Sanders weighs in on Dairy Market Phase 3

The firm Stony Point Development Group is rethinking  their plans to proceed with a land use application for the third phase of their Dairy Market development. I reported the basic details in the July 12 edition of this newsletter and followed up in a C-Ville Weekly article the following week

Stony Point Development group held a community meeting held on July 27 that reportedly got a little contentious. 

City Manager Sam Sanders brought up the topic at the beginning of last night’s City Council meeting.

“Matters of the community are important matters to me and I as watched the meeting I became alarmed so I share that with you all that are here to speak on this particular matter,” Sanders said. “There were a number of things that did not sit well with me as well.” 

Sanders said he has met with Chris Henry of Stony Point Development Group to share his concerns not only about what was presented but how it was presented. 

“So I did share with him that I would definitely like to continue a conversation with him as he has indicated he would continue to engage with the residents,” Sanders said. “I look forward to hearing that the residents are feeling that that line of communication remains open. And as he decides to move forward on his project, I stress to him that I do believe it is important for a community benefits agreement to be considered.” 

Such community benefits agreements could be more common and are worth learning about in the future. There’s something similar in the works for Woodard Properties’ redevelopment of 501 Cherry Avenue. 

Several members of the public spoke about Dairy Market at Council’s meeting last night including Gloria Beard of Page Street.

“I want to know why all of these contractors are allowed to come into Charlottesville to build these high rise apartments and houses that cost an arm and a leg,” Beard said. “The one I am most concerned with is the Dairy Market.” 

Beard accused Stony Point Development Group of making false claims to the neighborhood about setting some units as affordable when the special use permit for the first phase went through the process in 2018.

“Well he set aside four, and an efficiency is $1,200 and they don’t accept vouchers,” Beard said. 

Under the proposed zoning code, what Stony Point Development Group wants to could be done by right but would fall under inclusionary zoning rules that would require ten percent of units to be affordable as defined by the city.  

The Legal Aid Justice Center is headquartered nearby in the same intersection and one of their representatives also spoke out against Dairy Market’s third phase.

“In the early 2000’s, the Legal Aid Justice Center went and looked for a home with explicit intention to be embedded in the community that we serve and to be accessible to low-income clients,” said Elaine Poon, deputy director of advocacy. “First we fled West Main Street and then we fled the Downtown Mall to escape the rapid influx of expensive shops and restaurants could not afford.” 

Poon said the current location is perfect for Legal Aid Justice Center but that Dairy Market’s renovation has accelerated displacement. 

“We are now renting from a church down the street so that we can make sure that our clients have parking when they come for their appointments,” Poon said. “There are virtually no affordable lunch options for our staff within walking distance and this expansion will make things worse.” 

Meanwhile, properties in the 10th and Page neighborhood continue to trade at high levels fueling concerns of displacement. These can be observed in my anecdotal property transaction summaries

Here’s a preview of one from June that’s not yet written. A two bedroom house in the 900 block sold on June 27 for $515,000. That’s 56.16 percent over the 2023 assessment of $329,800. The previous sale had been on October 1, 2012 when a couple bought it for $108,000. 

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 August 8, 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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