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July 28, 2006

Meadowcreek Pkwy Interchange Meeting

On July 27, 2006 the 250 Bypass Interchange Steering Committee held its seventh meeting to continue its planning for the interchange for the Route 250 Bypass, McIntire Road and the future Meadowcreek Parkway. 


The committee reviewed the fourteen preliminary design alternatives for the interchange and agreed to narrow their focus for future work to just five of the designs, including a no-build alternative.  Charlottesville Tomorrow's podcast of this event begins with the meeting in progress during a summary of citizen feedback, which is followed by a discussion of the design alternatives.  The meeting concludes with additional public input.


Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20060727-InterchangeMtg.mp3


  • 01:15--RK&K’s Project Manager Owen Peery summarizes the positive and negative comments received from the public about the proposed alternatives.
  • 05:04--Committee members discuss possible strategies for encouraging the public to engage more in the interchange planning process.   
  • 06:20--Mr. Peery gives a presentation detailing the interchange project’s goals and objectives.
  • 10:40--Mr. Peery discusses the range of alternatives for the interchange’s design.
  • 15:40--Mr. Peery says that in the future more visual references will be available for the public to get a better idea of the interchange’s size and impact by comparing it to other existing roads.
  • 20:35--Kevin Lynch says that the Committee should increase their efforts to get more feedback from the community.
  • 21:2--An overview of potential environmental impacts of the different alternatives.
  • 26:40—Mr. Lynch says that the Meadowcreek Parkway and the interchange appear to be directly related which would make a 4F environmental review necessary.
  • 30:05 The Project manager responds that the two projects are only linked by the fact that they are both in VDOT’s six year plan. The Meadowcreek Parkway and the interchange have already been approved for funding as separate projects.
  • 34:55--Mr. Lynch voices his concern that if it is proved that the two projects are linked the Committee could run into legal issues if a 4F is not conducted.
  • 38:55--The Committee discusses an information chart Preliminary Assessment of Effects - Interchange Alternatives that is based on the preliminary assessments for the fourteen alternatives.
  • 54:00--Mr. Lynch says the alternative with the least environmental impact will be favored in an environmental review, regardless of other factors.
  • 55:40--Mr. Peery explains that it is very expensive to do a full environmental review on each alternative, which is why they are narrowing down their choices to five.
  • 1:01:25--Cheri Lewis says she is concerned that the subjective information on the matrix might inappropriately influence the Committee’s opinions on the alternatives.
  • 1:06:30--Mr. Lynch encourages the Steering Committee to actively address the public’s feedback in the designs for the interchange.
  • 1:08:10--Robert Winstead suggests instead of eliminating alternatives they should simplify the alternatives down to five main types. The five alternatives would then be no interchange, a partial cloverleaf design, a single roundabout design, a double-roundabout design, and a diamond design. 
  • 1:11:30--The Committee discusses different ways to get the public involved such as public-access television, the Daily Progress, and the City-Notes.
  • 1:18:40--A consensus is reached for the project team to move forward with the five alternatives chosen:
    • A—The no build alternative
    • B—The partial cloverleaf, double-roundabout alternative
    • C1—The single roundabout alternative
    • E2—The partial cloverleaf, double-roundabout alternative
    • G1—The diamond alternative
  • 1:21:10--Public input begins
  • 1:21:30--Rich Collins speaks on behalf of STAMP (Sensible Transit Alternatives to the Meadowcreek Parkway). His suggestion is that if the money secured for the project is redirected to other road projects in the area, the Meadowcreek Parkway and the interchange would no longer be necessary. By doing this, McIntire Park would be preserved. He also advised the committee to conduct a preliminary law review, which federal officials suggest, before an environmental review.
  • 1:24:35--Daniel Bluestone is concerned that there are no sound monitoring 1:24:35--Daniel Bluestone is concerned that there are no sound monitoring devices in McIntire Park, which is a very important area to conduct the sound assessments. He also asks the Committee to incorporate public comment into their designs and decisions.
  • 1:27:45--Collette says that when the funds for the interchange were acquired from the state, one of it's main stated purposes was for it to connect to the southern end of the Meadowcreek Parkway. That purpose has now been eliminated and the two projects are considered separate. Because of this, she does not think that the the funds granted can legally be used and she is in contact with Senator Warner’s office about this issue. She also encourages the Committee to take Mr. Lynch’s comments into consideration because he is the only elected official on the committee and his thoughts echo the thoughts of thousands of residents.

