Go Big or Go Home – Albemarle PC Missed Opportunity

Forum Watch Editorial By. Neil Williamson, President

Allison Wrabel’s front page article in this morning’s Daily Progress correctly highlights last night’s Albemarle County Planning Commission desire to see the county focus limited resources on timely updates of master plans and the prioritization of affordable housing.  What’s even more interesting is the part of the staff report they chose NOT to talk about.

While uniformly competent and generally complete, rarely do Albemarle staff reports provide visionary opportunities to increase economic development and improve housing affordability.  Last night (1/29), the final paragraph of the Community Development Work Program, 2019-2022 report did just that:.

Finally, starting in mid-2020, staff requests the Board consider the option of directing resources toward a comprehensive examination of development review, in keeping with the objective of Project Enable, the Economic Development Strategic Plan. The intent would not be simply to consider the development review process, but instead focus on the extent and complexity of development requirements. Having completed two major and numerous minor examinations of development review process over the last 15 years, staff believes there is not likely to be much improvement by simply looking at the process. Instead, any significant in-depth consideration of the complexity of those regulations and where the County might be willing to provide less oversight. Bluntly put, the focus needs to be more on what we regulate than how we regulate itEmphasis Added-nw

In his comments to the Commission, Community Development Department Director Mark Graham explained the goal would be to simplify, not remove, regulation and would require an involved public process over a number of years.

We believe the benefits of regulatory reform would be worth the effort and those benefits include economic development and housing affordability.

Back in a February 2008 paper on housing prices, University of Washington Professor Theo S. Eicher used regression analysis to study housing prices and their relationship to regulatory environment in five major cities in Washington State (Everett, Kent, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver). His findings, reprinted below, are not surprising but are eye opening.

Aside from demand factors, housing prices are found to be associated with cost-increasing land use regulations (approval delays) and statewide growth management. For example, after accounting for inflation, regulations are associated with a $200,000 (80 percent) increase in Seattle’s housing prices since 1989, while housing demand raised prices by $50,000. This constitutes about 44 percent of the cost of a home in 2006. Cities with less stringent land use regulations had significantly lower price increases due to regulation.  Emphasis added – NW

In 2010, when Albemarle was increasing Zoning fees, the Free Enterprise Forum created the cost of complexity index, where we calculated the increase in fees (less the inflation rate).  As fees must be tied directly to the work involved, we theorized the dramatic increases [up to 620%] were due to a combination of the complexity of the regulations as well as the multitude of layers of approval.  At that time we wrote:

The cumbersome development review process [and obstructionist culture] is broken and it is negatively impacting both new construction and economic development.

The impact of Albemarle’s Byzantine regulatory complexity is magnified by staff retirements AKA the “Silver Tsunami” including Community Development Director Mark Graham. We believe the anticipated loss of institutional knowledge will have a negative impact on the application process.

Reiterating our 2010 position, we are happy Albemarle staff is sharing our concern with the regulatory environment negative impacts on economic development and housing affordability.

While we are disappointed the Planning Commission chose not to engage in a discussion of staff’s BIG IDEA, we hope the Board of Supervisors will not miss this exciting opportunity to advance their strategic plan when presented next Wednesday 2/4.

Burr GIFThe Free Enterprise Forum believes simplifying (and reducing) regulatory barriers can  positively impact both housing affordability and economic development. That seems like a win win to us.

To paraphrase Aaron Burr in Hamilton, “Regulate less, smile more”

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Neil Williamson, President

Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and  Nelson County.

Photo Credit: 66.Media.Tumbler.com

Greene Apartment Complex Proffers Road Connection

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

At the January 22nd meeting of the Greene County Supervisors the final piece of the process for the Denstock, LLC/Frank & Pearl Eways apartment complex was completed. A Special Use Permit (SUP) was approved to raise the density for the 212 apartments planned for the development behind the CVS in Ruckersville.

imageThe real selling point of the project was not the addition of quality housing in the Ruckersville area or the minimal number of students to be added to the crowded schools. The tipping point for several supervisors seemed to be the commitment by the developer to proffer a road from Moore Road to the Route 29 intersection. An existing traffic signal already controls traffic flowing from Lowes shopping center on the west side of US29.

The proffered roadway will provide a direct access to the apartment development but, in addition, it actually creates two corners on the east side of Route 29 that will be attractive for commercial development just North of the intersection with US 33.

