While a proposed Albemarle County development on Rio Road makes its way through board and commission amendments and the permitting process, ideas for affordability, trail connectivity and transportation improvements on the site are starting to coalesce. 

Kotarides Developers is working on the Parkway Place apartment community at the intersection of East Rio Road and the John W. Warner Parkway. As Albemarle continues to develop, some residents in surrounding neighborhoods are worrying about increased traffic and the role of new developments in that. Others are arguing that new close-in developments solve that problem. 

Peter Krebs, community outreach coordinator for the Piedmont Environmental Council, said the proposed development is in an ideal location and fits with the county’s Comprehensive Plan. 

“I think the most important factor with respect to development is where it’s happening. In this case, it’s deep within the county’s designated growth area,” Krebs said. “It’s on multiple arterial roads, it’s on transit, it’s on a walking and biking trail. This is where we want people to live. We want people to live in places that are close to resources, and, in fact, that’s what the county’s Comprehensive Plan says. It’s quite clear that it’s an area that is slated for development.”

Scheduled to go before the Planning Commission in March and the Board of Supervisors in April efforts towards bringing Parkway Place to fruition have been underway for some time. Original proposals included 414 apartment units, which have since been reduced to 328. Currently 50 of the apartments are slated to be reserved for residents whose income falls at or below 80% of the area median income, which is $89,600. 

According to Lori Schweller, an attorney with Williams Mullen, which is representing the developers, she said the unit reduction was a “concession that the developers felt they could easily make.”

“With every project that they undertake, they want to be good neighbors,” she added.  “It was addressed very early.”

Part of the development will include an enhanced trailhead and green space that will be open to the community beyond Parkway Place residents. This would link into existing trails along the John Warner Parkway, that eventually will be a part of a network of trails extending south toward Biscuit Run park and north to the Carrsbrook community and beyond.

“It’s great for the environment. It helps limit sprawl. It allows people to spend more time with their families and less time commuting,” Krebs said. “Building in a growth area and anywhere does bring certain responsibilities. You want to have projects to be good neighbors. So they need to contribute to the community. Providing this trailhead is a definite contribution to the community.”

Parkway place is also proffering a transit stop on the property. 

“The bus would stop in the right turn lane going southeast on Rio Road and the stop for the travelers would be at the edge of the trailhead park,” Schweller said.

  • address: 898 E. Rio Road
  • scale: 328 apartment units and 1.1 acres of open space to the public
  • price points: market-rate with 50 units slated for income at or below 80% AMI
  • Amenities: clubhouse, pool, multi-use gathering spaces, trailhead
  • next steps: Albemarle Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors this spring

The Center at Belvedere leads site tours ahead of spring opening

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Thompson points to the lobby from the open hallway bridge of The Center's second floor.

Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods / Charlottesville Tomorrow

With a planned April 18 opening date for The Center at Belvedere, the wellness center has begun leading tours of its nearly completed new facility at 540 Belvedere Blvd. (which is around the corner from the Parkway Place proposal). Charlottesville Tomorrow tagged along in a hard hat while Barton Malow contractors worked to place finishing touches in the 47,000-square-foot building. 

Bushman Dreyfus is a local architect attached to the project, which features many large windows and a flowing, open-concept to foster engagement and interaction among members.

“Throughout the building, you’ll see a lot more natural light in all of the spaces,” said Peter Thompson, executive director of the Center. “You see the connectivity of the spaces.”

The Center will feature an open-concept lobby that includes Greenberry’s Coffee, various gathering spaces, group fitness rooms, a volunteer center, conference rooms, class space and game rooms in keeping with the nonprofit’s mission of community impact and healthy aging through “social engagement, physical well-being, civic involvement, creativity and lifelong learning.”

The building also features a customizable auditorium with a stage that can accommodate up to 400 people and track lighting on the second floor for future gallery displays by local artists. 

There are plans to include a Sentara family medicine clinic in the building, as well as a weekly concert series called “Thursdays Around Five.” Thompson said. 

SunTribe Solar will provide solar energy to the building and Carter Bank & Trust has been a finance partner for the building’s construction.

  • Address: 540 Belvedere Blvd.
  • Scale: 4,700 square foot building with outdoor space
  • Amenities: gathering spaces and fitness facilities, auditorium, lawn and gallery
  • Next steps: April 18 opening

The Miller School plans for growth with special use permit

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The school seeks to build onto one of its dormitories through a special use permit.

Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods / Charlottesville Tomorrow

This week’s Planning Commission meeting featured a special use permit application for the Miller School to expand an existing building on its campus. 

“We predate most of the zoning ordinances and zoning laws. We predate special use permits,” said Mike Drude, head of the school, which is located between Batesville and Crozet.  “We’ve been working hard on a strategic plan and that includes modest growth in our enrollment.”

Currently, The Miller School, founded in 1878, has 195 students. Within the next five years, it aims to expand to 225. 

To accommodate the expected growth, the school plans to add about 3,000 square feet to an existing dormitory. 

“We are excited about our plan,” Drude said. “We’re at the highest enrollment we’ve ever had right now.” 

 

  • Address: 1000 Samuel Miller Loop
  • Scale: additional 3,000 square feet of student residences
  • Next Steps: Could appear on Board of Supervisors’ agenda in April