Sustainability plan lays out vision for a future with market-rate units on CRHA properties 

The five-member Charlottesville City Council will meet at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers for a work session followed by a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. (meeting overview)

There are two items for discussion at the work session. The first is a report from Cultivate Charlottesville on the city’s Food Equity Initiative. Council approved the first public funds for the project in October 2018.

“The Initiative is cultivating community-driven processes, resident leadership, and city partnerships to improve access to and quality of nutritious and affordable foods, addressing food equity barriers,” reads the staff report.

Since the initiative began, the topic has become important enough to be included in the title of a Comprehensive Plan chapter with Chapter 7 being  Environment, Climate, and Food Equity. (page 65 of the plan)

The budget for FY23 and the one for FY24 set aside $155,000 for food equity.  The report documents how some of this funding is used to support the group’s work. Here’s point #8:

“Ongoing grassroots programming including growing and distributing 13,422 pounds of fresh produce to 645 residents, 20,000 healthy school snacks to 3,200 students, 7,200 schoolyard garden experiences, and other on the ground efforts,” reads the report packet

The group is also making a direct appeal to Council with three asks related to their Power to Grow initiative: 

  • They want Council to dedicate lane in Booker T. Washington Park for an Urban Agricultural Collective farm 
  • They want Council to direct the Parks and Recreation Department to prioritize a community design for the farm site in that agency’s upcoming strategic plan. Pros Consulting has been hired to do that work, as I reported this week
  • They want specific goals in the strategic plan related to food equity. At least two Councilors have already expressed they want this as well, as I reported earlier this month
One of the slides in Cultivate Charlottesville’s report to City Council on progress toward the Food Equity Initiative

The second presentation will be on the Sustainability Study that’s been commissioner for the future of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The agency hired Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures to assess CRHA’s properties, perform a market analysis, and do other work to develop a strategy for the agency’s future. 

The scope includes CRHA sites that have not yet gone through redevelopment including 6th Street Southeast, the Avon/Levy garage site, Westhaven, Michie Drive, Riverside Drive, and several single-family homes throughout the city. 

“The investment required to extend the useful life of CRHA’s portfolio of properties is significant,” reads one conclusion. “CRHA should leverage public financing options to redevelop more sustainable assets and utilize capital program dollars to renovate smaller communities.” 

The company has previously been hired by the University of Virginia to inform their work toward their three affordable housing sites. The report shows several different scenarios for how individual sites can be redeveloped such as three pathways forward for Westhaven. All involve bringing market-rate units to the site, and all three anticipate a ten percent “development fee.”

There are a lot of details in the presentation about CRHA can leverage its property to redevelop with a mixture of market-rate and subsidized units. (Credit: Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures)

The regular meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. with a proclamation of October 4 as Energy Efficiency Day. 

“Smarter energy use reduces the amount of electricity needed to power our lives, which makes electrification of buildings and transportation more achievable,” reads the resolution. “Energy efficiency makes our homes and workspaces healthier, safer, and more comfortable.” 

On the consent agenda are approval of the August 8, 2023 joint public hearing with the Planning Commission, second reading of a special use permit and rezoning for 501 Cherry Avenue, and first reading of a resolution authorizing the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority to issue revenue bonds on behalf of St. Anne’s Belfield. 

There are no regular items on the agenda. 

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 18, 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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