Charlottesville denies preliminary site plan for Azalea project

The Charlottesville department responsible for approving land use applications has denied a final site plan for a new development in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood. 

“City Staff have made a good faith effort to identify all deficiencies within this submission,” writes Matt Alfele, a planner with the Department of Neighborhood Development Services. “However, in the event that there remains any other deficiency which, if left uncorrected, would violate local, state or federal law, regulations, or mandatory engineering and safety requirements.”

That’s roughly the same language used for such denial letters issued by NDS. Similar ones have been issued in recent months for Belmont Condominiums and the proposed 245-unit development in the floodplain off of East High Street. (read the letter)

In this case, the Azalea Springs development is a 45-lot single-family neighborhood that will be built between Monte Vista Avenue and Azealea Drive on property that had been platted out decades ago for an unbuilt development. 

Council approved a critical slopes waiver for the project in January. (read my story

A location map for the development as well as a depiction of the critical slopes on the properties (Credit: City of Charlottesville) 

These denial letters are routine and list specific items that must be remedied. Some can be quite technical such as a note from NDS that three of the 45 lots don’t conform with setback regulations. 

Another in the May 22 letter is a request for proof that there’s an easement for pedestrian and bicycle access. 

Many of the issues and questions in this letter come from Hugh Blake, an engineer in the Department of Public Works. In all, he has three dozen comments. . 

“A report investigating wetland locations could not be located,” Blake writes in item #25. “The water associated with the stream is an indicator of suitable conditions for wetland plant species to persist. Where can this report be found?” 

There’s a comment from the fire department that the road design is not sufficient for their access.

“The current minimum diameter requirement for cul-de-sacs is 70 feet,” writes Assistant Fire Marshal Stephen Walton. “Our current fire department apparatus cannot complete a full 360-degree turnaround in a 60-foot cul-de-sac without performing several maneuvers, which is unacceptable.”

The denial letter states clearly that another submission will be reviewed. 

One of the comments in the letter came with a visual reference that may be of interest (Credit) City of Charlottesville

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 May 28, 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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