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July 17, 2012

Plans approved for Fresh Market in Albemarle Square

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

At Monday’s Albemarle County Architectural Review Board meeting, members approved the design for a Fresh Market specialty grocery store that will occupy the old Circuit City building in the Albemarle Square shopping center on U.S. 29.

20100515-CityMarketThe Fresh Market will feature outdoor seating and a design that mimics a farmer’s market. Board members said they were pleased with the developer’s latest plans to add another set of windows to the front of the building.

“You have done a fantastic job and … if you can do anything to make these windows happen … we would certainly be pleased with it,” said board member Paul Wright.

“Compositionally, it is nicer,” board member John Quale said.

Members called attention to the fact that the windows would only be a positive addition if they did not feature spandrel glass, which gives a uniform appearance in building walls.

“Spandrel glass on the entrance corridor is discouraged,” said ARB chairman Fred Missel.

The board also held a work session to discuss Albemarle County’s requirement for relegated parking along entrance corridors that keeps parking lots out of view. Staff emphasized the importance of maintaining the ability to convert complexes along entrance corridors into walkable areas for the future.

“We’ve got to set things up for a ‘now’ and a ‘later’ so that you have that place where people … have the right place to walk, and the right place to walk is not right up on the road with the moving traffic. It’s pushed back,” said Elaine Echols, principal planner for Albemarle County.

Continue reading "Plans approved for Fresh Market in Albemarle Square" »

July 15, 2012

Meet Your Government: Summer Frederick

 Meet your government: Summer Frederick 20120626-Frederick_Summer

Project Manager, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission

Where were you born (and raised, if different)?

I was born in Lake Forest, IL, and raised in Annandale, VA

When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?

I moved here July of 1997 to finish my undergraduate degree at UVA

What neighborhood do you live in now?

Belmont!

Family (spouse, kids, etc)?

Parents and extended family scattered near and far.

What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?

I started college at West Virginia Wesleyan College, left after two-and-a-half years, took a good bit of a break from higher education, then returned and graduated from UVA.

Twice - 1999 BA, and 2005 MUEP

What were you doing before coming to the TJPDC?

I worked for Albemarle County as a Senior Planner of Current Development. The "Current Development" division no longer exists. The Community Development Department has changed so now all long range planning and development review is under the "Planning Services" division.

Your job title is Project Manager for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission - what, in your own words, would you say you do?

I keep the Livable Communities Project moving forward, making sure all the various pieces and parts are working together as they should.

Continue reading "Meet Your Government: Summer Frederick" »

June 28, 2012

City and county seek common goals for joint planning

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler & Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, June 28, 2012

Planning staff and officials in the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County will spend this summer identifying joint goals to include in their respective comprehensive plan updates.

Earlier this year, officials identified seven shared priorities: historic preservation, entrance corridors, environment, housing, economy, transportation and land use. In separate meetings Tuesday, each planning commission began identifying specific opportunities for the first three of those topics.

20120626-Frederick_Summer
Summer Frederick, Project Manager, TJPDC

Summer Frederick, a project manager with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, spoke to the Albemarle Planning Commission after giving a similar briefing in the city.

“What we are looking for is for you to discuss these topics and come up with … specific opportunities to work with the city to come up with joint goals,” said Frederick.

The TJPDC is working with the city, county and the University of Virginia as part of a three-year $1 million federal grant awarded in 2010 for what is known as the Livable Communities Planning Project. One goal is to facilitate the comprehensive plan updates that guide local government planning decisions.

Albemarle Commissioner Bruce Dotson noted the results of a community survey from a previous comprehensive plan update.

“The thing that I remember from that … was how many residents of the city said that what they liked about the area were things that are located in the county, and vice versa, how many county residents liked things located in the city,” Dotson said. “The ultimate success in preserving the rural area is when urban people value it, and vice versa.”