Claiborne Thompson

Note: Claiborne Thompson is an intern at Charlottesville Tomorrow.  She covered this meeting and produced the podcast and summary information.  Brian Wheeler

Development Review Process Task Force narrows focus

Bosdpr20060727The County's Development Process Review Task Force met yesterday (6 of 11 members present) continuing its search for unwanted obstacles that lead to developer frustration and to houses where the County does not want them, in the rural countryside.  The task force was initiated by Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna) in a presentation he made to his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors in January 2006.  In the Board's discussion then, newly elected Supervisor David Slutzky described the challenge facing Albemarle as follows:

“…the perception at least is out there in the community, in some parts of the community, that to try and do neighborhood model development inside the designated growth areas, which is clearly an imperative of our Comp Plan, that the inherent complexities of doing that take too long, are too confusing for some people, and result in a desire to go ahead to the rural areas and do the development out there because it is just plain easier.  That dynamic I think we all recognize is really problematic given the comp plan doesn’t want development in the rural area.”

The task force began its meetings in April 2006 and Ken Boyd has promised it will wrap up its activities this September and deliver recommendations to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) shortly thereafter.  Yesterday, Mr. Boyd identified three main areas to be the focus of the task force's remaining meetings and recommendations:

  1. Personnel issues in the Community Development Department.
  2. Communication problems between staff and developers, between the BOS, Planning Commission, and the public.
  3. The public involvement process

The personnel issues were identified by Mr. Boyd as a challenge because of position vacancies, turnover, and burn out by County planners and engineers.  Attorney Valerie Long (counsel to numerous local developers) suggested professional six-month "internships" where private sector engineers would work side by side in the County office building to provide additional resources and learn the County process.  She thought this would increase the skills of local engineers and provide needed resources to review projects.  There was also discussion about staff compensation and Valerie Long asked if engineers were being paid competitive wages.

Communications was highlighted as a challenge and the task force brainstormed about ways to improve the development application process, particularly in the early stages, such that expectations were clearer on both sides.  Planning Commission Chair, Marcia Joseph (At-Large), described her view that everyone ends up in the state of "analysis paralysis" where plans go back and forth between a developer and the County.  She asked if there could be a way for the County to stop the process entirely when no headway is being made on requested modifications.

Ken Boyd suggested that what was needed was a better vision statement and executive summary written by the developer for every application.  Many members agreed that this would aid in the County's understanding of the developers intent and improve the review process.  Developer Michael Barnes of KG Associates remarked that if he did the work up front he wanted a commitment from the County for a faster review and further that once staff signed off on an issue he wanted assurances that it would not be reversed later by more senior staff or the Board.  Valerie Long mentioned her frustrations with respect to the timing of staff reviews, particularly on proffers, because the applicant in her view is the only one with a deadline that has consequences. She said they are at the mercy of staff to provide feedback, but there is no penalty to the County if it misses a deadline.  Former Supervisor David Bowerman was skeptical that the vision statement and executive summary would help and thought it would just create more bureaucracy up front as the developer tried to write a narrative addressing the more than 100 points in the County's review criteria.

Ken Boyd asked Valerie Long to write a sample vision statement and Mark Graham, the County's Director of Community Development, to draft a description of what the County would want addressed in a developer's executive summary.  Mr. Boyd said he wanted the narrative from the developer to be more definitive on all the issues of interest to the County in advance of the application submission.

The task force's next meeting is August 9th.

Brian Wheeler

July 26, 2006

Mountaintop protection open house

Yesterday, Albemarle County held the first of two open houses this week to field questions from the public about mountaintop protection strategies and proposals to cluster and phase the rate of development in the County's rural areas

Two very helpful handouts were made available:

The next open house focusing on phasing and clustering is tomorrow from 4:30 to 7:00 at the County Office Building.  Next week, the public will have the opportunity to speak at public hearings on these issues.  Officials will not be taking action at these meetings and they have agreed to accept feedback on either issue at either meeting.  Comments can also be submitted in writing at the open house OR by e-mail to BOS@albemarle.org and PlanningCommission@albemarle.org.

Supervisor Sally Thomas reviews maps of the mountain overlay district with a County resident

July 25, 2006

Rural area & mountaintop protection

SqhilltowersDuring the next two weeks there are opportunities to attend open houses and speak at public hearings to provide feedback on both the mountaintop protection ordinance and proposals to cluster and phase the rate of development in the rural areas.  Recommendations have come forward from citizen committees and from work related to the Board of Supervisors' review of our comprehensive plan for the rural areas.  Now they want your feedback!

