Charlottesville will likely not collect nearly $120,000 in revenue for the sale of a small sliver of land on a busy thoroughfare.
In August, a majority of City Council indicated they would be willing to sell a small rectangular property that Charlottesville owns in the 600 block of West Main Street.
A public hearing was held and no one spoke and a resolution to sell the property for $119,108 the 0.0263 acre sliver moved on to second reading.
However, comments from some in the community prompted City Manager Sam Sanders to remove the item from the consent agenda for Tuesday’s Council meeting and he explained his reasons.
“One to give staff additional time to reconsider what particular actions were taken in order for them to reach the conclusion to recommend the potential sale in the first place,” Sanders said. “In addition to that, there [are] ongoing conversations with the property owner.”
That property owner is Main Street LLC, an entity that traces back to San Francisco-based developer Allan Cadegene who developed many properties along West Main Street with his late partner Gabe Silverman.
Former Charlottesville Mayor Kay Slaughter spoke at the community matters portion of the meeting to urge Council to vote no on any proposal to sell the land.
“I ask the city retain public ownership, improve and maintain the Starr Hill green space by planting additional trees to cool and beautify the area,” Slaughter said.
Slaughter said the city should not sell land without robust public input and outreach.
“Here the public interest is in demand for additional shade trees along a busy street in a historic already designated as a tree desert,” Slaughter said.
One nearby Starr Hill resident urged the city to program the space.
“Plant some trees there,” said Pat Edwards. “Put a bench there so that what when my dog walks me and I’m worn out, I can sit.”
Sanders said the city has been negotiating with Main Street West LLC about other solutions to satisfy what they had wanted to do, but did not give further details. He said the city will hang on to the land for now.
“The intention is that we will continue to look at it internally,” Sanders said. “If there is a reason to bring [the resolution] back we will bring it back but at this moment we will consider the matter not for sale until something changes.”
There is no longer any sort of a master plan for how infrastructure on West Main Street should be built. Last June, City Council canceled all four phases of a West Main Streetscape that had been in the works since 2013. (read the story)
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