Proposed apartment units along Rivanna River raise concern

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 5:04 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville is looking for answer that could solve issues related to development of new apartments near the Rivanna River.

“The developer is claiming they can build it by right, but speaking for myself, and I think City Council as a whole, there’s a lot of concerns,” Councilor Michael Payne said Wednesday, October 5. “This was an area that has flooded significantly.”

Wednesday’s meeting was a required site development conference.

“This goes against our Urban Right Rivanna River Corridor Plan, which is part of our Comprehensive Plan - we’ve been working on it for close to a decade at this point - and this is our most valuable natural resource in the city,” Payne said. “If it is paved over and there’s not adequate planning for it, we can never get that back.”

The city worries about building anything on the low-lying land.

“There’s the flooding, which is a major one. That is an area which has flooded in recent memory, blocked access points. There’s access to the right, and a river company which stewards the river, is an access point helps people vote on the river. This development could potentially close their access ways and force them to close,” Payne said.

Seven Developments is the company pitching the plan. Shimp Engineering is also involved.

Zoe Edgecomb a landscape architect was also on the meeting, said, “This project as presented would have considerable negative impacts on the functionality and health, not just of the Rivanna but of the city.”

In the end, Payne says Charlottesville needs more answers about the developers by right thinking.

“I do have questions about the letter of map revision from FEMA, and what that process is and how accurate it was. But they’re claiming they can do it by right without the city being involved in any way,” the councilor said.

A group fighting against the development continues to raise questions and concerns.

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