Charlottesville Planning Commission

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City Planning Commission in April 2009

The Charlottesville Planning Commission is an advisory board and administrative entity established by the City Council, the governing body of the City of Charlottesville. The Planning Commission recommends to the City Council the land use policies of the City in accordance with the adapted Comprehensive Plan.

The seven-member board also makes recommendations on applications for Special Use Permits, Special Exceptions, Subdivisions, Rezonings, and Development Code Text Amendments after it has conducted a public hearing.

Each locality is required to create a local planning commission in order to promote the orderly development of the locality and its environs. In accomplishing its objectives, the local planning commissions serve primarily in an advisory capacity to the governing bodies. Va. Code § 15.2-2210.


"The City of Charlottesville Planning Commission advises City Council on promoting orderly development of community. Advises in the development of the Comprehensive Plan, including land use, transportation, community facilities and service, and designation of renewal and other treatment areas. It advises on zoning, subdivision, capital programming and other planning activities." (City of Charlottesville's website: [1]

Bylaws and Guidelines

The Planning Commission maintains a set of bylaws, rules for the transaction of business adopted pursuant to § 15.2-2217, first adopted in 1993 and revised several times. In addition, it has adopted more general operating guidelines, first developed in May 2017 and revised in February 2020.[2]

Comprehensive Plan

The current [Charlottesville Comprehensive Plan|Comprehensive Plan]] was adopted by the Charlottesville City Council (2020-2021) on November 15, 2021 and is the City's official policy guide for long-range development-related planning decisions. [View the current Comprehensive Plan. |]

Current Studies, Projects & Plans

Completed Studies, Projects & Plans

Role of the planning commission

The commission is to apply the content of the Comprehensive Plan to physical growth and development within city limits. The commission oversees any rezonings, special-use permits, site plans, and other development items that come before the city. The planning commission also serves as the Entrance Corridor Review Board (ERB).


The commission generally holds a regular meeting on the second Tuesday of each month, and and one work session each month.


Main article: List of City Planning Commissioners

The Planning Commission consists of seven members appointed by the City Council, all of whom shall be residents of and a majority of whom shall be owners of real property (freeholders) in the City. One member of the Planning Commission may be a member of the City Council, and one member may be a member of the administrative branch of government of the city, however, currently there is not a Planning Commission member from the City Council or government administration. Code of Virginia Code § 15.2-2212

Planning Commission members serve a maximum of two 4-year terms. Vacancies to be filled by appointment for the unexpired term only.

The current members and terms of the Planning Commission are:


Members may be removed for malfeasance in office, absence from any three consecutive meetings of the commission, or absence from any four meetings of the commission within any 12-month period.


For their services, the chair of the planning commission shall receive annual compensation of three thousand five hundred dollars ($3,500.00) and the other members of the commission shall receive annual compensation of two thousand nine hundred dollars ($2,900.00).[8]

Code of Virginia Code § 15.2-2212 states that “The local governing body may provide for compensation to commission members for their services, reimbursement for actual expenses incurred, or both.”

Virginia's Planning District Commissions

The code of Virginia § 15.2-2210 states that “Any locality may participate in a planning district commission or a joint local commission. (See also Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission)

Virginia Land Use Planning

In Virginia, a developer may need approval from the local planning commission to construct a project. (Information current as of 2020)

Code of Virginia

  • In 2013, the Virginia Supreme Court decided that only City Council could approve sidewalk waiver requests, as referenced within Section 29-182(j) of the subdivision ordinance; previously, it was the practice for the Planning Commission to grant this type of waiver.

Article 2. Local Planning Commissions

§ 15.2-2210. Creation of local planning commissions; participation in planning district commissions or joint local commissions.
Every locality shall by resolution or ordinance create a local planning commission in order to promote the orderly development of the locality and its environs. In accomplishing the objectives of § 15.2-2200 the local planning commissions shall serve primarily in an advisory capacity to the governing bodies.
§ 15.2-2211. Cooperation of local planning commissions and other agencies.
The planning commission of any locality may cooperate with local planning commissions or legislative and administrative bodies and officials of other localities so as to coordinate planning and development among the localities.
§ 15.2-2212. Qualifications, appointment, removal, terms and compensation of members of local planning commissions.
A local planning commission shall consist of not less than five nor more than fifteen members, appointed by the governing body...

Relations with Albemarle County Planning Commission

The City Planning Commission and the Albemarle County Planning Commission infrequently hold joint meetings to discuss issues that affect both jurisdictions.

In 2003, the City began a policy where at least one City Planning Commissioner would attend every meeting of the County Planning Commission[9]. However, the policy did not last as this is no longer practice.

Annual Awards

For several years, the Planning Commission presents awards to recognize planning efforts in the community for the previous year. Those awards are:

  • The Eldon Fields Wood Design Professional of the Year
  • Outstanding Plan of Development
  • Citizen Planner of the Year
  • Herman Key Jr., Access to the Disabled Award
  • Outstanding Neighborhood Effort
  • Neighborhood of the Year
  • Outstanding Sustainable Development
  • Neighborhood Development Services Staff Member of the Year

2008 workload changes

In 2008, the Planning Commission's workload was changed as part of a process to streamline the city's development review process. The intent behind the change is to spend less time on specific site plan approvals and leave more time to focus on general zoning issues, [10]

Photo gallery


  2. Web. Agenda for February 11, 2020 Charlottesville Planning Commission, City of Charlottesville, February 11, 2020., retrieved 2023-03-12.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Web. Council makes several appointments to Planning Commission, Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, 2018-03-19, retrieved 2018-07-17.
  4. Web. September 15, 2021: Smith pool to remain closed through late fall; input sought on natural hazard mitigation plan, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions, retrieved September 27, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Web. Council makes two appointments to Planning Commission, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Town Crier Productions, July 27, 2022, retrieved April 26, 2023.
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named app2018
  7. Web. UVA lecturer and former CRHA Chair named to Charlottesville Planning Commissioner, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Town Crier Productions, March 5, 2024, retrieved March 9, 2024.
  8. Web. Sec. 2-240. - Compensation specified for chair and members., Charlottesville, VA, (Code 1976, § 2-90; 5-21-07(1); 9-7-21(1) , § 2), retrieved November 21, 2023.
  9. "Draft Minutes, City of Charlottesville, Planning Commission, December 9, 2003." City of Charlottesville. Web. 13 Aug. 2009. <>.
  10. "" Weblog post. Charlottesville Tomorrow News Center. Charlottesville Tomorrow, 17 Oct. 2008. Web. 13 July 2009. <>.

External links