Continue reading "City and county seek common goals for joint planning" »

June 25, 2012

New West Main hotel gets partial approval from BAR

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, June 25, 2012

The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review has granted two approvals necessary before a new hotel can be built at the corner of West Main Street and Ridge-McIntire.

“We would like to be under construction in the spring,” said Charles Wendell, the developer of the new Marriott Residence Inn. “The design of this property is going to take six months.”

Residence-inn-plans
Source: City of Charlottesville

In order for design to proceed, Wendell needed the BAR to grant certificates of appropriateness because the building is located within the downtown architectural design control district.

Last week, the BAR approved the massing for the project, as well as the materials that will be used for the seven-story building.

“It sounds like the consensus is that we are OK with stucco as long as it is detailed and we can reach a color agreement further down the road,” said BAR member Preston Coiner.

The property is already zoned for commercial use so Wendell only needs the site plan to be approved by city staff.

“If we can get it approved by September, then I would think we can have a building permit by March 1,” Wendell said.

Continue reading "New West Main hotel gets partial approval from BAR" »

June 19, 2012

Albemarle seeks to give design advice earlier in development process and calls for reconsideration of relegated parking

DailyProgressBy Ian Lamb
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Albemarle Architectural Review Board passed a resolution Monday supporting the addition of an ARB representative to the county’s site review committee in an effort to streamline the development review process.

20120618-ARB2
Charles Lebo & Fred Missel, Albemarle Architectural Review Board

The committee, which contains a representative to assess each aspect of a development project, such as transportation issues, fire and rescue considerations, and engineering, is intended to prepare a development request for review by staff, the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors.

For plans requiring ARB review, applicants could take advantage of a “pre-application” phase where basic site plan information, including building location and size, would be given to the committee for review. This initial evaluation of plans would serve to identify areas of applicants’ proposals that may need adjustment.

“The pre-application submittal would allow someone to submit some basic information and staff would then have 10 days to review it and provide a response,” said Bill Fritz, Albemarle’s chief of special projects. “What [the committee] would be doing is identifying major issues at that point.”

Although a representative of the ARB would sit on the committee and review the pre-applications, all comments made would be considered recommendations. Only plan changes supported by specific ordinances would be compulsory.

Continue reading "Albemarle seeks to give design advice earlier in development process and calls for reconsideration of relegated parking" »

June 10, 2012

Placemaking: Peter Thompson

 

20120426-Placemaking

Our 2012 annual community conversation took a look at the concept of placemaking and the  findings from the Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community project which reveal how attachment to place drives economic vitality – and how understanding those attachments can direct the ways in which a place chooses to change and grow.

This series features reflections from community members who attended the event. We hope their stories will inspire you to define your version of this community’s narrative and use it as a lens through which to view decisions that will impact the character of this community.

Peter ThompsonName: Peter Thompson
Age: 52
City/County resident? Albemarle County
Occupation: Executive Director, Senior Center

How long have you lived in Albemarle?
35 years this fall!

Why did you come here?
I’m a ‘came to UVa and refused to leave’ resident.

What do you love most about where you live?
So many things, but I think the driving force is that people who live here care about our community and making it great today and for future generations. I don’t agree with everyone but people care, do their homework, voice their opinion, give their time, talent, and treasure to build our community. I think this comes from our strong sense of place which is based in large part to our history and those who settled our area originally. 

Any takeaways from the Placemaking event?
I was inspired by the Placemaking event for many reasons. I was impressed to see the depth of the research that was presented in what makes a community great, and how those key ingredients are also tied to positive economic development. I was reassured of the importance of a community being open to a wide variety of people and viewpoints, and of the value of maintaining the natural beauty that surrounds us in greater Charlottesville. And I was honored that the work of our Senior Center in being a vital public place to enhance gatherings and community is valued by the concepts of Placemaking.

Continue reading "Placemaking: Peter Thompson" »

June 06, 2012

Placemaking: Bill Emory

 

20120426-Placemaking

Our 2012 annual community conversation took a look at the concept of placemaking and the  findings from the Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community project which reveal how attachment to place drives economic vitality – and how understanding those attachments can direct the ways in which a place chooses to change and grow.

