Category Archives: Housing

Oversight group discusses Cville Plans Together initiative

(This article originally appeared in the May 25, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement)

The steering committee overseeing the Cville Plans Together initiative met on May 19 to take a mid-month review of the latest round of the public engagement efforts. To recap, Rhodeside & Harwell is overseeing an update of the city’s Comprehensive Plan as well as a rewrite of the city’s zoning code. They’ve already produced an affordable housing strategy that City Council adopted in March. (review the plan

In February 2019, Council voted to approve spending up to $1 million to hire an outside consultant to take over oversight of the Comprehensive Plan. For background, read my story from then to explain the reasons behind the decision. 

The latest version of the schedule for the process

The work got underway in January 2020 and continued during the pandemic with virtual meetings. There were two previous community engagement periods last year in addition to the one underway now. 

Jennifer Koch is a project manager with Rhodeside & Harwell.

“We fully recognize there are folks in the community who may not have been aware of this process that was going,” Koch said. “We’ve been working hard to reach folks but it’s been quite a year… We’ve been doing a lot of virtual engagement for the past year and we don’t anticipate that will completely go away as we move forward but we also know it’s really nice to speak with people in person.”  

First, members of the steering committee had the opportunity to weigh in. One of them is City Councilor Michael Payne, who will be one of five votes to adopt the Comprehensive Plan and the updated zoning code sometime next year. At this stage, he wanted to suggest a change in the title of one of the draft chapters.

“With the Economic Prosperity and Opportunity [chapter], I know it mentions community wealth building in the update but I still wonder if it may make more sense for the chapter itself to be focused on community wealth building, again to try to gear that chapter towards more system change thinking about things like community land trusts, community development corporations, [and] community gardens all interconnect as a system for wealth creation that’s different than the normal way of doing economic development,” Payne said. 

Seven draft chapters of the Comprehensive Plan are available for review (download)

Christine Jacobs, the interim executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, applauded language about regional partnerships. However, she wanted her organization to be more specifically referenced given the number of bodies it runs on which Charlottesville City Councilors serve. 

“The TJPDC does have the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO,” Jacobs said. “It also has the Regional Transit Partnership and the Regional Housing Partnership.” 

Diana Dale represents the leaders of neighborhood associations in the city, some of which have expressed concern about too much density. She drew attention to the chapter on Land Use, Urban Form, and Historic and Cultural Preservation. 

“And I’m thinking in particular of goal two,” Dale said, reading from the chapter summary. “Protect and enhance existing distinct identitiess of the city’s older neighborhoods while promoting housing options, a mix of uses, and sustainble reuses in the community.” 

Dale said some residents of neighborhoods are concerned that some of their portions have been changed from low-intensity to medium-intensity, such as most of the Lewis Mountain neighborhood and some of the Martha Jefferson neighborhood. That could allow between four to 12 units per lot, but that will remain unclear until it is time to rewrite the zoning code. 

“What is aspirational? And what is actually codifiable?” Dale asked.

The zoning rewrite will be conducted by the firm Code Studio, a subcontractor whose work will be informed by the affordable housing plan and the Future Land Use Map. 

“I’m not certain that we have a whole lot of the answers,” said Lee Einsweiler of Code Studio. “We were hoping we could work through things at the more generalized level of the Future Land Use Map and then begin to craft strategies for implementing those tools.” 

Einsweiler said that each category on the future land use map will not be represented by a single zoning district. 

“There would be two, three, four implementing zoning districts that might all have appropriate strategies for different types of the community but those can’t quite be figured out until we can understand where they are likely to be applied,” said Lee Einsweiler. 

Dale remained concerned. 

“The vagueness is not helping people’s confidence in the plan,” Dale said.

The Lewis Mountain Neighborhood has been designated as medium intensity in the draft future land use map. (interactive map)

Dale also expressed concern about the impacts of a more people on the existing infrastructure. She said roads might need to be widened to accommodate additional traffic, and stated the city has issues delivering on infrastructure projects such as frequent buses and a consistent bike and sidewalk network. 

“The guidance is recommending multimodal strategies, and that’s going to take time and funding to implement and that’s been a long struggle for a lot of improvements over time for those of who have been in the city,” Dale said. 

There are 19 neighborhoods across the city, and the 2007 Comprehensive Plan contains an entire appendix of specific requests from neighborhoods that came from a city-wide design day arranged by a now-defunct non-profit called the Charlottesville Community Design Center. That approach was abandoned for the 2013 Comprehensive Plan and the 2017 process did not seek a thorough capturing of what residents of neighborhoods wanted. 

Ashley Davies, who represents the Charlottesville Area Development Roundtable on the steering committee, suggested an approach that built upon previous efforts to plan at a neighborhood level. 

