Category Archives: Land Use – Greene

Thomas Jefferson Planning District region grew by 10.5% in last decade

The Weldon Cooper Center at the University of Virginia has released its annual population estimates for localities across the Commonwealth. Albemarle County has grown by 11.7 percent since the 2010 Census, with an estimated population of 110,545 as of July 1, 2020. The population of the City of Charlottesville increased by 13.8 percent to a population of 49,447. (Weldon Cooper Center site)

There are also increases in most other localities in the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. Fluvanna County jumped 5.9 percent to 27,202. Greene County is estimated to be at 20,323, or an increase of 10.4 percent. Louisa County increased by 11.6 percent to a population of 37,011 people. Only Nelson County is estimated to have declined over the past ten years, losing just over a hundred people to 14,904 people. 

When added all together, the planning district as a whole increased 10.5 percent to a total population of 259,432. Other planning districts that experienced that level of growth include Northern Virginia with 13.5 percent growth, the Rappahannock-Rapidan with 8.7 percent, the Richmond Regional at 10.6 percent, the Crater District at 7.7 percent and the George Washington Regional Commission at 14.9 percent. 

The U.S. Census Bureau, however, organizes localities into Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The Charlottesville MSA is similar to the Planning District, with the exception that Louisa County is replaced with Buckingham County. When viewed that way, the MSA grew by 10.4 percent. Buckingham County remained flat in the Weldon Cooper estimate with an increase of just 16 people. 

The U.S. Census results are expected to be posted later in the year, later than the usual release date of April 1.

Source: Weldon Cooper Center

To put this into perspective, I asked Hamilton Lombard at Weldon Cooer a few questions.

These numbers show a ten percent increase in growth in the TJPDC. How does this fit into overall demographic trends in Virginia?

Growth in the TJPDC was the fastest outside Northern Virginia and Richmond (I’m counting Winchester as part of NOVA since it is in the same combined statistical area). The Charlottesville area has grown in part because of UVA, most other college metro areas around the country and in VA, such as Blacksburg and Harrisonburg, have also grown as universities have expanded their enrollment, employment and spending. But the majority of the region’s growth has come from people moving into the Charlottesville area from Northern Virginia and Richmond, particularly younger families and to a lesser extent retirees.

What can you tell us about the Census? When will we see those numbers come out?

The 2020 Census numbers are coming out much later than they have in the past. Right now we probably won’t have any local numbers until the end of September at the earliest. When the 2020 numbers are released they are going to need to be used carefully for two reasons. One reason is that the disruptions from the pandemic may have impacted the Census count.

For example, many UVA students were no longer in Charlottesville when the census was conducted on April 1st, 2020. The bureau has made an effort to ensure students were counted where they attend school but Charlottesville’s 2020 numbers may still be missing some UVA students.

The other reason the 2020 numbers will need to be treated with caution is the bureau’s use of “differential privacy” in the 2020 census which masks respondents identities by moving some respondents to different geographies. As a result the 2020 Census numbers below the state level won’t be 100 percent accurate. For smaller geographies or populations, such as the population of Mineral or the number of Stanardsville residents who identify as Black, the 2020 Census numbers will often not be reliable enough for use. See more here.

Regional body says goodbye to outgoing director on his way to Charlottesville

(This story was originally published in the February 8, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement)

On Monday, February 15, Chip Boyles will officially become Charlottesville’s City Manager. On February 4, the Board of Commissioners of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission said goodbye to Boyles in his capacity as their executive director. He has been there since April 2014.  Greene County Supervisor Dale Herring is Chair of the TJPDC Board and he read from a proclamation.

“Whereas the influence and reputation of the TJPDC and the quality of programs and services during Chip’s tenure has been greatly enhanced by the vision, skills, and passion he brought to TJPDC’s mission, therefore be it resolved that the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission expresses enduring gratitude and appreciation for the generous and faithful service provided to the TJPDC and this region by Chip Boyles.” 

Dale Herring

Commissioner Keith Smith of Fluvanna County said Boyles took over at a time when the TJPDC had opted to not renew the contract of a previous director. 

“We were in a bad way and just to do a 180, it was purely upon his skill, his leadership, and that funny accent of his, people apparently trust him,” Smith said. “Who knew?”

Charlottesville City Councilor Michael Payne said he appreciated the comments from other TJPDC Commissioners. 

“I’m just incredibly excited to work with Chip going forward and I think there are really bright days ahead for the region as a whole,” Payne said. 

Nelson County Supervisor Jesse Rutherford praised Boyles’ optimism but also made a threat in jest. 

“Michael and you all, I’m just saying,” Rutherford said. “My threat out there of saying that if this doesn’t go well, we will ban all fruit products and beverages from going into Charlottesville from Nelson County. That’s a serious one and whoever the reporter is in here, write that down!” 

Rutherford also sounded a more positive tone. 

“We look forward to the success of Charlottesville,” Rutherford said. “That is not only important to Nelson County but the region. I can’t say this enough, but we have sent you our best, alright?” 

One of TJPDC’s achievements with Boyles in charge is the creation of the Regional Transit Partnership, a gathering of various agencies that has spent the last few years laying out the foundation for a more integrated system. Recently the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) awarded TJPDC a grant to help build more of the framework.

