After six years of work, Charlottesville’s proposed new zoning ordinance is about to be reviewed by the Planning Commission

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After years of work, the city is taking the last few steps toward adopting a new zoning ordinance.

Monday night, City Council unanimously voted to send a draft of the new zoning ordinance to the Planning Commission. This marks “the formal initiation of the review process,” said James Freas, Director of Neighborhood Development Services.

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State law and city bylaws require any change to Charlottesville’s zoning ordinance — like this overhaul — to first go before the Planning Commission for a public hearing, before the Planning Commission votes on a recommendation to the Council. 

Then, the ordinance will go to City Council, which will also hold a public hearing and a vote on whether or not to adopt it.

In 2017, the city began work on a new comprehensive plan, which included, among many other things, an re-write of the city’s zoning ordinance. That ordinance has long limited the types of housing that can be built in the city. After a few false starts, in late 2019, the city hired Washington, urban planning firm Rhodeside & Harwell, Inc., to consult on the rezoning effort. Since then, the consultants have worked with Freas and other city staff, as well as community leaders and city residents, on the new ordinance. 

Dates for the Planning Commission hearing and the City Council vote have not yet been set, “but we’re getting close,” said Freas. “It’s our objective to have the new ordinance adopted before the end of the calendar year.”

A consolidated draft of the proposed ordinance will soon be available on the “Documents & Media” page of the Cville Plans Together website. “Any day now,” Freas said.

The Planning Commission has 100 days to get its recommendation to City Council.

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