Tourism is one of the region’s largest industries, and the pandemic has shown just how important the sector is to the municipal bottom line. Russ Cronberg has been general manager of the Boar’s Head Resort for the past five years. He gave a presentation on October 25 to the Board of Directors of the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau. The CACVB markets the region as a tourism destination and is funded by a portion of the transient lodging tax.
“We have 3,891 hotel rooms roughly give or take a room or two in our market currently,” Cronberg said. “Our annual occupancy is around 65 percent.”
Before the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, it would be commonplace for factories to discharge pollutants into rivers and streams without any consideration of the effect of the natural world.
Nearly fifty years later, there is a system of permits and regulations in place to improve water quality. The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority is working with certain industries in the community to pre-treat industrial waste before effluent is released into the ecosystem.
The Albemarle Economic Development Authority administers grant and bond programs that seek to encourage businesses to expand in Albemarle or to locate their operations there. On October 19, 2021, the seven-member EDA Board of Directors formally authorized their role in a performance agreement for the firm Bonumose to open a demonstration facility in the former State Farm Building. That came at a joint meeting with the six elected members of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.
Doug Walker is the Deputy County Executive.
“These two bodies work in collaboration with each other,” Walker said. “They are considering the same projects, the same agreements, and they do them in concert with each other.”
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)
The Charlottesville Economic Development Authority has reauthorized a performance agreement with the Piedmont Housing Alliance for a loan for the redevelopment of Friendship Court. Piedmont Housing Alliance would pay the money back through the incremental tax revenue the city would get from a more intense residential development. Here’s Economic Development Director Chris Engel. (staff report)
“Typically, our performance agreements are done to encourage business development, job creation, capital investment that creates office space or an industrial building,” Engel said. “In this case, the public good if you will is the rehabilitation and addition of not public housing, but affordable housing that would be owned and managed on a long term basis by the Piedmont Housing Alliance.”
The city is currently considering using this tool to finance improvements to Stribling Avenue. This is also the same mechanism that was proposed by the owner of the skeleton Landmark hotel.
The seven-member Charlottesville Planning Commission and the five-member Charlottesville City Council will hold a public hearing tonight on the Comprehensive Plan, the second task performed by Rhodeside & Harwell as part of the Cville Plans Together initiative. That includes a Future Land Use Map which increases residential density across most of the city.
Planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions takes many forms. Albemarle County’s Climate Action Plan has a whole chapter on “sustainable materials management” which has multiple strategies to divert items from landfills. Strategy 5.1.3 is to “identify if there is a need to local additional paper/cardboard balers in Albemarle County.” That item is under review by the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority and McKalips gave a briefing at the
The RSWA operates a facility on Meade Avenue that sorts paper material brought to the Ivy Materials Utilization Center and the McIntire Recycling Center.
“People put their recyclable materials in there and we take those back to the paper sort facility and we by and large bale all of those products,” McKalips said. “That allows us to save a lot of shipping costs in getting them to our vendors.”
The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority has been experiencing higher volumes of tonnage received at the Ivy Materials Utilization Center. Material is sorted before sent out to other landfills. As a result, the RSWA is asking the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to increase the amount it can transfer each day to 450 tons, up from 300 tons.
“We believe that by increasing our facility limit to 450 tons per day will not result in a great deal more traffic, but rather allow us to accept the few, large load, customers that are bringing us material from infrequent large projects (like the field turf replacement project or a UVA building demolition project that we’ve seen in the past couple of years,” reads the executive director’s report for the September meeting.
At their meeting on September 20, Charlottesville City Council held the first reading of entering into a ground lease with the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont, a nonprofit that has been working with the city to use a portion of land in the northeast corner of McIntire Park.
“Documentation previously approved at the Council level goes back to September of 2012 with a master plan of McIntire Park,” said City Manager Boyles. “There have been conceptual designs, resolutions for agreement, a [memorandum of understanding] with the McIntire Botanical Garden, and then most recently in 2017 a final site plan approval for McIntire Park.”
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.”