preparing to make sausage

Dear Planning Commission and Council,
November 13 there is a public hearing for a zoning map amendment of 4.885 acres on the north side of Carlton Avenue. The agenda materials are a lot to digest, 80 pages, 20,000+ words.
A rezoning from M-I to PUD would allow a dwelling unit per acre (DUA) density increase from the current 21 DUA to 34 DUA.
On your way for a Carlton Avenue site-visit stop by Timberlake Place, 1512 E Market. The Timberlake Place residential development was made possible by a zoning map amendment (R1s & R1sH to PUD) and was approved by Council in 2010.
The Timberlake PUD, located in the Woolen Mills Neighborhood, is comprised of 26 age and income restricted units and 2 market rate units. Timberlake Place paid careful attention to the PUD ordinance guidelines throughout the design and construction phases of the development. LIHTC and CAHF funds were involved and the City got sustainable affordable units added to its housing inventory.
A unique aspect of the PUD zoning classification, it allows a developer to build a neighborhood, particularly when the site acreage provides as large a canvas as the Carlton site.
Building a livable and well-loved neighborhood via the PUD ordinance is facilitated by community involvement, thoughtful design and adherence to the zoning code’s 34-490 PUD objectives. First in all of our minds, is the well being of the residents in new development.
In my opinion, a rezoning on the Carlton site would help the City toward its 15% affordable housing goal but the rezoning would not serve the majority of the PUD residents or be in accordance with planning principals
(Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Plan, Zoning Code).

 

 

In 2013 this Carlton area was on the verge of a small area plan (SAP). The plan wasn’t funded.
There is a lack of coordinated vision for the east side of Charlottesville. On the high altitude level this is visible from the zoning map.

Manufacturing-Industrial, B3, R1s, R-2, R-3, PUD, Highway Commercial. Do you have a junk drawer in your kitchen? East Belmont Carlton is the planning junk drawer of Charlottesville. It has a history of being a politically disenfranchised community which makes it the ideal location for projects which organized neighborhoods (involved organized residents like PHAR) would attempt to shape, make better.
Imagine, for a moment, that the East Belmont-Carlton neighborhood had been organized in 1958 when the sewer plant was built. With organization they could have pushed for a properly designed, minimum stink, waste water treatment plant. Now, 60 years later, that environmental justice disaster is finally being rectified.
At a more granular level, we discuss the vendor navigation of the West2nd parking lot, we do not discuss wheel chair navigation in the Carlton Views bathrooms. The edges of town deserve the same detailed discussion and careful planning as the vaunted Downtown neighborhood.
______________________
The PUD Application Plan Narrative
A narrative from rezoning applicants is somewhat of a sales pitch. I want to disagree with the Carlton Avenue applicants on several points. My statements are my opinion, I can’t claim that they are “fact”. I leave the verification of facts up to you.

The applicants say:
“A strict application of the Zoning Ordinance would not allow for the unit density necessary to
develop additional housing on this site and would effectively prohibit the build‐out of the project as initially conceived.”—Page 124 (emphasis mine)
Response: As initially conceived the site was to host 6 buildings with 102 dwelling units overall. The residential buildings were smaller than those currently being built. The density increase is a new idea. Did they deliberately plan to paint themselves into this corner? (Images above and below are from the February 19, 2013, concept plan)

