Albemarle Supervisors to be asked to support reintroduction of James Spineymussel 

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is working on a plan to restore an endangered freshwater mollusk back into the James River watershed from which it has perished. 

On Wednesday, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors will vote on a resolution giving their support to efforts to introduce the James Spineymussel into the Rivanna River as well as the James River. 

“Existing JSM populations have been augmented in six streams in Amherst, Bath, Buckingham, Botetourt, and Nelson Counties, but to truly recover this endangered species, the mussel also needs to be reintroduced to waterbodies from which it has been lost,” reads the staff report.

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Site plan review meeting for Belmont infill residential scheduled for tomorrow

As Charlottesville continues to change under the impact of a new Comprehensive Plan that encourages more residential density, there are still some examples of projects that could build to higher density under existing zoning.

One such example comes up tomorrow at a site plan review conference that will be held virtually at 10 a.m. by the city’s Neighborhood Development Services Department. (meeting info)

An entity with the name Belmont & Carlton Holdings LLC owns 16 parcels in the area, with one of them being a 2.58 acre parcel purchased in February 2006 upon which an automotive repair use has been on the property for many years. All of the land is zoned Neighborhood Commercial Center, which is the reason there are commercial uses in what some refer to as downtown Belmont. 

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Divided Planning Commission approves seven-story building on Jefferson Park Avenue 

A divided Charlottesville Planning Commission voted 4-3 on May 10 to recommend that City Council approve a special use permit for additional height and density for a seven-story U-shaped building at 2005 Jefferson Park Avenue.  They’ve also recommended reducing parking requirements by 22 percent over what would otherwise be required.

“The [special use permit] is required to accommodate a development being proposed for 119-units of multifamily dwellings within one building with underground parking,” said city planner Matt Alfele. 

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Augusta County official named to State Board of Elections

Governor Glenn Youngkin has named a member of the Augusta County Board of Elections to serve on the Virginia State Board of Elections. Youngkin named Georgia K. Alvis-Long to the position. A press release identifies her occupation as a registered nurse instructor. 

Under Virginia law, the State Board of Elections is a five-member body that will have three members from the political party that won the Governor’s mansion in the last election. 

“Each political party entitled to an appointment may make and file recommendations with the Governor for the appointment,” reads Section 24.2-102 of Virginia Code.

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Alderman Library construction reaches milestone

The tallest portions of the new Alderman Library have been installed, and the University of Virginia marked the occasion with a “topping out” ceremony. UVA Today reports that over a hundred workers were on hand to witness the placement of two steel beams that had been signed by UVA officials and more. 

“The two beams are part of the steel-framed clerestory roof structure, an architectural feature that will allow natural light to reach the study and reading rooms inside the library,” writes Matt Kelly in an article posted yesterday. 

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Charlottesville zoning info slightly delayed 

Work on the next phase of the rewriting of Charlottesville’s zoning ordinance continues, but it’s slightly delayed. Neighborhood Development Services Director James Freas told the Planning Commission Tuesday that a “diagnostic and approach” report was not ready in time for their May meeting, but he hopes it will be out by the end of this month. (previous coverage)

“As this point we are anticipating that the joint meeting between the Council and the Planning Commission to eventually make a decision on moving forward with that report, we’re projecting that happening in September at this point in time,” Freas said. 

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Vacancies opening up on Charlottesville Planning Commission

If you have an interest in advising Charlottesville City Council on land use decisions, and have time to devote to the effort, you may get your chance. 

“There are spots on the Planning Commission that are coming open this summer,” said Missy Creasy, the Deputy Director of the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development Services. “And right now we are in the window for applications.” 

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Charlottesville hires two department heads

The City of Charlottesville has promoted two employees to take over their departments, and has also filled the position of Human Resources Director. 

Mary Ann Hardie will move to Charlottesville from Washington state to take the human resources position, which has been vacant since November 2020 when Michelle Vineyard left after just over a year of service. Hardie has served for the past three years as human resources director in Lacey, Washington. That’s a suburb of state capital Olympia that grew from 42,393 people to 53,526 from 2010 to 2020 according to the U.S. Census.

Hardie starts work on May 16.

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Nonprofit group claims success in effort to reduce GHG emissions in business cohort

Last May, the Community Climate Collaborative formed the Green Business Alliance to encourage sixteen companies to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to reduce their collective emissions by 45 percent by 2025, five years ahead of when both Albemarle County and Charlottesville pledged to meet the same objective. 

This morning the nonprofit entity reports the group has a collective 28 percent reduction in the first year since a baseline was established. 

“Comparing 2021 emissions to the baseline year, which varies by member, the [Green Business Alliance] Boffset a total of 4,800 metric tons of CO2-equivalent,” reads their press release. 

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Regional Transit Partnership briefed on efforts to use public transit fleets in Vermont to carry students to school

In the nearly five years the Jefferson Area Regional Transit Partnership has been in existence, there have been many conversations about how various systems might be made more efficient. One idea that has been discussed is the combination of transportation for school pupils with regular transit. 

“For Burlington, the school district has a handful of school buses for special needs kids but the majority of the school population rides Green Mountain Transit buses to school,” said Peggy O’Neill Vivanco, the Vermont Clean Cities Coordinator. 

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