Additional resources on Albemarle County's website:

This week you can stop by the second floor lobby of the County Office Building between 4:30 pm and 7:00 pm to review materials and talk to staff about the proposed ordinances – presentations will be offered several times throughout the evening.

  • Mountain Overlay District Open House * Tues, July 25
  • Phasing and Clustering Open House * Thurs, July 27

Next week, there are two public input sessions before the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission.  Both meetings will be held in the Burley Middle School Auditorium beginning at 6:00 pm.

  • Mountain Overlay District public hearing * Tues,  Aug 1
  • Phasing and Clustering public hearing * Thurs, Aug 3

Brian Wheeler

July 24, 2006

Major retail development for 5th St and Avon

Avoncenter200607a As reported in last Saturday's Daily Progress, Albemarle County is reviewing a rezoning application for the property between 5th Street and Avon Street just over the border from the City of Charlottesville.  The project, named "5th Street -- Avon Center" on the rezoning application, proposes almost 400,000 sq.ft. of commercial buildings as follows:

  • Grocery store - 84,500 sq.ft.
  • Two restaurants
  • Home improvement store - 138,000 sq.ft.
  • Major retail store - 105,000 sq.ft.
  • Three small retail stores totaling 35,800 sq.ft.

The site plan shown in the rezoning application (click image for larger version) also shows a connector road between 5th Street and Avon Street.  Avon Street has no interchange on I-64.  Another 7.85 acres is designated for future offices, some of which would be on top of the City's old trash dump along Moore's Creek.  These offices would add another 51,292 to 68,389 sq.ft. of commercial buildings.

No public meetings have been scheduled for this project which is likely to start its review in a work session with the Albemarle County Planning Commission.

Brian Wheeler

Regional transit authority moves forward, Univeristy takes a backseat

Mpo20060719_1At their July 19, 2006 meeting, the Policy Board of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved a resolution of intent committing the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to the establishment of a regional transit authority.  The approved resolution will now go before the City Council and Board of Supervisors for endorsement.

At is June 2006 meeting, the MPO agreed on the goal to create a single regional transit authority to better coordinate public transit efforts in the community, particularly as the County's needs expand.  It was determined in June that a more concrete outline of the authority's structure should be developed before approaching the University of Virginia which operates its own transit service.

Highlights of the important points in the discussion are outlined below.  The MPO will discuss this further at its September 2006 meeting.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20060719-MPO-Transit.mp3