Perhaps with a touch of irony, the developer desires the connector roadway even more – if that is possible – than Greene County does. Denise LaCour of Denstock stated at all four of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings that to be successful the development needs the new connecting road and they do not want their tenants to use Moore Road.

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Entrance to Denstock Apartments from Route 29 North

LaCour presented a fiscal analysis to the supervisors indicating a positive County tax revenue of over $250,000 per year – primarily driven by the low number of students they expect in their development. The applicant used evidence from Greene County’s  Terrace Greene apartment complex’s low student population and the even lower student population that Denstock has experienced in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. LaCour estimates  the 212 unit apartment complex will generate 30 K-12 students.

The other issue that was “sweetened” from the prior meetings was the timing of the construction of the connecting road. At the Planning Commission, Denstock agreed that the road would be completed before the Certificate of Occupancy of the sixth building (of 10) would be issued.

At the Board meeting, LaCour indicated she was willing to change the timing of the delivery of the road to the opening of the first apartment building. This will give Greene County the ability to direct traffic to the development from Route 29 and not congest Route 33 and Moore Road. The timing of Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) working on the Route 33/Moore Road project has been delayed as VDOT’s Smart Scale funding process is directing a majority of this cycles funding to expanding the tunnels in the Hampton Road area

Finally, the development is projected to pay $2.4 million for water and sewer connection fees.

Supervisor Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) asked whether the proposed swimming pool was Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant and LaCour assured her that it was. In fact, she explained that all first floor units are ADA compliant – they have bars in the showers, the counters are lower for wheel chair accessibility, the doorways are wider to allow wheel chair accessibility and the showers are “roll in” level to accommodate a wheel chair.

All of the supervisors spoke in favor of the project and complimented the developer in their presentation and the product they plan on building. The Supervisors unanimously approved the SUP.

Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.  The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at http://www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Your Voice Is Needed

By. Neil Williamson, President

See the source image

With over 1,000 archived blog posts, it could be said that you know where the Free Enterprise Forum stands on most matters of local government.

Today, we want to know what you think.

  • What is important to you?
  • How are we doing?
  • What should we do more of?
  • How should we change?

There are just five days left to make your voice heard.  Earlier this month, the Free Enterprise Forum launched a short, anonymous 7 minute survey to discern public perception of our organization, assist in understanding the community’s areas of interest  and assist the Board of directors in charting the future.

While an unscientific community engagement methodology, the survey link has been shared far and wide in hopes that supporters and opponents alike will take the opportunity to make their voices heard. Please feel free to share the link with your contacts.

With a number of anonymous survey responses already in, I can tell you this discernment process is revealing.

Please take the 7 minute survey and make your voice heard.

The survey closes at 5 pm on Friday, January 25th.

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Neil Williamson, President

Free Enterprise Wants 7 Minutes and Your Opinion

See the source imageAs a community leader, can you spare 7 minutes of your time to complete an important, anonymous, survey regarding the Free Enterprise Forum?

Your voice is important.  The Board seeks your input via this short, albeit unscientific, survey.

The Free Enterprise Forum is a privately funded public policy organization focused on local government in the City of Charlottesville and the surrounding counties.

We utilize direct appeal, research papers, social media, mainstream media, and blog posts to add pro-business balance to public policy discussions.  Areas of impact include housing affordability, land use, economic development, as well as environmental regulation.

Now in its sixteenth year, the Free Enterprise Forum Board of Directors is discerning the organization’s effectiveness and future direction and the results of this survey will help.

Please click on this link (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CZNSBPR) or any of the survey hyperlinks in this post to complete the 7 minute survey.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Robert P. Hodous, 2019 Free Enterprise Forum Chair

Photo Credit: Incolors Club

Public Voices Greene Scenic Byway Support

By. Brent Wilson, Field Officer

At the December 11th meeting of the Greene County Board of Supervisors everyone who spokeimage about Greene County pursuing Route 810 and Route 230 as a Scenic Byway were against the idea. Economic Development Authority Director, Alan Yost, asked that the Board advertise and hold a public hearing to give the public notice of the opportunity to discuss the issue.

So the schedule for the January 8th meeting included a public hearing on the Proposed Virginia Byway designation.

