By: Justin West, Charlottesville Field Officer Intern
The Charlottesville City Planning Commission had before it, in its February meeting, one item requiring action, an updated zoning district map. In what amounted to a less than two hour long meeting the new map was praised and recommended strongly for adoption by a 5-0 vote.
Zoning Map Update
In November of last year the Planning Commission deferred an opportunity to move the new zoning map along to City Council in order to receive more complete public feedback and scrutiny on the document. On Tuesday (February 10th) the updated map got its blessings from all five present members of the Commission. The map, replacing the 2003 version, contained two major changes from the November edition. First, a layering problem with the new software the city is using to produce the maps, incorrectly covered up the B-1 Business Zoning on a section of 1308 East Market Street, a mistake that was corrected. Second, a Special Permit designation on 1610 East Market Street was removed as the Zoning Administrator couldn’t find record of a designation at that address. Additionally the Commission had to act on two errors in the 2003 map that were to be corrected in the new map. One, in 2002 the city rezoned 336 Parkway from R-3 Residential to R-1S Residential, but the 2003 map did not reflect this change, and the other 407, 405, and 501 Hedge Street were mistakenly zoned R-1S Residential, R-1S Residential, and R-2 Residential, respectively on the 2003 map, despite their correct designation being R-3 Residential.
The new zoning map became necessary when Neighborhood Development Services decided it wanted to switch the old map, done with its older Arcview 3.2 software, with a newer map developed with a new platform, called ArcGIS 9, that Staff reports said is “more stable, has a higher degree of accuracy and is maintained on a secure server in our Information Technology Department”. There was consensus that the new map which Commissioner William Emory claimed to be “confident and excited about” was an improvement over its predecessor and after a couple minutes of reaffirming comments the Commission, Vice-Chairman Michael Farruggio moved to recommend adoption of the new map including the corrections on Parkway and Hedge Street, a movement that passed 5-0.
Preliminary Discussion on PUD at Corner of Cherry and Ridge
In other business the Commission engaged in dialogue with representatives from Southern Development, who plan to petition for 7 parcels fronting on Cherry Avenue and Ridge Street to be rezoned from R-2, R-3 and CH to PUD later this year. The applicant’s representative presented a model of the mixed use development containing 40 units of housing and 40,000 square feet of commercial space. At this point the development is still months away from appearing before the Commission as the developer is currently beginning a traffic study of the area and opening discussions with the Board of Architectural Review. Commission members, voiced concerns about tree coverage on the road side of the development, high amounts of impervious pavement encircling the project, a lack of a landscape buffer between it and adjacent sites, increased pedestrian, bike, and car load to the area, and reinforced the need for adequate affordable housing. In the end, however, the project seemed to garner widespread support with Chairman Jason Pearson asserting that the project looks towards the future of the city’s vision for the Cherry Avenue Corridor mixed use zoning district.