate of Southern Development’s request to rezone undeveloped land in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood depends on if Charlottesville Council is satisfied sidewalks will be built on Stribling Avenue. 

“At 12 acres, this is one of the largest undeveloped properties within the city,” said City Planner Matt Aflele. 

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Great Eastern Management Company presents plans for mixed-use redevelopment of Seminole Square

Members of the public had the opportunity Wednesday to ask questions of the developers of Seminole Square Shopping Center. The Great Eastern Management Company has submitted plans to convert the former Giant store and other commercial sites. 

“What we have here actually are four individual structures,” said David Mitchell is with GEMC. “We’re staying in the existing development area and we’re not going down into any of the slopes or any of the critical areas. We’re staying up on the platform that we built 30 years ago.”

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Council supportive of rezoning for 28 units on Valley Road Extended

Charlottesville City Council appears willing to support three land use applications to allow 28 units to be built on about two thirds of an acre on a cul-de-sac in Fifeville. Lorven Investments needs a rezoning, a special use permit, and a critical slopes waiver. 

“The development being proposed are for four low-rise apartment buildings with eight one-bedroom units and 20 two-bedroom units for a total of 28 on site,” said city planner Matt Alfele. 

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EDA briefed on Broadway Blueprint study

The Albemarle Economic Development Office has officially completed a planning study for a portion of the county around the Woolen Mills Factory on the western banks of the Rivanna River. (read the report)

“The general idea was to take the 46 and a half acres on the Broadway Corridor and turn that into a place that people, businesses, and activities all occur at the same time and everyone would like to be there,” said Roger Johnson, the county’s economic development director.  

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Albemarle County seeking to explore DORA 

Albemarle County is considering taking advantage of new state laws that allow the use of Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas to help boost tourism and economic development. 

“It’s a geographic area licensed by the ABC annually that allows the consumption of alcoholic beverages—wine, beer, mixed beverages—within public spaces or inside a business without an ABC license as long as the business owner agrees,” said Roger Johnson, the county’s Economic Development Director.

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