Charlottesville City Council to adopt strategic plan framework, first reading of rezoning for 501 Cherry Avenue

The five member Charlottesville City Council begins at 4 p.m. with a work session on the strategic plan followed by a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. They will meet in City Council Chambers. (meeting info)

The city has hired the firm Raftelis to guide production of a strategic plan to guide the work of Charlottesville’s municipal employees. The city has not adopted a new version of the document for some time. At this work session, Council will review the framework that has been created that begins with the vision for Charlottesville “to be a place where everyone thrives.” 

There are several strategic outcome areas ranging from Climate Action to Transportation. The latter sets the city up to provide a much larger service than its current boundaries.

“Charlottesville provides a regional transportation system that increases mobility options and is reliable and affordable for all,” reads that sub-vision statement. 

This is the strategic plan framework. For more background on the process, read previous stories on Information Charlottesville

There’s not much on the consent agenda and appointments to Boards and Commissions likely won’t happen until after the application window closes later this week. There’s still time to apply!

A second reading of a plan to sell city-owned land on West Main Street has been moved to a future meeting. A public hearing was held on August 21 and no one spoke at the time. Afterwards, more people have come forward to ask for the city to consider retaining the land which staff determined had not identifiable use. Read my story from then for some more background

Next, Council will hold the first of two readings on the rezoning of 501 Cherry Avenue. The Planning Commission recommended approval at their meeting on August 8. Though the adoption of a new zoning code appears to be months away, Woodard Properties is among several developers seeking to get project approval in place under the old rules. The old rules will not require that ten percent of units be guaranteed to be rent or sold below market. 

One of the proffers for this rezoning would require a minimum of sixty affordable units “should the residential portion of the development be sold to Piedmont Housing Alliance. PHA will ask the city for money to help with financing. 

If that doesn’t materialize, Woodward Properties would need to provide between four and nine affordable units for a period of six year. For comparison, the new zoning would require affordability for 99 years unless the zoning administrator grants an exemption. 

“There was some concern from the Planning Commission and City Council in regard tothe proffers as they are setup in a way that relies on different moving targets being met,” reads the staff report for the first reading. “There was also a concern that the proffers call out specific organizations and not just land uses. Despite these concerns, both bodies believe this development could be a model for other projects in the City moving forward.” 

The final item of the meeting harkens back to the first item. City Council will adopt the new strategic plan framework after years of extending the previous one. 

“As the city has recovered from the major impacts of the pandemic, it is time to restate the priorities of council so the organization can pivot to those things that produce the desired results and position the government to meet the priorities of its public,” reads the staff report

Is this the full plan? Is a framework all you need? 

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 September 4, 2023 Week Ahead. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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