Places29-North Committee gets first look at North Fork rezoning to add residential

The University of Virginia is working to locate up to 1,500 units of affordable housing at three locations, one of which is the North Fork Discovery Park on U.S. 29 near the Charlottesville Regional Airport. The Places29-North Community Advisory Committee got a look at a rezoning that UVA’s real estate foundation needs in order to place some of those units. (watch the February 10, 2022 meeting)

“We’re at the very early stages of this [and] there are a lot of much more detailed things that will be coming out at a later date,” said Bill Fritz, Albemarle’s lead reviewer for the project. 

Albemarle community advisory committees play the role of information clearing house more than an advisory body, as any resolutions adopted by the group are non-binding. They often host community meetings for land use applications. 

This land is currently all zoned Planned Development Industrial Park and the University of Virginia Foundation seeks to change a portion of it to the Neighborhood Model District. 

“That district has the widest variety of uses of all of the districts that we have and in that particular portion of the property… they are proposing to be allowed to do residential development and some commercial development,” Fritz said.

The land is within the Places29 Master Plan, which was adopted in February 2011. 

“Even though North Fork does not currently permit residential, which is why we’re here, it was clearly contemplated back with the Places29 Master Plan when that was adopted ten years ago,” said Valerie Long, an attorney with the law firm Williams Mullen.

Since then, the UVA Foundation has covered the costs of extending Lewis and Clark Drive to Airport Road, providing more connectivity to the area. They’ve also been slowly adding more businesses to support companies that have offices in the research park. For instance, Foods of All Nations runs a café and there is also a large outdoor area enabled with wi-fi. 

“However to support those amenities you actually need people who live near or who will spend money on those service-oriented companies,” said Deborah Van Eersel, chief administrative officer at the UVA Foundation. “We think that bringing housing in makes it more vibrant. We’ve talked about multifamily, townhomes, and single-detached housing to create active, diverse communities. We’ve talked about affordable housing.”

This is from the initial application for the rezoning (download)

In the application, the UVA Foundation is asking for a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 1,400 units. 

“That’s quite a range,” said Supervisor Bea Lapisto-Kirtley (Rivanna). 

“We acknowledge that most certainly,” Long said. “We wanted to provide flexibility to accommodate the market demand and interest but also it’s a new thing for North Fork so we think there will be a lot of interest.” 

Part of that range may depend on water supply. Learn more about that aspect of this development in Allison Wrabel’s February 20 story in the Daily Progress.

There is no date yet for when the project will go to the Planning Commission for a public hearing. Fritz said the county is expecting a resubmittal based on input from staff and the public so far.  Read the latest round of comments back to the UVA Foundation in this February 9, 2022 letter.

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 March 3, 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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