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May 04, 2009

Potential Belmont restaurant owner seeks neighborhood support

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By Sean Tubbs
Monday, May 4, 2009
Charlottesville Tomorrow

Hinton Avenue in Belmont has become home to several restaurants, and the owners of 814 Hinton Avenue want permission to open their own

The owners of a Belmont house have sent an open letter to their neighborhood explaining the steps they are willing to take in exchange for having their property rezoned to support the opening of a new restaurant.

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In April, the owners of 814 Hinton Avenue appeared before the Charlottesville Planning Commission to request the rezoning of their land from R-1 Residential to Neighborhood Commercial Center (NCC). They deferred the request after several neighbors expressed concern over how existing restaurants are impacting their neighborhood.

“As Belmont residents who’ve called this property home for over five years, we know as well as anyone how the burgeoning commercial corridor along Hinton Avenue can impact nearby residences,” writes Andrew Ewell in a letter dated May 2, 2009. Ewell said when he and his family moved into their home, the house next door was being used as a residence. However, that residence was recently transformed into the Belmont Barbecue  restaurant because the underlying zoning was NCC. Ewell’s letter is an attempt to explain to the neighborhood why rezoning his property would create a new dividing line between Hinton Avenue’s commercial and residential zones.

“We believe that the re-zoning of 814 Hinton Avenue can serve as an essential first step in a comprehensive evaluation of our neighborhood’s future,” Ewell said. The letter also states that he and his fellow owners want to participate in a community-wide discussion of traffic issues in the neighborhood.
If the rezoning is granted, the 49-seat restaurant would be known as The Southern Crescent and would feature French cuisine. Ewell states that amplified music will not be performed at the establishment. No additional construction will be performed to expand the building beyond its current footprint. In addition, Ewell is volunteering the following proffers:

  • Property uses will be restricted to restaurants and catering facilities, meaning any future owner who buys the property for another use would need to seek another rezoning.
  • Ewell and fellow owners will construct an “S-3 buffer” along the property’s southern and western edges. The buffer is meant to be “opaque” so that it can reduce noise pollution from other Belmont establishments.
  • No amplified music will be permitted as a condition of the rezoning.

Other provisions that Ewell is offering that fall short of proffers:

  • Access will be via Hinton Avenue, and not the alleyway between Hinton and Belmont Avenues.
  • The restaurant will enter into a shared parking agreement with Fitzgerald Tires across the street.

The Charlottesville Planning Commission will consider the rezoning again at a public hearing on May 12, 2009.


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