Stribling Avenue housing project heads to councilors after new proposal from developers

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 10:36 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2021 at 12:54 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville is one step closer to building 170 more housing units, some of which will be dedicated as affordable housing, along Stribling Avenue.

A big hold-up had been sidewalks, because Stribling Avenue has very few areas with them. Those who live there are worried about safety.

But Tuesday night, there was a major development: the developers agreed to pay $3 million to fix up the street by constructing a sidewalk. The city will pay them back.

Once that was announced, the Charlottesville Planning Commission unanimously backed the project.

“We are on the right track and we are hearing each other,” said Commission Chair Lyle Solla-Yates. “It hits a lot of the notes that we are talking about in our code, and talking about as a city in our comprehensive planning process. There’s affordable housing, there’s what I consider to be really good design.”

But some people who live on Stribling are still concerned. We spoke with three people who say they support affordable housing but are worried about a number of things, from sidewalk safety to getting rid of trees.

“It’s a very active street and it would be unsafe if you doubled the population without making improvements,” said 17-year-long resident Tom Cogill.

Cogill said he’s not happy about the size of the project.

“Trying to get it rezoned for that is just greedy and disrespectful of the neighborhood,” he said.

While walking the street, Solla-Yates commented on the area, calling it “an old community [with] some older buildings... beautiful old trees, so it has that sort-of neighborhood character that we talk about.”

He called the community “rich and diverse”. We then asked about the importance of the sidewalk project as the predecessor to the 170-unit development.

“If and when we do develop this property, and I believe long-term there will be a development on this property, we do want the residents here as well as the existing residents to have safe options in their community,” he said.

Solla-Yates said the project would create a great opportunity for people to build a life in the city given its location between the research park and the University of Virginia.

He called it “an exciting opportunity... if they can get everything right”.

The project will go before Charlottesville City Council, which has a number of other items to consider in its Capital Improvement Program. They include the $75 million Phase 1 of a massive school reconfiguration and renovation project.

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