Southern Development agrees to contribute $900K more to Stribling sidewalk, PC recommends rezoning approval

A rezoning of 12 wooded acres in Charlottesville’s Fry’s Spring neighborhood moved one step closer to approval last night. The seven-member Planning Commission recommended approval of a project that goes by the name 240 Stribling that would see 170 units. 

On September 14, the developer asked for a deferral of a decision following a public hearing. City Planner Matt Alfele has this recap.

“During the public hearing, the Planning Commission heard from 16 members of the public,” Alfele said. “Most speakers raised concern about the safety of Stribling Avenue and how additional dwelling units on the subject property would be detrimental to public safety.” 

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Summary of November’s TJPDC meeting: 50th anniversary, $2M for affordable housing, and more

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District will mark its 50th anniversary next year. But what does the agency do? Every month I take a listen and write up a rundown for Charlottesville Community Engagement. Here’s the one from November 4, 2021.

The TJPDC’s public entity’s creation stemmed out of reform in Virginia. David Blount is the deputy director of the TJPDC and he explained the passage of the Regional Cooperation Act in 1968.  (state code)

“[Planning District Commissions] and the framework for them is laid out in state code,” Blount said. “It’s encouraging and facilitating not only that local government cooperation, but also providing that link between the state and localities for addressing issues on a regional basis.” 

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Albemarle may close FY21 with $13.2M in one-time money

As Albemarle prepares a budget for fiscal year 2023, County Executive Jeffrey Richardson briefed Supervisors on the closing of Fiscal Year 21 at a meeting on November 3, 2021

Like all localities, Albemarle was affected by the pandemic.

“The last 20 months have been unlike any in my professional working career and I probably speak for staff when I say our challenges and the kinds of issues and problems we face are unlike any that we have faced in our career,” Richardson said. 

The pandemic began officially in Virginia on March 12, 2020 with the declaration of a state of emergency. That happened just as Albemarle was finalizing the budget for fiscal year 2021. A decision was made to rewrite the budget to pause some spending while more was known about underlying economic conditions.  Richardson said staff initially assumed the worst case scenario. 

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Albemarle Supervisors kickoff Comprehensive Plan review

Albemarle County has formally begun the process of updating its Comprehensive Plan. The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution on November 3 that kicks off a multiphase process and public engagement plan for the first round. But let’s get a reminder on what this is from planner Tori Kanellopoulos. 

“The Comprehensive Plan is a guiding document for the county and is a twenty year plan which includes housing, transportation, land use, economic development, natural and historic resources,” Kannellopoulos said. 

The plan influences everything from the Capital Improvement program to decisions on land use such as rezoning. Supervisors last adopted a plan six years ago.

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Council selects Marc Woolley as the latest interim City Manager

Charlottesville City Council has introduced Marc Woolley as the next interim city manager. Woolley recently resigned as Business Administrator in Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. The city has U.S. Census 2020 population of 50,099. Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall and Sam Sanders will remain in place. 

“Together with the assistance of staff, Sam, Ashley, and Council, I will be focusing on some key issues currently before Charlottesville,” Woolley said. “Mainly the budget and the completion of the Comprehensive Plan.” 

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Study underway for alternative to Rassawek site for Zion Crossroads water intake

The Louisa Board of Supervisors also got an update on progress to build a waterline from the James River to Zion Crossroads. Louisa and Fluvanna are both members of the James River Water Authority, an entity that exists for the purpose.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have to grant a permit for the project and the James River Water Authority was about to submit one that included an intake at the site of Rassawek, an important site in the history of the Monacan Indian Nation. Justin Curtis is with Aqualaw, a firm hired to prepare and submit the permit.

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Site plan conference held for CRHA’s Sixth Street redevelopment

The City of Charlottesville has held a public meeting for the next phase of redevelopment at the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Carrie Rainey is an urban planner in the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development Services.

“What we’re looking at right now is a final site for what is currently a by-right project to build a new apartment building with structured parking at 715 Sixth Street SE,” Rainey said.

Riverbend Development is working with the CRHA on this project, continuing a partnership that has also been involved with Crescent Halls and the two phases at South First Street. CRHA has a new redevelopment coordinator in Brandon Collins, formerly with the Public Housing Association of Residents. 

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Council indicates support for Food Equity Initiative but funding decisions to come later

Food Equity discussion

Representatives of the nonprofit group Cultivate Charlottesville appeared before City Council on November to present the results of the city’s Food Equity Initiative. Cultivate Charlottesville has been the recipient of city funding for the past three years and seek additional money for years to come. They also want two percent of the meals tax to go a new Food Equity Fund.

“We believe that food is a human right and we operate from that perspective that everyone, all Charlottesville residents, deserve access to fresh produce and high quality food,” said co-executive director Richard Morris.

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PFAS levels can be monitored through wastewater pretreatment program

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. 

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Moses, Bell are biggest fundraisers in Albemarle’s legislative races

Election day is just a few days away and the final campaign finance reports have been filed in advance of the big day. Today let’s look at House of Delegates races. Albemarle County currently has four different districts within it boundaries. 

Let’s start with the 25th House District, which stretches from Albemarle into Augusta and Rockingham Counties. Democrat Jennifer Kitchen is challenging incumbent Republican Chris Runion. Kitchen began the October reporting period with $108,930 on hand, raised an additional $29,673, and spent $37,189. 

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