This series features reflections from community members who attended the event. We hope their stories will inspire you to define your version of this community’s narrative and use it as a lens through which to view decisions that will impact the character of this community.


Name
: Bill Emory
Age: 59

Emory
Photo courtesy of Andrew Shurtleff.

City/County resident? City
Occupation: Photographer

How long have you lived in Charlottesville?
Thirty years in Charlottesville, 11 years in Albemarle: forty-one years total.

Why did you come here?
To attend UVa.

What do you love most about where you live? 
Today I love the mulberry trees that line the road and feed me when I walk my dog.

Any takeaways from the Placemaking event?
“Let’s write a narrative!”

The Soul of the Community research says there are four top attachment drivers which connect a person to their place: aesthetics, openness, social offerings, and education. Of those four things, where are we most successful and where do we need more work?
I happily cede discussion of openness, social offerings and education to those qualified and interested in speaking about such. I am interested in the fourth “attachment driver” that Soul of the Community chooses to call aesthetics; I would call it “landscape (natural environment) and architecture.”

If placemaking was central to our decision-making, what might this community do differently?
We would be more thoughtful in our stewardship and use of green infrastructure, the aforementioned natural environment.

Continue reading "Placemaking: Bill Emory" »

June 05, 2012

Green screens and donut shop windows under review by Albemarle

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Green vegetative building screens and windows on a new Dunkin Donuts were among the topics discussed during Monday’s Albemarle Architectural Review Board meeting.

Katurah Roell, from the Piedmont Development Group, was given the go-ahead for his company’s plans to renovate the Pantops Med Express building. The plan includes a green screen, essentially a vertical plant trellis, which will improve the building’s facade.

20120604-ARBMembers
Albemarle County Architectural Review Board

However, this addition to the Med Express building caused ARB members to discuss the possible need for more regulations concerning green screens. Members noted that other green screens on buildings in the Barracks Road Shopping Center have not been successful.

“My fear is we get these green screens on all these things in places — for example, on Barracks Road — and there are some places that look great and there are other walls that seemingly never get covered,” said board member Paul Wright.

Board Chairman Fred Missel said that perhaps the lattices themselves should be regulated in the future, in case plants do not thrive and cover them in a reasonable amount of time.

“We’re probably going to see a lot of green screens because it seems to be the Stonefield approach to mitigating blank walls,” Missel said, referring to an approach being used on the new Trader Joe’s grocery store. “As we entertain more and more of these green screen ideas, we may want to consider what the green screen looks like without the plants, just in case.”

Continue reading "Green screens and donut shop windows under review by Albemarle" »

June 03, 2012

Placemaking: Ruth Kastenmayer

 

20120426-Placemaking

Our 2012 annual community conversation took a look at the concept of placemaking and the  findings from the Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community project which reveal how attachment to place drives economic vitality – and how understanding those attachments can direct the ways in which a place chooses to change and grow.

This series features reflections from community members who attended the event. We hope their stories will inspire you to define your version of this community’s narrative and use it as a lens through which to view decisions that will impact the character of this community.

Name: Ruth Kastenmayer RuthK
Age: 69
City/County resident? City
Occupation: I am a retired college webmaster and instructor in Web Design and Development. I am currently a Web/WordPress volunteer for several Charlottesville schools and nonprofits, as well as a volunteer tutor/mentor for ESL students at Jackson-Via Elementary School.

How long have you lived in Charlottesville? My husband and I came to Charlottesville for a weekend in the summer of 2006 to celebrate our anniversary and left the city having signed a contract on a new home, much to the surprise of our family and friends! We got organized, downsized, and moved here in January 2007.