“I think people are hungry to give you feedback that is more specific to their area and I think it’s a shame that we can’t have the time right now to do the small area planning because I think that’s what a lot of people want to inform the land use plan,” Davies said. 

Neighborhood plans were drafted in the 2007 plan, as described on page 285. If you’re a Charlottesville resident, what was said about your neighborhood? (download the plan)

There’s a lot of discussion of what role the Future Land Use Map plays. Is it advisory? If so, what does that mean? Ron Sessoms is with Rhodeside and Harwell.

“The future land use map is a critical component of a Comprehensive Plan and sets the stage for the city’s long-term vision of how it’s going to grow,” said Ron Sessoms of Rhodeside & Harwell (RHI). “You can think of this as the 10,000 foot view of the city and defining where there are opportunities for growth.” 

Sessoms said the land use map is a guide for development, but is not binding like zoning. 

“As we think about the future land use map, it’s much more broad and the zoning code is much more detailed with specifics of what it means to fulfil the future land use map,” Sessoms said. 

The medium intensity residential category is new with this comp plan update, and encourages construction between four and 12 units per lot. Sessoms said that did not have to be out of scale with existing buildings. 

“They can be integrated into the fabric of a neighborhood,” Sessoms said. “They don’t have to be five stories to get fourplexes or any of the medium intensity development types.” 

Ashley Davies said she liked that the future land use map begins a process of reducing the amount of areas colored as low-intensity residential, but thought there should be some sense of what types of housing units are prioritized. 

“It seems to me the strategy for adding units in the city and adding residential, maybe we need to talk about the hierarchy of that can truly happen in Charlottesville,” Davies said. 

Dale said the Martha Jefferson Neighborhood Association’s Board of Directors supports soft density by adding accessory units and permitting apartments within structures. But they don’t support being colored as medium intensity. 

“Is there an opportunity to merge the ambitions of transforming Charlottesville to general residential, which is a big step to begin with, and to merge some of the intentions of the medium intensity?” Dale asked. “I recognize this may happen as you move to more strata, more levels of medium density.”

This draft also includes a name change for Low Density Residential to General Residential, which recommends up to three units per lot. 

Lena Seville, a Belmont resident who is on the steering committee, wanted to know why General Residential didn’t recommend allowing four units per lot. 

“There are plenty of little houses that are split into four,” Seville said. “At two stories, it’s four apartments. They’re easier to build. They mirror each other. They have the same footprint.”

Much of what is happening in Charlottesville is patterned off an effort in Minneapolis, where their City Council voted to permit duplexes and triplexes in all R-1 areas. Here’s Lee Einsweiler with Code Studio again. 

“You may have followed the exercise in Minneapolis in which they began talking about four but ended up adopting three,” Einsweiler said. “Part of the conversation was about the likelihood that the existing house would be replaced as opposed to split. The three is most likely an additional building on the property and a main unit carved out of the main house.” 

At the meeting, some members expressed concern about a perceived lack of engagement. Valerie Washington represents the Charlottesville Low Income Housing Coalition

“While this process has been going on for a while now there are still many folks in the community that I’ve spoken to who have no idea about this process,” Washington said. “Is there any plan to really put some education out there for folks who are having difficulty understanding the planning process so they can better participate?”

LaToya Thomas of the firm Brick and Story acknowledges that many people are not knowledgeable in planning issues, but the Cville Plans Together initiative wants to educate more people especially as the pandemic recedes.

“We are reaching out to as many people that we can get connected to, but we also know that many of you are connected to folks and so we will continue to make ourselves available if there are groups of folks that you want to convene,” Thomas said.

Dale suggested a pause while people get caught up on the planning process. That would give people the chance to read the many recommendations in the affordable housing plan adopted by Council in March. 

“Most of the community doesn’t really understand how it informs the plan,” Dale said. “It was previewed with the public last fall when everyone had their head down dealing with Zoom school and Zoom work and health care and everything else. It was a 100-year health event.”

The housing plan was adopted in March 2021 and informed the development of Future Land Use Map (download)

S. Lisa Herndon is a Realtor on the steering committee who wants to see a map that depicts where redlining occurred which overlays areas proposed for more intense development. 

“Going back to the history of Vinegar Hill and Gospel Hill, there [are] communities that were negatively impacted and now we’re going through redevelopment again and we see a lack of equity in terms of participation and I see nothing within this which shows where we were and how we’re going to prevent that negative effect in communities of African-American historical context,” Hernson said. “I don’t see that.” 

Sunshine Mathon, executive director of the Piedmont Housing Alliance, said he has been through this process in other communities where he has worked.  He reminded people the intent of the initiative is to guide change. 

