City bike pedestrian panel concerned about payment-in-lieu option for streetscapes

The closing date has passed for comments for the third module of Charlottesville’s draft zoning ordinance, but there has been plenty of discussion from members of the public as well as the city’s various committees. One of those uttered at the June 13 meeting was from the Bike and Pedestrian Committee. Planning Commissioner Carl Schwarz is a member. 

Module 3 covers subdivision and development plan standards which includes what a developer has to build to satisfy requirements for public streets. Depending on the kind of street, there must be a right of way set aside for both travel ways and green space. 

“It looks like there is an option if a parcel does not have sidewalks on either side of it they can pay into a fund rather than be forced to put in a streetscape,” Schwarz said. 

The current draft states that “the project developer may choose to contribute to a streetscape fund, maintained and administered by the City, an amount equivalent to the cost of the dedication of land for and the construction of the streetscape on the property.”

Schwarz said the committee wants the developer to get permission to get out of the streetscape requirement from the zoning administrator.  He said the committee also wants to make sure the city retains use of the easement rather than have to purchase them later. 

As it’s a holiday there’s no one to ask today. But in 2012, I wrote an article for Charlottesville Tomorrow that stated the city did not have the legal authority to require payment for a sidewalk. I’ll have to get an update. (read that story)

An image in the draft streetscape 

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 July 4, 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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