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October 17, 2008

Pearson predicts shorter meetings if City streamlines development review

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Planning Commission Chairman Jason Pearson

The Charlottesville City Council recently initiated a review of the activities of the Planning Commission as part of an effort to streamline the procedures by which projects are approved. The October 14, 2008 Charlottesville Planning Commission meeting was a preview of the format of future meetings if those changes are adopted by Council, according to Commission Chairman Jason Pearson.

“The main nature of that shift would be that we would probably spend a lot less time talking about individual site plan applications and spend more time talking about ways of improving the zoning code itself,” Pearson said. He encouraged those who follow the Planning Commission to comment and to participate in the discussion.

The Commission’s meeting only lasted for four hours, relatively short compared to two meetings this summer which concluded after midnight. The Commission held public hearings that considered altering the definitions of a ‘bed and breakfast,’ whether theaters should be allowed in mixed use districts, and whether the City can allow for planting strips between curbs and sidewalks. There were no public hearings on individual items, though the Commission did approve preliminary site plans for Phase II and Phase III of the Grove Square project near the UVA Medical Center.

The City Planning Commission will hold a work session on October 28 from 5-6pm in the basement conference room in City Hall to discuss the streamlined approach. That meeting will be followed by a joint work session with the Albemarle County Planning Commission to discuss the housing report and recommendations of the joint affordable housing task force sponsored by Charlottesville, Albemarle and University of Virginia.

Fania Gordon and Sean Tubbs


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