Albemarle Co. Planning Commission Votes in Favor of Rezoning Mobile Home Park
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The proposed redevelopment of Albemarle County's Southwood Mobile Home Park is now one step closer to reality. On Tuesday, the county planning commission recommended the approval of a rezoning that will allow Habitat for Humanity to build hundreds of new homes on the property.
That project received widespread support as close to two dozen community members spoke at Tuesday night's public hearing. After a long back and forth, planning commissioners ultimately voted in favor of the rezoning.
“This really feels like a total team effort,” said Dan Rosensweig, with Habitat for Humanity. “More than 200 families have participated in the process. There’s been a group of about 40 that have come week after week after week to learn about architecture, engineering, and planning so that they could be front and center in putting the plan for development together.”
On Tuesday night, the Albemarle County Planning Commission recommended approval of rezoning which would allow Habitat for Humanity to build 34 units per acre on nearly 34 acres of land.
“It's a whole community. It’s going back to the future a little bit, where people used to be able to live together. No matter where you came from, where you can walk to. Places where you can shop, where you can bike to parks,” said Rosensweig.
That multi-phase project will contain housing for people of all income levels and commercial space for local businesses, all without displacing any current residents during construction.
“Charlottesville and Albemarle County desperately need more affordable housing. This is one of far too few plans in the process of addressing that,” said Edgar Laura, who lives near Southwood.
More than 20 community members spoke in support of the redevelopment project at Tuesday’s meeting. Despite some concerns from planning commissioners about planned locations and heights of commercial buildings on the property, they ultimately concluded the benefits of this project outweigh what they see as risks.
“I cannot imagine telling the residents who spent all this time working on this project - I cannot imagine saying 'no, it’s not going to happen',” said planner, Daphne Spain.
That re-zone application will now head to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. If approved, Habitat for Humanity hopes to break ground on the redevelopment the following year and have the first units completed sometime in 2021.