Virginia code dictates that public hearings must be advertised in the local paper in advance of the meeting. Due to an error at the Greene County Record, the required notice did not appear in the newspaper and therefore the public hearing could not officially be held although the meeting room was at capacity with citizens ready to speak on this issue.

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Alan Yost

The Board of Supervisors recognized that a large number of citizens came to the meeting to be heard on the issue so they went ahead with a “Public Comment” session and allowed the public to speak on the issue and assured them their comments will be added to the comments made at the January 22nd public hearing.

Yost thanked the Board for going forward with the meeting and presented several reasons why the Board should support the Scenic Byway resolution.  Yost indicated Scenic Byways are supported in the Comprehensive Plan, more tourists will improve the economy of the county, tourism tax revenue helps decrease the tax burden on the residents of Greene, and tourism doesn’t place demand on County services such as the school system.

In addition, Yost is working with Albemarle County and Madison County. Madison has already approved the Scenic Byway for Route 230. Albemarle is behind both Madison and Greene County in their process.

Yost indicated that Greene County would incur no cost with the program, there are no restrictions to what vehicles can use the roadway, Route 810 is actually rated by VDOT for 4 times the current traffic volume and it is estimated that a 4% increase will occur from the designation.

Finally, Yost referred to the editorial in last week’s Greene County Record which referenced  3,000 miles of Scenic Byways in Virginia.  Yost stated that he has been unable to find a county that regrets naming a Scenic Byway and a county can change their mind and remove the designation at any time.

Supervisor Dale Herring (At Large) asked Yost if  the designation would apply to the parts of Route 33 Bypass and Route 33 Business that connects Route 810 and Route 230 and was told they would be included in the proposal to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)  and that small sections of four lane roads have been designated when they connect other parts of a Byway. Chairman Bill Martin (Stanardsville) outlined the route as Route 230 to Route 33 Business through Stanardsville to Route 33 By-Pass West to Route 810 toward Albemarle County.

The presentation shifted to comments from the public of which 18 of 19 speakers spoke in favor of the Scenic Byway designation. One of the main issues brought up is the town of Stanardsville would benefit from tourism traffic which has been down since the Route 33 Bypass was built around the town.

The hope is that more traffic through town would attract more businesses to locate in Stanardsville. One thought was that if the Scenic Byway was adopted that possibly the southern portion of Route 810 would be better maintained.

The final speaker in favor of the Scenic Byway designation took off from the movie Field of Dreams by suggesting the Board to…. Approve It and They Will Come!

There was one speaker opposed to the designation.  His comments focused on the road conditions and narrowness of Route 810 at the southern end near Albemarle County was not safe or adequate for the increased traffic.

Vice Chair Michelle Flynn (Ruckersville) reminded everyone that the formal public hearing on this issue will be held at the next Board meeting on January 22nd. She assured those that spoke tonight would have their comments entered into the record as will any emails, phone calls or letters up until the next meeting.  Martin was pleased with the great attendance and encouraged others to come to the next meeting. At that point the issue was tabled until the January 22nd meeting.

Later in the meeting it was announced that Greene County has hired a new County Administrator – Mark B. Taylor – who holds the same position at Spotsylvania County and he will start in April.

Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.  The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at http://www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Fluvanna Administrator To Retire

By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer

Nichols2014

Steve Nichols

Fluvanna County Administrator Steve Nichols announced his retirement effective July 5, 2019.  “Thank you very much for the opportunity,” Nichols told the Board of Supervisors at the December 19 meeting. Nichols has served in this capacity since 2012 [Fluvanna Gets A New County Administrator].

Nichols cited his wife and he have been discussing his retirement and the timing was good for his family. He joked he wanted to be goof off, gopher and golfer while attending less meetings in retirement. Even displayed a few Bitmojis of himself getting ready for the “permanent vacation.”

After the meeting, Nichols touted progress achieved during his tenure. “This board believes and trusts this staff. I’ve been part of that, but all my staff has be part of that. This board is a very supportive board. We’ve made progress because of that relationship between staff members and board members,” said Nichols.

“I think he’s been a great servant to our county,” said chairman Mike Sheridan (Columbia District). “One of the things he and I have talked about is we haven’t always seen eye to eye but we all have the same goal: we want to move Fluvanna County forward. I wish him well.”

Mozell Booker (Fork Union District) was partly surprised he retired and she hoped he had four years left. “The county is in good shape because of him,” said Booker. She lauded his leadership and naval background as being attributes that led him well in his role in government.

Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District) echoed her thoughts, “[He’s an] extremely hard worker, very committed to the success of the county. He helped guide the board through some very difficult times. [He’s] always put the county first, we’ve been so lucky to have him.”

In his retirement letter, Nichols spent over a quarter of it suggesting the supervisors skip the search for a replacement and name deputy county administrator Eric Dahl to the role.

“It is my hope that you will quickly come to the same conclusion and select Eric to become county administrator when I depart,” wrote Nichols.

Dahl started at the county prior to Nichols and worked as second in the finance department before being named the director. A few years ago the supervisors approve adding deputy county administrator to his title.

“I’ve enjoyed working with him. We’ve had a great working relationship,” said Dahl after the meeting. “I appreciate what he said.”

Booker and O’Brien offered no comment on the suggestion of Dahl as the replacement.

Nichols final day, July 5, 2019, is slated to be a Board of Supervisors meeting. He mentioned he picked the date so his successor would have a month before having a supervisor meeting to prepare for.

The Free Enterprise Forum’s coverage of Fluvanna County is provided by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® and by the support of readers like you.

Bryan Rothamel covers Fluvanna County for the Free Enterprise Forum

Photo Credits: Fluvanna County

2018 Forum Watch Top 10

By. Neil Williamson, President

top ten listPerhaps the best thing that can be said about 2018 was it was not 2017.

As our community is still dealing with the very real ramifications of August 2017, The Free Enterprise Forum remained focused on monitoring local government, reducing regulatory burdens, promoting market based solutions, protecting property rights, and encouraging economic vitality.

None of this could be accomplished without the generous support of our donors and our regular readers. Thank you.  As we complete our fifteenth year of operation, we remain vigilant, and “pleasantly” persistent.

Each year, we select the top ten blog posts for our year in review.  There were many other blog posts that reached honorable mention status.  I would be remiss if I did not thank our Field Officers Brent Wilson (Greene County) and Bryan Rothamel (Fluvanna County) for their significant reportage in 2018.

With apologies to the now retired David Letterman, here are our Top 10 posts for 2018:

clip_image002#10 Greene E911 – “A Failure To Communicate”  “ …Representatives of the volunteer rescue squad and Fire Departments also addressed the Board of Supervisors. Their message was clear – we are getting “no clear supervision” and it goes back and forth who we are to answer to.

Several other citizens asked that the Supervisors have the courage to back up and revert to how E911 worked since 2012 and then have a committee analyze how best to address E911 services in the future. One of the final public comments was there seems to be “a failure to communicate” in Greene County”

#9 Lack of Infrastructure Investment Dooms Albemarle’s Neighborhood Model …”A funny thing happened on the way to Albemarle urbanization.  Elements of the Neighborhood Model of development [which had been sold as “A” model not “The” model] became part of the Albemarle County code forcing developers to put in curb, gutter, street trees and other Neighborhood Model “amenities”.  Developers built sidewalks interior to their development and Albemarle County has failed to connect the developments and thus failed to create the “walkability” they promised….”

#8 Is Charlottesville ready for Collins’ Affordable Housing “Marshall Plan”? “…At the end of the meeting, [Brandon] Collins presented a different pers

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Brandon Collins

pective on the reports.  He admonished City Council to think big.  If they are really serious about fixing the housing affordability issue, they should stop depending on developers; they should do it themselves with their existing Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority.  Collins’ “Marshall Plan” might include $140 million dollar bond issuance dedicated simply to the creation of new affordable units that will stay perpetually affordable. When pressed by Councilor Wes Bellamy how the city might pay for that debt service, Collins admitted he had not figured that out yet but thought it could be resolved.”

#7 Delta Response Team Rescue Headed to Fluvanna …Fluvanna County will start with a new contract ambulance service this upcoming year.Delta Response Team (DRT), headquartered in Appomattox, was selected after a Request for Proposal (RFP) process was completed by the county. It will cost the county $438,000 for 24-hour services. The county budget $600,000 for FY19.  “We are not here to make a career service,” said Susan Walton, president of DRT.

#6 Albemarle Rushes Rural Rights Reduction “…This proposal has sped through the County’s approval process faster than any in recent memory.  Their “need for speed” is not clear and an e-mail requesting more information has not been returned.