The applicants say:
Building on the success of the current 54‐unit apartment building that is currently providing accessible and universally designed units for low‐income elderly and disabled residents, …Page 109
Carlton Views is a multifamily development. Its higher level of density and relatively small unit size allows for land use efficiency and the preservation of landscaped and open space. The preponderance of elderly and disabled tenants without automobiles will allow for a cooperative parking arrangement, greatly reducing the number of parking spaces required to serve the residential development.—Page 124.
Carlton Views is committed to providing affordable and accessible rental housing set aside for low‐income elderly and disabled residents. As such, the majority of the units in the project will be one and two‐bedroom units designed to meet UFAS accessibility requirements and/or VHDA universal design standards. There is a very limited supply of this housing type in the City of Charlottesville.—Page 124)
Response: The applicant makes multiple use of the descriptors “Frail” Elderly” and “Disabled”. The housing proposed for these sites is currently marketed with income limits but there is no proffered, reserved number of units being offered to tenants on the basis of age, disability or frailty. What percentage of tenants does the current “preponderance” of elderly and disabled tenants comprise?
The applicants say:
The additional density will meet the objectives set by the Charlottesville Housing Policy and Comprehensive plan by growing the affordable housing stock in Charlottesville, providing a minimum of 30% affordability for the residential units for a minimum of 20 years, accommodating the housing needs for low-income seniors and those with disabilities, and increasing density in the areas near employment and transit services. —Page 109
As an in‐fill project on an abandoned site, Carlton Views epitomizes efficient, attractive and sensitive design. Approving a PUD rezoning will ensure the completion of this innovative effort, provide an appropriate level of housing density, and increase affordable housing options in close proximity to community services.—Page 124
Response: The east Belmont Carlton area is not walkable, there are few nearby businesses, no grocery, no library, no social services. While the PUD site is mixed use, those current uses are all provided by the PACE center. PACE Center services are only available to PACE members who have paid the capitation fee and are signed up. You are unable to walk in, even if you are a Carlton Views resident, and receive services based on your residency in the Carlton PUD.
The applicants say:
By designing for affordability, accessibility and universal design, Carlton Views/PACE will provide much needed housing opportunity for frail elderly and disabled tenants. Residential buildings shall be comprised primarily of one and two‐bedroom units. The number of bedrooms in any residential building shall not exceed three‐bedrooms.—Page 123
Response: The maximum number of bedrooms is not listed as a proffer, statement in the narrative does not make it so. The PUD is located in the Clark School district which has historically had a high reliance (82%) on the National School Lunch Program. Will the “low-wealth” profile of this development have a negative effect on the school?
____________________________________________
PUD OBJECTIVES:
The applicants’ narrative addresses the 10 PUD objectives paraphrased below (34-490-Z.O.). They feel that the objectives have been realized. In my opinion, the objectives have not and will not be realized.
1. Equal or higher quality?
No.
2. To encourage innovative arrangements of buildings and open spaces.
No.
The build-out proposes four massive buildings floating in a sea of asphalt. Little of the site’s open space is usable by children or the elderly.
3. To promote a variety of housing types
No.
4. To encourage the clustering of single‐family dwellings for more efficient use of land and preservation of open space.
No.
These are large apartment buildings, people storage units, with inadequate recreational open-space.
5. To provide for developments designed to function as cohesive, unified projects.
No.
Tenancy is not restricted to the users and workforce of PACE. PACE services are not available to all residents.
6. To ensure that a development will be harmonious with the existing uses and character of adjacent property. Yes.
7. To ensure preservation of cultural features, scenic assets and natural features such as trees, streams and topography.
Not applicable.
8. To provide for coordination of architectural styles internally within the development as well as in relation to adjacent properties along the perimeter of the development.
No. The architectural styles, to date, are not coordinated any more than a Best Buy located in close proximity to a Motel 8.
9. To provide for coordinated linkages among internal buildings and uses, and external connections at a scale appropriate to the development and adjacent neighborhoods.
yes/no. There is not a City bus stop on site. Walking to the Pace Center will be a challenge for the frail and elderly if they live on site, because of topography and weather.
10. To facilitate access to the development by public transit services or other single-vehicle-alternative services, including, without limitation, public pedestrian systems.
No.

The developers did not build a covered stop or a seating area on Carlton Avenue. The nearest CATS bus stop is 2/10ths of a mile (strenuous uphill walk) west at the intersection of Rives Street and Carlton Avenue. Seven out of eight of the bikes in the CVI rack are not operational. The shared bike lane markings mentioned for Carlton Avenue (page 94) have yet to manifest. Carlton Views has exhibited little interest in existing pedestrian infrastructure (picture above, the Franklin Street sidewalk earlier this month) In contrast, the developers at Timberlake Place designed and built with the PUD objectives in mind. Timberlake Place meets all ten objectives.

Questions for staff.
1. “Staff finds that the Open space requirements are also achieved.”–page 86
Sec 34—493 As used within this article, the term “open space” shall mean land designated on an approved development plan for a PUD as being reserved for the use, benefit and enjoyment of all residents of the PUD.”
Question: If a resident is not a PACE client do they have use of the “open space” associated with the PACE building? (the fenced in area below)

3 Carlton Views I residents are authorized to use PACE facilities

How does the “open space” benefit the residents? Is there an outdoor location for a mother to watch her young children? Is there any location suitable for young children? Is there a covered place for the frail elderly to sit? Are there any level areas not covered by asphalt or concrete? Is there anywhere to set up a grill? Is there any location for recreation?

Carlton Views I east open space

CVI south open space

CVI north open space

View from CVI plaza looking north to green buffer

view from north buffer looking towards CVI north open space

View from north CVI open space looking toward PACE. The dumpster doors are always open.

