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April 21, 2011

Habitat for Humanity seeks more housing for Sunrise Park

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DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, April 21, 2011

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville will ask the city to amend a zoning plan for its redevelopment at Sunrise Park in order to build additional housing units.

Habitat purchased the 16-unit mobile home park in 2005 and worked with Neighborhood Development Services staff on a rezoning proposal for a planned unit development to build sixty homes.

City Council approved the rezoning in November 2009 and ground was broken on the redevelopment project in March.

“We feel that overall we’ve been successful with the project to date,” said Don Franco of Community Results, a firm working with Habitat to develop the plan.  “Habitat has already had 20 partner families that have chosen to live in the community.”

Illustrative drawing of Habitat's Sunrise Park. The potential new section of the PUD is in the lower left-hand corner of the picture. Click to enlarge. (Source: Community Results)

Franco appeared before the planning commission last Tuesday for a preliminary discussion on a potential amendment to expand the PUD to include an adjacent parcel and to accommodate an additional six units.

Habitat purchased the 0.18 acre property from Charles Gentry for $225,000 on February 28. The structure and land had been assessed earlier this year at $165,800.

At the preliminary discussion, no commissioners expressed concern about the additional density.

However, Commissioner Genevieve Keller said she had heard from many Belmont and Woolen Mills residents who are concerned about expansion.

“I can understand why you would have wanted to acquire property when it came available,” Keller said. “But I have received some emails from community people who felt they were being misled [because] Habitat had said they weren’t going to be expanding the project.”

Franco said he did not believe Habitat made any commitment to not expand the site as part as a condition for rezoning. He said negotiations are underway to potentially purchase 1102 Carlton Avenue, but that lot includes one of the city’s individually protected properties.

“Any plans we have for it would incorporate the [Young Building] and preserve the historic structure,” Franco said in an interview.

Commissioner Dan Rosensweig recused himself from the discussion because he is executive director of the Charlottesville chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The final site plan will be evaluated in several phases, according to city planner Brian Haluska. He said the first phase was approved by staff on April 7, allowing construction of three buildings to move forward. The second is currently under review. The project is expected to be completed in 2013.

Half of the units in the new development will be sold at market rate in order to facilitate a mixed-income level within the community.



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