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July 17, 2012

Council denies rezoning for infill development in Rose Hill neighborhood

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Charlottesville’s City Council voted 3-2 Monday to deny a request to rezone a lot in the Rose Hill neighborhood out of a concern that the resulting development would be out of character with the area.

20120717-RosannaDannaCvilleThe developer, Rosanna Danna LLC, requested a zoning change on the properties in order to build a six-unit apartment complex on a site zoned for single-family housing.

Even though the change in land use did not match the Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Commission unanimously supported the zoning change because it was in line with current development policies.

“The [Comprehensive Plan] map is a general map and the policies are where we try to fall back,” said Jim Tolbert, director of the Neighborhood Development Services. “The policies they looked at are that we want to promote infill development and more density in areas that are adjacent or near public transit or public facilities.”

The property slated for redevelopment is near Burley Middle School, as well as public transit.

However, Councilor Kathy Galvin expressed concern that the rezoning may not be what Rose Hill neighborhood residents want. She referred to the 2006 Design Day held by Neighborhood Services that allowed Rose Hill residents to outline their priorities for their neighborhood. In those plans, residents stated that they wanted to maintain the character of single-family homes.

“I do think of the Design Day comments as something that’s part of what we should be referencing” Galvin said. “I’m very much a supporter of making sure that we have density tied to well-designed transit and infrastructure, but I’m also very concerned about public process and whatever public process and documents [we have] that gives us an idea of the community’s vision, [we should be] consulting that.”

Continue reading "Council denies rezoning for infill development in Rose Hill neighborhood" »

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.

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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

Council denies rezoning in Fry’s Spring area

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Charlottesville’s City Council voted Monday to deny a rezoning that would have allowed a developer to build seven single-family homes at the end of Eton Road, a cul-de-sac in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood.
 
Without the rezoning, Alex Hancock will only be able to build two or three homes on the 2.5-acre property, according to city planner Brian Haluska. The “planned unit development” Hancock sought would have allowed for more homes to be built closer together.
 
Denials of rezonings are relatively rare in Charlottesville.
 
“Typically, applicants will defer or withdraw their applications prior to things getting this far because of the one-year waiting period on re-applying once you receive a denial,” Haluska said.
 
However, Hancock has already asked for a deferral once before, when it appeared that the Planning Commission was ready to deny the project in October 2010.
 
When he reappeared before commissioners in May, nine members of the public spoke out against the project. They cited concerns about the loss of woods, additional traffic and a development that was out of character with existing homes.
 
The Planning Commission recommended 6-0 to deny the rezoning because it did not meet PUD standards. The City Council followed suit.
Phone calls to Hancock were not returned.

Continue reading "Council denies rezoning in Fry’s Spring area" »

June 16, 2012

Soundboard 6-15-2012 - Charlottesville's news straight from the source

Soundboard

Soundboard: Charlottesville's news straight from the source

A collaborative local news radio program by WTJU 91.1 FM, Charlottesville Tomorrow, and C-Ville Weekly.

Each Friday from 4-5 PM, tune in to hear area journalists and guests discuss local news, culture, and community issues in the Charlottesville area. Whether we're talking about city politics, scientific innovations, or the local music scene, you'll get to hear in-depth discussion about stories that matter.

Soundboard is co-hosted by WTJU's Lewis Reining and Charlottesville Tomorrow's Jennifer Marley.

Podcasts may be downloaded from this website, via RSS, and via Charlottesville Tomorrow on iTunes.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20120615-Soundboard

The June 15 show features contributors Giles Morris, Graelyn Brashear & Laura Ingles (from C-Ville Weekly) and Sean Tubbs (Charlottesville Tomorrow) discussing: 

  • Teresa Sullivan's resignation and its impact on the community
  • disappearance of four visiting Afghani women
  • guest Geoff Skelley from the UVA Center for Politics to discuss the Virginia GOP primaries
  • funding discrepancies for the low-income housing complex on Fourth Street
  • development of the Lochlyn Hill neighborhood has stalled
  • recycling in Charlottesville...and beyond
  • Guest John Casteen, lead photography and writing instructor at the iConnect Workshop, to discuss summer program for school children to meet local photographers and writers

Soundboard is produced by Robert Packard and Nathan Moore. We hope you enjoy it, and we look forward to your feedback!