“One of the things that gets lost in the translation is that change is constant and people have this assumption that their neighborhoods are a thing and have always been that thing which is fundamentally not true,” Mathon said. “One of the changes that we are seeing across the city regardless of the form of the city, one of the real changes is a dramatic increase in the cost of living in the city. That’s a fundamental change. The plan itself can’t be the change that solves that on its own, but it is an ingredient in that tool set.”

Comments will be accepted through June 13 now that a two-week extension has been granted. The Planning Commission is expected to have a work session on June 29. 

A snapshot of Charlottesville real estate transactions in March 2021

Much of what I write about is planning. But to really understand what’s happening in Charlottesville, it’s important to look through transactions. I share this with you to give an anecdotal view of the market. No analysis is intended with this list, but I do think reading through it is a valuable exercise for anyone interested in land use in Charlottesville. 

This time around, a lot of bank buildings were purchased. Lots of units in the Ridgecrest townhouse complex sold. Prices continued to increase for lots finished and ready for development.

This edition was originally written for Substack subscribers, but it goes to the wider community a couple of days later. Consider joining to help support this work!

March 1, 2021

  • The owner of a single family home on 14th Street NW that was built in 1921 was transferred by the owner to an LLC that is the same as the structure’s address. 
  • A new single-family home in Charlottesville’s side of the Lochlyn Hill neighborhood on Lochlyn Hill Drive sold for $415,000. The lot was appraised in 2021 at $91,000. 
  • A company called 418 Investors LLC purchased two office spaces inside of the King Building on East Water Street. Suite 800 sold for $990,000 and Suite 900 sold for $290,000. Suite 800 has a 2021 assessment of $1,448,700 making the sale 31.6 percent below that value. The sale of Suite 900 was eleven percent below the assessed value of $325,800. 
  • A single family house on Oakleaf Lane right next to Walker Upper Elementary School sold for $334,700, or 1.58 percent over the assessment.
King Building (Source: Charlottesville GIS)
Read more

A brief look at Charlottesville real estate transactions from February 2021

To keep up with what’s happening in land use in the community, I spend some free time when I can going through recent transactions. No analysis of this is intended. The point is to have a snapshot of various transactions.

People who subscribe through Substack get the first look at this each month. Do consider a contribution so you can help support this research. Learn more on the Charlottesville Community Engagement website.

February 1, 2021

  • A house in the 1600 block of Yorktown Drive sold for $775,000, or 1.79 percent over the 2021 assessed value of $761,400. The property had been assessed at $689,900 in 2020.  

February 2, 2021

  • A four bedroom townhouse in the Lochlyn Hill subdivision sold for $398,900. There was no 2021 assessment because the construction is new. 
  • A 1935 home at the corner of Oxford Road and Rugby Road sold for $1.582 million. That’s 12 percent over the 2021 assessment of $1.412 million, and 88 percent over the 2020 assessment of $838,600. 

February 3, 2021

  • Four building lots on Stonehenge Avenue Extended in Belmont sold for $480,000. Each is assessed at $125,000. They were assessed in 2020 at $55,000 a piece. A rezoning for this area was approved by Council in May 2013 on a 3-2 vote. (cvillepedia link)

February 4, 2021

  • A single-family home on Azalea Drive sold for $375,000, or 11.7 percent below the 2021 assessed value of $423,000. 

February 5, 2021

  • A single-family home on Meridian Street in lower Belmont sold for $185,000, or 30.2 percent below the 2021 assessment. 
  • A single-family home in the 500 block of Meade Avenue sold for $235,000, or two percent above assessment. The structure was built in 1935 and has just over 1,000 square feet of floor space. 
  • One half of a duplex in the 700 block of Prospect Avenue sold for $150,000, or 9.73 percent over the assessment. This property is within the bounds of the Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan, which was added to the city’s Comprehensive Plan on March 1, 2021.
Existing zoning for the area in and around the confines of the Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan

February 8, 2021

  • A condo in a building at 808 East Jefferson sold for $340,000, or 9.36 percent over the 2021 assessment. The 2020 assessment was $261,300. 
  • A single-family home in the 1,000 block of East Rio Road sold for $330,000, or 2.45 percent below the 2021 assessment. The structure was built in 1962. 
  • A duplex at the corner of Forest Hills Avenue and 9th Street had a title change on this day. The people who bought the property in December for $321,000 (13.7 percent over 2020 assessment) placed it under the ownership of an LLC. 

February 9, 2021

  • A condo unit in the Ridgecrest development sold for $202,100 to an LLC, or 9.42 over the 2021 assessment. In 2020, the property had been assessed at $168,700. Ridgecrest is just to the north of Rives Park. 

