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Charlottesville is working on a major redrawing of its land use map.
The Planning Commission discussed the land use categories for the map at a work session on Tuesday. Since 2017, the commission has been discussing the map — which describes the city’s vision for what kinds of developments happen where — as a part of the state-required review of the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
“Decision-makers will use this document. When they think about a policy, they can refer to the Comprehensive Plan [to see whether the policy matches the plan],” city planner Matt Alfele said.
A major difference from previous city land use maps is that the commission has blurred the hard lines that used to separate land use types.
“That was a gradation because we tried to work in transitions in areas and not do hard lines, so we’re not getting six-story buildings next to single-story, detached family [homes],” Planning Commission Chairwoman Lisa Green said.
The draft land use categories decrease in scale from high-intensity job centers to low-intensity neighborhoods.
There was disagreement between the commissioners about whether the in-between categories were in the right order. The second-least intense category initially specified that the ground floor of buildings must be convertible into commercial space.
“We saw it sort of like what happened with West Main. At one point, it was a residential neighborhood and you had two hubs, and then the development and commercial opportunity spread until now it’s become a corridor,” Commissioner Jody Lahendro said. “We’re allowing the same sort of thing between these other nodes.”
The commission plans to edit the draft land use map in a work session on Nov. 6. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the Comprehensive Plan in December.
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