“Residents in Carlton Views I utilize the services of the PACE Center. Expanding on this model, as proposed in the Development Plan, would make sense though the establishment of a PUD.”—Page 55

Question: What percentage of Carlton Views I residents utilize PACE?
(4%, 3 out of 78)

Question: Does the proposed amendment conform to the general guidelines and policies contained in the comprehensive plan?

“Staff finds the proposed rezoning is not consistent with the City’s Comprehensive General Land Use Plan Map, but may contribute to other goals within the Land Use chapter of the Comprehensive Plan.”—Page 55

Question: How does staff evaluate goals in the Comprehensive Plan that seem out of step with the proposed development? A list follows:

Goal 3.3, Housing Chapter, Comprehensive Plan page 63:
“Achieve a mixture of incomes and uses in as many areas of the City as possible.”

Goal 5.4, Housing Chapter, Comprehensive Plan page 64
“Perform an inventory across the City and use GIS technology to analyze where and how much affordable housing is available, where opportunities exist to create additional units and/or rehabilitate existing units and how to improve access for lower-income households to adult learning and employment opportunities, job training, healthy food sources and public amenities such as parks, recreational facilities, shopping destinations and libraries, with the goal of reducing family isolation, deconcentrating poverty, and enhancing neighborhood and school health and economic mobility.”

Goal 5.7, Housing Chapter, Comprehensive Plan page 65
“Support housing programs at the local and regional level that encourage mixed-income neighborhoods and discourage the isolation of very low and low income households.”

Goal 8 Housing Chapter, Comprehensive Plan Page 67:
Sustainability Principles:
ENSURE THAT THE CITY’’S HOUSING PORTFOLIO OFFERS A WIDE RANGE OF CHOICES THAT ARE INTEGRATED AND BALANCED ACROSS THE CITY TO MEET MULTIPLE GOALS INCLUDING: INCREASED SUSTAINABILITY, WALKABILITY, BIKEABILITY, AND USE OF PUBLIC TRANSIT, AUGMENTED SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN, FEWER POCKETS OF POVERTY, SUSTAINED LOCAL COMMERCE AND DECREASED STUDENT VEHICLE USE.’’
8.1
Encourage mixed-use and mixed-income housing developments.*
8.3
Encourage housing development where increased density is desirable and strive to coordinate those areas with stronger access to employment opportunities, transit routes and commercial services.

Question: Is there a need and justification for this zoning change?

Staff finds the only substantial and realistic change the rezoning to PUD will achieve is an increase in residential density.—(page 60)

The PUD, when used as intended, can provide wonderful results. This use (to increase density without a commensurate quality increase) is improper. For the sake of future residents of LIHTC CAHF funded developments please recommend denial of this rezoning.
Thanks for reading,

Bill Emory

p.s. The apartments in CVI are really nicely appointed, they border on fancy (granite countertops). The development has spectacular mountain views to the south.

The view from a CVI apartment

34 DUA

34 DUA

Timberlake Place market rate

Timberlake Place, one of several raised beds for gardening

some of the eastern Timberlake Place open space

a Timberlake Place apartment

Westhaven open space

Paul Goodloe McIntire’s Rivanna (06)

Henry Clay Marchant grave

In 1915, five years after Henry Clay Marchant’s death, his heirs turned the riverside land over to a group that saw in it a great aesthetic and recreational resource. The heirs leased, and later sold, the Marchant tract to the Albemarle Golf Club. Established in 1914, the club had enjoyed rapid growth, initially using leased land on Rose Hill. In 1915, George R. B. Michie, a charter member of the club and the president of the People’s National  Bank, approached the Marchant heirs and worked out a three-year lease for their land along the Rivanna River. For Michie, the arrangement seemed ideal. In 1909, Michie and his family had taken up residence in the 1820s house built by John A. G. Davis as the plantation house of The Farm.

Davis house aka the Farm

The house continued to look out over sod and pastures that the Marchant family had maintained since the 1890s. Now, with only minor changes, the landscape character would be preserved, and Michie would have the added advantage of having a golf course adjacent to his residence. For their part, the Marchant heirs insisted on preserving the pastoral character of the site. Their lease called for the land to be used for “athletic and grazing purposes only, and shall not be cultivated except so far as is necessary to get said land in the best condition possible for the raising of grass and sodding said land.” The sod could be removed only to build tennis courts and putting greens, and would have to be restored at the end of the lease. The existing grade of the land could not be altered, and no trees could be felled, save for a small orchard that could he removed if the golfers desired.

