Charlottesville Comprehensive Plan

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The Charlottesville Comprehensive Plan has been under review since early 2017 and is about to enter another phase of community engagement. [1]

Background

Virginia law requires that all cities and counties have a comprehensive plan to direct planning activities. Charlottesville adopted a new version of its comprehensive plan in 2007 and again in 2013, as required by law. That process was done concurrently with Albemarle County's comprehensive plan with coordination from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. [2] The TJPDC received a $999,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help coordinate the work.

2019 update

Charlottesville City Council put the process on hold in late December 2018. They sought to hire another consultant to work with the project. A request for proposals was issued in June 2019. [3]

Background from the RFP

"BACKGROUND: The Housing Advisory Committee (HAC) and Planning Commission of the City of Charlottesville developed the following background statement for this project:

The City of Charlottesville, Virginia (“City”) is the only incorporated city within the Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and is composed of the City of Charlottesville and the Counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Greene, Nelson and Fluvanna. The main campus of University of Virginia is within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Charlottesville, as is the University of Virginia Hospital; however, in recent years the University has been expanding further into areas within the City and also into surrounding Albemarle County.

The City has a Downtown business district, with City and County courthouses situated to the north of its “Main Street”. This Main Street is improved as a brick-paved pedestrian mall (“Downtown Mall”) lined by a mixture of retail, commercial and entertainment uses (including numerous restaurants), anchored by City Hall and a privately operated amphitheater anchoring on its east end, and a major hotel at its west end. From 2008 to the present, the City has seen previously unprecedented development in areas proximate to the Downtown business district, and along the thoroughfare known as West Main Street (leading from the Downtown Mall westerly to the main campus of the University of Virginia).

Limited staff capacity within Neighborhood Development Services (NDS) to manage an effort of this depth, complexity, and intensity has led the HAC and Planning Commission to recommend seeking outside resources to ensure a brisk pace and a high-quality, thorough finished product.

In Charlottesville’s history, the failure of institutions and city government to be accountable to low-wealth communities, particularly communities of color, has taken many forms: violent suppression, structural oppression, neglect, half-hearted or insincere attempts that serve to manufacture consent, and well-meaning attempts that end up failing due to their assumptions, framework, and processes favoring those in power and resulting in lopsided and inaccurate information, community inaction, or community harm.

Housing is at the root of historical structural inequity and oppression in the United States, and it came to be this way deliberately. As we build a strategy to achieve a local housing landscape that is healthy, ample, high quality, and affordable, we must be equally deliberate in dismantling the dynamics and the structures that perpetuate continued inequity—structures that often go unnoticed by those of us who benefit from them or don’t directly experience their harm.

To that end, rather than relying on the existing power structure to set the narrative and define the discussion, the community engagement strategy must leverage community relationships and expertise to genuinely engage our community. This methodology is vital to the project’s success and to the quality and legitimacy of the final Comprehensive Plan Update/Housing Strategy/Zoning Ordinance Rewrite.

In the same vein, the Comprehensive Plan Update/Housing Strategy/Zoning Ordinance Rewrite must be consistent and supportive of these aims, reflecting the values of the community and commitment to equity and inclusion, recognizing the troubling history of segregation, racial covenants, urban renewal and exclusionary zoning, but also celebrating the diversity, history, culture, and visual beauty of our community." [3]

2018 update

The commission held a series of workshops in the summer of 2018 to get public input. [4]

In August 2018, Council extended the deadline to complete a draft until the end of the year. [5]

Chapters in 2013 plan

The following paragraphs are the aspirational texts of each chapter of the Comprehensive Plan.

Land Use

"The use of land in Charlottesville supports human activities and reflects community values. Our land use plan aims to promote harmonious development and support neighborhoods and places that allow residents to live, work, shop and play in proximity. Charlottesville’s land use patterns will create, preserve, and enhance neighborhood character, improve environmental quality, integrate a diversity of uses, encourage various modes of transportation, promote infill development, and increase commercial vitality and density in appropriate areas. These interdependent parts will converge to enhance the social, cultural, recreational and economic needs of our City."

Community Facilities

"The City of Charlottesville’s civic facilities and services are important to fostering a healthy and vibrant community. Residents benefit from access to excellent public services, recreational facilities and public buildings. Therefore, Charlottesville will have outstanding civic and recreational facilities, bicycle and walking trails and be served by a strong support system that includes one of the nation’s best emergency response systems. Effective and efficient water, wastewater and stormwater services will support the health and welfare of the City."

Economic Sustainability

"A strong economy is essential to the social, cultural and financial vitality of our city. Public and private initiatives help create employment opportunities and a vibrant and sustainable economy. The City of Charlottesville is committed to creating a strong, diversified economy and an environment that provides career ladder employment opportunities for residents. At its best, Charlottesville is a community with an effective workforce development system and abusiness-friendly environment that supports entrepreneurship; innovation; heritage tourism; commercial, mixed use, and infill development; and access to a growing array of diverse employment and career ladder opportunities for all City residents. The Downtown Mall, as the economic hub of the region, features a vibrant historic district with arts and entertainment, shopping, dining, cultural eventsand a dynamic City Market."

Environment

"The City of Charlottesville will be a green city, with clean and healthy air and water, sustainable neighborhoods, ample open space and natural areas that balance increased development and density in residential and economic centers, and walkable, bikeable and transit-supportive land use patterns that encourage healthy lifestyles."

Housing

"The quality and diversity of the City of Charlottesville’s housing stock creates the basis for viable neighborhoods and a thriving community. In order to be a truly world class city, Charlottesville must provide sufficient housing options to ensure safe, appealing, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing for all population segments and income levels, including middle income. Consequently, City neighborhoods will feature a variety of housing types, housing sizes, and incomes all within convenient walking, biking or transit distances of enhanced community amenities that include mixed use, barrier free, higher density, pedestrian and transit-oriented housing at employment and cultural centers connected to facilities, parks, trails and services."

Transportation

"The City of Charlottesville’s transportation network provides the fundamental framework for creating a safe, livable community while reinforcing more sustainable land use patterns. The system connects people to each other and to destinations, fosters economic activity and provides public space for human interaction. As a result, the transportation system should be designed for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. A multimodal transportation network is an effective, flexible framework for building community and creating places in our City."

Historic Preservation & Urban Design

"Urban design and historic preservation contribute to the character and quality of neighborhoods, and to the aesthetic value of the entire community. As a result, the City of Charlottesville will be a well-designed community with neighborhoods, buildings, and public spaces, including the Downtown Mall, that are human scaled, sustainable, healthy, equitable and beautiful. Charlottesville will also seek to preserve its historic resources through education and collaboration to maintain the character of our neighborhoods’ core historic fabric, our major routes of tourism and our public spaces."

External links

City's comprehensive plan page

References

  1. Web. Developers say Comprehensive Plan woes impacting plans, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, July 10, 2019, retrieved July 14, 2019.
  2. Web. Large turnout for kickoff of local planning effort, Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 28, 2011, retrieved April 28, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Web. [https://cvillepedia.org/images/RFPCOMPREHENSIVEPLANUPDATE.pdf Request for Proposals -Comprehensive Plan Update/Housing Strategy/Zoning Ordinance Rewrite], June 26, 2019, retrieved July 14, 2019.
  4. Web. Charlottesville’s growth at center of planning workshop, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 8, 2017, retrieved November 27, 2017.
  5. Web. City looks to have comprehensive plan draft completed by end of the year, Geremia De Maro, News Article, Cavalier Daily, August 28, 2018, retrieved August 3, 2018.