The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission has awarded $1.8 million in funds to regional housing nonprofits and entities. The funding comes from a $2 million grant to the TJPDC from the entity formerly known as the Virginia Housing Development Authority for the purpose of constructing or preserving affordable housing.
“By virtue of us receiving $2 million, we are obligated to construct at least 20 new affordable housing units,” said Ian Baxter, a planner with the TJPDC.
Meetings of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission always end with a roundtable discussion of what is happening in the six localities that make up the regional body. On February 10, 2022, there were lots of reports about housing initiatives across the area.
The TJPDC will work with a nonprofit partner to help prevent evictions through a pilot program with funding from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. (DHCD)
“It’s $250,000 for Charlottesville and Albemarle County,” said executive director Christine Jacobs. “That grant actually will have a subrecipient and that will be Piedmont Housing Alliance and that will allow them to hire an eviction prevention case manager as well as a landlord outreach manager which was what we requested in the grant application.”
There will be no change in leadership on Albemarle’s Economic Development Authority. Donald Long will remain the chair, George Ray will stay the vice chair, and David Shreve gets to keep being treasurer.
The group met virtually yesterday and heard from Economic Development Director Roger Johnson about what his office will be up to this year. In the first part of the year, COVID remains a threat to business as usual and Johnson said help will be available from economic development.
“We would expect there would continue to be COVID prophylactics, particularly when you think about some of the things that we have done historically,” Johnson said. “It includes things like the LIFT grant, microloan programs, Safe Places and Safe Spaces.”
There’s a deadline this year for localities and regional bodies to submit projects to the Virginia Department of Transportation for potential funding. Four rounds of the Smart Scale process have taken place so far, and planners across the Commonwealth are preparing applications for a preliminary deadline this spring.
Jessica Hersh-Ballering is a transportation planner with Albemarle County and she briefed the Board of Supervisors on January 12. (read staff report)
“The top three projects are Avon Street Bicycle and Pedestrian improvements, Fifth Street Extended Bicycle and Pedestrian improvements, and Belvedere-Rio intersection improvements are all projects that we’re considering for smart scale submission as county applications,” Hersh-Ballering said.
The Charlottesville City Planning Commission has made its recommendations for how to amend the draft capital budget for the next five years. That came at the end of a public hearing Tuesday that featured a discussion with City Council. Elected officials will make the final decision next spring as they adopt a budget that will be prepared under the supervision of a yet-to-be-named interim city manager. (draft FY23-FY27 CIP presentation to Planning Commission) (adopted FY22 budget)
The Commission got a look at the information at a work session on November 23, and heard it a second time from Senior Budget Analyst Krissy Hammill in advance of the public hearing. To recap, the capital budget is close to capacity due to the increase of spending in recent years, including a $75 million placeholder for the reconfiguration of middle schools. Council has also authorized a reorientation of priorities to find more money for the schools project. (previous story)
The December 9 meeting of the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting was a shorter one than usual, but members were briefed on several items of note. One related to UVA’s sustainability efforts. Colette Sheehy is the Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government at UVA.
“You’ll recall that the big audacious goal for sustainability is to be carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil-fuel free by 2050,” Sheehy said. “Overall our emissions are down by 44 percent over the last decade which is equivalent to about 160,000 tons of carbon.”
A contractor working on the calculation of the Charlottesville’s tree canopy has turned in the first set of data. Chris Gensic is with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and he spoke to the Tree Commission on Tuesday. (watch the meeting)
“We have lost some canopy,” Gensic said. “I think their average right now is in the 40 percent plus a little bit of change, not quite to 41 percent. I think the first one we did, we were in the 47 realm maybe in ‘08.”
Last week, the Albemarle Natural Heritage Committee got an update on the county’s efforts to address climate change. The Natural Heritage Committee developed the county’s Biodiversity Action Plan, which became part of the Comprehensive Plan in July 2019. The Board of Supervisors adopted a Climate Action Plan in October 2020. (watch the meeting)
Gabe Dayley, Albemarle’s climate protection program manager, said there are a lot of areas of overlap between the two plans.
“We have actions in the Climate Action Plan around promoting conservation easements, around outreach and education, as well as incentives to the general public as well as incentives to the general public as well as to landowners,” Dayley said.
Rebecca Ragsdale is now the county planner overseeing the implementation of the initial rezoning and the preparation for the next one, taking over from Megan Nedostup who now works as a planner for the firm Williams Mullen.
“It does include 93.32 acres and is the remainder and is the existing mobile home community along with a couple of smaller parcels,” Ragsdale said. “There’s three parcels in total. And the code of development proposes a minimum of 531 units or up to a maximum of 1,000 units.”
Tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m., an advisory committee appointed to help Albemarle County shape its capital improvement program budget for the next fiscal year will hold its first meeting. Last week, the seven-member Planning Commission got an overview including a reminder that last year was very different. (watch the meeting)
“Last year when we were putting together the FY22 budget, there was no [capital improvement program],” said Andy Bowman, the chief of budget in the Finance and Budget office. “The county was in the middle of the pandemic and there was a tremendous amount of uncertainty and really at that time it was decided instead of focusing on a long-range picture, to focus on the impacts of the pandemic and what might be able to be unpaused from a number of projects that were paused at the start of the pandemic.”