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.
Classes begin for Charlottesville City Schools in four weeks and work continues to prepare for a year in which more students will not be eligible to get a ride on a school bus. A driver shortage has led the school system to expand walk zones that are still being finalized.
“We are hoping to let families know this week about their current bus eligibility and whether they have a bus request on files,” reads an email update sent to interested parties on Monday. “This status update will tell families if their child is in a walk zone or eligible for the bus.”
Every quarter, Albemarle County’s Facilities and Environmental Services Department puts out an update of its activities. The latest is on the consent agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. (read the report)
As of today, there are 39 days left until the first day of school in the City of Charlottesville. Yesterday, the school system held a Transportation Talk and Walk Session to discuss a recent alert from Superintendent Royal Gurley that the bus driver shortage has worsened and walk zones will be expanded.
This past Tuesday, the city Planning Commission was briefed on a request from one of its members that city government take steps to make routes to school. They got an update from Missy Creasy, Charlottesville’s assistant director of the Neighborhood Development Services office (NDS).
“The city has a pretty robust program that they’re putting together to address how they are addressing the shortage at this point in time and some pretty innovative things on there,” Creasy said.
A new partnership has formed between the City of Charlottesville and an entity that secures open space easements in Virginia, and that will slightly increase the cost of land transactions.
“We have a property owner that we’ve been negotiating with and we have a granting agency in the Virginia Outdoors Foundation that’s providing the funding which has already been appropriated,” said Chris Gensic, a planner in the Parks and Recreation Department.
Charlottesville City Council has voted to rezone nearly 12 acres of land in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood in order for Southern Development to build 170 units. They also voted for the first time on a proposal that would tie a specific infrastructure project to increased revenues that will be generated by higher property taxes.
“This is going to allow us to get infrastructure that we need in that part of the city that we would not have otherwise done,” said Councilor Brian Pinkston.
The members of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission have indicated support for two separate planning efforts for more pathways in the region. Both Albemarle County and Greene County are seeking federal funds to build new infrastructure.
“The grant would fund a shared bike pedestrian path from the city of Charlottesville to Crozet likely along U.S. 250,” said Jessica Hersh-Ballering, a transportation planner with Albemarle County. “From there it would continue west all the way to the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Nelson County.”
As Charlottesville contemplates a more dense future with more people, how can today’s elected officials ensure the infrastructure is in place before new homes are built?
The fate of Southern Development’s request to rezone undeveloped land in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood depends on if Charlottesville Council is satisfied sidewalks will be built on Stribling Avenue.
“At 12 acres, this is one of the largest undeveloped properties within the city,” said City Planner Matt Aflele.
This month all of Albemarle’s seven advisory committees have been briefed on transportation projects from the county’s planning staff. In recent years, Albemarle has been successful at securing money for projects, such as the conversion of the Route 151 and U.S. 250 intersection to a roundabout.
On March 8, 2022, the Crozet Community Advisory Committee had their turn. Planning Manager Kevin McDermott explained how the process works in Albemarle.
“We regularly update a list of transportation priorities and this list basically is every project that’s been identified,” McDermott said. (read the list)
Tonight the Charlottesville City Council will take up two land use items.
The first is a request from an out-of-town developer to build 28 units on 0.62 acres at the end of Valley Road Extended. On March 8, the Planning Commission voted 4-3 to recommend a rezoning and a special use permit, and 5-2 on a critical slopes waiver for the project. At that meeting, Vice Mayor Juandiego expressed skepticism for the $48,000 the developer has agreed to pay sidewalk improvements somewhere in Fifeville. (staff report) (story and audio piece I wrote on the PC hearing)