The rising popularity of golf in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was directly tied to the perception that urbanization would erode the health and vitality of the American citizens. A growing number of people who had been raised in the outdoors, on rural farms, had now taken up residence in cities and were spending their working lives indoors. This fact made the golf course seem an especially attractive venue for such city-dwellers to ensure healthy and restorative leisure. Pointing to the new golf course along the Rivanna, the Daily Progress reported: “The new grounds are within a short walking distance from the business center of Charlottesville ….The club is meeting a long-felt want in this community-that of furnishing healthful outdoor exercise for business and professional men who are kept in store or office during the major portion of the day.”  Many charter members of the Golf Club did indeed spend their days indoors doing white-collar work. For example, George Michie worked in the People’s National Bank at Third and Main. Marshall Timberlake ran his pharmacy  at Fourth  and Main. W.J. Keller  and  Harry  George operated their Main Street jewelry shop between Second Street and Third Street. All of these men lived within a few blocks of their workplace . All could now golf along the Rivanna where tennis, baseball, and boating were also available. Clearly, the Golf Club represented a new use for the agricultural lands along the Rivanna. Indeed, despite the appearance of the land that seemed somewhat pastoral in nature, the Marchant heirs had forbidden  the planting of corn on the site and in 1915 after a “very rigorous debate,” club members voted to terminate the pasturage of cows on the land, preferring to pay for the mowing of the fairways. Under these changed circumstances, the agricultural landscape grew increasingly attenuated; nevertheless, with the introduction of golf, the site retained both its alluring pastoral character and its intricate connection to the economic, residential, and social life of the region. In 1918, pleased with their location and the growth of their organization, the Albemarle Golf Club paid the Marchant heirs $18,800 and took full ownership of their riverside golf course.

Alb Golf club members

Members of the Albemarle Golf Club, 1921. Although not pictured, women could join the club as non-voting members, paying half the annual membership fee of men while the entrance fee was waived. Photo courtesy collection of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society.

Paul Goodloe McIntire’s Rivanna: The Unexecuted Plans For a River City
is by Daniel Bluestone and Steven G. Meeks. This article was published in Volume 70 2012 of the Magazine of Albemarle County History by the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. Copies of the Magazine are available at www.albemarlehistory.org

Timberlake Place


JABA held a ceremony today behind the historic Timberlake-Branham house to celebrate the ground-breaking of its income and age restricted multi-family housing project.


Mayor Satyendra Huja (center) joined by developers Preston Coiner and Chris Murray.


Timberlake Place has been in the planning stages since 1999 according to architect Charles Hendricks of The Gaines Group. Developer of this project is Jefferson Area Board for Aging, Inc.

Timberlake Place will provide 26 units of low-to-moderate income housing and one market-rate apartment for persons aged 55 and over. The new housing combines the historic rehabilitation of the Timberlake-Branham House with 22 newly constructed one- and two-bedroom apartments in three buildings behind the original house. The new construction has been carefully designed to fit in with the scale and character of the Woolen Mills neighborhood, and will feature both “senior-friendly” universal design, and energy-efficient EarthCraft construction throughout.–JABA

53 mgd part two


Scale / Character
The Woolen Mills has recently been designated a historic neighborhood both in Virginia and nationally. The proposed expansion is HUGE. The scale and character of the proposed building and use for Option A is incompatible. The building is massive compared to adjacent homes.


Feasibilty in Question
RWSA provided the information below on sizes of structures. A large portion of the staging area during construction would require tree clearing in the park and floodway. A portion of the site required for the development would be in the flood plain. The Charlottesville Zoning Regulations severely restrict construction in the flood way. Site is banked up against a stream (with no stream buffer) and destroys likely wetlands.


Environmental Impact in the Chesapeake Bay Region
The likely site of the expansion for Option A is bordered by nearby streams on two sides. The green circle indicates an area that may qualify as wetlands. Several years ago, then City Councilor Kevin Lynch indicated the City wanted to preserve this site as wetland. Surely, when this information is further confirmed, RWSA would not consider, in destroying wetlands or occupying important stream buffers, trading one set of water quality measures, for another?


Not NIMBY
The Woolen Mills is still more affected by Option D than Pantops households. The majority of homes in the Pantops neighborhood are a half-mile distant and unaffected by Option D.


Not NIMBY
Option D puts the new pumping station more distant from the Woolen Mills and still considerably distant from the nearest Pantops residents.




Smelly, Noisy
Since the 1960’s RWSA has occupied the existing site. When the first facility was installed, the neighborhood was promised there would be no smells, no noise. The Woolen Mills have lived with smells and noise these fifty plus years. We are told if the equipment is enclosed in a building the smells be be mitigated. RWSA acknowledges though there will always be smells and noise. It’s time to reverse poor planning and move the infrastructure out of the neighborhood. When someone flushes a toilet in Forest Lakes or UVA or Belmont, we don’t want to smell it in the Woolen Mills!


