Planning Commission endorses streetscape, corridor study

At a recent meeting that stretched nearly to 1 a.m., the Charlottesville Planning Commission moved forward a special-use permit for an apartment building and self-storage facility on a 2.2-acre lot at the corner of River Road and Belleview Avenue.

The site plan by North Carolina-based Go Store It River LLC features a four-story apartment building fronting River Road and a four-story self-storage building built into the incline along Belleview Avenue. The apartment building is slated to have four floors and 54 apartments. The first floor includes 1,500-square feet of retail space at the corner of River and Belleview.

On the planning documents, the self-storage facility will be branded as Rover Self-Storage, which has locations in the Richmond area. The facility will not be open 24 hours a day, said Justin Shimp, whose Shimp Engineering designed the plan.

In 2017, Go Store It, an affiliate of Madison Capital Group LLC, sought a special-use permit to build a three-story self-storage facility on the parcel. In May, the request was withdrawn after the Planning Commission in March unanimously recommended its denial, citing a desire for a different use that would spark more economic activity. A site plan submitted to the city over the summer showed a three-story apartment building with 45 one-bedroom and studio units and a four-story warehouse for a wholesale auto parts business.

The property is zoned as an Industrial Corridor, which would have allowed the summer proposal to be built without a special-use permit. The current special-use permit is for an additional floor and nine more units than allowed by-right in a three-story building.

Shimp said he did not know the price point for the apartments but said they will be market rate. The development will not include any affordable housing units, as the residential portion of the project does not reach the threshold requirement.

Under the proposal, sidewalks will be added to River Road and Belleview Avenue at the property, and residents and self-storage users will be prohibited from turning left onto Belleview. In approving the special-use permit, the Planning Commission added conditions such as on-site handling of stormwater and no phasing of the project.

The Jan. 8 meeting was slated to be a joint meeting of the City Council and the Planning Commission, but the council no longer had a quorum before the presentation of this item. It will have another public hearing at a future council meeting.

Also at the meeting, commissioners voted that the Emmet Streetscape and the Fifth/Ridge/McIntire Multimodal Corridor Study were in accordance with the current Comprehensive Plan and sent them to the City Council. As the council lost a quorum before any votes were taken, the conceptual plans will be on the agenda of a future council meeting.

More information on the streetscape is located at emmetstreetscape.com, and the multimodal corridor study can be found at 5thridgemcintireplan.com.