One big topic in the Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter and podcast is planning. There are Comprehensive Plans, Long Range Transportation Plans, Regional Transit Vision Plans, Climate Action Plans, and so much more. There are also strategic plans, and Albemarle County is in the midst of creating one to guide the next five years.
“We have many plans in our community that drive work and progress and we really want to connect those things better and be able to align that work, so this big picture thinking allows our services to remain adaptable as our community environment changes,” said Kristi Shifflett, the director of performance and strategic planning for Albemarle County.
There’s a new person in charge of Piedmont Virginia Community College. Dr. Jean Runyon became the sixth president on July 1 and she addressed the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors earlier this month.
“Before coming to Piedmont Virginia Community College I had the privilege to serve at three comprehensive community colleges, two in Maryland, one in Colorado, and coming back to Virginia is like coming home,” Dr. Runyon said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city’s Office of Economic Development has been distributing funding to businesses through a series of grant programs. The fourth round of the Building Resilience Among Charlottesville Entrepreneurs (BRACE) grant is complete and $93,000 has been handed out.
“The program received 86 applications totaling over $550,000 in business expenses incurred during the application period,” reads a press release. “After a thorough review, OED awarded 85 grants to small businesses and organizations that met the guidelines.”
The amounts ranged from $500 to the full $2,000. This time around, nearly forty percent of the recipients were first-time recipients.
Five months have passed since the Charlottesville City Council approved a rezoning in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood for nearly 170 units on land currently undeveloped. Members of the community expressed frustration at a recent site plan meeting when they learned planning work may not yet have begun on infrastructure improvements tied to Council’s decision to allow higher density.
“I’m flabbergasted that we have moved to this point without anything being done,” said Chris, one of several people on a site plan review call held on September 14.
The Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter and podcast got its start in the early days of the pandemic when I launched the Charlottesville Quarantine Report. I was not working as a journalist but when faced with a crisis that had been brewing all winter, I began devoting my time to getting out information.
In the early days of this program, almost every episode had some information about the pandemic in some way. It has now been more than two and a half years since the state of emergency was declared, and it’s much more rare for me to get to a story.
At the September 21 meeting of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors, Chair Donna Price announced that she finally got a positive test.
“I joined 95,566,521 Americans with COVID last week,” Price said. “We’ve had over a million and fifty thousand deaths. There are 30 million Americans who have experienced long COVID.”
Do you or someone you know have an interest in the connections between how land is used and the water quality of rivers and streams? Tomorrow, an entity called the Rivanna River Basin Commission (RRBC) is putting on its seventh annual conference.
“The purpose of this conference really is to promote the environmental stewardship and equity of the basin and the region as we transition into more renewable energy sources,” said Isabella O’Brien, environmental planner at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. “As well as to provide a forum for local governments, staff, and the public as well to learn more about this growing topic of solar.”
The owners of Anna’s Pizza #5 on Maury Avenue in Charlottesville have announced they will be closing at the end of this year after a 46-year run.
“We appreciate all the love and the relationships we have developed as you allowed us to put great food on your tables,” states a Facebook post made yesterday. “We will greatly miss it, but it is time to move on to our next chapter.
A planned detour of the intersection of U.S. 250 and Route 151 in Albemarle County has wrapped up earlier than expected. Night-time closures of the intersection took place to reconstruct the approach Route 151 makes toward the federal highway.
“Crews with the contractor, Curtis Contracting Inc. of West Point, Va., worked extended shifts to accomplish the work necessary to reestablish access through the intersection and remove the detours,” reads a press release.
The roundabout is expected to be completed in February. Curtis Contracting is also working on the diverging diamond at I-64 and U.S. 250 which is also scheduled to be finished early next year.
Greene County has joined a growing list of communities that are searching for a new executive to lead local government. Mark. B. Taylor has resigned to become school superintendent in Spotsylvania County. He told the Board of Supervisors last night that he helped the county get a lot accomplished.
“Been here since April of 2019 and it has been quite an adventure,” Taylor said. “We all got through COVID. We worked together and established an [Emergency Medical Services] department after the [University of Virginia] canceled us.”
An entity called Seven Development LLC has filed a site plan with the City of Charlottesville to build 245 apartment units on nearly seven acres of land near the Rivanna River within land within the floodplain.
No rezoning or special use permit is required and the site plan drawn up by Shimp Engineering does not show any critical slopes that will be disturbed. That means Charlottesville must approve the project if the developer can demonstrate they have met all of the technical requirements.