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As construction of a new apartment building on Charlottesville’s West Main Street nears completion, developer Jeffrey Levien is already thinking about phase two.

Milestone Partners and Levien’s Heirloom Development hope to build a four-story apartment or condominium building, with underground parking, next to Six Hundred West Main and where University Tire and Auto Center is now.

The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review reviewed a special use permit for the project in early June and the Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the permit in an upcoming meeting before it moves to the City Council. 

The building would neighbor the First Baptist Church and a building owned by the church. African Americans began building the First Baptist Church roughly 10 years after the end of slavery, according to the church’s website.

“As the oldest and most historic black church in the area, we are very concerned as to what that will do to our immediate area and what the landscape will look like moving forward,” First Baptist Church Deacon Don Gathers said at the BAR hearing.

Architect Jeff Dreyfus, who was representing the development team, nodded and said he heard the concern. Dreyfus had earlier said the team was not presenting the building’s design yet and that stage would happen at many future meetings with the BAR.

  • address: 612 W. Main St.
  • scale: 55 studio to three-bedroom apartments or condos, roughly 6,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor
  • next steps: Charlottesville Planning Commission public hearing on Aug. 13
Southern Development is hoping to rezone largely vacant land near Glenmore to allow up to 200 houses. Credit: Credit: Roudabush, Gale and Associates

Albemarle commission wants infrastructure before development near Glenmore

Southern Development is hoping to rezone largely vacant land near Glenmore to allow for up to 200 houses. The land is in Albemarle County’s designated development areas, but many neighbors say that traffic in the area is already so bad, new development should not be approved. More than 200 neighbors have signed petitions to stop the development.

In contrast to other neighborhoods that have made similar arguments to the county recently, the Village of Rivanna Master Plan includes a statement that says U.S. 250 should be improved before more development is approved. The Planning Commission indicated during a work session on Tuesday that the county should uphold the vision document. 

The developers and county staff estimated that roughly 20 to 40 houses would be allowed on the property if the current Rural Area zoning stays. Charlie Armstrong, of Southern Development, said that by-right scenario would likely increase sale prices from around $300,000 per house to above $500,000 per house. 

To offset traffic impacts of the rezoning, Southern Development has offered to pay for or build $4 million in infrastructure improvements.  

  • location: Breezy Hill Lane, south of U.S. 250
  • scale: 200 single-family homes on 84 acres
  • next steps: Albemarle Planning Commission public hearing
The intersection of Hickory Street and Old Lynchburg Road would be the new entrance to the Southwood neighborhood. Credit: Credit: BRW Architects

Commission articulates concerns in Southwood memo

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville plans to redevelop the Southwood Mobile Home Park into a mixed-use community.

The Albemarle Planning Commission supported the rezoning that would allow the project to move forward with a nearly unanimous vote a week ago. However, commissioners decided on Tuesday to compile their concerns about the project into a memo to the Board of Supervisors, who will cast the final vote on the rezoning.

The commission was particularly concerned about the current residents of the trailer park becoming displaced, along with other concerns related to transportation, green spaces and amenities. The Board of Supervisors already has incentivized many protections for residents and residents have been involved in the planning process, but the commission said that Habitat should provide additional information on housing types and placement prior to the board’s public hearing.

Commissioner Daphne Spain was the sole voice opposing the memo, saying the tone was combative and sounded like the commission distrusts Habitat. Eventually, Spain decided to join her colleagues in unanimously approving the resolution. 

  • address: 699 Old Lynchburg Road
  • scale: maximum of 450 units on 34 acres
  • price points: minimal income-based rent to $400,000 houses
  • next steps: Albemarle Board of Supervisors public hearing 
Westley Kern, marketing coordinator for Charlottesville Area Transit, steps out of the CAT City Art Bus for 2018. Credit: Credit: Josh Mandell/Charlottesville Tomorrow

City hires transit director

After roughly half a year without a transit director, Charlottesville has hired Garland Williams to lead the Charlottesville Area Transit system. 

The hire was part of a series of staffing changes City Manager Tarron Richardson announced Wednesday at the City Council retreat. 

Richardson said in an interview that he chose the candidate favored by the majority of city and CAT staff, experts and community members on three hiring panels. Richardson said that bus drivers and administrators liked Williams, who rode Charlottesville buses to prepare for the interview, and that Williams proposed expanding bus routes in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

  • qualifications: most recently worked as the planning and scheduling director at the Greater Richmond Transit Company, has a master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University
  • annual salary: $148,000
  • start date: Sept. 3

This article has been updated with additional information about Garland Williams’ salary and start date.


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.