A preliminary plan for a new three-story building on Cherry Avenue has been approved by city staff at a time when regional planners are working with the neighborhood to craft a blueprint for public infrastructure on the busy road.
“As the project team, we can only focus on those things that we can influence,” said Will Cockrell, a planner with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission working on a small-area plan for the Cherry Avenue area.
The city has paid the TJPDC $127,134.27 to conduct the study, which is intended to guide future development on one of Charlottesville’s mixed-use corridors.
“If a project is developed during the process or directly afterwards, then we will need to adjust to those new realities,” Cockrell said.
Such a project is currently moving through City Hall. On Oct. 10, city planner Matt Alfele approved a preliminary site plan for new construction at 808 Cherry Ave.
The 0.25-acre property was purchased in December by a company called Salvaged Assets for $82,633, below the 2016 assessment of $116,600.
The existing building on the site would be demolished and replaced with a three-story mixed-use building with a footprint of 2,843 square feet.
“We do not have a total square footage for the building,” Alfele said. “They would provide this at the final site plan submission and building permit stage.”
According to the preliminary site plan, the ground floor would be a convenience store and the two floors above would contain six apartment units. These uses are allowed by right under the Cherry Avenue Corridor zoning category. The zoning allows a maximum of 50 feet of height and there is no provision in the code for additional height through a special-use permit.
The city has calculated that the apartments will generate 40 vehicle trips a day and the commercial units will generate another 63 trips for a total of 103 additional vehicle trips each day.
Ten parking spaces would be included behind the building. Four are required for the store’s use and the other six are for the apartments. The Cherry Avenue Corridor zoning allows for a 50 percent reduction in parking requirements if the project is a mixed-use building. Six spaces will be set aside for bikes. The existing 5-foot-wide sidewalk outside the building will remain and a new driveway entrance will enter onto Cherry Avenue.
The city’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan called for small-area plans to be conducted throughout the city. Anticipating more development, the Fifeville Neighborhood Association began lobbying for a small-area plan in 2015.
“The Fifeville Neighborhood Association is committed to developing a community vision for the future of Cherry Avenue that gives voice to all Fifeville residents and reflects the greatest respect for our collective history, heritage and identity,” reads a statement on the group’s website.
Members of the association declined to be interviewed at this time as the planning study is in the very early stages.
The Charlottesville Planning Commission recommended in August 2016 that this section of the city should be further studied due to ongoing and future development possibilities.
The Fairfield by Marriott hotel is well under construction at the corner of Cherry Avenue and Ridge Street. Alfele said the project is expected to be completed by spring.
The corner of Cherry Avenue and Roosevelt Brown Boulevard is being used as a staging area for construction of an emergency room expansion at the University of Virginia Medical Center.
In July, the City Council agreed to extend the Cherry Avenue mixed-use category to 910 King St. by approving a rezoning request from Atlas Projects. Several properties had been zoned for single-family residential but a much larger structure can now be built there.
To the east of 808 Cherry Ave. is a vacant parcel that is zoned for residential use. To the west is an existing commercial complex. Across the street is a parking lot that is being used for construction parking.
The Planning Commission’s agenda indicated a rezoning application might soon be pending for the property at 501 Cherry Ave. on which Kim’s Market currently stands. However, Alfele said nothing has been submitted yet.
The site plan states that construction of 808 Cherry Ave. will begin in March and is expected to be concluded by December 2018.
The PLACE Design Task Force will hold a two-hour workshop on mixed-used corridors at 9 a.m. Nov. 21 in City Hall’s basement conference room. The Planning Commission also is reviewing mixed-use corridors as it considers updates to the city’s Comprehensive Plan.