City Manager recommends denial of funding agreement for Stribling Avenue sidewalks

Tonight the Charlottesville City Council will take up two land use items.

The first is a request from an out-of-town developer to build 28 units on 0.62 acres at the end of Valley Road Extended. On March 8, the Planning Commission voted 4-3 to recommend a rezoning and a special use permit, and 5-2 on a critical slopes waiver for the project. At that meeting, Vice Mayor Juandiego expressed skepticism for the $48,000 the developer has agreed to pay sidewalk improvements somewhere in Fifeville. (staff report) (story and audio piece I wrote on the PC hearing

The second is for 240 Stribling Avenue. Southern Development seeks a rezoning to allow for up to 170 units on around 12 acres of currently undeveloped land in the Fry’s Spring area. They have agreed to pay up to $2.9 million to cover the upfront costs of sidewalk improvements on the roadway to support additional vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The city would pay Southern Development back through a tax increment financing arrangement committing which 100 percent of the new real estate revenues to repayment. 

In November, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning to Planned Unit Development, but only if the sidewalk is built concurrently. (staff report)

Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers recommends denial because that would break a long-standing formula for education funding. 

“To date, discussion of the proposed Funding Agreement has not taken into account the City’s longstanding practice of committing the first forty percent (40%) of all new real estate tax revenues every year for the School’s operational budget,” reads the staff report.  “Staff strongly recommends that the City is much better off, in the long run, finding money in the current CIP and reprogramming it for a sidewalk project to be added to the City’s FY2024-2029 CIP (as a funded project).”

Pedestrian Access Plan for the 240 Stribling project (Credit: The Timmons Group)

Before you go: This article was originally posted in the Week Ahead for March 21, which was originally published as part of the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter. That work is supported by the Piedmont Environmental Council, but you can add yours my making a contribution through Patreon. Not all of these stories quite work as news stories and excerpting them here is an experiment. Please send feedback!

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