Plans filed for 245 units along Rivanna River on land in floodplain

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. 

The project has a working address of 0 East High Street. According to the city’s Geographical Information System, the entire project is within what’s known as the one percent exceedance floodplain as maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That’s often referred to as the 100 year floodplain. (See also: Nassau Street rezoning yields additional unit)

An image in the site plan shows the level of impervious surface on the developed project (review the site plan(Credit: Shimp Engineering)

The rest of the land is within the regulatory floodway and that border would be noted with a retaining wall that would be a maximum of 15 feet high. Most of the land is zoned either B-1 or B-3. 

The three buildings would each have a height of four stories and a total footprint of 322,000 square feet. Each would constructed on fill to elevate the foundation above the current topography, out of the floodplain. 

Building A would have 45 units and the foundation would be at 334 feet above sea level (FFE). Building B would have 60 units and be at 335 feet. Building C would have 140 units and also would be at 335 feet. 

There are several parcels involved with the transaction, all three of which are owned by developer Wendell Wood under the name Southern Vector or Southern Ventures. These include a small sliver on Caroline Avenue that would be used for the southern entrance for the project. The city of Charlottesville would have to accept that into the city’s road system. 

The 320 parking spaces for the project would be built between a row of single family homes on Caroline Avenue and the buildings. 

The northern entrance would skirt along another property heading through a narrow portion of the property that terminates at East High Street about a tenth of a mile away from its intersection with U.S. 250.  

A traffic count in the site plan estimates that the project will generate 1,334 trips per day. 

The site plan states the project would be at 12 dwelling units per acre. That calculation uses the entire 20.813 acres of the three parcels of land involved. 

The site plan shows that 8.9 percent of the total property will be structures, 11.1 percent will become pavement, and 2.5 percent will be sidewalk. The remaining 77.5 percent will remain in open space. There would be 123 bicycle spaces would be provided. 

The stormwater plan shows two outfalls from the site with one collecting into an underground storage facility. The other will use something called an “engineered level spreader.” 


A site plan conference will be held Wednesday, October 5 at 10 a.m. on Zoom. That will be the only public meeting except for any neighborhood meetings the developer might voluntarily call. 

The city’s comments on the project will be sent to the developer by October 28.

A more technical view of the site plan (Credit: Shimp Engineering)

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 September 27, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

6 thoughts on “Plans filed for 245 units along Rivanna River on land in floodplain

  1. Thank you for posting this site plan. It seems the city is unable or unwilling to provide easy access to major development project plans, such as this, on their web site. You are providing a valuable community services. This development will make an, already congested area, even more perilous to motorist and pedestrians. But since it is By Right, there is little that can be done to stop it.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: