Council to consider funds for market study of land slated for apartments

The Charlottesville City Council meets tonight for a very full meeting. Check out yesterday’s Week Ahead for all of the details, but one item on the consent agenda is worth giving some attention.

Council will be asked to spend $3,800 to hire a firm to conduct an appraisal of three parcels of land along the Rivanna River off of East High Street for which a private developer has filed filed for 245 apartment units. 

“The appraisal will include sufficient information to understand the basis for the provided value taking into account market value for undeveloped land, the allowed uses of the property under zoning, and the costs associated with the necessary improvements to the property in order for it to be developable,” reads the staff report. 

The second submission looks a lot like the first with some additions to the text in response to city comments (Credit: Shimp Engineering) 

If Council approves on a second reading, the appraisal would be completed within six to eight weeks. The property in question is owned by the United Land Company and Seven Development has a contract to purchase the land to develop. They submitted a site plan in September and have argued its a by-right development.

City staff have twice issued a preliminary denial of the site plan, most recently on January 20. However that means the applicant can still get an approval if they address the issues within the letter. 

One of the sticking points is a determination by staff that the development could not be accessed via Caroline Avenue because access from single-family residential lots to a mixed-use district is not allowed. The applicants disagree and have until April 20, 2023 to address the staff comments. 

“The city has been asked to consider all options with regards to the property at 0 East High Street,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. “Before any further consideration, it is imperative that an appraisal be conducted to set a value for the property. Council will be able to consider any effort regarding the property once they have clarity form an appraisal.”

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 February 6, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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