By Connie Chang
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Charlottesville Planning Commission has been considering ways to plan for the City’s future along the Rivanna River. In December 2008, planning staff outlined different types of land use for the areas near the Rivanna River. Since staff last met with the Planning Commission back in May, they have been researching examples of previous studies of the area, including the “State of the Basin Report” from 1998 and the past two comprehensive plans.

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At the Commission’s work session on August 25, 2009, planning staff presented several case studies from various localities that may serve as a guide for the City’s research on the Rivanna River. Examples provided by staff ranged in scope from environmentally-focused plans to more comprehensive guides covering elements such as connectivity, transportation, and recreation.

One case study that was presented was the “Rivanna River Watershed in Fluvanna County: Protecting the Past to Safeguard the Future,” a UVA class project that was completed in Fall 2005, by former commissioner Karen Firehock . Goals that were outlined in this report included “to preserve and protect undeveloped land, to improve water quality, and to bring community awareness.” Other examples included the “Four Mile Run Restoration Plan” for Arlington County and City of Alexandria, and the “Asheville Greenways Master Plan.”

Before moving forward with the study, the Planning Commission will have to determine the scope of the study area and whether they would like to see an active or passive use of the Rivanna River in the City. Another element to the study will involve how the community’s input will be included in this process.

The Rivanna River Basin Commission has offered their assistance in the effort and the City will have to consider whether their study will involve working with neighboring Albemarle County. The river forms much of the Eastern border between the two localities.

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