Charlottesville City Council approves 7-story apartment complex along Jefferson Park Ave.

Potential version of JPA apartment complex
Potential version of JPA apartment complex(Mitchell/Matthews Architects and Planners)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 11:40 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Monday night, Charlottesville city council made a decision on a major change to Jefferson Park Avenue.

It granted a special use permit to part of the block between Observatory and Washington Avenues. Now, the lot could soon boast a new 119-unit apartment building complete with underground parking. The complex would be seven stories tall, and is aimed at renting to University of Virginia students.

Council acknowledged the inevitable development of the area, but wanted to make sure the proposal’s benefits outweigh the costs.

“Every infill development project is going to have some, frankly, negative impact on some neighbors someplace. And the question is, can we hold those negative impacts down to a reasonable level? Can we mitigate the impacts that are going to come?” Mayor Lloyd Snook asked.

These negative impacts were brought to light by one public commenter.

“We brought up the negative impacts this development would have on traffic, parking, the environment and the quality of life of nearby homeowners -- and noted that it includes no affordable housing,” Ellen Contini-Morava said.

The developer then offered to donate a little over $1 million to the city’s affordable housing fund -- doubling its original offer.

“A million dollars, I feel like it’s a pretty substantial sum. We’re still working out exactly how that might be cashed out, literally, in our future law,” Charlottesville City Councilor Brian Pinkston said.

Earlier in the evening, council also voted 4-0 to lower the speed limit on two sections of Cherry Avenue from 35 to 30 miles per hour between Ridge Street and Roosevelt Brown Boulevard, and down to 25 mph between Roosevelt Brown Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue.

“Taking into account the fact that we have the schools there, the fact that we have on-street parking there, the fact that there it’s all residential, and there’s driveways, and that kind of thing, I felt it was appropriate for that residential portion of the street to reduce it,” City Traffic Engineer Brennen Duncan said.

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