February 10, 2021

  • A condo in the 1800 Jefferson Park Avenue building sold for $190,000, or 7.53 percent over the 2021 assessment. The structure was built in 1968. 
  • A single-family home on Rosa Terrace in Belmont sold for $225,000, or 8.8 percent over the 2021 assessment. An LLC purchased the property. 

February 11, 2021

  • A single-family home built in 1910 in the 600 block of Bolling Avenue sold for $389,244. That’s 75 percent over the 2021 assessment of $223,300. 
  • A pair of lots on Nicholson Street in the Lochlyn Hill neighborhood sold for $256,200. This section of the development is adjacent to Pen Park. 

February 12, 2021

  • A three bedroom home built in 2017 as part of the Rialto Beach Planned Unit Development sold for $500,000. That’s 6.94 percent below the 2021 assessment of $537,300. 
  • A pair of new homes in the 700 block of Lochlyn Hill Drive sold this week. A four bedroom townhouse sold for $431,268 and a second unit sold for $396,400. There are no assessments for the improvements, but the land for each is assessed at $91,000. The first unit is perhaps more expensive because it is one of the end units.
  • A single-family home north of the 250 Bypass on Wilder Drive sold for $510,000, or about two percent below the 2021 assessment. 
  • A townhouse unit in Burnet Commons 3 on Almere Avenue sold for $480,000, or five percent below the assessment. This development was built atop a former city landfill adjacent to Oakwood Cemetery. 

February 16, 2021

  • A single-family home in the 100 block of Stribling Avenue in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood sold for $280,000, or 15.48 percent below the 2021 assessment of $331,300. The structure was built in 1962. 
  • A single-family home on Wayne Avenue in the Meadowbrook Heights neighborhood sold for $465,000, or 27.61 percent over the 2021 assessment. The structure was built in 1962 and is on the Albemarle County border
  • A single-family home in the 1200 block of Cherry Avenue sold for $230,000. That’s 20.23 percent above the 2021 assessment. The 744 square foot structure was built in 1952. 

February 17, 2021

  • A commercial building at 1513 East High Street has been sold to a company called Fishersville Realty for $605,000. The building formerly housed the Eclipse Beauty Salon.
1513 East High Street

February 19, 2021

  • A corner lot in the Lochlyn Hill on Nicholson Street development was purchased by Arcadia Builders, Inc, for $152,250. The property was assessed in both 2020 and 2021 at $91,000. 
  • A single family home in the 900 block on Stonehenge Avenue in Belmont sold for $270,000, or 25.23 percent over the 2021 assessment. The house last sold in September 1989 for $55,000. 
  • A 1,711 square foot single-family home in the 1,000 block of Stonehenge Avenue sold for $379,000. That’s 22.26 percent over the 2021 assessment. 

February 22, 2021

  • A three bedroom townhouse in the Rialto Beach planned unit development sold for $469,000. That was just under seven percent of the 2021 assessment. The 1,900 square foot structure was built in 2016. 
  • A 785 square foot condo in the Walker Square development sold for $256,200. That’s 10.81 percent over the 2021 estimate. 

February 23, 2021

  • A home on Cameron Lane in the Lewis Mountain neighborhood built in 1940 sold for $530,000. That’s roughly 16 percent over the 2021 assessment of $456,700. 

February 24, 2021

  • A split-level home in the 700 block of Shamrock Road sold for $380,500, or 32.62 percent over the 2021 assessment. 
  • A home in the 1100 block of 6th Street SE in Belmont sold for $245,067, or 21.3 percent below the 2021 assessment. The previous owner was Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville.

February 25, 2021

  • The City of Charlottesville purchased a sliver of land just north of Azalea Park for $76,000. 
  • One half of a duplex on Little High Street sold for $295,500, or 13.68 percent over the 2021 assessment of $259,500. The seller was Neighborhood Investments LLC, a firm associated with developer Richard Spurzem. The other half will sell in late April. Stay tuned!
  • A pair of condominium units in Walker Square sold for $480,000. The two had a combined 2021 assessment of $428,400, which is a purchase that is 12 percent over. 
  • New construction in the Paynes Mill Road sold for $536,160. The structure is a four bedroom, 2,525 square foot house. 
  • A single family home on Highland Avenue that was built in 1967 sold for $439,000. That’s 10.66 percent over assessment. 
The small sliver of land is in the vicinity of what may one day be called Azalea Park West

February 26, 2021

  • Neighborhood Investments LLC purchased a duplex in the 2200 block of Jefferson Park Avenue for $515,00. The structure is back on the market with a list price of $695,000 at publication time. 
  • A unit in the Cream Street Condominiums sold for $320,000, or 3.46 percent. The purchaser is an LLC. 
  • A 2,147 square foot newly-built house on Paynes Mill Road sold for $553,943. The three bedroom structure was built on land that had a 2021 land value of $115,000. 
Cream Street condos

University of Virginia resumes housing initiative for up to 1,500 units

(This article originally appeared in the April 30, 2021 installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement)

The University of Virginia has begun planning work to implement their pledge to build up to 1,500 housing units to be designated for people at certain income-levels on land owned by UVA or the UVA real estate foundation. At a virtual event Thursday night, President Jim Ryan said housing is one of five areas identified for community partnership.  The original announcement of the UVA housing initiative was made on March 10, and the news was quickly overshadowed by the World Health Organization declaration the next day of the COVID pandemic. 

