The Charlottesville Planning Commission gave its final support Tuesday to a 24-unit neighborhood that can only be occupied after a long-awaited roadway opens.
Even though it was completed almost a year ago, Water Street Extended remains closed because Charlottesville officials want several repairs made before they will accept it into the road network.
“All items need to be resolved prior to acceptance of Water Street,” wrote city civil engineer Marty Silman in an Oct. 2 letter to ECI Construction, the company that built the road as part of the City Walk development.
ECI and the Metzger Co. bought the land from Riverbend Development and both are now responsible for completing items on what’s known as a punch-list.
According to the letter, the developers have to install lights on East Water Street, replace any dead or distressed trees and fix depressed areas of pavement on the asphalt trail. There’s also an opening in a stormwater basin that was not included in the plans approved by the city.
The city also has used video to inspect stormwater pipes and found that one of them was “damaged beyond repair” and needs to be replaced. Another had an obstructed opening that has collected debris.
City engineers also want additional paving, new plans that reflect what was actually built and to guarantee the developers will maintain landscaping on the new stretch of road for one year.
“Please provide a formal letter stating acknowledgement and commitment to this requirement,” Silman wrote.
Substantial progress has been made since the spring, when the punch list had 60 items that needed to be completed.
No date has yet been scheduled for the road to be open.
“We have hopes that it will be soon,” said Missy Creasy, the city’s planning manager.
Officials with ECI Construction did not return requests for comment.
The issue did not come up Tuesday when the Planning Commission took up a major subdivision for Riverbend’s Water Street Promenade project. The company is planning to build 24 single-family residential units and would need to have the 2.6-acre property subdivided into separate lots.
While Riverbend could likely begin construction without the street being publicly open, Creasy said it could not be granted certificates of occupancy without road access.
The coal tower located on the property is historically protected by the city and will be incorporated into the new neighborhood.
“The site plan does show the coal tower area as a green space,” said Carrie Rainey, the city’s urban design planner. “It was determined during the [rezoning] that it will be privately maintained by the homeowners association.”
Also at the meeting, commissioners recommended denial of a request to convert a residential property in Belmont to commercial zoning. The land at the intersection of Midland Street and Randolph Avenue is currently vacant and has about 10,000 square feet on which to build.
Property owner Donnie McDaniel sought the change to build several new dwelling units. Multifamily units could be built under the requested B-2 zoning but only one single residence could be constructed over the existing category.
Randolph Avenue is a so-called “paper street” that exists in city records but has never been built to city standards.
“Commercial activities and uses would not be appropriate for this parcel,” Rainey said, adding that the applicant offered to give up the right to all business activities except residential ones.
Rainey estimated the owner would be able to build five units.
Several members of the public spoke out against the rezoning.
“We don’t think this complies with the Comprehensive Plan for the area,” said Lena Seville, president of the Belmont-Carlton Neighborhood Association. “In general, we are not against density in appropriate locations, [but] we don’t feel that this is one of them.”
Commissioners agreed and voted unanimously to recommend denial.