 
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June 13, 2012

Lochlyn Hill development stalls; applicant seeks deferral

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The developer of the proposed 204-unit Lochlyn Hill neighborhood in Albemarle County and Charlottesville has asked for more time to revise his plans after it appeared the city Planning Commission would recommend denial of a rezoning. 
 
Lochlynhillimage
A rendering of how Lochlyn Hill will look (Source: Milestone Development)
Three of the four commissioners present at public hearing Tuesday said they could not recommend approval because Milestone Development’s project did not comply with the city’s affordable housing guidelines. 
 
“Staff believes that the current application comprises many great things that we want to see in a [planned unit development] application, but there are still holes,” said city planner Michael Smith. 
 
Smith said the rezoning would be consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan but that Milestone has not guaranteed that 15 percent of the homes will be designated as affordable. 
 
Instead, Milestone has proposed that at least 15 percent of the homes be in the form of accessory dwelling units. These are smaller units in cottages, above garages and in basements. 
 

Continue reading "Lochlyn Hill development stalls; applicant seeks deferral" »

May 22, 2012

Land trust tested as new approach for creating affordable living choices

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville and the Thomas Jefferson Community Land Trust have combined forces to create two affordable homes on Cleveland Avenue in the city. The collaboration is the first of its kind in Virginia.

“This is a pilot project to work out some of the kinks but we hope this is the first of many Habitat and land trust partnerships,” said Dan Rosensweig, Habitat’s executive director, at a Tuesday groundbreaking ceremony.

“This is the beginning of a new type of sustainable, affordable housing,” said Frazier Bell, chair of the land trust. “We are looking forward to many more sustainable, affordable housing units in the area and to working with Habitat.”

The partnership, which has been in the works for several years, combines the two organizations’ methods to achieve one common goal — provide affordable housing.

Habitat creates affordable housing through volunteer work. The TJCLT, a nonprofit formed in 2008, provides affordable housing by purchasing land and then leasing it to homeowners for a nominal fee. This allows the owners to only purchase the building, lowering the cost of homeownership.

“The beauty of this is that it is an effective mechanism to maintain affordable housing, especially in a place like Charlottesville,” said Robert J. Adams, a staff member of the land trust.

The collaboration ensures that by separating the price of the land from the price of the house, the property will remain affordable into the future. Because real estate prices tend to increase, the land trust’s lease will last for 90 years, stabilizing the price and ensuring the affordability of these homes for generations.

“In the year 2100, we can come back to this property and it is still going to be affordable,” said Melissa Thaxton, grants coordinator in the city’s neighborhood development services office.

Continue reading "Land trust tested as new approach for creating affordable living choices" »

May 14, 2012

Soundboard 5-11-2012 - Charlottesville's news straight from the source

Soundboard

Soundboard: Charlottesville's news straight from the source

A collaborative local news radio program by WTJU 91.1 FM, Charlottesville Tomorrow, and C-Ville Weekly.

Each Friday from 4-5 PM, tune in to hear area journalists and guests discuss local news, culture, and community issues in the Charlottesville area. Whether we're talking about city politics, scientific innovations, or the local music scene, you'll get to hear in-depth discussion about stories that matter.

Soundboard is co-hosted by WTJU's Lewis Reining and Charlottesville Tomorrow's Jennifer Marley.