“So, a year later I’d like to begin by restating our goal upfront, and the goal is really simple,” Ryan said. “It’s to support the development of a thousand to 1,500 of affordable housing units across Charlottesville and Albemarle County over the next ten years. We’ll do this by contributing land and partnering with a third-party developer. I will say that financial profit is not at all our driver and that our goal has the support of the Board of Visitors and the entire leadership team at the University.” 

UVA President Jim Ryan

In the past year, Charlottesville City Council has adopted a new affordable housing strategy. The Albemarle Planning Commission has a public hearing next Tuesday about the update of the county’s policy. And the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership has been holding a speakers’ series on views from the development community

UVA’s work will happen in that regional background, as UVA steps into a role they’ve not played before. Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis is serving as chair of the UVA Affordable Housing Advisory Group which includes community members. 

“The goal for this initial phase of this work is to learn more about how you see the University contributing to affordable housing solutions in our community and to collect input that will help this stage,” Davis said. 

(visit the Working Group’s website to watch the video and learn more)

No sites have yet been determined for where new units might be. A quick look at area GIS records shows that the UVA Foundation owns around three dozen properties in Charlottesville, and that the Rector and Visitors of the University own around 90. UVA-proper owns over 70 parcels in Albemarle and the foundation owns several dozen. 

To sort through the possibilities and to establish criteria for hiring that third-party developer, UVA has hired Gina Merritt of Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures to work through this phase, which will result in the development of a “request for proposals.” 

“My team’s role in the University’s affordable housing initiative is to help UVA to develop a framework for implementing this initiative,” Merritt said. “The University plans to solicit developers to help develop University property in a way that meets our collective goals.”

This will include market research, review of previous studies, and discussion of comparative examples.

“And once the sites are selected for development, we will evaluate zoning, determine what housing and income types should be located on each site, and then draw diagrams to show the potential scale of these buildings,” Merritt said. “We will run financial models to determine the best way to finance the development and identify possible resources to fund the project.” 

Merritt presented three examples of developments she’s been involved with. One of these is the 70-unit Nannie Hellen at 4800 in Washington D.C. where one-third of the units were replacement units for public housing, and the rest were financed through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). 

The trio took questions from those on the virtual call. J.J. Davis asked the first.

“A lot of organizations are already doing affordable housing work,” Davis asked. “Where will UVA fit in so that they are not competing or duplicating efforts. Jim?”

“That’s a great question and in some respects that’s part of the community engagement process,” Ryan said. “The landscape is filled with people who are working on this issue already and we want to figure out the best way we can fit into this landscape so that we’re not duplicating efforts or competing but instead complementing the efforts.”

“Next question,” Davis asked. “When will the units be built?” 

“Well, we want to get started as soon as possible,” Ryan said. “As I mentioned earlier, the goal is to complete a thousand to 1,500 units over ten years. Our thought is that we will start with one project. We are not that experienced with this so what we want to do is start with one project and take the lessons we’ve learned there when we move on to the second or third projects.”

Near the end of the presentation, Merritt took advantage of the poll feature in Zoom to take the pulse of those attending. Nearly ninety percent of those participating supported the idea of UVA developing housing for the community on its property. 

President Jim Ryan concluded the event.

“UVA and our neighbors in Charlottesville, Albemarle, and the surrounding counties are linked together and our fates are tied together and one of the reasons for us to be a good neighbor is because of that. I think helping to contribute to… increasing the supply of affordable housing is one part of that,” Ryan said. 

Low-income housing project gets $4.25 million boost from CACF

(This story first appeared in the March 29, 2021 installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement)

The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation has made its largest ever grant with $4.25 million going to Piedmont Housing Alliance for their redevelopment of land on U.S. 29. Piedmont Housing is working with the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless and Virginia Supportive Housing to redevelop the Red Carpet Inn site for a total of 140 units that will be guaranteed to be rented at prices for people with extremely low and very low incomes. Eboni Bugg is the director of programs for the CACF. 

