Albemarle Supervisors briefed on Southwood Redevelopment

Tonight the Albemarle Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the rezoning of the second phase of the Southwood Mobile Home Park being overseen by a local nonprofit. (meeting info)

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville purchased Southwood in 2007 and entered into an agreement with the Board of Supervisors in 2016 to work with the nonprofit. A performance agreement for a public private partnership was signed in 2019 to govern $3.25 million in county investment. 

Supervisors got an update at their meeting on April 20, 2022.

“That was shortly followed by approval of the phase one rezoning application and just to let you know, the rezoning application for phase two was submitted to the county in 2021,” Pethia said. 

Phase one is for 34 acres on the eastern and southern edges of the property, with a maximum of 450 homes, 270 units of which will be made affordable to residents through various interventions. There’s also a maximum of 50,000 square feet of non-residential space. Before describing phase two, Pethia gave an update on how the site plan for phase one has turned out. 

“The approved site plan will provide a total of 335 residential units, 211 of those are affordable,” Pethia said. “The affordable housing units include approximately 121 low-income housing tax credit units which will be located along Hickory Drive, 86 Habitat built units to be located in villages one and two as well as in block ten. Habitat units include condominiums, townhomes, and single family attached and detached units.”

Pethia said Habitat has currently identified 37 Southwood households who are ready to move forward with purchasing their homes in phase one. 

A conceptual overview of Phase 2. Click through to the staff report for tonight’s Planning Commission meeting

Phase 2 extends the rezoning to the existing mobile home park. 

“If approved, phase two will approve 527 to 1,000 housing units, 227 of which will be affordable, including a potential sixty additional Low Income Housing Tax Credit units,” Pethia said. 

Phase 2 would allow for a maximum of 60,000 square feet of nonresidential space. The Planning Commission will review this rezoning tonight.

Funding overview

In addition to $3.25 million associated with the performance agreement, Albemarle has used $675,000 from the housing trust to help pay for costs associated with the first phase of the rezoning as well as the equivalent of $175,000 in county staff time. 

“Additionally, the county applied for and was awarded a little over $2.4 million in grant funding including a $40,000 Community Development Block Grant,” Pethia said. 

Pethia said Habitat estimates the total cost to develop Southwood will be $154.7 million, including the cost to prepare the sites and to engage with residents. 

“Habitat anticipates securing $131.1 million to cover the project costs,” Pethia said. “This amount includes funds that have already been received and that will be expended by the end of this fiscal year. The balance of total project funds include donations received through Habitat’s capital campaign, revenue generated through mobile home park operations, proceeds from the sale of land for market-rate housing, and funds Habitat anticipates receiving through federal and state grants, local government, and foundations.” 

Pethia said there’s a current $16.6 million revenue gap and county staff are looking to close it. Many sources will include a local match from Albemarle taxpayers. Another option would be increased funding from the housing trust or development of a new public private partnership. 

In March, MacKenzie Scott gave Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville $5.75 million. Habitat CEO Dan Rosensweig said the deficit already includes that spending. (Daily Progress story)

“It’s a blessing and a curse because it’s already baked into this,” Rosensweig said. 

Another expense has been and will be removal of oil tanks under trailers as well as failing septic systems. 

“There were two areas of the mobile home park that are on failing septic right now and there is one area of the park that was draining directly into the part of the park that we are trying to develop and that was obviously a catastrophe,” Rosensweig said. “One of the things that we’ve had to do earlier than we thought was scramble to create trailer pads on the other side of the park that’s on [public] sewer. We’ve been moving people. Some folks moved out over the years and we purchased mobile homes and rehabbed them. So the first 80 or so families, we’re about halfway through moving them out of the park so we can decommission all of that septic.” 

Rosensweig said another 170 trailers are on failing septic and it is directly pouring into Biscuit Run and into the watershed. They’re applying for funding to install a sewer line into the park, but that cost is $6.5 million and the county will be asked to cover some of the cost. 

“It would also be infrastructure that we’re designing to be part of the second phase so it would be infrastructure that’s not temporary infrastructure, but permanent infrastructure,” Rosensweig said. 

The Planning Commission takes up the second phase of the rezoning tonight.

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 April 26, 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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