Monthly Archives: August 2022

Board of Architectural Review denies grates for Mall fountains

The city of Charlottesville has begun moving ahead with changes to the city’s Downtown Mall, which will turn 50 in the year 2026. Last week, the Board of Architectural Review weighed in on one change intended to make parts of it a little safer.

“This is a request from the city of Charlottesville to install metal grates at the three small fountains located on the Downtown Mall,” said Jeff Werner, the city’s historic preservation planner. “The situation we have is that because of issues related to pedestrian safety and ADA accessibility concern, the decision was made to install grates.” 

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Proposed rules for inclusionary zoning in Charlottesville ready for review

The summer of zoning review continues in Charlottesville with the release this week of a document that is intended to increase the number of required homes that must be rented or sold at below-market levels. HR&A Advisors has put together an analysis and recommendations for how a “inclusionary zoning” policy would work. 

“The affordable housing plan adopted in March 2021 calls for the city to develop an [inclusionary zoning] policy that supports Charlottesville’s housing needs and meets the needs that the market will otherwise now address,”  said Callahan Seltzer, principal with HR&A, in a video sent out with a press release. 

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Charlottesville Area Transit to operate on-demand demonstration project in Albemarle

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation has awarded a $1.552 million grant to Charlottesville Area Transit to operate a demonstration project for microtransit service in Albemarle County. That includes a match of $388,000 in local funds. The service could take up to a year to get underway, according to Lucinda Shannon, a transportation planner with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. 

Similar projects have been implemented at various stages across the nation. The city of Wilson, North Carolina with a population of around 50,000 people replaced its fixed route service with on-demand shuttles in September 2020

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What should I talk about with Courteney Stuart on the August 29, 2022 Charlottesville-Right Now?

Every Monday, I am a guest on WINA’s Charlottesville-Right Now with Courteney Stuart to talk about what’s coming up in meetings of local government. Next week, I’m fairly certain there are few weeks. So, what shall we talk about?

Well, here’s your chance to tell us what we’ll talk about. What would you like to know about local or regional government? Economic development? Transportation? Send me a question and I’ll do research between now and then and discuss some of the highlights with Courteney Stuart next week. I do this work because I want to understand things better, and that’s what many of you want as well.

So, drop me a note to with something you want to know. I’ll try my best to answer.

July 2022 property transactions in Charlottesville: Part of Seminole Square Shopping Center changes hands; Linden Avenue condo building has new owner; High price record set on Prospect Avenue

This is the 19th month that I’ve written up a summary of property transactions in Charlottesville and shared it with the public as part of my work covering land use issues in the greater community. I hope you’ll find this bit of my research informative and useful.

I started this newsletter over two years ago as a way to get information out about the details of what’s happening in an area that continues to grow. There are a lot of moving parts in this community, and I’ve spent a lot of my career trying to keep track of as much as I can.

This September marks the 20th anniversary of my arrival in the Charlottesville area, as well as the 30th anniversary of my introduction to journalism. Somehow while a student at Virginia Tech, I decided to try my hand at making a career out of reporting and to this day I’m trying my best to make a go of it. 

I am grateful to the hundreds of people who have opted to help support my work with a paid subscription to this newsletter or through Patreon support. In exchange, I do my best to stay up to date on as much as I can so that readers and listeners can also be informed. 

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Albemarle Economic Development Authority supports two grants

This week, the Albemarle Economic Development Authority offered financial support to grants already received by local nonprofits. In many cases involving state or federal programs, large awards require some local money in the form of matching grants. 

The Bridge PAI has received a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a project called Unsettling Grounds that will reexamine space in the Broadway corridor that has been studied by the county as an area for economic development. The EDA will contribute $5,000 to the project. 

“The idea of the title Unsettled Grounds is a project that uses some experimental methods to try and create monuments and works by and for Black, indigenous, and low-income artists, supporting them their artistic endeavors,” said Jay Simple, the executive director of the Bridge Performing Arts Initiative. 

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New hotel at Darden Business School halfway complete

There have been a series of new hotels constructed in the area within the last few years to satisfy demand for those who seek to travel to the area. Many visitors who come here have some ties to the University of Virginia and two new hotels in the works will cater directly to those people.

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants will operate a new hotel under construction at the UVA Darden School of Business which will replace the UVA Inn at Darden with 199 rooms in a five-story structure with around 11,500 square feet of meeting space and a ballroom large enough to accommodate up to 425 guests. 

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Youngkin seeks $400 million in tax refunds

Governor Glenn Youngkin has now been in office for seven months, and coming up soon is his full General Assembly session that he doesn’t have to share with his predecessor. Yesterday the Governor appeared before the joint House and Senate Money Committees to signal what he wants to achieve. 

“Our shared priorities [are] lowering the cost of living, giving our children the education that they deserve, keeping our communities safe, creating jobs and growing our economy, and transforming the government to serve the people,” Youngkin said. 

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Spinymussel returns to James River

A small invertebrate that scientifically goes by the name James River Spineymussel  has not been seen alive in the waterway its named for since the late 1960s. 

“We’re pretty confident that they’re extirpated from the main stem river and even if they’re still out there, they’re probably at such low levels that they’re not really biologically like they should,” said Brian Watson, a top biologist for freshwater mussels at the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

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New faces at Charlottesville City Schools

We are now five days away from when school will go back into session in Albemarle County and Charlottesville. There will be some new faces at some schools. 

Rashaad Pitt took over as the principal of Charlottesville High School earlier this week after serving most recently as assistant principal of George Wythe High School in Richmond. Pitt began his educational career teaching history in Petersburg City Public Schools and has also worked in Chesterfield County, Hampton City Schools, and the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. According to a release, his area of expertise includes community outreach, restorative justice, instructional leadership and professional development. 

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