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Local developers emphasize importance of “green” construction

By Jason Ha

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Friday, May 13, 2011


The James River Green Building Council

hosted a forum Tuesday and invited three local real estate developers to talk about sustainability in terms of environmentally friendly, or “green,” design and construction practices.


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Chris Schooley, former development director at Stonehaus


Jim Stultz, the owner of CBS Rentals, said his company provides housing annually to over 1,200 University students. Stultz described an apartment building his company is about to complete between 14th and 15th streets near

the Corner

.

“We try to look at the student market and determine what they want to rent, what they’ll pay for and what amenities they really think that they need and have to have,” said Stultz.
“If we can develop this product and really learn about the green technology, not only will we be a leader in our market, but we’ll also be able to pick and choose what really works when we go an rehab our other 11 buildings.”

By conducting a survey regularly with students to better accommodate their housing priorities, he found out that what most students want a building that is green and fashionable.

Bundoran Farm

is a 2,300-acre conservation community in Albemarle where 90 percent of its land remains an undeveloped, protected landscape. Joe Barnes, Director of Architecture and Design of Celebration Associates, said Bundoran represented a “market-driven approach to rural land preservation.”

“Unfortunately we are developing a lot of our rural areas in what would be considered to be an unsustainable manner,” Barnes said. “We are losing productive farmland, we are destroying the visual character of our rural landscapes, and then all the environmental aspects that go with that– with watersheds and in addition the viewsheds.”




Joe Barnes of Celebration Associates


Barnes said his team asked, “Is there a solution out there that allows farmers to maximize the value of their land assets, protect the productive agricultural area, preserve the beauty of the character of the land, encourage the ongoing stewardship of the land?”

“Our primary goal was to preserve rural character, not only the character of land, but also the use of the land,” said Barnes. At Bundoran, the 108 home sites are situated in the “seams” between the farm fields and forests and have shared easements that allow for continued operation of the farm, protection of greenways and other preservation tracts.

Chris Schooley, the former development director at

Stonehaus

, discussed the design philosophy behind the Belvedere neighborhood located off Rio Road in Albemarle’s urban area. Belvedere was

approved in October 2004.

Schooley said the development team sought at Belvedere to “activate the street and create a social organism.” In doing so, Schooley listed three core fundamental values of Belvedere: a healthy living component, sustainability, and a sense of neighborhood.

With the first phase of Belvedere 70% complete, Schooley said the neighborhood has “started to reach a density that makes the vision start to be something tangible.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Joseph Barnes is a member of the Charlottesville Tomorrow Board of Directors.