Charlottesville’s zoning rewrite is about to enter next phase

On Thursday, the city will publish a document intended to set the stage for the final portion of the Cville Plans Together initiative.

“So this is the diagnostic and approach report,” said James Freas, the city’s director of neighborhood development services. 

Freas briefed the Charlottesville Planning Commission at the beginning of their meeting on Tuesday. 

An open house to explain the event will be held on June 27 at the Charlottesville Pavilion, an event for which Freas said the city would validate parking. 

“We look forward to a lot of conversations with the community, with all of you, and whoever else chooses to show up at that meeting,” Freas said.

Have you read the new Comprehensive Plan? Read the whole thing here.

The new zoning code is expected to make it easier for more dense development in the city. That’s a major goal of the new Comprehensive Plan adopted by Council last November. The zoning rewrite may also offer more guidance for rules and regulations about housing affordability. Direction for that comes from the Affordable Housing Plan adopted by Council in March 2021. 

“This first report kicks off our three-step process for the zoning rewrite,” Freas said. “As I’ve referred to it before, this is kind of the conceptual plan of the new zoning ordinance and it lays out the ideas. It talks about what we need to do to change our zoning ordinance in order to advance implementation of the affordable housing plan.” 

A joint meeting of the City Council and the Planning Commission will be held in September to confirm the next steps in writing up the new ordinance. A first draft will be the second step, followed by a review of a final draft next spring. 

In May, Planning Commissioner Hosea Mitchell got a preview at the closed-door meeting of the Land Use and Environmental Planning Committee that consists of top planning staff from Albemarle, Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia. 

“The rewrite of our code is not form-based code but as Mr. Freas mentioned a couple of times, it does contain form-based elements,” Mitchell said.

In general, form-based code refers to a series of rules and regulations to govern building envelopes. We’ll hear much more about these details as the conversation continues. 

Meanwhile, there is an active lawsuit in Charlottesville Circuit Court against the City Council for adopting the Comprehensive Plan. Among other things, that suit argues that the city failed to provide a transportation plan. There’s a hearing on July 15 on a motion to force the plaintiffs to identify themselves, followed by another hearing on August 26.

See also:

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 June 15, 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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