Good Urban Planning
Industrial zoning adjacent to residential neighborhoods is not considered appropriate zoning. This is a new facility – we’d like to see any examples of a new facility of this scale in a neighborhood in the United States. We believe few or none exist as testimony to the inappropriateness of these adjacencies.


Parkland lost
The site for Option A is parkland and is situated at the entrance to Riverview Park and is estimated to clear 1.5 acres of parkland for construction. That’s 1.5 acres of cleared park land to be turned into an industrial use! Please keep the “PROTECT” in “Public Park Protection.”


River“view” Park
A view of the river? Or, a view of a massive industrial complex? The image below imagines the view from historic homes toward a meadow and river views – a park restored as a gateway to the Rivanna River.

53 million gallons per day

















Click here to download a high resolution version of this document. The document above was prepared and presented to Charlottesville City Council by Woolen Mills resident Allison Ewing during the “matters from the public” portion of the March 7, 2011 Council meeting. The text below is a repeat of the text above, included so it can be found by Internet search engines.
To facilitate search engine function I add the following keywords: sewage pumping plant, floodplain, Park, DEQ, residential neighborhood, EPA, Executive Order 12898 of February 11, 1994, Environmental Justice.–Bill Emory

Feasibilty in Question

RWSA estimates the size of the site infrastructure will be two acres and the building will be 50’x90’. The additional capacity required, however, (2.12x current) would require a 90’x90’ building 35’ tall, based on the existing size and capacity. This drawing indicates that only approximately .8 acres of the assumed expansion will fit in the flood plain. The remainder of the two acres would have to be located in the flood way. The Charlottesville Zoning Regulations severely restrict construction in the flood way.

In the 1980’s when the pumping station was first built, the neighborhood was promised there would be no smells, no noise. The Woolen Mills have lived with smells and noise these thirty plus years. We are told if the equipment is enclosed in a building the smells be be mitigated. RWSA acknowledges though there will always be smells and noise. It’s time to reverse poor planning and move the infrastructure out of the neighborhood. When someone flushes a toilet in Forest Lakes or UVA or Belmont, we don’t want to smell it in the Woolen Mills!
Over the past twelve years, RWSA has spent considerable money trying to improve the unsightliness, smells and noise.
Why continue to spend good money after bad?

Scale/Character

The Woolen Mills has recently been designated a historic neighborhood both in Virginia and nationally. The proposed expansion is HUGE. The scale and character of the proposed building and use for Option A is incompatible. The building is massive compared to adjacent homes.

Parkland Lost
The site for Option A is parkland and is situated at the entrance to Riverview Park and is estimated to occupy two acres of land. That’s two acres of cleared park land to be turned into an industrial use! Please keep the “PROTECT” in “Public Park Protection.”

Environmental Impact in the Chesapeake Bay Region
The likely site of the expansion for Option A is bordered by nearby streams on two sides. The green circle indicates an area that may qualify as wetlands. Several years ago, then City Councilor Kevin Lynch
indicated the City wanted to preserve this site as wetland. Surely, when this information is further confirmed, RWSA would not consider, in destroying wetlands or occupying important stream buffers, trading one set of water quality measures, for another?

Property Values and Fairness
The difference between the costs of Option A (the least expensive – $25,000,000) and Option C (the most expensive – $37,000,000) is only 6 cents/1000 gallons. The average household uses roughly 5,000 gallons/month so the difference is only 30 cents/month for the average household – the equivalent to the price of a cappucino, on a yearly basis. Realtor Roger Voisinet estimates the property value of the adjacent home to be negatively impacted by $50,000.
The pumping station serves neighborhoods in the City and County and as distant as Forest Lakes, yet it has to solely bear the burden of the expansion? It seems only fair the pumping station expansion be
relocated and the costs of approximately 30 cents/month shared by all users.

Good Urban Planning
The City of Charlottesville supports infill development. This policy is good for the vitality of downtown and reduces automobile traffic while mitigating the pressure that fuels suburban sprawl. Good urban planning doesn’t mix industrial with residential uses. It is time to confront infrastructure demands in a manner consistent with these goals and with the City of Charlottesville’s motto, “A Great Place to Live for All of Our Citizens.”
This is NEW infrastructure (as stated in RWSA CIP document). No community would consider putting new infrastructure of this scale in a neighborhood today.

River “view” Park
A view of the river? Or, a view of a massive industrial complex? The image below imagines the view from historic homes toward a meadow and river views – a park restored as a gateway to the Rivanna River.–Allison Ewing