Charlottesville to consider joining amicus brief arguing for Virginia to stay in RGGI

Charlottesville City Council holds its first regular meeting of November with a work session at 4 p.m. followed by a regular session at 6:30 p.m. Both are in City Council Chambers. (meeting overview)

The work session is another preparation for the upcoming development process for the FY25 budget. In all there are presentations on four departments. They are Neighborhood Development Services, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and Utilities. (view the document)

There’s a detailed presentation from Parks and Recreation, which lists Riann Anthony as acting director. Did Dana Kasler leave? 

There’s also a detailed presentation from the utilities department. Both identify staffing shortages as a major challenge. 

An overview of the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department 

There are two proclamations to begin the regular meeting.

  • Cynthia Richardson is being honored as the Virginia State Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Coalition Peer of the Year (read the proclamation)
  • First Baptist Church West Main Street is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year. (read the proclamation)

Next up is the consent agenda:

  • Charlottesville City Council posts their draft minutes before they adopted, like most other localities I review in the Fifth District. Albemarle County does not. You can review the August 21October 3, and October 11 minutes here.  
  • There’s first of two readings on a resolution to appropriate $258,342 from a grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services for the Witness Assistance Program. (staff report)
  • There’s first of two readings of a resolution to appropriate $67,792 for the Albemarle-Charlottesville Therapeutic Docket. (staff report)
  • There’s first of two readings on  a resolution to appropriate $30,000 from the Virginia Department of Education’s Special Nutrition Program to support afterschool programs run by the Parks and Recreation Department. (staff report)
  • There’s a resolution to bring Paynes Mill Road into the city’s street system. That means it will be plowed if it snows. (staff report)
  • There’s a resolution to adopt a mutual aid agreement between Albemarle and Charlottesville for fire and rescue services. (staff report) (resolution) (agreement)

After the report from City Manager Sam Sanders, there will be a presentation on the master plan for the Parks and Recreation Department that’s underway. The city has hired PROS Consulting to lead the work, as I reported on September 17.  

This presentation takes place before Community Matters, the name given to the public comment period. Will public comment be taken virtually, or is that still on hold?

There are four business items on the agenda with two of them related.

Even though the Development Code is perhaps close to being adopted, landowners have continued to go through the existing process. The owner of 630 Cabell Avenue recently added 1,200 square feet to the property, enough to build more housing units. To do that, the section that was added needs to be rezoned to Residential-3 (R3). The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval. (staff report)

Since taking office in January 2022, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has made it a top priority to withdraw the Commonwealth of Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Revenue from the sale of carbon credits goes to pay for two state programs. They are the Housing Innovation Energy Efficiency fund and the Community Flood Preparedness Fund. 

“In Charlottesville, Piedmont Housing Alliance and the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority have been awarded nearly $10 million worth of RGGI money through the Affordable and Special Needs Housing program to renovate and build affordable homes in our region,” reads a staff report for a resolution for Charlottesville to file an amicus brief to support the Southern Environmental Law Center’s suit to stop the executive branch from leaving an entity they argue is mandated by state law.  Read my August 25 story to learn more

Next, Charlottesville will follow the example of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and purchase land slated for development. Last November, that entity paid $4.3 million to buy 1.59 acres of land on Maury Avenue where Southern Development had planned to build 64 apartment units.

Now, the city has agreed to pay developer Wendell Wood $5.9 million to purchase nearly 24 acres of floodplain land that Seven Development had been seeking site plan approval to build 245 units. More on this in the story I wrote on Thursday.

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 November 6, 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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