Podcasts may be downloaded from this website, via RSS, and via Charlottesville Tomorrow on iTunes.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20120511-Soundboard 

The May 11 show features contributors Graelyn Brashear & Laura Ingles (from C-Ville Weekly) and Sean Tubbs (Charlottesville Tomorrow) discussing: 

  • Bids opened for U.S. 29 Western Bypass
  • City agrees to sell land near Oakwood Cemetery for affordable housing project
  • A look at the local biotechnology sector
  • guest Dorrie Fontaine, Dean of the UVA School of Nursing
  • guest Michele Claibourn, a researcher with UVa's Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service on her report "Blacks in Virginia"
  • Charlottesville City Council supports legalization of marijuana

Soundboard is produced by Robert Packard and Nathan Moore. We hope you enjoy it, and we look forward to your feedback!

 
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CvilleTomorrow_OffcUse_x750

 
 
Cville-weekly-logo

May 09, 2012

City Council agrees to sell Oakwood Cemetery expansion area

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Charlottesville City Council has agreed to sell two parcels of land next to Oakwood Cemetery for development, despite the pleas of one resident who wanted the land to be reserved for future burials. The land was acquired in 1944 and 1957 for the cemetery.
 
“Without ever addressing the subject directly, you have tonight formally closed down this entire community’s public cemetery system,” said city resident Antoinette Roades.
 
Oakwood-map
The parcels shaded in blue are the two that the city sold to Southern Development. 
In mid-April, the council heard the first reading of a proposal to sell 3.5 acres to Southern Development for $10. The firm has proposed to build a mixed-income community of 47 units in a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Charlottesville-Albemarle. 
 
The price of the land was set low because the city used the land to bury construction debris for many years.
 
“We can’t pin down when, but at some point the city started landfilling [there],” said Jim Tolbert, the city’s director of neighborhood development services
 
Tolbert said if the city wanted to use the land for any reason, it would have to pay at least half a million dollars to clean construction debris from the site. As part of the sale, Southern Development will assume the clean-up cost. 
 
The staff report for the council’s first discussion of the land stated the property was “near” the cemetery. Roades, who has six relatives buried at Oakwood, said in an email to the council that was inaccurate. 
 
“The property — which carries an assessed value of $370,700 despite its alleged worthlessness — is part of Oakwood cemetery, a part made up of public land purchased systematically by public officials with public money for the public purpose of expanding the City’s otherwise limited public cemetery space,” Roades wrote. 
 

Continue reading "City Council agrees to sell Oakwood Cemetery expansion area" »

April 23, 2012

Charlottesville residents evaluate downtown connectivity, diversity, and equality

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, April 23, 2012

Issues of connectivity in downtown Charlottesville remain a hot topic for planners and residents.

Following up on a grassroots design competition for the Belmont Bridge — which brought new ideas for connecting West Main Street, Belmont and the Downtown Mall to the surface — community members gathered recently to hear a panel discussion on the area’s future.

Gisweb-belmont
Belmont Bridge area in 2009 photo via Charlottesville's GISWEB

“A community is a place where you encounter differences, and the place tends to socialize you,” said Maurice Cox, former city mayor and University of Virginia professor. “Charlottesville is very fortunate to have a downtown, a former main street, that became an even stronger place for people to encounter each other — the Downtown Mall.”

City Councilor Kathy Galvin compared a healthy community to a healthy ecosystem.

“There’s an ecology of a place,” Galvin said at Tuesday’s discussion, held at The Bridge, Progressive Arts Initiative. “It’s predicated on diversity and I do think that’s something that echoes throughout human history, as well.”

Galvin said diversity and density have enhanced communities throughout history.

“Those cities, those societies, that wound up being innovators were also the most cosmopolitan,” Galvin said. “It’s almost like you need that collision of culture to give you a spark of innovation that gives you the promise of a different day, a different tomorrow.”

As part of the Architecture Week event, panelists and community members also discussed the places where the Downtown Mall has room to improve. Galvin pointed out that there is a disconnect between the people who live downtown and the people who work there.

Continue reading "Charlottesville residents evaluate downtown connectivity, diversity, and equality" »