The city of Charlottesville has been formally served with a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the Comprehensive Plan adopted by City Council last year. Seven anonymous parties filed the suit in Charlottesville Circuit Court in mid-December arguing that the city did not follow state law when adopting the plan. (visit the code)
However, the city had not yet been formally served with the suit, which requires a response from the city. Interim Deputy Communications Director David Dillehunt confirmed receipt of the suit on Friday, meaning the city has until April 8 to make a response to the court.
The suit argues four points of failure, one of which is an alleged lack of “designation of new and expanded transportation facilities… that support the planned development of the territory covered by the plan.”
The anonymous property owners include people who own land on Rugby Road, Altavista Avenue, Davis Avenue, Locust Avenue, and Rugby Avenue. They claim the Future Land Use Map is too specific in nature and argues the additional density called for in the plan is affecting property values.
“For example, a house located at 507 10th Street NW, which is currently assessed at $315,000, is being marketed at $485,000 due to its development potential based on the higher density prescribed in the plan,” reads paragraph 16 of the suit.
There are actually two houses at that address, and both and the 0.19 acre property sold for $475,000 to Bloom Hill LLC, which has an address in Somerset, Virginia.
The transportation argument claims that rather than writing a new transportation plan, the plan adopted in November 2021 recycles previous plans such as the 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and the 2016 Streets That Work Plan.
“Despite radically upzoning all of the real estate in the City, which will result in significant population increases, the Plan fails to include transportation infrastructure improvements to support the increased density,” reads paragraph 22.
The suit also alleges that the city failed to provide public notice that a vote would be held after the November 15, 2021 public hearing.
The Comprehensive Plan was the second achievement of the Cville Plans Together initiative, following on the heels of an affordable housing plan that Council adopted in March 2021.
While the lawsuit makes its way through the legal process, staff in both the city’s Neighborhood Development Services Department and consultant Rhodeside and Harwell are working on the zoning code. The next step in the process is release of an assessment of whether the approach they are taking will yield the desired results.
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 19, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.