The Charlottesville City Council has held the first of two readings of an ordinance to change the City’s zoning code to adjust the size of buildings allowed in the Downtown area and the West Main Street corridor.


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The work was the result of a committee made up of architects, City planning staff, concerned citizens, Planning Commissioners, and members of the Board of Architectural Review. They were charged with reviewing the City’s zoning code to consider the impact of new nine story buildings (101 feet tall)  being built on or near the downtown mall, something previously allowed by-right by property owners.  The Committee’s recommended changes have been endorsed by the Planning Commission, and are now before the Council.

“I think what you see are some changes that will be significant in what they would protect in the downtown area, but not significant in the changes in the impact to the development community,” said Jim Tolbert, the City’s Director of Neighborhood Services Development.





Pedestrians walk past the building site for the Landmark Hotel, one of the nine story buildings that prompted the discussion

Councilor

Julian Taliaferro

said he liked what the committee had done. Councilor

David Brown

, who created the committee when he served as Mayor, thanked the committee for “creating a fair proposal.”

Councilor

Satyendra Huja

said he was concerned the changes could result in “stumps” of single tall buildings along West Main Street. He said 101’ was too tall for the corridor. No other Councilors shared the concern, and the ordinance will come back for a second reading at the next meeting on May 19.

Sean Tubbs

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