Miller School expansion public hearing, 240/250 roundabout maybe coming this decade.
Copy/Pasting from the outstanding Charlottesville Community Engagement from 30 July 2023. If you’re not a paying subscriber, please consider doing so.
Public hearings in Albemarle on photo speed cameras, Miller School expansion
After the Pledge of Allegiance, announcements from Board members, matters from the public, and the consent agenda, Supervisors will consider a petition from Woodard Properties requesting the vacation of 430-feet of right of way dedicated to the county in 1968 for construction of a portion of Colonnade Drive that was not built.
Woodard Properties to use the land for more housing units above the 96 permitted under an active site plan, but staff is recommending denial of the request to preserve interconnection to another nearby parcel zoned R-15.
“In order to abandon a public road, the Board must find either that no public necessity exists for the continuance of a section of road as a public road, or that the public would be served best by abandoning the section of road,” reads the staff analysis.
The location map for the right of way dedicated in 1968 for a roadway that’s not been built. (Credit: Albemarle County)
The meeting continues with an update on the due diligence Albemarle County is doing as it seeks to complete a contract to purchase 462 acres near Rivanna Station from developer Wendell Wood for a purchase price of $58 million. The cost may be slightly more if the county takes more time to conduct environmental and financing work.
“The purchase agreement provides a 90-day due diligence period, extendable with a fee in 30-day increments,” reads the staff report. “The first three 30-day increments would cost $50,000 per increment and the final three 30-day increments would cost $100,000 per increment.”
If you’re new to this story, here are some previous stories:
- Albemarle to purchase 462 acres of land on U.S. 29 to enable possible expansion of Rivanna Station, May 25, 2023
- Public hearing tomorrow night for Albemarle’s purchase of 462 acres, June 20, 2023
Fans of transportation rejoice! Albemarle County staff will go through recent activities and provide updates on projects. I’ve missed a couple of items I have wanted to report, so I’ll hoping to provide some updates of my own! At any given point there are many transportation studies underway and my hope is to get as many of you looking at them as possible so you can have your stay. (here’s the raw report)
For now, here are some items:
- An application for federal funds to study a 3.2 mile section of U.S. 29 from Hydraulic Road to Hilton Heights Road did not make the cut. However, county staff met with counterparts in the U.S. Department of Transportation and have been encouraged to resubmit the application to a new grant program called the Neighborhood Access and Equity program.
- Supervisors will be updated on Smart Scale applications that have been funded including the District Avenue Roundabout, intersection improvements at Belvedere Boulevard and Rio Road, and bike improvements along Avon Street from Druid Avenue to Avon Court. More details in my story from July 9, 2023.
- A project to install “pedestrian facilities” on Solomon Road and Inglewood Drive between Hydraulic Road and Georgetown Road is on hold due to workload and staff limitations.
- There’s an update on the two “pipeline studies” underway at the Virginia Department of Transportation. These are in the Old Ivy Road area and the Barracks Road area. I’ll have more details coming soon in Charlottesville Community Engagement.
- “Stakeholders” are concerned that a project at the U.S. 29 / Fontaine Avenue interchange funded in Smart Scale Round Four “does not meet the needs of the rapidly developing area.” The staff report doesn’t tell you who those stakeholders are but I reported in much more detail in an April 13 story.
- The Virginia Department of Transportation has completed an initial review of Plank Road to see if a through-truck restriction would be appropriate. Albemarle staff report that the conditions of the roadway meet the objective criteria. The next step would be a public hearing on a formal request.
- Construction will begin next spring for a pedestrian bridge across U.S. 29 just north of the Hydraulic Road intersection. Work will begin for a roundabout at Hillsdale and Hydraulic will be the following summer. These are all part of a Smart Scale funded project.
- Three large projects funded through Smart Scale will be bundled into one with a public hearing coming later this summer. These are the roundabout at John Warner Parkway and Rio Road, Route 20/Route 53 intersection improvements, and a roundabout at Old Lynchburg Road and 5th Street Extended. The idea is to hire one contractor to create efficiencies. This strategy has been used on the Route 29 Solutions project as well as several recent intersection projects.
- The strategy will be used for two other projects. These are the Route 250 East Corridor Improvements and intersection improvements at Route 20/U.S. 250. A public hearing on those will be coming up for the fall.
There’s so much more in the report. More details this week including a report from the Virginia Department of Transportation. (read that report)
In the evening there are two land use public hearings and two public hearings for ordinance changes.
First, Community Christian Academy seeks a special use permit to increase enrollment from 85 to 150 students. This is part of a trend across the Fifth District with private schools seeking capacity increases to fulfill increased demand for alternatives to public school after the pandemic. (item materials)
“Not only did the public-school shutdowns emphasize the benefits that private schools offer our community, but also the increasing enrollments in many, if not all, of our private schools emphasize the desire and need for more educational options,” reads the narrative.
The Planning Commission voted 6 to 0 on June 27 to recommend approval.
The second public hearing is also for a private school.
“The Miller School would like to plan for the future of the institution,” reads a narrative prepared by Line and Grade for a request for a special permit for the school to becoming compliant with the zoning code. They also want to eventually expand up to 500 students including a partnership with the Seven Rivers Day School.
The Planning Commission voted 6 to 0 to recommend approval at their meeting on June 13.
Credit: Line and Grade
Next there will be a public hearing on whether Albemarle should allow photo speed monitoring devices in school crossing and highway work zones. The General Assembly enabled localities to do so in 2020
“If the proposed ordinance is adopted… County staff will begin procurement of a vendor to assist in implementing a speed enforcement program in school crossing and highway work zones,” reads the staff report.
The fourth public hearing appears to be to correct a clerical error wherein the phrase “motor vehicle” was used instead of “dwelling unit.” (staff report)
Let’s finish up with the consent agenda:
- Supervisors will approve the minutes for three meetings from 2021. There are no approved meetings yet for all of 2022.
- There are several appropriations for Fiscal Year 2023 including $300,000 in additional revenue from EMS cost recovery that will be used to cover the cost of running additional calls. There’s also a payment of $38,069 to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville pursuant to a performance agreement held by the Economic Development Authority. (more details)
- There are also several appropriations for FY2024 including the acceleration of the purchase of a $970,000 ladder truck which still won’t be delivered until FY2025. There’s also $222,000 in federal revenue to allow the Police Department to purchase “drones, ballistic shields and thermal imaging, which will aid in officer safety, further reduce violent situations and reduce gun violence within the community.” (more details)
- Kaki Dimock will become the county’s Chief Human Services Officer completing a reorganization of the social services and human services programming. She’ll oversee the Office of Human Services, Office of Housing, Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the Broadband Accessibility and Affordability Office. Mary Stebbins will be the Director of Social Services. (more details)
- Supervisors will be asked to forgive $11,036.37 in unpaid interest on a specific loan for downpayment assistance brokered through the Albemarle County Housing Assistance Program. In October, Supervisors will review potential changes to that program including a move to have all future loans be zero interest. ACHAP is managed by the Piedmont Housing Alliance. (more details)
- There is a written report telling anyone who’s interested in what the closed-door Land Use and Environmental Planning Committee has been up to. Even though members of the public cannot attend these meetings, I’ve managed to write quite a few stories anyway in my quest to keep people informed about regional planning. Take a look at the report. What do you think?