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A permanent mural has been planned for the Second Street crossing of the Charlottesville Downtown Mall.

The mural, which was designed by Jake Van Yahres, depicts trees with human faces against a backdrop of mountains and a city with several Charlottesville landmarks. The city’s Board of Architectural Review approved the mural for the wall of the Violet Crown Cinema in mid-August.

The application to the BAR says that the intent of the design is to provide a sense of serenity and inclusion and communicate that the “intertwining of our roots is what holds us up and gives us strength to look forward.”

The Second Street wall of the Violet Crown currently hosts a photography installation called “Inside Out: This Is What Community Looks Like!” that celebrates the diversity of Charlottesville activists.

The tree mural is a project of The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative and is primarily funded by the Van Yahres Tree Co., according to the BAR application.

  • location: 200 W. Main St.
  • next steps: must create mural by February 2021 to act on the approval 
One option for the layout of the future Regents School of Charlottesville campus. Credit: Credit: Shimp Engineering

Regents School of Charlottesville hopes to move to Reservoir Road

The Regents School of Charlottesville, a private, Christian school, wants to add some youthful energy to the quiet Reservoir Road near where Interstate 64 crosses over U.S. 29.

On Tuesday, the Albemarle County Planning Commission recommended the project to the Board of Supervisors for approval. In front of a large audience of students, parents and faculty, the commission considered how the athletic fields and traffic might affect the existing neighborhood. 

The school currently is split into two locations, one on Ivy Road and the other at the Jefferson Park Baptist Church. The move would allow the school to design a campus specifically for school activities and to expand from 130 to 280 students.

Later, the school could expand to up to 468 students if the Virginia Department of Transportation and Albemarle’s Community Development department determine the roads can handle the increase. The school has committed to improving safety and eliminating blind spots along Reservoir Road and has dedicated space to the county that could be used to expand the road in the future.

  • location: Reservoir Road, across the street from Foxhaven Farm Road
  • scale: 280 students, up to 468 in future
  • annual cost: $5,500 for half-day kindergarten to $9,220 for 12th grade; approximately 34% of school on financial aid, according to Regents Principal Courtney Palumbo
  • amenities: gymnasium, theater, outdoor athletic field
  • next steps: Albemarle Board of Supervisors vote scheduled for Sept. 18
The proposed Point Church building on Pantops Mountain. Credit: Credit: The Point Church

Point Church wins approval to build office space behind Pantops Giant

The Point Church is ready to move its congregation from meeting space at Monticello High School to a new building behind the Rivanna Ridge shopping center on Pantops Mountain.

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Wednesday to allow the church to convert a parking lot next to the future church building into an office building with parking beneath it. The church also can expand the size of its assembly building from what was previously allowed.

  • location: intersection of Hansen and Rolkin roads
  • scale: 25,000 square-foot office building, 30,000 square-foot religious assembly building
  • amenities: improved walking path along Rolkin Road 
One of the goals of the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan is to promote alternative forms of transportation, like bicycles. Credit: Credit: Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization

County moves transportation plans forward

How will the growing population of Charlottesville and Albemarle move safely around its urban and rural areas in the future? The question has been on the mind of Chip Boyles, of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization and Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, for more than two years. 

Boyles on Tuesday presented the MPO’s 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan and the TJPDC’s 2040 Rural Long Range Transportation Plan to the county Planning Commission, and the commission recommended the plan to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

Both plans help secure funding for area transportation projects. 

One of the most dangerous intersections in the area continues to be the intersection of Hydraulic Road and U.S. 29. The MPO has applied for funding to improve the intersection in the state’s Smart Scale process in the past and has not been successful so far. 

  • next steps: Board of Supervisors public hearing date requested for Nov. 6 

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.