Charlottesville City Councilors, Planning Commission discuss comprehensive plan ahead of public hearing

Charlottesville City Council and the Planning Commission met Monday, October 11 to have a discussion before a big public hearing Tuesday on the city’s comprehen
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville City Council and the Planning Commission met Monday, October 11 to have a discussion before a big public hearing Tuesday on the city’s comprehensive plan.

The comprehensive plan is largely based on community input on how to improve the city of Charlottesville.

Right now, commissioners are finalizing updates to the plan. City councilors were able ask questions and voice some concerns ahead of the public hearing Tuesday, October 12.

One concern included how much to consider the impact of the University of Virginia and students in the plan.

“Part of why we’re doing this in the first place is because the impact that their growth has had on the community in a negative way,” Mayor Nikuyah Walker said.

Walker says she knows the ways in which UVA can impact affordability and equity across the city, and sometimes do more harm than good. She emphasized the importance of having conversations with the university and acting as partners to ensure it does not repeat past actions.

“I understand that UVA students will live throughout the communities, but I also think there needs to be a conversation with the university to ensure that that goes very differently than it has in previous decades,” Walker said.

While most of the virtual meeting focused on the nooks and crannies of the plan, City Councilor Sena Magill brought the conversation back to big points of concern and the original vision of the plan.

“My concern is we have a food desert problem,” she said. “We also have a walkability problem in a lot of places. It concerns me that we now get back to some very wide swaths of area that don’t appear to have the ability to grow to help support food deserts in parlous.”

Many of the concerns also had to do with ensuring that equity is considered throughout the document and creating a better plan to increase housing affordability in the city across all communities, not just sensitive ones.

“We should think about what the housing plan says, which is to lay out a path to increase the number of subsidized affordable homes,” Commissioner Liz Russell said. “But, if we aren’t purposeful about where we address it, then will we just continue to sort of consecrate poverty.”

Following the update to the plan, the next step will be to complete a zoning ordinance rewrite.

For a link to register for the public hearing on Zoom Tuesday, click here.

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