New transportation priority list to go before Albemarle Supervisors

The six-member Board of Supervisors from Albemarle County will meet at 1 p.m. for their first regular meeting of October. (meeting info) (agenda)

The meeting begins with two proclamations. One marks this week as Digital Inclusion Week and the other marks October as Wine Month.

“Virginia has become a nationwide leader in the wine industry, now 6th in the nation in wine grape production, with more than 10,000 tons harvested in 2021 and 2022,” reads the second proclamation. 

“Many of Albemarle’s 44 vineyards, most with wineries on site, are run by families as strong agricultural enterprises that can be passed on to future generations, providing economic benefit for winery owners and employees and for other Albemarle ventures supported by the patronage and purchasing power of winery visitors, including farming of heritage and heirloom crops, restaurant cuisine committed to selling local where possible, and tourism focused on sustaining the land and the local culture,” reads a longer paragraph in the resolution. 

Since adoption of the Housing Albemarle policy in July 2021, the county has been looking for ways to bring down the cost of homeownership through a plethora of different policies. Some of these have been in existence for many years since as the Albemarle County Homebuyer Assistance Program that is administered by the Piedmont Housing Alliance. 

“The assistance is provided as deferred payment, 6 percent simple interest loans of up to $19,100, with the balance of the loans due at the time a home is sold or when an ACHAP loan recipient refinances their mortgage,” reads the staff report.

In January 2021, Piedmont Housing Alliance sought several changes such as reducing the interest rate to zero, capping eligibility to households below 80 percent of the area median income, and increasing the loan amount to $30,000. They also want anyone going through the program to be required to attend at least one counseling session conducted by PHA. Read the full list of changes here.

Next up, the arrival of the second quarter of the current fiscal year means it is time to begin consideration of the budget for the next one. Supervisors will get an economic overlook from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs. (read the report)

“The U.S. economy, along with other countries’ economies, has been whip-sawed by major global events for over three-and-a-half years since early 2020,” reads the executive summary of the report. 

“Notwithstanding these factors, global economic growth is projected to continue to slow but remain positive in 2023 and 2024 with median forecasts of 2.9 percent and 2.6 percent respectively,” the report continues a few paragraphs later. 

The outlook notes that Virginia’s economy is often tied to the national economy, but also recommends Albemarle prepare for an economic cooling. Local data begins on page 49 for the economists on the list. 

A chart depicting the average hourly wage in the Charlottesville MSA compared to Virginia and the nation (Credit: Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs)

Next, Supervisors will be presented with the draft of a new prioritization of transportation projects. The list is made up of projects called for in various plans or traffic studies and helps determine what funding applications to pursue. (read the summary)

In the draft 2023 ranking, the top priority is a project with the title Fifth Street Extended / I-64 Interchange Improvement. This would see the intersection converted to a diverging diamond and this project increased from 19. The next five priority projects are all new ones to the list. 

Improvements to Old Ivy Road increased from 55 to 6B. The Virginia Department of Transportation is in the early phases of a study to identify potential solutions to a myriad of issues in the great region. 

This report gets quite granular with eight sub-projects under item #12, many of which are not close to each other geographically. This time around, the list also includes a list of second-tier projects. There are a lot. 

Supervisors will also get reports from the county’s transportation planners as well as the Virginia Department of Transportation.

In the evening session, Supervisors will hold two public hearings.

  • One is for a rezoning to allow a warehouse in the Mill Creek Industrial Planned Development. (staff report)
  • The second is for a change to the county’s zoning code to allow sites subject to public-private partnerships to be included in the type of items subject to a countywide Certificate of Appropriateness. (staff report)

On the consent agenda:

  • Will the minutes of the January 19, 2022 Supervisors meeting be approved? If so, they’ll only be the sixth such documents approved for the entire calendar year. 
  • There’s an appropriation of $1,070,645 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for a variety of uses including sign-on bonuses for public-safety employees and $473,400 in funding for the Charlottesville-Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau to make up for losses related to the economic slowdown immediately after the pandemic. (staff report)
  • Supervisors will accept a conveyance of additional land at Pantops Public Safety Station 16. (staff report)
  • Supervisors will accept a compensation agreement with VDOT regarding land taken for the extension of Berkmar Drive Extended. The amount is $1,177. (staff report)
  • There’s a special exception request for a property at 3907 Arbor Terrace. (staff report)
  • If you want to read a who’s who and what’s what for Albemarle’s Board and Commissions, have I got the report for you. (read the report)
  • Albemarle issued 388 certificates of occupancy for the first half of 2023 according to the latest report on such permits. (read the report)
  • There were 123 building permits issued in the first half of 2023. Learn more in the detailed report.
  • There’s an update on collective bargaining in the Board to Board report for September. (read the report

Click through the link to see a larger image of the map depicting the locations for each candidate project in the first tier list (Credit: Albemarle County)

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 October 2, 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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