Infrastructure updates, Land Use - Albemarle, Land Use - Charlottesville

Two urban intersection projects to move forward 

The Virginia Department of Transportation has found additional funding that could lead to the reconstruction of two major intersections in our area.
Deputy Secretary Nick Donohue announced Tuesday that $8.88 million will be spent at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Route 20 in Albemarle County and $5.9 million will go towards the intersection of Preston Avenue and Grady Avenue in Charlottesville.
thorgle
Both projects had been submitted for funding through VDOT’s Smart Scale process, but had not originally qualified for funding. Under Smart Scale, all potential road projects are ranked according to how they address safety issues, relieve congestion, boost economic development and more. The new funding for these projects comes in part from cancellation of other projects across the state as well as better-than-expected revenue projections.
The Preston Avenue project is intended to create safer conditions at its intersection with Grady Avenue and 10th Street. One goal will be to reduce crossing widths, and another is to reduce the number of commercial driveways in the vicinity. Bike lanes will be constructed along Preston Avenue.
“The improvements will realign Preston Avenue and create a consolidated signalized intersection of Preston Avenue / 10th Street, and Grady Avenue,” reads the Smart Scale application.
The intersection of U.S. 250 and Route 20 will be rebuilt with additional turn lanes, medians in the right of way, and new traffic signals. A “keyhole” bike lane would be “added along the right turn lane from U.S. 250 to Route 20. The project would also construct 385 linear feet of new sidewalk on the west side of Route 20 from the U.S. 250 intersection, filling a gap.
free-bridge

The projects still need to be approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. A final vote is scheduled for the CTB’s meeting in June.

 

Land Use - Albemarle, Land Use - Charlottesville, Week Ahead

Week Ahead for May 6

Welcome to a weekly look at meetings coming up in our community.  As with everything on this secret blog, this is an experiment and not considered official.

Monday:

A busy week kicks off with a series of meetings.

Albemarle’s Architectural Review Board is charged with ensuring new buildings are consistent with the county’s design expectations. On Monday, the five member body will consider a new AutoZone at the corner of U.S. 29 and Westfield Road, as well the expansion of an office building on U.S. 250 west of Crozet. We are watching the latter closely as the building is just outside of the county’s development area. Take a look at the full agenda here.

In Culpeper, Virginia Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine will host a public meeting on the state’s six-year improvement program. That fund is one of many sources of revenues for road, bridge, rail, bicycle, pedestrian and public transportation projects in the state. I’m going to take the opportunity to speak with planners about keeping the rural character of several roads in northeastern Albemarle. The meeting begins at 4:00 p.m. in VDOT’s office in Culpeper. Before the meeting, I’m going to participate in a litter clean-up with the Secretary.

Charlottesville City Council has an ambitious meeting agenda with items ranging from an update on the city’s climate action plan to a review of the West Main Streetscape Plan. There will also be proclamations for both Bike Month as well Kids to Parks Day, which is coming up on May 18. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers and can be viewed live through Facebook, the city’s website or Cable Channel 10.

Finally on this busy day, Albemarle will begin a series of events called Climate Mondays as part of the work toward the development of the county’s Climate Action Plan. The first event will discuss energy efficiency and renewable energy in residential buildings, which represents 27 percent of the county’s greenhouse gas emissions. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. at room 235 in the County Office Building on McIntire Road.

Tuesday

If you’re interested in transportation projects in Albemarle, have I got a meeting for you.

The Planning Commission will be briefed on two major plans coordinated by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. The first will be a presentation on the Long-Range Transportation Plan, a document that must be updated every five years to tell federal officials what projects are desired by the community. Want to know what this means? Give me a call and I’ll help you understand how it all works.

The second will be a public hearing on the 2019 Jefferson Area Bike and Pedestrian Plan, a document that is a “focused list of regionally-significant bicycle and pedestrian projects that enhance connectivity to residential and economic centers.” Thanks to a grant from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, my colleague Peter Krebs has been working to develop public support for the plan. The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Albemarle County Office Building.

