The owners of a medical building at the corner of East Jefferson and 10th Street Northeast in Charlottesville are seeking the City Council’s approval for a special-use permit to allow construction of a mixed-income residential building.

“The applicant proposes to replace the existing two-story medical office structure and associated surface parking areas with a 104-unit multi-family structure consisting of four and a half stories of housing over two and a half stories of parking,” reads the application on behalf of the Jefferson Medical Building Limited Partnership.

The current zoning for the 1.4-acre property at 1011 E. Jefferson St. allows up to 21 units per acre. If granted by the council, the permit would allow up to 87 units per acre.

According to the application, the medical offices currently on the site will move to a nearby property that is being redeveloped.

Some neighbors are concerned the residential density would be too high and that existing infrastructure is not sufficient to handle more residents.

“We are clear that our quiet, residential area is not equipped to handle the traffic we have already due to our proximity to the Downtown Mall, Charlottesville Day School and CFA Institute,” nearby resident Kate Bennis said in an email.

A community meeting will be held March 15 at the offices of Atwood, Henningsen & Kestner Architects on East High Street. Great Eastern Management Co. manages the building and is coordinating the application.

A traffic study conducted as part of the application concluded that the proposed use would generate 846 vehicle trips per day. That’s an increase from the 720 vehicles per day generated by the current office use.

The request is the latest proposal for a dense residential unit east of downtown Charlottesville.

Another multistory residential building called the Randolph was built at 210 10th St. NE in 2007 and has 35 residential units and eight commercial condominiums.

The 300-unit City Walk apartment complex was built in 2014, and East Water Street is expected to open later this year. Another 24 single-family homes are planned for the new road, which will be connected to 10th Street.
The City Council granted a special-use permit for a 57-unit residential unit building at 925 E. Market St. in October 2013. That project, which is currently going through the site review process, will include up to 18,297 square feet of commercial space..

Bruce Odell, a former president of the Martha Jefferson Neighborhood Association, told the council at the time the East Market permit was approved that he was concerned about the “aggregation of developments” in the vicinity and sought a “comprehensive evaluation” of the city’s plans for the neighborhood.

Tenth Street becomes Locust Avenue two blocks north of the proposed development.

Odell said he is particularly concerned about additional traffic on a road that is already being studied by the Department of Neighborhood Development Services for moderate traffic-calming efforts.

“Traffic woes aside, the mass of this new building, including an adjacent parking structure, may be inappropriate for the east side of 10th Street,” Odell told Charlottesville Tomorrow.

Odell said he would like the city to adopt a form-based zoning code that would prevent larger buildings that are larger than nearby existing ones.

A full audit of the city’s zoning code is on hold until after an initiative called Streets That Work is adopted by Council. That’s expected to occur sometime this summer.

The zoning code for the property is B-1.

“The intent of the B-1 regulations is to provide a transitional district between residential areas and other commercial areas of the city,” reads the city’s zoning code. “The uses permitted within this district are those which will have only minimal traffic impacts.”

The building’s owners believe their proposal is within city guidelines.

“Overall the redevelopment of this parcel to replace the existing medical offices with a multi-family residential structure meets the general requirement and standards of the existing zoning district of the parcel and is in harmony with other adjacent buildings,”  reads the application. “This property shall serve as a good transition zone between the residential housing, the neighborhood and the office uses.”

The application also states there will be affordable units in the building per the city’s housing policy.

The land is not in a historic district so demolition does not have to be approved, nor does the Board of Architectural Review need to make a recommendation.