The Charlottesville City Council has reappointed Laura Goldblatt to a term on the Board of Commissioners for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The body was created in 1954 after a referendum narrowly passed that spring, and oversaw the razing of Vinegar Hill and the creation of public housing units across the city as part of an overall urban renewal plan.
Goldblatt is an assistant professor of English at the University of Virginia.
“There are still two vacancies on the CRHA Board which we will take up after as we are required by statute and ordinance after we have interviewed the applicants so that will be taken up in September,” said Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook.
Earlier this month I asked if this was the summer of AC44, as Albemarle County’s review of its Comprehensive Plan has been called. Compared to a similar effort in Charlottesville, AC44 is in its infancy being at just halfway through the first phase, which is taking a look at the county’s longstanding efforts to preserve rural area land from overdevelopment through growth management.
We’re now well into the third year of the Cville Plans Together initiative, with both an Affordable Housing Plan and an updated Comprehensive Plan calling for a significant increase in residential density.
At their meeting on August 9, the Charlottesville Planning Commission and Charlottesville City Council got an update on the creation of a Zoning Diagnostic and Approach report intended to inform the new zoning rules that will make it easier for bigger buildings on almost all parcels of land across the city.
“Zoning is that set of regulations and tools that define the buildings that can be built, the building spaces as opposed to open space, and then how land can be used,” said James Freas, the city’s director of Neighborhood Development Services.
The number of sales in the Charlottesville housing market continues to drop as the median sales price continues to climb. That’s according to the latest report from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors. (view the report)
“There were 1,380 homes sold in the CAAR area in the second quarter,” reads one of the bullet points in the CAAR Home Sales Report for the second quarter. “This is an eleven percent drop from the second quarter a year ago, which is 165 fewer sales.”
There’s a lot of demand for funding for housing projects across the community, and Albemarle County set aside some of its share of the American Rescue Plan Act to provide support to nonprofit agencies. The county asked those entities to apply for funding for affordable housing projects last gal
“During the [Agency Budget Review Team] and [American Rescue Plan Act] processes we received requests for more than $20 million in funding support,” said Stacy Pethia, Albemarle’s Housing Policy Manager.
Charlottesville has now received all of the $19.6 million in funding it will receive from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan Act fund. Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers gave Council an update at their meeting on July 18.
“It’s been a big help for local government in terms of recovery from the impact of the pandemic,” Rogers said.
The Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership is a function of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and consists of elected officials, representatives from nonprofits, and developers. Last year they developed the Planning for Affordability report intended to suggest strategies for each of the six localities to create more below-market housing opportunities. (read that plan)
On Wednesday, the group convened for one purpose. For background, the University of Virginia and its real estate foundation are offering land through a ground lease at three sites in the community for a partner to construct affordable housing. They issued a request for qualifications in June to develop sites on Fontaine Avenue and Wertland Street. (agenda packet)
Albemarle County and the Legal Aid Justice Center helped prevent 158 evictions in a pilot program that ran from December to this May. Albemarle County sent out a press release this morning announcing the results.
“Many rent-relief programs are phasing out, yet there remain many Albemarle families still deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Supervisor Chair Donna Price is quoted in the release. “Low-income households have not recovered as quickly, and programs such as this provide additional stability for households continuing to face financial hardships, using federal relief dollars to fund legal services and to provide wrap-around support.”
The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority has appeared to have fallen short in its attempt to get financing for two planned redevelopment projects in a current funding cycle.
Virginia Housing, the entity that authorizes low-income housing tax credits in Virginia, has issued its final rankings for this year pending approval by their Board of Commissioners later this month.
Charlottesville City Council had been expected to consider a special use permit for a seven-story building on Jefferson Park Avenue at their meeting last night, but the item was delayed until a further meeting. The Planning Commission voted 4-3 on May 10 to recommend approval, with some members expressing concerns about the massing and scale of the project. Mayor Lloyd Snook addressed the delay.
“There were a number of issues raised at the Planning Commission and the approval that the Planning Commission gave was in some ways was conditioned upon ‘you all go figure ways to moderate this, to mitigate some of the harmful effects of the way it was appearing to be so massive and so on,” Snook said.
City Council has approved an action plan for federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the next fiscal year. Staff had suggested making some changes to the process in order to meet HUD’s guidelines, but some groups pushed back on some of those proposals. (read the staff report)
“Staff will no longer request that the task force be changed to staff advisory,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. “Instead we’re going to focus on identifying income eligible participants to ensure that the diverse voice is always available.”