“This first came on our radar last April when we received a grant application from TJACH and PACEM and the Haven regarding wanting to ensure that there was a non-congregate option for our homeless community members so that they could weather the pandemic without being in congregate shelter,” Bugg said.

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors rezoned the land for the project in February. The Red Carpet Inn will continue to be used as a shelter by TJACH in the short-term as the project moves forward. Bugg said the CACF’s investment is made in the spirit of community health. There will be an update on grant at an event on April 15. 

Anthony Haro of the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH) speaks with Eboni Bugg of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation at the Red Carpet inn (Credit: CACF)

Developers argue local policy affects cost of housing

How much of a role does local policy play in determining the cost of housing? That was one theme of a panel discussion held on March 18, 2021 by the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership. (watch the video)

“There are a lot of factors that go into making something affordable, many of which we just don’t control locally,” said Charlie Armstrong, the vice president of land development for Southern Development, one of the area’s most active property developers. 

‌Every‌ ‌structure‌ ‌you‌ ‌see‌ ‌in‌ ‌America‌ ‌is‌ ‌reviewed‌ ‌at‌ ‌multiple‌ ‌levels‌ ‌of‌ ‌government‌ ‌to‌ ‌make‌ ‌sure‌ ‌the‌ ‌edifice‌ ‌conforms‌ ‌to‌ ‌rules.‌ Armstrong said ‌too‌ ‌much‌ land use regulation‌ ‌increases‌ ‌the‌ ‌cost‌ ‌of‌ ‌housing and that localities can play a role through their own policies.  ‌

“We‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌community‌ ‌really‌ ‌do‌ ‌this‌ ‌to‌ ‌ourselves,”‌ ‌Armstrong‌ ‌said.‌ ‌“We‌ ‌intentionally‌ ‌through‌ ‌our‌ Comprehensive‌ ‌Plans‌ ‌and‌ ‌our‌ ‌zoning‌ ‌ordinances‌ ‌limit‌ ‌the‌ ‌supply‌ ‌of‌ ‌land‌ ‌for‌ ‌new‌ ‌homes.‌ ‌We‌ ‌intentionally‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌community‌ ‌limit‌ ‌the‌ ‌density‌ ‌of‌ ‌new‌ ‌homes‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌allowed‌ ‌on‌ ‌any‌ ‌one‌ ‌piece‌ ‌of‌ ‌land.”‌ ‌ ‌

Albemarle’s‌ ‌Comprehensive‌ ‌Plan‌ ‌sets‌ ‌aside‌ ‌roughly‌ ‌5‌ ‌percent‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌county’s‌ ‌726‌ ‌square‌ ‌miles‌ ‌for‌ ‌residential‌ ‌development.‌ ‌Armstrong‌ ‌said‌ ‌the‌ ‌community’s‌ ‌choice‌ ‌to‌ ‌let‌ ‌the‌ ‌rest‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌county‌ ‌ be‌ ‌rural‌ ‌has‌ ‌impacts‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌cost‌ ‌of‌ ‌housing.‌ ‌Limited‌ ‌supply‌ ‌drives‌ ‌up‌ ‌the‌ ‌cost‌ ‌because‌ ‌those‌ ‌with‌ ‌more‌ ‌money‌ ‌can‌ ‌offer‌ ‌higher‌ ‌prices.‌ ‌ ‌

For‌ ‌the‌ ‌land‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌available,‌ ‌it‌ ‌can‌ ‌be‌ ‌time-consuming‌ ‌and‌ ‌expensive‌ ‌to‌ ‌navigate‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌zoning‌ ‌and‌ ‌special‌ ‌use‌ ‌permit‌ ‌process‌ ‌that‌ ‌can‌ ‌unlock‌ ‌higher‌ ‌residential‌ ‌densities.‌ ‌ ‌

Chris‌ ‌Henry‌ ‌of‌ ‌the Stony‌ ‌Point‌ ‌Development Group‌ said‌ ‌housing‌ ‌was‌ ‌more‌ ‌affordable‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌past‌ ‌because‌ ‌developers‌ ‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌comply‌ ‌with‌ ‌regulations‌ ‌to‌ ‌reduce‌ ‌stormwater‌ ‌runoff,‌ ‌as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌requirements‌ ‌to‌ ‌build‌ ‌sidewalks‌ ‌and‌ ‌other‌ ‌public‌ ‌infrastructure.‌ ‌ ‌

