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The downtown center that many in Crozet have been waiting for looks likely after a Tuesday meeting of the Albemarle County Planning Commission.

The commission voted unanimously to recommend the first phase of the Barnes Lumber site redevelopment. Milestone Partners is hoping to turn the former lumberyard into a mixed-use extension of downtown Crozet, and a performance agreement with the county offers the developers up to $3.2 million to construct a public plaza and public roads.

Commissioners Daphne Spain and Bruce Dotson voted in favor of the project but said they were disturbed by the contrast with the commission’s approach to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville’s redevelopment of the Southwood Mobile Home Park. 

Last week, the commission approved two resolutions seeking additional information from Habitat to guarantee that no existing Southwood residents will be displaced, along with other concerns. 

Like Milestone Partners, Habitat has a performance agreement with the county, which offers Habitat $3.2 million in exchange for similar guarantees. Southwood residents have also met nearly weekly over two years to create the rezoning guidelines.

  • address: 5755 The Square, Crozet
  • scale: 52 units, 58,000 square feet of retail space and hotel and office space, on 6 acres
  • next steps: Albemarle County Board of Supervisors public hearing 
View of Rachel’s Haven from Hinton Avenue, as designed by local architect Andrew Thomas. Credit: Credit: Submitted rendering

Hinton Avenue church apartments clear final hurdle

No more public obstacles lie between the Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church and its goal of building a small apartment building in Charlottesville’s Belmont neighborhood, after the City Council voted unanimously in favor of the project on Monday.

The church plans to devote four apartments to people with developmental disabilities. Four apartments have been legally guaranteed to be affordable and the church is planning to apply for federal low-income housing tax credits to finance making all 15 apartments affordable. 

The Hinton Avenue apartments have been controversial. Neighbors have opposed adding more commercial zoning to Belmont, even though the church has limited all possible non-residential uses on the property to day cares and educational facilities. 

  • address: 750 Hinton Ave.
  • scale: 15 apartments
  • price points: 40%-60% of Fair Market Rent, or approximately $450-$700 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, based on 2019 rates
  • next steps: Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program application due in spring 2020 
Southern Development proposed a subdivision of townhouses in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood between Moseley and Longwood drives. Credit: Credit: Submitted rendering

Flint Hill subdivision rejected

Southern Development has failed to win a rezoning from Charlottesville to develop eight rows of townhouses in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood between Moseley and Longwood drives.

Developer Charlie Armstrong had brought the project to a previous City Council meeting but decided to return with guarantees to provide five affordable townhouses to a lower-income group of people and for more than the 10 years originally pledged. Habitat for Humanity was planning to build that housing.

The council voted unanimously to reject the rezoning on Monday after deciding that the five units and increased supply of housing alone were not enough to outweigh other concerns about gentrification and quality of life changes to the neighborhood. 

  • address: 306 Flint Drive
  • scale: up to 50 townhouses 

Maury Avenue proposal returns to neighborhood

The City Council asked Southern Development to engage again with neighbors on a proposed rezoning on Maury Avenue to build what developer Charlie Armstrong has said would likely be student housing across from the University of Virginia’s Scott Stadium.

The original rezoning did not have any details associated with it. Because Armstrong has now submitted proffers, the application will go back to the Planning Commission as well before the council sees it again in November or December.

  • address: 209 Maury Ave.
  • scale: 33 apartments on 1.6 acres 
  • next steps: community meeting
Thea Tupelo-Schneck used Airbnb to convert half of her house in the Key West neighborhood of Albemarle County into a homestay. Credit: Credit: Emily Hays/Charlottesville Tomorrow

New rules approved for county homestays

After two years of study and public meetings, Albemarle has updated its rules for homestays, which include bed and breakfasts booked through Airbnb. 

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the changes. The ordinance update expands the ability of owners of large properties in rural areas to rent out their entire houses but increases restrictions, like requiring a responsible party to be nearby during the rental period to respond to neighbors’ complaints.

The board also created a registry that will keep track of homestays. Becoming part of the registry will cost owners $27 a year. However, if homestay managers ignore repeated invitations and warnings from the county to join the registry, they will be fined $500 per day that the homestay continues to operate unregistered. 

  • next steps: report on results of ordinance changes at a Board of Supervisors meeting in March or April
New director of Albemarle’s Community Development Department Jodie Filardo. Credit: Credit: Submitted photo

Albemarle hires director of community development

Jodie Filardo will move from Arizona to Albemarle to lead its community development department.

The Board of Supervisors named Filardo to the position this Wednesday after former CDD Director Mark Graham’s recent retirement.

“Initially, the natural beauty of Albemarle County, with its rich history and culture, drew me to the position. Through my interactions with the leadership team and the community, I’m impressed with the professionalism, high energy and innovations in process. It’s thrilling to be joining at such an exciting time,” Filardo said in a county news release.

  • qualifications: most recently was community and economic development director of Clarkdale, Arizona, has an MBA from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University
  • annual salary: $140,000
  • start date: Sept. 9

Emily Hays grew up in Charlottesville and graduated from Yale in 2016. She covered growth, development, and affordable living. Before writing for Charlottesville Tomorrow, she produced a podcast on education and caste in Maharashtra, India.