  • 01:18 -- Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) introduces resolution of intent [click here to download resolution]
  • 01:50 -- Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) mentions that Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has already indicated their support for resolution as drafted
  • 02:34 -- David Slutzky points out that the University of Virginia is not a signatory to the resolution.  He makes clear his view that, "it's a clear desire on the part of this MPO Policy Board to have the University participate as deeply as we can persuade them to do..."
  • 09:35 -- Harrison Rue, Executive Director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC), recommends that the MPO Policy Board vote to approve the resolution (as amended in the discussion) and send it to City Council and the Board of Supervisors for their approval. The Board then approved the resolution of intent [click here to download approved resolution]
  • 10:25 -- Harrison Rue introduces discussion of the Regional Transit Authority workplan for the next 6-8 months.
  • 16:24 -- Councilor Kevin Lynch recommends skipping the visioning process in the proposed workplan to focus immediately instead on service and operational issues.  Dennis Rooker also questions need for visioning process and cites numerous studies done in the community that help document the vision for public transit that already exists.  Board members discuss bus rapid transit (BRT) as a solution to be investigated by the new authority.
  • 26:14 -- Dennis Rooker mentions County is coming into this authority assuming it is going to have to make greater investments in transit than it has made in the past.
  • 29:20 -- David Slutzky asks about status of BRT study. Bill Watterson, CTS, responds that the draft RFP is still in the review stage and it will consider the corridors of West Main Street and Route 29 North for BRT and streetcar systems.
  • 33:35 -- Dennis Rooker says a determination needs to be made early on as to whether UVA is going to make a commitment to this process.  Mr. Rooker stated that, "a significant component of transit in the community is provided by the University....I think that the University wants to make certain that the funding formulas will be fair, that they wouldn't have significant increases over their current costs, and that they would have somewhat the same level of service."  The Board discusses the goal of having one system, with University involvement and participation, that then may be eligible for greater federal funding.
  • 39:00 -- Councilor Dave Norris asks what specific actions need to be taken to bring the University to the table.
  • 39:33 -- Julia Monteith, Senior Land Use Planner, representing the University of Virginia, describes the discussions taking place on the regional transit authority at UVA.  She indicates the University is taking a wait and see approach since past attempts to have a regional authority have not moved forward.
  • 44:05 -- The Policy Board discusses the draft workplan and timeline
  • 48:00 -- Dennis Rooker suggests the role of the MPO Policy Board at this time should be to design funding formulas for each jurisdiction's contributions to the authority as opposed to getting involved in the details of specific routing and operational issues that would be handled by the new authority.
  • 51:55 -- David Slutzky suggests that the authority could "unravel" if cost issues are addressed ahead of a visioning process about a cohesive transit system identified to meet the community's needs.
  • 59:55 -- On the scale of the County's involvement, David Slutzky states, "I don't envision Albemarle County staying stagnant in its funding, or even remotely close to it, nor would I want our current level of service in the County to be even remotely what it is now, otherwise I don't know why we would be doing this..."
  • 1:00:28 -- Dennis Rooker suggests the authority should be established initially to handle the existing level of service of the City and the County at the same cost level, then it can develop further from that point.  "What I don't want to do is design a grandiose system that, when we put the cost on the table, immediately causes it to fail because it has got this gigantic price tag on it. I want to make certain we design something that can work at various levels of funding, starting out with what we have now, and working up from there."
  • 1:02:00 -- Morteza Salehi, VDOT's Culpeper District Administrator, outlines a framework for next steps.
  • 1:04:50 -- Kevin Lynch suggests more information is required on the scope of a new approach to transit if it is going to include places like Pantops and Avon St/Fifth St areas.
  • 1:08:45 -- Dennis Rooker indicates that he wants the staff of the new regional transit authority to make recommendations on the design of the system and that he thinks the MPO Policy Board should take care of the "nuts and bolts" of getting the structure of the authority established and operational.
  • 1:09:45 -- Julia Monteith shares that the University Transit System (UTS) has a fully functional system in place right now and indicates it would be asking a lot to have the University involved without additional information on the City and County's plans.  Members encouraged the University to be at the table to help shape the structure of the authority.  Ms. Monteith suggests one scenario under consideration should include leaving UTS as it is.

Brian Wheeler

July 22, 2006

MPO discusses Eastern Connector

Mpo20060719On July 19, 2006, the Policy Board of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) held their monthly meeting.

In this edited recording by Charlottesville Tomorrow, we have included only the comments from the public and the MPO board about the proposed Eastern Connector.  An alignment study is about to commence on the Eastern Connector and is being funded jointly by the City and County.  Three potential routes are under consideration: Proffit Road between Routes 29 and Route 20; Polo Grounds Road to Route 20; and a new road near Pen Park connecting Rio Rd. to the Route 20 area near Pantops.

Residents may apply to be on the newly formed Eastern Connector Alignment Study Committee.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20060719-MPO-EasternConn.mp3

  • 01:22 -- Call to order by Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio)
  • 02:24 -- Public comments on Eastern Connector by Harriet Resio, a resident of Riverrun near Pen Park
  • 05:10 -- Response by City Councilor Kevin Lynch on Eastern Connector.  Acknowledges concerns of Pen Park residents.
  • 06:30 Response by Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett).  Mr. Rooker points out a decision has not yet been made to build the Eastern Connector.  The first step is the alignment study to see if there is an acceptable route.  There has not been a preference for a Pen Park alignment.
  • 07:40 -- David Slutzky mentions that the City and County are jointly forming an Eastern Connector Alignment Study Committee.  Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna) will represent the Board of Supervisors on that committee.  City Council will appoint a representative in the near future.

Brian Wheeler

July 19, 2006

Podcast of 7-18-06 WINA appearance

Wina20060627bYesterday I made my weekly appearance on WINA AM 1070 with Coy Barefoot on the Charlottesville Right Now program.  Charlottesville Podcasting has produced a podcast of the program here.

Topics we discussed:

  • Recap of last week's City worksessions on downtown development issues. Discussion of multiple 9-story building proposals.
  • Preview of last night's County Planning Commission meeting and their worksession for a major development called Rivanna Village near Glenmore.

