Planning Commission Denies Land Developer's Requests for Rezone, Special-Use Permit

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Progress has slowed on a proposed development that aims to combine homes and farm land along the Charlottesville-Albemarle County line.

The developer went in front of the Charlottesville Planning Commission on Tuesday, October 9, to ask for a rezone and special-use permit, but neither request was approved.

The developer, Justin Shimp, is hoping to build an apartment complex and urban farm on about nine acres of land near Nassau Street, but in order to do so the land needs to be rezoned and some exceptions need to be made by the city.

The land is both partially in the city and the county.

In August, county supervisors signed off on the rezoning Shimp requested.

On Tuesday night, he asked the city planning commission to rezone the Charlottesville portion of land from R2 Residential to Highway Corridor so that he can put a greenhouse and farm store on the property.

The latest plans also call for 18 one-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom apartments, two of which will be affordable housing units for a duration of 15 years.

During a public comment period on Tuesday, citizens spoke out both for and against the project. The farm land for this project is near Moore's Creek, and both community members and planners raised concerns about the flood plane.

Ultimately, the developer and planners agreed pushing the project further at this point would be unwise.

“I think we need to know a little bit more about the site plan before we even move on a rezoning or an SUP vote,” Hosea Mitchell, who’s on the planning commission, said.

Both sides agreed to delay the votes for the special-use permit and rezoning.

“I’ve been at it for a long time now, I don't want to rush to the end here and not do it right,” Shimp said.

Now, planners and the developer are set to hold a work session before the end of the year to iron out a number of concerns that were raised at Tuesday’s meeting.

After that work session, the special-use permit and rezone can be re-evaluated by planners, and then City Council will have the ultimate say on whether those get granted.

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