Throughout this speedy process, there has been significant discussion regarding the impact of this land use change on property values.  In testimony before the Planning Commission several residents suggested the value could drop by up to 90%.  One speaker indicated that a potential real estate contract is in peril because of the proposed ZTA….”

#5 Government Tourism Coup Will Produce Poor, Politically Palatable, Promotion and Pitiful Profitability “…So now that the tourist tax dollars have been properly collected and turned over to the government, who should be in charge of making the marketing decisions designed to generate tourism?

The industry or the elected officials?…”

See the source image#4 Top Gun, BRT, and The Dog Bone Roundabout “…The Free Enterprise Forum believes BRT is dramatically better than light rail, but we are not yet convinced that a mere two years after widening North US29, the community is willing to give up a lane on US29 for bus only access.  Since the jury is clearly still out regarding BRT, should we be planning this critical infrastructure piece with the station as the center?

In addition, the long term connectivity plan calls for roads to cut through Fashion Square Mall to connect to a new access road paralleling US29 and a pedestrian/bike bridge over US29 and that’s just the Southeast corner of the plan….”

#3 Parking Is Driving Charlottesville’s Future  “…  Prediction: In 2056, Charlottesville’s Market Street Garage and City Hall Complex will be razed to make way for a new Hotel and Conference Center.  There are two distinctly different paths to this prediction, economic dislocation/collapse [think Detroit 2013] or a capstone of a visionary community investment program – interestingly, parking will be a leading indicator on the City’s direction.

Please let me explain….”

#2 Over 1/3 of Albemarle’s Entrance Corridors Are Illegal “…The Free Enterprise Forum has learned that eight of Albemarle County twenty-one Entrance Corridors fail to meet the state requirements for such designation.  Some of these have been in violation since inception in 1990.  This revelation, made by staff, calls into question the legality and enforceability of any ARB conditions placed on properties along the eight illegal entrance corridors….”

and the #1 post for 2019  Albemarle’s RAIN TAX Bureaucracy “…Albemarle’s Stormwater https://freeenterpriseforum.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/no-rain-tax-logo.jpg?w=175&h=175Utility Program’s 10 year budget is $52 Million dollars But note there is no new department….Albemarle County’s program budget (chart below) shows that roughly 1/3 of every dollar generated by the RAIN TAX foes to these two line items.  That between $1.2 – $2 million dollars annually.   The Free Enterprise Forum contends absent this funding mechanism, those funds could be used for stormwater infrastructure if they were not being spent on administration and enforcement.

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But most of all THANK YOU, the readers and supporters of this blog and our work in Central Virginia.  Without your generous support, we would not exist, thank you!

BRING ON 2019!

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson, President

Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and  Nelson County.

Greene Supervisors to Meet at Undisclosed Location


****CORRECTED 4:18 pm****

By. Neil Williamson, President

Over eight years ago, the Free Enterprise Forum called out the Greene County Board of See the source imageSupervisors for holding a public meeting and not notifying the media [Greene Supervisors Hold Secret Public Meeting].  This morning, in a moment of Deja Vu all over again, Greene County alerted the media, of a special meeting on December 18th at an “undisclosed location”. Here is the proposed agenda:

Greene County Board of Supervisors

Undisclosed Location

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 – 8:00 a.m.

1.         Call to order

 

2.         8:00 a.m.         –           CLOSED MEETING

Matters pursuant to Section 2.2-3711 (a, 1-7) of the Code of Virginia

3.         –           OPEN MEETING

4.         Reconvene, certify closed meeting

5.         Adjourn

We applaud Greene letting us know they are meeting.  We anticipate this is regarding the hiring of their new County administrator which is absolutely a proper use of the closed meeting provisions provided by Virginia State Code.

We believe holding the meeting at an “Undisclosed Location” is a violation of the **spirit but not the letter [added at 4:13 pm nw]** of public meetings law.

§ 2.2-3707. Meetings to be public; notice of meetings; recordings; minutes.

A. All meetings of public bodies shall be open, except as provided in §§ 2.2-3707.01 and 2.2-3711.

C. Every public body shall give notice of the date, time, and location of its meetings by:

1. Posting such notice on its official public government website, if any;

2. Placing such notice in a prominent public location at which notices are regularly posted; and

3. Placing such notice at the office of the clerk of the public body or, in the case of a public body that has no clerk, at the office of the chief administrator.

