Albemarle County staff have begun work on the update of the Comprehensive Plan with a public kick-off expected sometime in January. A major aspect of the current plan is a growth management policy which designates specific areas for density. This plan was last updated in 2015 and since then Supervisors have adopted several other policies, such as the Housing Albemarle plan.
“To accommodate this growth, the County will need to add approximately 11,750 new units to our housing stock over the next 20 years,” reads Objective 1 of the plan, which was adopted by Supervisors in July. “The county must support the development of an additional 2,719 units to fully accommodate projected household growth through 2040.”
Time now to take a look at recent land use applications in Albemarle County.
First, a site development plan has been submitted for a new Chipotle restaurant to be located in Hollymead Town Center. Before the pandemic, there would be site plan review meetings for the public to comment, but those have not been held. However, the Albemarle officials are looking to begin to resume the public process.
“These projects are ‘by-right’, which means that if the proposed plans meet the minimum requirements of the County’s zoning, site plan, or subdivision ordinances, they must be approved,” reads the notice for this application. (take a look)
The Thomas Jefferson Planning District will mark its 50th anniversary next year. But what does the agency do? Every month I take a listen and write up a rundown for Charlottesville Community Engagement. Here’s the one from November 4, 2021.
The TJPDC’s public entity’s creation stemmed out of reform in Virginia. David Blount is the deputy director of the TJPDC and he explained the passage of the Regional Cooperation Act in 1968. (state code)
“[Planning District Commissions] and the framework for them is laid out in state code,” Blount said. “It’s encouraging and facilitating not only that local government cooperation, but also providing that link between the state and localities for addressing issues on a regional basis.”
Albemarle County has formally begun the process of updating its Comprehensive Plan. The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution on November 3 that kicks off a multiphase process and public engagement plan for the first round. But let’s get a reminder on what this is from planner Tori Kanellopoulos.
“The Comprehensive Plan is a guiding document for the county and is a twenty year plan which includes housing, transportation, land use, economic development, natural and historic resources,” Kannellopoulos said.
The plan influences everything from the Capital Improvement program to decisions on land use such as rezoning. Supervisors last adopted a plan six years ago.
A routine closed-door meeting of key planning officials in Albemarle, Charlottesville, and University of Virginia was held last week on October 15. The Land Use and Environmental Planning Committee (LUEPC) had four presentations on items related to climate adaptation.
Paul Zmick, Director of Energy and Utilities at UVA, gave a presentation on the school’s efforts to develop a strategy for thermal energy use. That’s one way UVA hopes to become fossil-free by the year 2050. A recent study evaluated dozens of potential ways to reduce reliance on old technology. Some strategies are recommended to be dropped from further analysis such as solar thermal, biomass, and deep geothermal. (presentation)
An Albemarle County start-up that seeks to create an artificial sweetener for the mass market will set up shop at the former regional headquarters of the State Farm insurance company.
Governor Ralph Northam was on hand to announce that the firm Bonumose will partner with the Hershey Company to research and develop reduced or zero sugar chocolate.
“This is a $28 million investment that Bonumose is putting forth in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Northam said.
We are now six days into Try Transit Month, an effort to encourage people to consider using fixed-route or on-demand service to get around the community. It has now been 13 days since the Jefferson Area Regional Transit Partnership met on September 23 Since October 2017, the advisory body run by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District has served as a clearinghouse for different providers.
Karen Davis is the interim director of Jaunt and she stated one of the biggest challenges facing all bus fleets.
“The driver shortage continues,” Davis said. “Jaunt is going to move to match [University Transit Service] and [Charlottesville Area Transit’s] recruiting and retaining bonus programs to try to entice more people into the door.
Plans have been submitted in Albemarle County for a 250-unit apartment complex on Rio Road. According to the application for a rezoning prepared by Collins Engineering, the Heritage on Rio would consist of seven buildings and a clubhouse on 8.23 acres of land. The properties are all zoned R-6 and the application is for a rezoning to Planned Residential Development (PRD). There are currently four single family homes that would be removed to make way for the development.
“At just over half a mile from the Route 29/ Rio Road intersection, the proposed community would be within walking distance to many conveniences, including the numerous retail shops and offices in the Berkmar Crossing commercial area, several grocery stores, the Northside Library, and the large number of destinations surrounding the Rio/ 29 Intersection, including CVS Drugstore, Fashion Square Mall, Rio Hill Shopping Center, and Albemarle Square Shopping Center,” reads the application.
This summer, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville has been updating various committees in Albemarle on their efforts to redevelop the Southwood Mobile Home Park as a mixed-use community. The Board of Supervisors approved the first phase of a rezoning in August 2019, and they got an update at their meeting on September 15. There are a lot of details, and if you want all of them, I recommend watching the full presentation. (watch)
But here is a summary beginning with planner Megan Nedostup with the basic info.
“Habitat acquired the property in 2007,” Nedostup said. “1,500 residents live there in 341 mobiles homes.”
With only four months left in the year, the 2022 General Assembly session looms large and localities across the Commonwealth are putting together their legislative wish lists. Albemarle County will meet with area legislators in November with the hopes of enticing each to carry bills for changes in state law. (read list of 2021 legislative positions)
One request has the title “Enable Civil Penalties in Lieu of Criminal Punishment.”
“The purpose was to decriminalize a lot of the actions that are prohibited under the code,” said county attorney Greg Kamptner.
Many of these actions relate to zoning violations and would convert them to civil infractions rather than criminal ones. Some supervisors were concerned that frequent violators are still able to be held accountable. (sample legislation)