Atlas Projects presented a rezoning proposal that would change 910 to 916 King St. from residential to mixed-use. Last month, the Charlottesville Planning Commission recommended approval. However, the proposal required a public hearing before City Council after members failed to appear at the commission meeting.
No comments were made by the public, but council members weighed in with their feedback.
“I’ve seen this young man in the neighborhood meetings, five, six meetings in a row, letting the neighbors know,” said Councilor Bob Fenwick. “It’s like a model of how a project should have community engagement.”
Council members praised Atlas Projects and developer Oliver Platts-Mills for working with the neighborhood throughout the rezoning process.
Platts-Mills is on the board of directors of Charlottesville Tomorrow.
“I spoke to several different residents in the neighborhood about it,” said Councilor Wes Bellamy. “It’s been rather amazing that I haven’t gotten any pushback.”
Current plans for King Street include a mixed-use building on the 0.56-acre combined lot at the corner of King Street and Roosevelt Brown Boulevard that would feature both apartments and commercial components. The area currently contains three vacant lots and one unoccupied single-family home.
“This is an opportunity for the city to rezone a piece of land in order to capture an increase in residential density,” said Platts-Mills, “and, at the same time, for the neighborhood to benefit from locating a mid-sized, mixed-use development which we hope can serve as a catalyst to redevelopment in this corridor.”
Positive responses to the zoning change at neighborhood meetings and the Planning Commission meeting earlier in June emphasized the development’s stimulation of the neighborhood and the possible inclusion of affordable housing.
However, there are concerns from neighbors about the possibility of higher density in Fifeville. King Street is a one-way road, which some community members feel is inadequate to serve the new development.
Atlas Projects has recommended changing King Street into a two-way road.
Another concern raised was the possibility of a hotel or other large scale development. Platts-Mills said a proffer restricting a hotel of more than 30 rooms would prevent this from happening.
“I share the fears of many of our city’s residents when we think about free development,” Platts-Mills said. “I have a fear of massive, out-of-scale buildings. I also have a fear of uses within buildings that have nothing to do with the neighborhood that it sits in.”
The rezoning proposal will return to council for a second reading at a future meeting.