“This award is $175,000 for the development of a regional plan as recommended by the Regional Transit Partnership,” Jacobs said. “There is a match for this of $175,000 to be provided both by Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville over two fiscal years.” 

This plan will involve coordination between Charlottesville Area Transit, the University Transit Service, JAUNT and Albemarle County. The DRPT also awarded a $106,500 grant to TJPDC to study expansion of transit in Albemarle. The county will have to pay half of that as a match. 

“This study is to develop the financial feasibility of new transit services in three different areas,” Jacobs said. “Route 29 north, Monticello, and Pantops.”

The TJPDC also coordinates regional priorities for Community Development Block Grants. Applications to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development from non-urban localities are due on March 26. 

“As of the end of January, we’ve already been notified of one project in Louisa County for a planning and infrastructure grant for affordable housing,” Jacobs said. “We know of a Nelson County potential grant for downtown revitalization of Lovingston. We have Albemarle County acquisition and redevelopment for an affordable housing project. And Scottsville has a redevelopment project going on.” 

The Virginia DHCD is now directly administering a rent and mortgage relief program to assist households during the pandemic, but the TJPDC was in charge of the program in the second half of calendar year 2020. 

“We were awarded a total grant of $1.8 million dollars for the region [and] $1.624 million of that went directly to pay for rent and mortgage relief for qualifying families,” Jacobs said. “That was 570 families in this region who were served with an average of $2,000 rent per household.”

The state program is not covering additional mortgage payments at this time, but are still accepting applications for rent relief. Visit their website if you or someone you know needs assistance

Locally, the TJPDC has launched an online portal called Porch Light that allows people to find affordable housing opportunities. 

“If you know people who have rental properties, direct them to our website and they can go directly to the site,” Boyles said. “We need landlords to list their properties. It’s free. It’s easy.”

Chip Boyles (lower right) presided over his final TJPDC meeting

Nelson County Supervisor Rutherford said the COVID pandemic has brought a real sense of urgency about housing. 

“We’re going to be doing some hard soul-searching in Nelson County and what it is we can do to get some economies of scale and some more dense housing,” Rutherford said. 

Rutherford said he is aware that some newcomers to the area are choosing Nelson due to the provision of more broadband Internet. He said he has a tenant who works in Crystal City and commutes twice a week. 

“We’re going to see some major culture changes in our workforce and in how we operate on a business level,” Rutherford said.

(watch the whole TJPDC meeting here)

Newscast for July 15, 2020: Masks, water, meetings

Today’s edition of the program is sponsored by Mead Oriental Rugs, located on 4th Street NE. Open by appointment, call 971-8077 to set up your visit. Mead Oriental Rugs. 

Governor Ralph Northam held his first press conference in three weeks Tuesday and stated there are currently no plans to move on with an additional phase in the Forward Virginia plan. That’s because there is an increasing number of positive COVID cases in eastern Virginia.

“The eastern region’s moving seven day average of new cases was around 60 in early June. Today that average is 346.”

Northam said the percent positive rate in eastern Virginia is 10.1 percent, which is causing concern that there is “substantial community spread.” The percentage in the Thomas Jefferson Health  District around Charlottesville is around eight percent. The governor said he is directing the Alcoholic Beverage Control and other agencies to step up enforcement of masks in indoor restaurants

“It’s just like the signs in so many store windows that say no shirt, no shoes, no service. Now it should be no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.” 

Northam said he is directing alcohol sales to stop at 11 each night. More information from this press conference can be heard in the next installment of the Charlottesville Quarantine Report. 

The Greene County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing to get comment on proposed fee increases to help cover the cost of building a new reservoir. Mark B. Taylor is the Greene County administrator. 

“The water supply project that Greene County is undertaking is responding to a very real need. Our existing water system works pretty well in wet years, but our customer’s peak demand exceeds the capacity of our water plan. When it’s not wet, Greene County has problems.”

Taylor said Greene’s ability to support a growing population depends on building the White Run Reservoir, a plan approved in 2009 and updated in 2011. The Rapidan Service Authority increased has some fees already. The land for the reservoir has been completed, and now negotiations are underway for easements for water pipeline from the Rapidan River to the reservoir. (meeting presentation

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The Daily Progress is reporting that the Albemarle County School Board is preparing plans to begin the school year entirely online. More than five hundred teachers and school staff signed an open letter asking Superintendent Matt Haas to prepare for online learning given the potential risks of opening schools while positive cases increase locally. Last week, Haas presented a plan that would echo Charlottesville’s plan to have elementary students attend four days a week and middle and high school students. Read Katherine Knott’s story in today’s paper for more details

Today in government meetings, the Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee meets virtually at noon, and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors meets at one. The HAC will be presented with the findings of analysis and visualization on how AirBnB and other short-term rentals are affecting the housing market. The presentation was made by a group associated with SmartCville. The Board of Supervisors will talk about how human services agencies are funded, details on a $1.25 million grant program for businesses affected by COVID-19, and how to improve stream health. There will also be a presentation from Jaunt on how on-demand transit could help provide more options for people who don’t have a car, or who choose not to drive.  (agenda)