Category Archives: Land Use – Charlottesville

City Council and Planning Commission discuss elimination of minimum lot sizes in new zoning code

Second of three articles from the September 27, 2022 City Council and Planning Commission

Charlottesville City Council adopted an Affordable Housing Plan in March 2021 and a Comprehensive Plan last November. The zoning is being rewritten to make it easier to build residential units with more density across the entire city. That can take many forms, such as eliminating the role elected bodies play in making land use decisions, and eliminating or reducing requirements.  (review meeting materials for the September 27, 2022 meeting)

On a broad level, the Commission and the Council were asked to give feedback on specific questions. Let’s get right into this one with the second of three questions, asked by Lee Einsweiler of CODE Studio. CODE Studio is a subcontractor hired as part of the Cville Plans Together process. 

“So, the second question is really about lot splits,” Einsweiler said. 

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September 2022 property transactions: Several commercial buildings change hands

This is definitely a much slower month, anecdotally speaking. At some point, I am hoping something will click and I’ll be able to present the data in ways that can more clearly show trends. But that’s not the point of this monthly newsletter on property transactions in the city of Charlottesville.

The point is for me as a person who lives here and a longtime journalist to go through and know who is purchasing what properties. I only identify purchasers or sellers if they are corporate entities. I am not trying to point out patterns. I just find this to be a useful exercise that helps me better understand the city where I live and a beat for which people pay me to cover. 

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Council extends loan to Woodard Properties for Dogwood Housing properties

Charlottesville has many tools in the effort to ensure some residential units in the city that are below-market. Two of them date back to 2007. 

One is the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund, which has disbursed $46.7 million in funds since 2010 according to a report Council was briefed on this past April. (Deputy City Manager Sanders reviews recent audit of Charlottesville’s housing fund, April 6, 2022)

The other is a 2007 loan to the Piedmont Housing Alliance to assist Woodard Properties in acquiring Dogwood Housing. 

“In 2007, Council at that time extended a loan in the amount of $850,000 for the acquisition of 57 residential units to be maintained as rental properties,” said Sam Sanders, the Deputy City Manager. 

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Council approves changes to transient lodging tax ordinance

Tax relief changes deferred until November 7

The Charlottesville City Council voted on October 17, 2022 to update the city’s transient lodging tax ordinance to reflect recent changes in Virginia law.

“The General Assembly for the last two years has made some significant changes to provision of sales tax and local transient occupancy tax to try to address various issues raised by online travel agencies and online travel platforms like AirBnB and others,” Divers said. 

Divers said Council made some changes last year, but the 2022 legislation forces the city to make new ones related to how the taxes are collected and reported. The new law allows the taxation on the total charge for a stay, such as cleaning fees.

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Council vacates sewer easement for 209 Maury Avenue project

The Charlottesville City Council has voted to approve the relocation of a sewer line for the redevelopment of 209 Maury Avenue. That’s a property right on the border with the University of Virginia. In May, Council approved a special use permit allowing for additional density and a parking reduction for a total of 64 units. 

“As part of the development process, the current developer is going to be constructing a new sewer line in a different location than the one that was established previously,” said City Attorney Lisa Robertson at the October 17, 2022 Council meeting.  

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Project to build 245 units at East High Street detailed at site plan conference

It is fairly common for planned developments in the community to become controversial. A plan to build 245 units in three apartment buildings in the floodplain along East High Street is attracting a lot of opposition, including a filing on October 4 with the Federal Emergency Management Agency challenging a recent flood map amendment. 

Charlottesville’s Department of Neighborhood Development Services hosted a site plan review conference on October 5 to give members of the public the chance to have their say, even if the project is allowed under the city’s rules. 

“Our team is excited about the opportunity to create a high-quality, multifamily residence at this strategic location in Charlottesville,” said Gray Poole, a partner with the Selwyn Property Group of Charlotte, North Carolina. 

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City announces new funding opportunities for affordable housing projects

Charlottesville City Council adopted an affordable housing plan in March 2021 and more than a year and a half later one of the recommendations is being implemented. 

“Charlottesville should build governance structures that institutionalize an equitable and efficient implementation of the Affordable Housing Plan,” reads one goal on page 13 of the plan

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Charlottesville Planning Commission might get to review 0 East High project

The Commission also got several updates on projects within the city. One of them is the 245 units planned for land along the Rivanna RIver within the floodplain. One of the meetings from the past I hope to document in more detail is the site plan conference for what’s known at the moment at 0 East High Street. 

Missy Creasy, Deputy Director of the Neighborhood Development Services Department, wanted the Planning Commission to know what is going on. 

“The applicant has submitted a by-right site plan so this site plan is in their opinion adhering to the regulations that are allowable in the code,” Creasy said. 

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Planning continues for safety improvements on Fifth Street in Charlottesville

Topic discussed at closed-door meeting of Albemarle, Charlottesville, and UVA staff

For those interested in infrastructure planning, not all meetings are open to the public. The Land Use and Environmental Planning Committee is made up of staff and appointed officials from Albemarle County, Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia. They gather once a month behind closed doors to talk about issues of regional interest. This was the spirit of a 1986 document called the Three Party Agreement.  (view the Three Party Agreement)

At the most recent LUEPC meeting on September 16, city traffic engineer Brennen Duncan gave an update on the city’s planning for projects to address safety issues on Fifth Street, a four-lane divided highway that runs between downtown and Harris Road. The city did not submit an application for funding through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale process as part of a deal to boost the city’s project management capabilities. (view the presentation

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Council briefed on draft Charlottesville Climate Action Plan

Charlottesville City Council got a first look at the long-awaited Climate Action Plan for Charlottesville at a work session on October 3. The document is intended to help steer the city towards meeting energy efficiency goals. (view the plan)

“The City of Charlottesville committed to developing a Climate Action Plan, or CAP, to achieve greenhouse gas reductions of 45 percent by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Kristel Riddervold is the manager of the environmental sustainability division in the Charlottesville Public Works Department. 

“It identifies projects, programs, policies, processes, and some key resources needed to support action in the near-term,” Riddervold continued.  

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