Planning Commission Approves Special-Use Permit for Dairy Central Developers

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We now have a better idea of what Charlottesville's Dairy Central will look like.

On Tuesday, June 12, the Charlottesville Planning Commission approved a special-use permit for the project that is expected to have a big impact on affordable housing.

Some people are praising the developer, Stony Point Design/Build, for what it has done so far with the project, but some are still asking for more as the project continues to move forward.

Dairy Central will transform the look and feel of Grady and Preston avenues in Charlottesville.

“Obviously there will be job creation, there will be hundreds of new employees working in the office space, in the public market, doing the food stalls, and the retail,” says Chris Henry, the developer.

On Tuesday, the planning commission passed a special-use permit for phases two and three of Dairy Central. This will allow the project to increase density and raise its height from 50 to 65 feet tall.

One of the conditions in the permit is that the developer must provide 20 affordable housing units at 80 percent of the average median income that will be available for 10 years.

“That's a big deal, and I just want to make that point that this has not been done in a residential development that I know of in the city so far," says Henry.

However, some members of the community still want more.

"We are only chipping away at the problem, getting a handful of units per big development, that are only affordable for a short term, five to 10 years - that's not solving anything," says Carl Schwarz, who spoke at the meeting.

During the public hearing, some neighbors raised concerns about traffic.

“I don't understand how Preston Avenue and the intersections all along that corridor between Washington Park and Ridge McIntire can possibly handle the vehicle trips that would be associated with 261 units," says Tim Padalino, who lives on 9th Street.

Others applauded the applicant for working closely with the community and they hope that this process sets a precedent for future developments.

“They are not only intelligent, they care about the community in which they are building, they listen to the community," says Susan Krischel, who spoke at the meeting.

The special-use permit was approved six votes to one.

The next step is for the application to go in front of City Council for final approval.

Stony Point Design/Build has also applied for a tax increment-based performance agreement. If it gets approved, it would make 15 of the 20 affordable units available at lower rates.

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