Wednesday

Crozet is gearing up for an update of the master plan that guides future development. The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will meet at the Field School at 7:00 p.m. for their monthly which will set up the plan’s review. In particular, county planner Andrew Knuppel will brief citizens on what staff’s approach will be to the review. After that, the group will discuss the status of Eastern Avenue, a north-south road that has been called for since the Crozet Master Plan was first adopted in December 2014. I plan to be there and look forward to the discussion.

Thursday

Charlottesville’s PLACE Design Task Force was created in 2012 to advise City Council on urban placemaking. Since then, the group has weighed in on the Belmont Bridge, the West Main Streetscape and other key projects that affect the city. At this meeting, they will discuss the future of planning in the city. Shortly before the city hired Tarron Richardson as its next manager, Council authorized creation of a new position to oversee long range planning.

At the same time, review of Charlottesville’s Comprehensive Plan was put on on hold earlier this year. In early February, Council agreed to spend around $900,000 to hire the new position and to hire a new consultant to complete both the Comprehensive Plan and to begin a rewrite of the zoning ordinance. I am hopeful that I will get an update from staff at the PLACE meeting on Friday, which begins at noon in the Neighborhood Development Services Conference room in Charlottesville City Hall.

Friday (and Saturday)

There is nothing on the agenda, as far as I know, for Friday. This isn’t unusual. But I’ll be working with Peter Krebs to prepare for the Rivanna River Fest. Our friends at the Rivanna Conservation Alliance are holding this event on Saturday, May 11, to bring people downtown to enjoy the waterway that serves as the border between Albemarle and Charlottesville.

Events Include:

  • Underwater Photography at Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center
    Join the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center for a workshop on underwater photography with our cameras. Children and adults can participate. Children must be accompanied by a parent. Your hands will get wet, but your legs don’t have to! Available times: 10 AM and 11:30 AM. Workshop lasts approximately an hour. $5 per person. To register, please email lewisandclark@lewisandclarkvirginia.org
  • Music & Fun at Rivanna River Company

  • Join us for a River celebration at the Rivanna River Company!
  • There will be live music by the Rivanna Roustabouts and Red and the Romantics!
  • Food vendors include: Mexican Tacos, 106 Street Food, and Blue Ridge Creamery
  • Kids Activities: Face-painting, monitoring demonstrations, and more!
  • Shuttles will run from parking at Darden Towe Park (where the morning activities will be held) to the Rivanna River Company from 12:00 – 5:00 pm.

We can’t wait to see you on the river!






Land Use - Albemarle

Albemarle land use report: Pantops self-storage and dozens of new homes off Berkmar

Every month, Albemarle receives various land use applications for upcoming developments. In the interest of letting you know what’s going on, we’ll occasionally bring you information about what you can expect.

Here are two such submissions:

Four-story self storage facility planned for Stony Point Road

A Henrico-based company has submitted plans for a four-story self storage facility that would be just off of U.S. 250. In all, the structure would include over 82,000 square feet of space, including a basement level. The site is on the east side of Stony Point Road and will include a subdivision of property already owned by Pantops Corner LLC. The company has other plans forthcoming for the adjacent properties. The storage building is by-right under the propery’s highway commercial zoning. It will need to go before the Architectural Review Board for design review. The next step for this project will be a site review conference on April 4.

Dozens of single family homes planned between Berkmar and Woodburn Road

A Charlottesville-based developer has submitted plans to build up to 71 single family homes on nearly nine acres of land between Woodburn Road and Berkmar Drive. The land for the Berkmar Overlook project is already zoned for up to six residential units per acre but the plans qualify for two types of bonus density. Without these, Berkmar Development LLC could only build 52 units on the site. However, the county allows additional density for the provision of affordable units as well as additional tree preservation. Eight units will be deemed as affordable under the county’s guidelines.