 “Municipalities‌ ‌used‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌business‌ ‌of‌ ‌even‌ ‌in‌ ‌some‌ ‌cases‌ ‌of‌ ‌building‌ ‌roads,”‌ ‌Henry‌ ‌said. “They‌ ‌would‌ ‌put‌ ‌in‌ ‌stormwater‌ ‌and‌ ‌things‌ ‌like‌ ‌that.‌ ‌A‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌that‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌pushed‌ ‌off‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌private‌ ‌sector‌ ‌for‌ ‌various‌ ‌reasons,‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌them‌ ‌are‌ ‌reasonable.‌ ‌But‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌added‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌cost‌ ‌of‌ homes.”‌ ‌ ‌

 For more on this discussion, I’ve got an article in this week’s C-Ville Weekly that goes into more detailYou can also watch the whole presentation on the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission’s YouTube page

A quick look at Charlottesville real estate transactions from January

As a reporter who writes a lot about land use, one of my frequent practices is to look through property transactions. This gives me a sense of what’s happening across Charlottesville.

As a Substack subscriber, you are helping cover the cost of my time to do this work. As a result, I want to share it my research with you. Everything comes from Charlottesville’s records such as the open data portal and the GIS system. If you spot an error, please let me know.

January 5, 2021:

  • A new four bedroom-home in the new Belmont Point subdivision sold for $507,307. The neighborhood was created by the extension of Stonehenge Avenue following a rezoning requested by Southern Development. 
  • A single-family attached home in the 500 block of Rives Street built in 2013 as part of Habitat for Humanity’s redevelopment of the Sunrise Court Mobile Home Park sold for $285,000. That’s 6.86 percent over the 2021 assessment of $266,700. 
508 Rives Street (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

January 6, 2021:

  • A three-bedroom home across from Quarry Park in the Belmont Point subdivision sold for $431,055. The structure was not completed in time for the property assessment, but the 0.094 acre property was valued at $50,000 in 2020 and $112,500 in 2021. 
  • Piedmont Realty Holdings LLC sold a two-unit house in the 600 block of Rock Creek Road for $475,000, or 28.21 percent over the 2021 assessment. There had been no change from 2020. The new owner is Edgefield Realty Holdings LLC. 
610 Rock Creek Road (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

January 7, 2021:

  • A unit in the Belmont Village condominiums sold for $323,500, or about 4.5 percent over the 2020 assessment and 2.08 percent over the 2021 assessment. 
  • Piedmont Realty Holdings LLC sold a second house on Rock Creek Road for $475,000, this time to Looker Mountain Holdings LLC. The sales price is 22.5 percent over the 2020 and 2021 assessment. 
  • A home in the 1600 block of Grove Road sold for $675,000, or about 1.15 percent over the 2021 assessment. 
355 Quarry Road (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

January 11, 2021:

  • A single family home on Monte Vista Avenue sold for $320,000. The property was assessed in 2021 for $305,800, up from $292,800 in 2020. 
  • The firm EGGC LLC purchased a 0.178 acre lot in the Lochlyn Hills subdivision for $211,600. That’s 51.14 percent over the $140,000 assessment. They own two other lots nearby.

January 12, 2021:

  • A two-story house across from Burley Middle School on Concord Avenue sold for $525,000. The 1925 structure was renovated within 2020 and was assessed in 2021 at $517,400. The house was renovated by Daddy Rabbit LLC who purchased the property in April 2020 for $145,000. 
  • A 1948 structure at 217 Lankford Avenue sold for $405,000, or 77.4 percent over the 2021 assessment of $228,300. 
  • Southern Property LLC purchased four undeveloped lots on Stonehenge Avenue Extended for $480,000. The four lots had a combined assessment of $205,000 in 2020. That increased to $462,500 in 2021. 
810 Concord Avenue (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

January 13, 2021:

  • A single-family home at 676 Evergreen Avenue sold for $639,500, or 23 percent over the 2020 assessment. 
  • Venice Property LLC paid an even million for a group home on Riverdale Avenue, almost right at the assessed 2021 value of $1,004,000.
  • A new home on Nicholson Street in the Lochlyn Hill subdivision sold for $621,000.

January 14, 2021:

  • One of the three-story mansions on East Water Street sold for $1.66 million. 1081 East Water Street was assessed in 2020 at $1.379 million and assessed in 2021 at $1.6 million. The sales price is 3.38 percent over this year’s figures.

