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Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022

The question of whether to transform Scottsville’s old tire factory into hundreds of apartments is getting more… complicated. The little town has not had to deal with a proposal of this size since that tire factory was built in 1944 and officials are quickly learning that they’re not prepared.

Scottsville Town Council scheduled a public hearing on the proposal last week and intended to vote on the project after. Instead, councilors spent the first hour of the meeting arguing over what kind of meeting they could have — or whether they could have one at all.

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Back to the story!

The issue that derailed the Scottsville Town Council was not especially complex. The developer submitted a new proffer Friday afternoon. (A proffer is a voluntary offer intended to mitigate a new project’s effects on public infrastructure.) State law requires local government staff to analyze proffers before public hearings. Scottsville town staff did not have enough time to do that, so the hearing had to be postponed.

But with no experience dealing with such issues, the curveball paralyzed the small town’s Council.

Credit: Courtesy of the Town of Scottsville

A developer’s plan to build new apartments in Scottsville shows just how unprecedented big projects are for the small town

The proffer that created all the confusion relates to the town’s levee system. Scottsville used to experience devastating floods on a fairly regular basis. The worst of these happened in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes hit the East Coast and floodwaters rose some 34 feet in Scottsville, submerging the entire town.

To protect the town, the Army Corps of Engineers built a levee in 1989. That levee is on the old tire factory property. Community members worry that constructing an apartment building there might affect the system.

A black and white photo shows standing water on a commercial street with shops and buildings.
Photo shows Valley Street in Scottsville still submerged in floodwaters two days after Hurricane Agnes hit central Virginia in 1972. Photo Courtesy of the Library of Virginia

The developer’s idea to mitigate that danger is to either give the town $100,000 for levee maintenance or create a new local tax for it. The tax they’re proposing would be established through a tax increment financing agreement with Albemarle County. County supervisors would have to approve such an agreement.

A Scottsville planning commissioner commended the developer for making the proffer. It was apparently an issue that came up at a recent planning commission meeting. But it is just one of several issues that community members have with the proposal.

At last week’s meeting, dozens of residents showed up to voice those concerns. Some don’t want the town to change. Others welcome it. Many were worried about whether the town’s infrastructure can handle the addition of so many new residents. If it’s built, this apartment building would nearly double Scottsville’s population

Credit: Courtesy of the Town of Scottsville

If a vacant factory is turned into an apartment building, Scottsville’s population could double

Scottsville Town Council scheduled a new public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. Councilors may vote on the project that same night. The Council will also meet for a work session on the proposal the week before.

After seeing the confusion at last week’s meeting, the developers have taken it upon themselves to begin more outreach. They have scheduled community meetings though December. 

  • Tuesday, Dec. 20, 11 a.m., in the meeting room of the Scottsville branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library at 330 Bird Street
  • Wednesday, Dec. 21, 6 p.m., on Zoom
  • Tuesday, Dec. 27, 6 p.m. in the library meeting room
  • Wednesday, Dec. 28, 10 a.m., on Zoom

Additional meetings will also be scheduled in January.

Thanks for reading today!

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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Jessie Higgins

I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.