The City of Charlottesville released the first draft of its new zoning map.

As promised, the map proposes increasing housing density throughout the city, allowing for more development and, officials hope, more affordable housing.

The map clearly outlines the density the Charlottesville team proposes it will allow on each street — and each parcel — in the city. Most of the city is zoned Residential A, shown in a pale yellow-beige color on the new map. This is the base zoning, and allows for up to three housing units per lot. Previously, Charlottesville allowed just one residential building per lot.

Scattered along several main roads are areas of denser development — six to eight units per lot — shown in yellow and orange. And there are a few residential areas — mainly around the University of Virginia — with much denser limits, where large apartment complexes might go.

Logo reads "Short & Important"

Clustered mainly around downtown are purple and brown mixed use areas that allow residential and commercial units to inhabit the same lots in various degrees of density.

The map is just one part of creating a new zoning ordinance for the city, and the first to be shared with the community for input (they’re calling it “Module 1”).

A city website has a variety of resources like a zoning glossary and an interactive map.

The Cville Plans Together team, a group of consultants, Charlottesville Neighborhood Development Services staff, and community leaders who are creating the new ordinance, expect to make changes to this map based on community feedback. So, anyone who spots an issue should let the team know.

There are a few different ways to do that.

There will be three community open houses in February:

  • Wed., Feb. 22, 6 to 8:30 p.m., Charlottesville High School cafeteria, 1400 Melbourne Rd.
  • Thurs., Feb. 23, 6 to 8:30 p.m., Buford Middle School cafeteria, 1000 Cherry Ave.
  • Sat., February 25, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., CitySpace, 100 5th St. NW (Downtown Mall)

Comments can also be shared via this Google Form, or via email to

Cville Plans Together will release two more components of the draft zoning ordinance in the coming months. The second part (“Module 2”) will be on development standards for future builds, such as landscaping, parking requirements, signage and lighting. That is expected to be released the week of March 13.

The third part (“Module 3”), will be a draft of how city officials will implement and enforce the new zoning ordinance while working with developers and individuals on new builds. Cville Plans Together aims to have this out the week of April 3.

All materials will be available in English and Spanish, and there will be community engagement and comment periods for each.

Afterward, the draft ordinance will go before the Planning Commission, likely sometime this spring. If the Planning Commission recommends it, the City Council will then vote on whether to adopt it, or not.

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