Proposal to rezone two Charlottesville lots to build more housing encounters a setback

Rezoning proposal
Rezoning proposal(wvir)
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 10:46 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Mountain View Baptist Church in Charlottesville is asking for two lots in the Locust Grove neighborhood to be rezoned to build more housing. The proposal would turn the area from residential to a planned unit development (PUD) allowing them to build more housing.

“We took the idea of a townhome. So well what if we divide that up. Instead of being 600,000 townhomes, it’s a series of rentals that are much more affordable and gets more density to the broader public,” Justin Shimp, head engineer of the project, said.

The church and large parking lot would stay in the block between St. Claire Avenue and River Vista Avenue, with an option to add twelve residential units in the future. A second block would be looking at major changes with 60 multifamily units for rent, seven of which would be affordable housing units.

Tuesday night, the Charlottesville Planning Commission voted to recommend denying approval for the proposal. It said it could see the plan working in the future, but it needed some changes.

Public commenters at the session raised concerns about an increased traffic density and the need for allocating more affordable housing. There was also an online forum here where people could send in their opinions on the rezoning

”I have no problem with this density. The scale is very appropriate. I mean, two stories adjacent to the nearby homes is eminently reasonable. And I do think we need to make the most of our vacant lots,” Planning Commissioner Rory Stolzenberg said.

The proposal will go before Charlottesville city council for a final decision.

“I do think regardless of what you do, I do think that the council is going to be working with staff to try to figure out how to make it work,” Charlottesville City Councilor Michael Payne said.

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