Brian Wheeler

July 17, 2006

City officials hold joint meeting on development issues


On July 13 , 2006 the Charlottesville City Council held a joint work session with the City Planning Commission and the Board of Architectural (BAR) review.

In the first half of the meeting Council members and Planning Commissioners considered land use and transportation issues in the City's Comprehensive Plan.  The second half of the meeting included the BAR members for a review of downtown development issues related to zoning for building height and design, as well as historic preservation.  [Download meeting agenda as a PDF]

Citycouncilpcbar20060713aThe Daily Progress covered the story hereCharlottesville Tomorrow has produced two separate podcasts of this event and provides highlights of the key points below. 

Podcast #1 -- Joint meeting of City Council and Planning Commission      

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast:
Download 20060713-CityCouncil1.mp3

Highlights of Podcast #1

  • 01:10 -- The meeting opens with Mayor David Brown welcoming everyone and giving a brief summary of the agenda for the meeting.
  • 04:00 -- Jim Tolbert, Director of Neighborhood Development Services, begins an overview presentation.

05:00 -- Woolen Mills

  • 05:00 -- Jim Tolbert gives an overview of the issues in the Woolen Mills neighborhood and describes a strategy to get away from manufacturing/heavy commercial zoning towards mixed use with additional residential.
  • 12:09 -- Kevin Lynch (City Council) indicates support for a new road that would go from Franklin Street to Mead Avenue to support improved access and serve as a boundary between industrial and mixed use areas.
  • 30:38 -- Kendra Hamilton (City Council) cautions officials to not create special exception for Woolen Mills because other neighborhoods have this mix of zoning types too.
  • 32:34 -- Cheri Lewis (Planning Commission) encourages outreach to Woolen Mills residents to see where exactly they would prefer business in their area.

40:00 -- Martha Jefferson Hospital Neighborhood Area

  • 40:00 -- Jim Tolbert presents the issues that necessitate consideration of re-zoning in the Martha Jefferson neighborhood as a result of the hospital's relocation to Pantops in Albemarle County.
  • 43:00 -- Jim Tolbert expresses interest in taking a close look at land use needs all the way from the hospital, down High Street, all the way to the Route 250 bypass.

50:58 -- Cherry Avenue Corridor

  • 50:58 -- Jim Tolbert describes the need to examine land use issues in the Cherry Avenue Corridor.
  • 1:06:00 -- Cheri Lewis suggests City needs to identify and enforce proper percentages for commercial activity in mixed use projects.

1:09:24 -- Rose Hill Neighborhood

  • 1:09:24 -- Mr. Tolbert explains that the Rose Hill Neighborhood has issues that are similar to Woolen Mills. There is interest by the neighborhood to change zoning to be mostly residential in area West of railroad tracks and Harris Street.

1:18:15 -- Fry’s Springs

  • 1:18:15 -- Mr. Tolbert reports that residents would like to downzone areas of the neighborhood away from two family housing (R-2) and towards more single family housing (R-1).
  • 1:21:23 -- Mayor David Brown describes the need for affordable rental housing which has to be balanced with single family owner-occupied housing desires of residents.

Podcast #2 -- Joint meeting of City Council, Planning Commission and BAR

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast:
Download 20060713-CityCouncil2.mp3

