Category Archives: Land Use – Charlottesville

Release of Charlottesville’s second zoning module delayed

This week those following the rewriting of Charlottesville’s zoning code had expected to be able to review the second module of the new draft. The first was released in early February and set out the basic rules for what could be built and where. The second will add more of details on items such as parking, landscaping, and affordability requirements.

“Given certain circumstances outside of our control, I’m having to exercise what I said early on that we may need to change our release schedule,” said James Freas, the director of Neighborhood Development Services. 

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Planning Commission likely to review 245 units planned for East High Street

The developers of a proposed 245-unit apartment building on East High Street along the Rivanna River submitted a third version of a preliminary site plan in late February, around the same time that Charlottesville City Council agreed to hire a firm to appraise the potential value of the site

This week, the Deputy Director of the Department of Neighborhood Development Services reported that a third round of comments has now been sent out. Those documents are not easily available without requesting them, but Missy Creasy said a round of recent public comment may lead to a Planning Commission review of the site plan.

“So the code allows for the commission, even though this is a ministerial review, the code does allow for the Commission to call up a site plan that wouldn’t necessarily come forward and I understand that we are likely to get paperwork from this body to do that,” Creasy said. 

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UVA building report on Fontaine, Center for Politics: Does Area B still exist?

The rest of today’s newsletter uses the March 14 meeting of the Charlottesville Planning Commission as its primary source material. There’s a lot to go through.

The Commission got an update from Bill Palmer, their non-voting representative from the Office of the University of Virginia Architect. The terms of the 1986 three-party agreement on planning state that this position is to exist. (read the document)

“We have a number of large projects going on,” Palmer said.

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UVa Buildings and Grounds Committee reviews new buildings at Fontaine Research Center

The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors is meeting this week for one of their quarterly meetings. Members of the Buildings and Grounds Committee were shown design concepts for several future developments. 

“The first three concept site design guidelines coming to you for your approval are at Fontaine Park and in support of the Manning Institute for Biotechnology,” said Alice Raucher, the University of Virginia Architect. 

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Albemarle County land use round-up: Convenience store returning to I-64 / U.S. 29 intersection

Every now and then there are items in Albemarle County land use documents that may not rise to a full news story but may be worth telling you about anyway. Here is the latest such a post:

  • A zoning clearance has been filed for a convenience store at 777 Monacan Trail, three quarters of a mile southwest of the I-64 interchange with U.S. 29. There used to be a previous convenience store at the location called Hickory Hill. The new business would be called El Tako Nako Store. This will also need to go through the Architectural Review Board. (ARB202300024)
  • The University of Virginia Foundation has filed plans for the rehabilitation of the Birdwood Mansion including additionals for event space. The site plan shows a small addition to the existing mansion as well as dedicated space for three tents on enhanced gardens. (ARB202300020)
  • Riverbend Development has filed for a rezoning for nearly 33 acres of undeveloped land in Crozet along the future Eastern Avenue Connector. The proposal is to rezone from single-family residential to Planned Residential Development at a scale of six units per acre, for a maximum of 134 units. (ZMA20230002)
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Planning Commission reviews Charlottesville zoning changes in advance of open house meetings

Tonight the City of Charlottesville begins the first of three open houses on the first module of the draft zoning code. For a recap, take a look at the story I wrote on February 4 within 24 hours of the draft new rules being produced. 

The first open house is at Charlottesville High School tonight at 6 p.m. with the second tomorrow night at Buford Middle School at 6 p.m. I’ll be at that one. Then on Saturday, the final open house will be held at 11 a.m. at CitySpace. The meetings are all informal and offer a chance to talk to staff about the work.

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January 2023 transactions in Charlottesville: Sales volume down as the year gets under way; Former Greyhound station sold to national firm

This is the 25th summary of property transactions that I have put together for paid subscribers of this newsletter to have a first look. Since the beginning, the idea is to track what is happening parcel by parcel as a way of understanding what is happening in a market where so many fundamental changes have been made in recent years. What kind of year will this be? 

Just before 2023 got underway, the City Council amended and reaffirmed a Comprehensive Plan that calls for additional density as one tool to bring down the cost of housing through increased supply. There’s also an affordable housing plan that calls in Council to spend $10 million a year in spending to subsidize units. 

For most of 2022, I listed the Future Land Use Map designation for each parcel. Now we have more specifics. At the end of January, the city released the first of three “modules” of the new zoning code that will establish the rules for what can happen and where. In this summary, each parcel now lists what the draft zoning code designates for each property as well as the acreage. 

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Nonprofits have been asked to work on UVA housing projects

The University of Virginia has asked a total of five entities to respond to requests for proposals to develop two sites for housing units that will be rented or sold to households with qualified incomes. 

“After careful evaluation of each respondent on the criteria outlined in the [Request for Qualifications], which included qualifications and experience, project approach, and financial/transaction approach, the review committee recommended inviting three teams be invited to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for each of the two initial sites,” reads the website for the President’s Council on UVA-Community Partnerships.

The two sites are a two-acre site on Wertland Street. The other is a 12-acre site on Mimosa Drive known currently as Piedmont that is off of Fontaine Avenue. 

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Bridge PAI is moving to the Downtown Mall

A nonprofit group that for nearly 20 years has sought to create a better community through creativity and dialog will be moving from space in Belmont to a new location. The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative was founded in 2004. 

“With a mission and vision that pushes us into action, we are building The Underground: A Center for Creative Collaboration,” reads an email that was sent out to supporters Tuesday. “Opening in April 2023, this 4,300 square foot creative center is located on Charlottesville’s Historic Downtown Mall.” 

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UVA Health rolls out new strategic plan

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.” 

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