Emphasis added – NW

After publishing this post, I learned of a different code section that explicitly permits closed meetings at an undisclosed location.

B. The notice provisions of this chapter shall not apply to closed meetings of any public body held solely for the purpose of interviewing candidates for the position of chief administrative officer. Prior to any such closed meeting for the purpose of interviewing candidates, the public body shall announce in an open meeting that such closed meeting shall be held at a disclosed or undisclosed location within 15 days thereafter.

Greene County Board of Supervisors is hosting a legal meeting at an undisclosed location.  Despite being just as legal as the secret public meeting was in 2010 — it does not make it right.

Yogi Berra said it best, “Deja Vu all over again”.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson, President

Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Nelson County.  For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org

Photo Credit: davescottblog.com

Greene Supervisors Approve Ruckersville Rezoning

By Brent Wilson, Field Officer

Ruckersville, especially near the intersection of US 29 and Route 33, is one of Greene County’simage designated development areas.  The northwest corner of Ruckersville has developed with Walmart and Lowes. The newly redeveloped Market by Tiger Fuel opened its doors late last year on the Southeast corner. Last night (12/11) the Greene County Board of Supervisors heard a rezoning request  that could eventually add residential uses and lead to a solution to efficient access to the northeast corner of Ruckersville.

For over a decade, Frank Eways has tried to develop a Planned Unit Development (PUD) on his property on Moore Road off Route 33 East with no success. So he has now partnered with Denstock, LLC from Charlottesville to develop an apartment complex on the property.

Planning Director Jim Frydl presented the rezoning request.  The Rapidan Service Authority (RSA) would provide water and sewer to the site.  The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) traffic impact study for the apartment project indicated the traffic created by the apartment use is close to the traffic predicted by the existing PUD.

The school impact data indicated these apartments would have less impact than other development types. The average number of students per Single Family Home is .56 students/house, a Multi-Family Unit – townhouse/condo – normally is .32 students/unit. However, Terrace Greene apartments in Greene County near the Albemarle County line have produced .14 students/unit. In addition, Terrace Greene low vacancy rate indicates a strong demand for high end apartments.

Denise LaCour from Denstock, LLC has significant local development experience. She was the head of the Kessler Group that developed Forest Lakes and in 2013 she started Denstock. Currently Denstock has developed 965 high end apartments in central Virginia with another 224 units in process

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Stone Creek Village near Monticello High School – Developed by Denstock, LLC

Denstock’s plan is to develop the Eways property and hopes that the county will approve a connector road to US 29 at the intersection where the road from Lowes intersects US 29. The connector road is not part of the rezoning application however it is on the agenda for the Planning Commission next week as a Special Use Permit.

LaCour addressed the markets the project is trying to serve – millennials and baby boomers – both with disposable income and without families. In broad strokes she described millennials as mobile and not wanting to be tied down to owning a property. She also indicated Baby boomers don’t want the maintenance that comes with ownership. They want to be able to travel for weeks at a time without worrying about mowing the yard.

In the public hearing portion of the meeting three citizens spoke about Moore Road being a rural road.

Supervisors Chair Michelle Flynn pointed out that the area being considered is not zoned agricultural but is being considered to rezone from PUD to R-2, Residential with basically the same density. She also highlighted that the demand for this project is confirmed by Terrace Greene being full.

Supervisor Bill Martin indicated this property is in an area that is planned to grow but that the existing PUD zoning has not been successful. The presentation clearly demonstrates there is a demand which is supported by Terrace Greene’s success. He also appreciated the explanation of the connection to US 29 – although it was not part of the rezoning being requested – it demonstrates a long term solution to getting traffic onto US 29.

Supervisor Marie Durrer clearly stated that she was against the rezoning request prior to the meeting but, now understanding that the plan is to eventually connect to US 29 where the Lowes intersection is located, has changed her mind. Supervisor David Cox also agreed that the connector road was a major factor in his supporting the rezone request.

Although the connector road will be addressed as a Special Use Permit and is not part of the rezoning application, the applicant clearly stated that the connector road is a critical piece to the success of this development. With that, the Supervisors unanimously approved the rezoning request.

Brent Wilson is the Greene County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization.  The Free Enterprise Forum Field Officer program is funded by a generous grant from the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) and by readers like you.  To support this important work please donate online at http://www.freeenterpriseforum.org