January 15, 2021:

  • A pair of properties off of Barracks Road both sold both for a couple hundred thousand dollars over assessment. 1929 Blue Ridge sold for $1.4375 million to a company called WWCFD, LLC. That’s 15.24 percent over the 2021 assessment, which was unchanged over 2020. A 1.3 acre property with a two-story house at 1204 Blue Ridge Road sold for $2.1 million to a company called 306 Elizabeth LLC. That’s 11.84 percent over the 2021 assessment of $1.877 million.
  • 1835 University Circle sold for $2.6 million, or 32.23 percent over the 2020 assessment. For the 2021 assessment, the structure and improvements increased half a million in value.
  • A ranch house at 2507 Willard Drive sold for $415,000, or 56 percent over the 2021 assessment of $265,900.  
  • A home on Wine Cellar Circle built in 1925 sold for $395,000. In 2020, the house was assessed at $360,00, and that increased to $387,000 for this year. 
  • A duplex in the 1100 block of Calhoun Street sold for $425,000. The 2020 assessment was $392,900 and the 2021 assessment is $406,500. 
1204 Blue Ridge Road (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

January 19, 2021:

  • A new three-story home in the Rialto Beach Planned United Development in Belmont sold for $499,000, or 53.78 percent over the 2021 assessment of $324,500. 
  • A structure just south of Greenleaf Park on Plymouth Road sold for $775,000. That’s 3.43 percent over the 2021 assessment.  

January 20, 2021:

  • A 1,054 square foot property with a one-story house from 1930 at 224 Wine Street in North Downtown sold for $577,255, or 53 percent over the 2020 assessment of $377,200. The previous owner did a complete remodel of the interior of the two-bedroom structure according to a search of the city’s building permit records. These improvements were factored into the 2021 assessment, which increased to $531,300. 
  • A 1,037 square foot condominium unit at 820 East High Street sold for $425,000, or 24.16 percent over the 2020 assessment. The 2021 assessment increased to $410,600. 
  • A home in the 1200 block of Holmes Avenue sold for $275,000, or 12.8 over the 2021 assessment. 
  • A home in the 1000 block of St. Clair Avenue sold for $251,300, or 9.43 percent over 2021 assessment. 
  • Zaki Property LLC purchased a home in the 900 block of Altavista Avenue for $275,000, or 7 percent over the 2021 assessment.
224 Wine Street (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

January 21, 2021:

  • One side of a duplex in the 1400 block of Vine Street sold for $193,000 to HNS Group LLC. That’s 42 percent over the 2020 assessment, and 14.47 percent over the 2021 assessment. HNS purchased the other side last June. 
  • A new four-bedroom townhouse unit on Lochlyn Hill Road sold for $430,014. 
  • A home on Trailridge Road in the Johnson Village neighborhood sold for $365,000. That’s 27.27 percent over the 2020 assessment, and 13.5 percent over the 2021 assessment.

January 22, 2021:

  • The sale of a two-bedroom home in the 700 block of Anderson Street in the 10th and Page neighborhood provides an interesting glimpse into the assessment process. The 1941 single-family home last sold in 1997 for $48,000, and had a 2020 assessment of $176,000. That jumped to $257,300 for 2021. The land value held steady at $65,900, but the value of the structure jumped from $110,100 in 2020 to $191,400 in 2021. That means the sales price of $255,000 is actually 2.84 percent below the current assessment. 
  • Rialto Townhomes LLC paid $150,000 for two undeveloped lots on Rialto Street. The assessed value of each lot is $125,600. 

January 25, 2021

  • Not all houses sell above the assessed value. A one-story home in the 600 block of Bolling Avenue sold for $165,000. That’s 21.76 percent below the 2021 assessment. That breaks down $70,700 for the land and $140,200 for the structure. 
  • A three-bedroom townhouse unit in the Lochlyn Hills neighborhood sold for $454,780.  The 2021 assessment only includes a land value of $100,100. 

January 26, 2021

  • A one-story home built in 1940 in the 600 block of Druid Avenue sold for $275,000, which is just over 25 percent of the 2021 assessment of $219,500. The assessment did not increase significantly over 2020. 
603 Druid Avenue (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

January 27, 2021

  • A 0.128-acre lot in the Lochlyn Hills development sold for $152,250. The vacant lot in the planned unit development was assessed in both 2020 and 2021 at $140,000.
  • A one-story home in the 900 block of Bolling Avenue in Belmont sold for $275,000. That’s 31 percent over the 2020 assessment and 29 percent over the 2021 assessment of $213,300. 
  • A new single-family home in Belmont Point sold for $544,635. The structure on Castalia Street Extended itself is not included in the assessment for either 2020 or 2021 because construction by Southern Development was not complete. The land value for the 0.173 acre lot increased from $55,000 to $125,000 in the new assessment. 
  • A two-story condominium in the Ridgecrest complex in Belmont sold for $208,000. The 2020 assessment was $172,000 and that rose to $187,400 in 2021. The structure was built in 2001. 
Rear of 121 Waterbury Court (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

January 28, 2021:

  • A house in the 2700 block of Jefferson Park Avenue sold for $358,000. That’s 26.73 percent over the 2020 assessment and 4.37 percent over the 2021 assessment. The property last sold in 1996 for $116,000. 
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