Category Archives: Housing

Charlottesville moving forward to hire city attorney

Prospective Communications Director turns down job

Charlottesville has been without an in-house City Attorney since Lisa Robertson abruptly resigned at the end of 2022The city has contracted with two separate law firms to provide legal advice, but that could come to an end soon according to Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. 

“We will conclude the interviews for City Attorney this week and my plan is to come to you for interviews in the intervening weeks so that you can make a decision at the next Council meeting,” Rogers said.

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Supervisors agree to hire a housing position in July, six months earlier than expected

The Board of Supervisors adopted a strategic plan last year which serves as the underpinning of the draft budget for fiscal year 2024. 

“One of the takeaways and themes of this budget is that there have been some objectives which are really about taking our existing resources and work plans and seeing those through,” said Andy Bowman, Albemarle’s chief of budget. “There are also those objectives where we really need additional resources to move those forward.” 

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Albemarle Supervisors hold lengthy work session on proposed affordable housing ordinance

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors updated the county’s housing policy in July 2021 when they adopted the Housing Albemarle plan but have so far not passed an ordinance to impose requirements on developers to set aside a percentage of units as affordable. They didn’t get any closer to doing so at a work session held on April 19 and will have another one soon in the near future.

Last Wednesday’s work session was the latest in a series of discussions intended to create a system of financial incentives for developers to designate units as affordable. The most recent one was in February. (Albemarle Supervisors briefed on grant program to incentivize creation of below-market units, February 15, 2023)

This time around, Housing Policy Manager Stacy Pethia wanted feedback from Supervisors.

“We would really like to get feedback on the proposed cash-in-lieu payments [and] if those amounts are set at an appropriate level,” Pethia said. “Board feedback on a proposed right of nonprofits to purchase affordable dwelling units.” 

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Piedmont Community Land Trust chair details results of Albemarle investment

One year ago, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors invested $625,000 from its housing fund in the Piedmont Community Land Trust, an entity that is now under the umbrella of the Piedmont Housing Alliance. The chair of the land trust’s board appeared before the Board of Supervisors yesterday. 

“We have taken that money and converted it into 12 permanent new construction units,” said Keith Smith. “Just to put a little numbers to it, that translates into $4.8 million dollars worth of homes.” 

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Council signals support for affordable housing fund recipients

In the past six months, the city of Charlottesville has made changes to the way affordable housing projects are funded in the city. 

Every fall, the city will send out a Notice of Funding Availability announcing the different buckets of money available, including the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund. The CAHF was created in the late 2000’s. (City announces new funding opportunities for affordable housing projects, October 17, 2022)

“There have been process changes since the Office of Community Solutions was created and the Affordable Housing Plan was enacted by the Council in 2021,” said Alex Ikefuna, the director of the city’s Office of Community Solutions.

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Council holds first reading of Dogwood Properties purchase

Tonight Council will take up the second reading of a plan to give $5 million to the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority to acquire a large amount of housing that is currently rented to people with incomes much lower than the area median income. 

The purchase price for the units currently owned by Woodard Properties is $10 million and a “philanthropic donor” previously identified in CRHA documents as Riverbend Development will provide the rest of the funding for the 74 units spread across 26 locations. 

“The city would retain a half interest in this particular portfolio and the request would be for the portfolio to be preserved at 60 percent of the [Area Median Income] based on attrition of units so any individual that currently lives in one of the units would be able to remain in the unit but upon vacancy that unit would be converted to a 60 percent AMI unit going forward,” said Sam Sanders, Charlottesville’s deputy city manager. 

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Albemarle County opens up waiting list for housing vouchers

Community members who would like to apply for a chance to receive a housing voucher offered by Albemarle County’s Department of Social Services have until next Thursday to do so. Waiting lists are open for housing choices vouchers, Treesdale Park, Crozet Meadows, and Scottsville School Apartments. 

“Once the application period closes, a fixed number of completed applications will be randomly selected and those applicants will be placed into available spots,” reads a press release that was sent out this afternoon. 

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City manager’s report: Contract awarded for Buford renovation

The Charlottesville Community Engagement newsletter for April 4, 2023 had several items from the report from the interim City Manager but here are some more odds and ends from the written report:

  • The application window is open for the Community Attention Youth Internship Program for positions this summer for the period between June 26 through August 6. Youth can apply here
  • The search for a new Director of Communications is in the final stages and the position is expected to be filled soon. It has been vacant since late 2021 when Brian Wheeler resigned. 
  • Joy Johnson is the chair of the new Housing Advisory Committee. Her appointment to the body is the only one filled of three slots for “affordable housing beneficiaries.” In addition to being a resident of a Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority property, Johnson is also the Section 3 coordinator for the agency. (current Section 3 policy)
  • A strategic plan for the city’s Economic Development office is expected to be complete in July 2023. The firm Resonance is working on the study, which is being overseen by a 16-member steering committee. A total of 280 people filled out a survey. (Survey launches for Charlottesville economic development plan, February 1, 2023)
  • CAT will spend an additional $3 million allocated to increase service throughout the system with a focus on Route 6. 
  • A contract has been awarded to Nielsen Construction for the renovation of Buford Middle School due to their lowest bid of $71.4 million. The total project cost is $84.3 million, with $5.5 million of that already allocated in previous budgets. That brings the total amount needed in FY24 to $78.8 million. This work will not include renovation of the Buford auditorium. 
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Albemarle Supervisors approve 525 units on Old Ivy Road

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors has approved a rezoning to allow 525 units to be constructed on undeveloped land off of Old Ivy Road, despite concerns from neighbors that the project would overwhelm the transportation network. The Virginia Department of Transportation is undertaking a “pipeline” study of the U.S. 250 corridor west of Charlottesville that will identify potential projects to address congestion.

Some parts of the 35 acre property had already been rezoning to the higher intensity categories of R-10 and R-15, but some of the property is zoned for single-family residential. Much of the property is designated as urban density residential.

“That is the highest density residential future land use classification that we have in any of the master plans,” said county planner Cameron Langille. “It basically allows for any residential dwelling unit type to be developed at densities between 6 and 34 units per acre.” 

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