The transit agency that operates a daily bus between Staunton and Charlottesville has announced plans to expand the service in 2023. BRITE Bus and the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission launched the Afton Express in September 2021.
“The new schedule will include more frequent stops at some of the Charlottesville and Albemarle stops as well as a 5th trip in the evening to provide access to individuals with varied work schedules,” wrote Lucinda Shannon of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission in an email to area transit stakeholders.
Charlottesville human services officials have asked City Council for more money for nonprofit agencies that provide services for individuals and households in need. That was one takeaway from a December 5, 2022 work session on the city’s Vibrant Community Fund. (agenda memo)
The city issued a request for proposals for funding in early October. The number of applications increased from 28 for the current fiscal year to 50 for the next one. There were 12 applications from entities that had never requested money before.
“There’s a range of asks from organizations this year ranging from about $5,000 all the way up to $335,000,” said Misty Graves, the Director of Human Services for the City of Charlottesville. “Without any changes to the current flat allocation of funds to the Vibrant Community Fund, organizations are going to expect to get significantly less than their asks.”
An entity known as the Greenhouse Abatement Industries Association has filed plans with Albemarle County to clear the way for redevelopment of an old power plant at the end of Market Street just across Charlottesville city limits.
“The owner seeks a rezoning of the preserved steep slopes on the property, which encumbers approximately 85 percent of the property,” reads the application written by Shimp Engineering. “With a redesignation of the preserved slopes to managed slopes, the owner proposes a by-right residential development on the property.”
Cooper becomes second candidate in House District 54
As 2022 comes to a close, a look ahead to the School Board races in the community beginning with news of the first person to file as a candidate in Albemarle.
Meg Bryce has filed a statement of organization to run for the at-large seat on the Albemarle School Board. Bryce is a resident of Ivy and had no comment for this story. The seat is currently held by Jonno Alcaro, who was first elected to the county-wide office in November 2015.
Welcome to another anecdotal look at what is happening in the real estate market in Charlottesville. I’m coming up on two years of producing this transaction by transaction account as a way of keeping a close eye on what’s happening within city limits. Up until this point I’ve not automated this process and the goal is not to identify trends or make any claims.
But I am here to ask questions to inform future stories as I continue to try to understand a community that has been changing as long as I’ve lived in it. I have this sense there has been an acceleration in the past few years as some players in the market know the rules much, much better than those of who don’t even know we’re in the game.
I’ve written about land use in Charlottesville for a while and I am humbled by all I do not know. I have a lot to learn and try to be careful to not overstep my knowledge. I do this work to make my living, but I am not and never will be a developer.
At their last meeting on December 13, the Albemarle Planning Commission got an update on what’s being called a “modernization” of the zoning code. Before we get into the details, it should also be noted that the Rio District has been unrepresented on the Commission since July when Daniel Bailey resigned.
The zoning work session was kicked off by Lea Brumfield, a senior planner with Albemarle County. (view the presentation)
“The ordinance has not undergone a complete overhaul since it was adopted in 1980,” Brumfield said. “We have made a number of amendments in the intervening 40 years but the ordinance is in need for an overall reorganization and an overall cleaning up.”
The owners of a beer distribution facility at the intersection of Interstate 64 and U.S. 29 have filed plans with Albemarle County for a health club and pool. The project would be constructed on property just to the north of the existing Virginia Eagle Distributing and is within the jurisdiction of the Albemarle Architectural Review Board. (ARB202200111)
The land is zoned for Highway Commercial and the site plan states the project can proceed on well and an onsite septic system.
The project would include a 5,445 square foot eight-lane outdoor pool with a 3,150 square foot spa and gym and two pickleball courts. There would be 70 parking spaces.
A major issue facing our community is the ability of people to find housing they can afford. In the past two years, both Albemarle and Charlottesville have adopted affordable housing plans that seek to encourage, incentivize, and require below-market units. Both localities are also part of the Regional Housing Partnership coordinated by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.
The Partnership invited Delegate Sally Hudson to their December 5, 2022 meeting so she would be able to hear directly from its members about issues facing the development community and local government. This took the form of a roundtable discussion with questions asked by the Regional Housing Partnership. Albemarle Supervisor Ned Gallaway was the moderator.
“The first question I will throw out is what legislative priorities if any do you have to impact affordable housing?” Gallaway said.
Hudson said she is glad to help build a bridge between localities and the legislature on the topic.
“I think we all know that affordable housing is priority one, two, and three from the constituents that we collectively serve and it’s going to take a lot of collaboration between state and local government in particular because the General Assembly is often handcuffing you all from doing the kind of things that you need and denying you both the resources and the flexibility to try to tackle the problem with a full suite of tools that you deserve,” Hudson said.
It has been two and three quarter years since COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency and much of the economy was shut down for a while to help reduce the spread of a virus that was still little known. Rules for federal benefits were altered for a while and now social services departments across the United States are scrambling to prepare for that period to end.
“The Department of Social Services finds itself responding to some pretty significant mid-year federal policy change which we predict will result in a significant increase in the workload required for us to manage this,” said Kaki Dimock, Albemarle County’s Director of Social Services.