The University of Virginia Health System is one of the major drivers of the Charlottesville economy. Now the entity has released its first-ever 10-year strategic plan to guide its activities and physical growth. (view the plan)
Dr. Craig Kent is the Chief Executive Officer of UVA Health and he begins with a question.
“Why does UVA Health exist?” Kent asked. “It’s to take care of our community. We have 16,000 people that are part of UVA Health and we have one focus in mind which is to take wonderful care of the patients and the people that need our help.”
It has been a year and a half or so since the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission adopted a document called Planning for Affordability that sought to help all six regions in the community update the housing chapter of their respective Comprehensive Plan.
The work is part of something called the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership, a subset of the TJPDC. This month, members of the partnership have been appearing before different elected bodies to share what the group does. Albemarle County’s turn is this Wednesday, but Charlottesville City Council saw the presentation on January 17. (view the presentation)
“The ‘why’ behind the partnership was created is that we all know we have housing affordability issues and its not just specific to any one jurisdiction that’s in the Commission,” said Ned Gallaway, the Rio District representative on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. “It is a regional issue and while regional solutions may vary depending on if you are urban or rural, perhaps our solutions with our boundaries, but the information sharing, the data collection, and the efforts should be shared to help us all solve the problem.”
The population of the six localities that make up the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission grew by 2.5 percent between the 2020 U.S. Census and the beginning of the fiscal year.
That’s according to the latest population estimates from the Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia. These are used by the Commonwealth of Virginia for all manner of planning purposes.
“Population estimates are an important tool used by a variety of state agencies in their planning processes — from developing budgets to determining salaries for public officials,” reads an overview of the website for the data that was made available yesterday.
New year, new opportunity to write about the ongoing update of Albemarle County’s Comprehensive Plan. If you’re new to such a thing, the state code of Virginia requires every locality to create and maintain a plan “for the physical development of the territory within its jurisdiction and every governing body shall adopt a comprehensive plan for the territory under its jurisdiction.”
The plan is to be reviewed every five years to see if it needs a major update. Some like Greene County have their Planning Commission take charge of the process and their current review is more modest. Others like Nelson County and Charlottesville hire consultants if the plan is either out of date or if the Planning Commission gets stuck.
But where’s Albemarle? Supervisors were briefed on the ongoing process at their meeting on January 11.
“The comp plan is being updated using a four-phased approach moving from big ideas and visioning to more details policies and action steps,” said Tori Kannellopolos, a senior planner with Albemarle County’s Community Development Department. “We just completed phase one where we focused on reviewing the growth management policy and building the framework to build the next phases of AC44.”
The Botanical Garden of the Piedmont has cleared a technical hurdle to its future existence in a portion of McIntire Park that is within Albemarle County.
“The proposed activity has been determined as a public use… by our zoning administrator,” said David Benish is a development process manager with the Albemarle County Community Development. “Public uses are permitted by-right in all zoning districts. However, if the proposed public use is not identified in a Comprehensive Plan, a review for the proposal’s compliance with the Comprehensive Plan is required, and that’s a state code requirement.”
The first meeting of 2023 for most elected bodies has so far featured a selection of officers, as I’ve been reporting. Usually that means the beginning of the meeting is chaired by a familiar face who is not elected.
In the case of the Albemarle Planning Commission, that means the county’s planning director. That position is currently held on an acting basis by Kevin McDermott.
“I am opening this meeting because this is our organization meeting and we will begin by electing a chair,” McDermott said.
The 2022 chair had a nomination.
“I’d like to nominate Commissioner Corey Clayborne for chair of the Albemarle Planning Commission,” said Karen Firehock, Commissioner for the Samuel Miller District.
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors has received one important metric they will need as they consider a budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2023. County Assessor Peter Lynch was on hand at this week’s meeting.
“The overall change due to the reassessment is 13.46 percent over 2022,” Lynch said.
A company called PS-Fertility will invest $1.4 million to establish operations in Albemarle County. That’s according to an economic development press release sent out this morning by Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“The company will lease 4,000 square feet of space at 3030 Vision Lane in Charlottesville, which will serve as its headquarters and house a test kit assembly operation and a diagnostic laboratory,” reads the release.
There are supposed to be seven members of the Albemarle Planning Commission, but there’s been a vacancy in the Rio District since last summer. That’s a long time to go without representation on this advisory body. The six members will gather in Lane Auditorium at 6 p.m. (meeting info)
The first item on the agenda is the selection of chair and vice chair. Karen Firehock of the Samuel Miller District was the chair in 2022 and Corey Clayborne of the Rivanna district was vice chair. Both have the claim to fame of also having served as members of the Charlottesville Planning Commission.
After officers are selected and in place, there are three public hearings.
The Botanical Garden of the Piedmont has spent many years doing the legwork to get a facility off the ground in McIntire Park. Three of the 14.7 acres of the proposed public garden are located within Albemarle County. That means the Planning Commission will be asked to weigh in on whether this will be consistent the Comprehensive Plan.
“Public uses are permitted by-right in all zoning districts,” reads the staff report. “However, if the proposed facility/use is not specifically identified in the locality’s Comprehensive Plan, a review for the facility’s compliance with the Comprehensive Plan is required by Virginia Code.”
An entity known as the Greenhouse Abatement Industries Association has filed plans with Albemarle County to clear the way for redevelopment of an old power plant at the end of Market Street just across Charlottesville city limits.
“The owner seeks a rezoning of the preserved steep slopes on the property, which encumbers approximately 85 percent of the property,” reads the application written by Shimp Engineering. “With a redesignation of the preserved slopes to managed slopes, the owner proposes a by-right residential development on the property.”