Highlights of Podcast #2

  • 03:53 -- Jim Tolbert, Director of Neighborhood Development Services, debunks the myth that in 2003 the building height limit was raised to 9 stories or 101 feet. In fact, the building height limit was set in 1972 to 175' and this was lowered in 1985 to 101' where it remains today. 
  • 06:45 -- Jim Tolbert describes design guidelines for Downtown architectural design control district
  • 08:20 -- Jim Tolbert outlines three main questions for consideration by the gathered officials
    • What is the proper scale and mass for the Downtown Mall? Is nine stories the appropriate height?
    • May the BAR consider any other items than they do currently when reviewing demolition requests? Does the BAR have all the appropriate tools?
    • Should the future development plans for a site be considered when evaluating a demolition request?
  • 10:10 -- [Brief break in recording]
  • 11:10 -- Kevin Lynch (City Council) suggests that adherence to historic preservation guidelines in Downtown Mall area will greatly limit construction of where 9-story buildings could be built.  Discusses how narrow profile of the Monticello Hotel building (referred to as "Court Square Building") is an example of a tower that works well.  [Note: This building is about 114' from East Jefferson to the top of parapet.]
  • 16:23 -- Mayor David Brown says sunlight and shadow studies would be beneficial for future building projects.
  • 21:54 -- Jim Tolbert describes project they are working on with UVA to have all downtown buildings added to a computer digital model that would allow future building proposals to be seen in context.  He references the new Google Sketch Up application as a system that will be able to use this data.
  • 24:15 -- Parking challenges identified as a concern of developer and residents downtown.  Currently this is a "parking exempt district," but developers want to make their projects viable by including parking in their projects.
  • 26:40 -- Blake Caravati (Former City Councilor) says City should go to General Assembly to get authority for BAR to give additional consideration to what might replace historical properties that are demolished.
  • 30:30 -- Jim Tolbert wraps up this section.  Indicates that he heard officials express interest in looking at ordinances to address handling of building stepbacks (building mass gets smaller as it goes up) by incorporating sunlight studies and to evaluate building volume limitations in ordinance, and building articulation requirements (ways in which long building facades are broken up).  Cheri Lewis (Planning Commission) encourages investigation into more stringent height limitations on South side of the Mall, including Water Street and asks for an assessment of downzoning impacts on property rights.
  • 40:35 -- Discussion begins of demolition issues.  Lynne Heetderks[?] (BAR) expresses view that the BAR should not consider what is being proposed to be built when considering a demolition request of a historic building since there is no way to guarantee what will ultimately be built in its place. BAR is not permitted to make demolition permits conditional on a promise of what will replace it.  There is no enforcement mechanism.
  • 54:00 -- Kevin Lynch indicates BAR is in a better position to make this determination than City Council because of their expertise.  What comes next is important and should be considered.  Council would benefit from BAR's direction.
  • 1:00:40 -- On partial demolitions, Mayor Brown indicates it would be helpful for BAR to provide commentary to City Council on buildings being proposed.
  • 1:11:05 -- Kevin Lynch expresses skepticism that the City would have to get enabling authority from General Assembly.  Demolition and new building criteria could just be changed by City Council.
  • 1:13:40 -- Kendra Hamilton (City Council) says that if General Assembly needs to be approached, it would be better if development community was involved and supportive in a partnership with City.
  • 1:16:30 -- Discussion of appeal process and factors City Council may consider beyond guidelines before BAR.  Perception that BAR made a mistake when Council overturns a BAR decision.  These decisions by City Council do not sit well with BAR, even though they understand other issues are under consideration.
  • 1:19:45 -- Mayor Brown suggests that two City Councilors and two BAR members meet further with staff on demolition guidelines.

Brian Wheeler

July 11, 2006

City officials to meet on downtown area development issues

SqbuildingsThis Thursday, July 13, 2006, the City Council, the City Planning Commission, and the City Board of Architectural Review (BAR) will be holding two worksessions related to downtown area development issues.  [See our calendar for meeting details]

According to the agenda, the first half of the meeting will be for the City Council and Planning Commissioners to consider the land use and transportation sections of the City's Comprehensive Plan.  These officials are being asked to consider several land use issues raised by a number of City neighborhoods since the 2001 Comprehensive Plan was approved.  The neighborhoods include Woolen Mills, Martha Jefferson, Cherry Avenue, Rose Hill, and Fry's Spring.  Staff is seeking consensus on changes that would be incorporated into the 2006 Comprehensive Plan update.

Click here to download the 7/13/06 meeting agenda as a PDF

SqbusAnother item of business during this first half of the meeting is to review a scope of work on the transportation elements of the 2006 Comprehensive Plan update.  Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc. has prepared a proposal for the City to develop a city-wide comprehensive transportation plan.  The total cost of this project would be $99,309.

Click here to download the Fitzgerald & Halliday scope of work

During the second half of the meeting, the BAR will join the meeting for a joint worksession to review downtown development issues related to the City's zoning ordinance which allows nine-story buildings. Staff plans to share their concerns about this scale of development near the Downtown Mall.  Jim Tolbert, the City's Director of Neighborhood Development Services, describes the challenge as follows:

"I think this issue is much greater than a simple discussion of the merits of the Woodard Project.  It just happens to be the first that has brought this issue to our attention.  Instead it is a more fundamental issue of what we desire as the future of the Downtown Mall.  Currently, our Downtown Mall zoning goes from the railroad tracks on the south to Market Street, areas of very different character.  What is appropriate on one may very well not be appropriate on the other..."

Brian Wheeler