Why did you come here?  
We met here in the early sixties as graduate students at UVa so we were familiar with Charlottesville, but the impact of staying at a downtown motel and walking through the Grounds, exploring the Corner and then walking down West Main past the impressive UVa Health Center and on to the Downtown Mall and the Pavilion was huge. We both knew that this was the PLACE we wanted to move to for retirement - IF we could find a walkable neighborhood, near a grocery store and pharmacy, on the bus lines, and close to both UVa and the Downtown Mall.

We located a realtor and were very fortunate to find one of the last units available in our townhome community on Fifth Street Extended. We have loved it here from the start! Malcolm Gladwell in Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking describes this kind of spur-of-the-moment decision as often better than those made with a lot of forethought, and in this case, I have to agree. "Spirit of Place" probably influences our decisions more than we might realize at the time.

What do you love most about where you live?
There are so many things we really enjoy here! Our Saturday morning bus trip to the City Market and Downtown would be high on the list as would our involvement in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UVa and the Senior Center. My two days a week as a JABA FISH volunteer at Jackson-Via Elementary School have given me a new intergenerational "family" to work and play with as well as an impetus to start learning a little Arabic to be more in tune with the Arabic-speaking ESL students I help. Though fairly new at the school, I am catching up with the past as I help teachers and staff remember Jackson-Via in cvillepedia. In addition, my position as webmaster for OLLI at UVa has put me in touch with a community of Web and IT enthusiasts of all ages and makes it possible for me to enjoy workshops and classes both downtown and at UVa so that I can keep up with the latest and greatest in those areas.

We have found everything we wanted in a neighborhood, including the convenience of the Willoughby Square Shopping Center across the street and our two bus routes. We enjoy exploring the unique Fry's Spring neighborhood as we walk to get pizza or ice cream on Fontaine Avenue, but we can also forego the 10-minute bus ride and walk downtown for all that is offered there. The Jefferson School City Center will be a very attractive new addition to our Charlottesville PLACE as will the proposed botanical garden in McIntire Park East and proposed market district. Since CAT expands our neighborhood to include the whole city, I am hoping in the future to see more frequent service that is also available on Sundays and holidays.

I expect my answers will change and my list of things I love will continue to expand as the years go by and my attachment to our wonderful Charlottesville PLACE grows.

Any takeaways from the Placemaking event?
I was impressed by the diversity in ages of the attendees and their obvious devotion to helping to make this city the very best that it can be. Overall, the attendees with whom I spoke were very positive! I heard many ideas and very few complaints.

Continue reading "Placemaking: Ruth Kastenmayer" »

June 01, 2012

Brothels shaped Charlottesville’s history

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, June 1, 2012

The Garrett Street neighborhood, just south of Water Street, was once well known as Charlottesville’s very own red-light district. Daniel Bluestone’s History Week presentation, “The Other Side of the Tracks: Charlottesville Prostitution and Environmental Justice,” revealed the impacts that the brothel industry had on neighborhoods and architecture in Charlottesville.

20120201-Bluestone
Daniel Bluestone at a February 2012 briefing to the UVA School of Architecture. Photo by Sabrina Schaeffer, The Daily Progress.

Bluestone, a professor of architectural history at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, connected the history of prostitution in the now redeveloped Garrett Street neighborhood to the present day efforts to redesign the Belmont Bridge. He spoke Wednesday in City Council chambers, as part of Celebrate 250.

Bluestone said he noticed that the approaches to the bridge separated a predominately white neighborhood from a black neighborhood on the west side of the bridge. He then began to research the history of those neighborhoods before Charlottesville’s urban renewal program, which demolished Vinegar Hill and the Garrett Street area in the 1960s and 1970s.

“I started looking around that neighborhood on the west side of the bridge approach and I noticed [in photos that] there were a few rather large houses and I started throwing myself into the task of how we could explain that,” Bluestone said. “How we could explain those larger houses?”

The answer was brothels. So-called “houses of ill fame” were common in this area during the 19th and 20th centuries and their presence shaped the design of the neighborhood.

Continue reading "Brothels shaped Charlottesville’s history" »