The summer is coming to an end, which means the closure of public beaches in Albemarle. But the work of the county’s parks and recreation department never really stops. Earlier this month, the assistant director provided an update to the Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee.
“We have twelve parks that are open,” said Amy Smith, the assistant director of the parks department.
In February, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors were briefed on the threat posed by the Spotted Lanternfly, an insect that has come to North America from Asia.
“It’s original territory is kind of China, southeast Asia, and it made its way over to the [United States] in 2014 and made its way hitchhiking,” said David Gianino, the program manager for the Office of Plant Industry Services for the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services.
Two waterways within the city of Charlottesville have “persistently elevated bacteria levels” according to data collected by the Rivanna Conservation Alliance and shared with the city’s water resources staff.
“Urban streams often have some water quality impairment due to the developed nature of the lands that drain into them,” reads an information release from the city of Charlottesville.
A longtime champion of Charlottesville’s Black community died last week at the age of 85. According to an obituary in the Daily Progress, John Gaines passed away on August 22 at the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Gaines graduated from Burley High School in 1953 when it was still the segregated school for Black students for both Albemarle County and Charlottesville. After attending the Hampton Institute, he returned to Charlottesville to become a teacher and then an administrator including a long stint at principal at Jefferson Elementary School, which was closed and eventually turned into a community center.
Earlier this summer, several community members asked the Board of Trustees of the regional library system to consider a new name, while others have remained adamant that it continue to be named after Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
At the beginning of the JMRL Board’s meeting on August 22, Board Chair Tony Townsend reminded the public that such a decision is not up to them.
“It is not the Board’s authority to change the library’s name,” Townsend said. “It is the responsibility of the jurisdictions. And also, the library has formed a task force to look into the naming of the library. “
There’s a new owner for a property in Fifeville that contains a former grocery store. Woodard Properties has paid $3.5 million for five properties including 501 Cherry Avenue across from Tonsler Park.
The combined properties total 1.361 acres and have a combined 2022 assessment of $1.568 million. They are within the jurisdiction of the city’s Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan, which notes the lack of a grocery store where residents can buy fresh produce. For many years, the Estes IGA store was an anchor for the community.
Albemarle’s Comprehensive Plan is being reviewed in four phases under the name AC44. The public process has officially been underway since last November, when the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution of intent to make amendments to a document last updated on June 10, 2015.
“Engagement for the Comprehensive Plan update will apply the new [county value of Community], through an equitable engagement process designed to represent a diversity of voices and to reach community members whose perspectives have not historically been well-represented in County processes,” reads one paragraph in the resolution.
A lawsuit against the City of Charlottesville alleging the Comprehensive Plan adopted last November is invalid can proceed, but Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Claude Worrell on Friday dismissed three of the plaintiff’s four counts.
Worrell agreed that the city may not have provided sufficient language in the notice for the November 15 City Council public hearing by not stating a vote would be held and by not adequately describing what “updated density” might mean.
However, Worrell agreed with the city’s request that seven anonymous parties did not have the legal standing to argue against the plan for insufficient consideration of transportation, the use of manufactured housing, and whether the plan was too specific in nature.
A motion on whether the plaintiffs should be identified will be taken up later this year as the case proceeds.
Albemarle County is in the early stages of a Comprehensive Plan review as well as an update of its zoning code. There will be many more stories about the crafting of those aspirational and regulatory documents, but this next one is about one of the largest development proposals to come through Albemarle in some time.
Last week, the Fifth and Avon Community Advisory Committee got a first look at Riverbend Development’s proposal for how to develop what’s known as the Sieg property. Riverbend has a rezoning application in for seven parcels of land totaling 145 acres.
“They are located on the south side of I-64 and on the northwest side of U.S. Route 29,” said Cameron Langille, a principal planner in Albemarle County’s Community Development Department. “It’s basically right next to the exit 118 interchange at  and I-64].”
The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review has approved the demolition of a former gas station on West Market Street that has been the home of Brown’s Lock and Safe, but it will take some time before the structure is removed.
“Built in 1935 and was renovated sometime in the mid 1960’s,” said Jeff Werner, the city’s historic preservation planner.