The Charlottesville Planning Commission unanimously approves the update of the comprehensive plan after nearly five years of work; now he goes to the city council for a hearing
The necessarily long comprehensive plan states its objective in the first pages: âThis renewed process, called Cville is planning together, reviewed the updating process with an emphasis on affordability and equity, taking a critical and intentional look at how land use decisions have been made over time. This plan begins to address inequity in the distribution of housing options and access to affordable housing options throughout the city, as well as other key community priorities related to land use, transport, environment and climate, economic development and wealth creation, etc.
In other words, the overall plan is a self-improvement plan. It guides pretty much all of the upcoming municipal government activity, outlining what the city expects to do over the next five years. It is also a way for the city government – and its citizens – to hold itself accountable for creating and implementing policies and budgeting for programs that progress in the identified priority areas, which are:
- Support the development of more housing across the city, with a focus on creating more affordable housing for more people, especially those who need it most;
- Make sure all people have access to the shelter, food, employment opportunities and other resources they need to thrive and succeed;
- Work to both mitigate and prepare for the impacts of climate change;
- Make walking, cycling, public transport or other means of non-personal vehicle transport safer, easier and more desirable;
- Keep Charlottesville green, make it greener and protect the natural environment and the many benefits it provides;
- Keep evolving and improving communication and collaboration.
The plan is the result of nearly five years of work by the Planning Commission, consultants from Rhodeside & Harwell Inc., various municipal government employees (especially neighborhood development departments) and thousands of members of the community. Among the many (usually very long) meetings, surveys, calls, emails, one-on-one and group conversations, listening sessions, public comment periods during the aforementioned long meetings, petitions and letters compiled by community groups, etc.
It’s also late. Charlottesville last updated its comprehensive plan in 2013, and by law every locality in the Commonwealth of Virginia must have a comprehensive plan and must update it every five years (as in this one, this one). this was due in 2018).
So, last Tuesday night, when Planning Commission chairman Lyle Solla-Yates put forward a motion to approve the comprehensive plan, with four agreed upon changes, and send it to city council for its first of two hearings for approval, the seven commissioners had the chance to share their votes, “yes” seven times.
“Yes, with a dance,” said Commissioner Jody Lahendro, who served on the commission for more than seven years.
“Party!” said another commissioner, off camera.
Commissioner Hosea Mitchell asked Lahendro and Taneia Dowell, another longtime member of the commission, what they think. âI think it’s a long time to come,â said Dowell. âI think I’m glad we got to this point. I think I appreciate all the hard work and dedication that went into it, not only from the staff, but also from the citizens of our community who stepped in, who have stepped up since we started this process. [â¦] We’ve been there for a while [â¦], and sometimes I felt like we weren’t making much progress. But here we are.
Dowell closed his statement in hopes that city council will vote to adopt the changes.
Lahendro then expressed a desire to accomplish even more before he and Dowell withdraw the commission in August of next year.
Commissioner Stolzenberg added that the simultaneous housing and climate crises – which the plan seeks to address – have worsened since the start of this process, and he is happy to “put in place the very first step of the master plan to begin with. to think about changes that will actually have effects in the real world. He also mentioned that he wanted to continue educating the community on what is in the plan as a whole.
Stolzenberg also urged city council not to remove the medium intensity category from the future land use map, which they all discussed in a working session of the city council and the planning commission. evening before. The removal of this category of land use “would be seen to reflect the demands of people who think about their own neighborhood and their own backs when we really need to think about [â¦] the people who run our city, who are being forced out of the city day in and day out right now âbecause of the unavailability of housing, especially truly affordable housing, in the city. “I think this plan is a big first step to do this, and I hope to see the council adopt it in its entirety,” he concluded, echoing the support of Commissioner Karim Habbab.
Now that the Planning Commission has approved the overall plan, there are two more checkpoints in the approval process, said Jennifer Koch, urban planner at RHI and project manager for Cville Plans Together, in an interview with Charlottesville Tomorrow. .
The first is a first public hearing and a first reading for the city council at the council meeting on November 15. Koch and others from RHI will be making a presentation similar to the one they gave last week, explaining how they created the plan for the board to consider.
The second is a second reading, currently scheduled for December 6. Theoretically, that’s when city council would vote to adopt the plan, Koch said.
Once the master plan is approved, Cville Plans Together will undertake a major rezoning process, guided by the master plan’s future land use map.