making sausage

Why Plan?

The state tells us to have a planning commission.

The planning commissioners study and make recommendations to Council based on the zoning code and comprehensive plan.

Virginia state code definition of a PUD

The Council receives the information to aid in making informed decisions regarding City land use.
Ideally, that’s how it goes.
But not always.

11/13/18 CPC

86 minutes total- 41% questions, 31% presentation by chair/staff/applicants, 15% public input, 13% discussion

The 11/13/2018 recommendation from the Planning Commission regarding the Carlton Views rezoning was “well meant” but it was not based on an understanding or an adequate discussion of good planning practice and zoning principals that govern planned unit developments.

Leaders need advisors who are not afraid to be unpopular.

We have an affordable housing shortage in Charlottesville. The PES housing assessment says we right now should have 3318 affordable units.

East Belmont Carlton, also know as Hogwaller. 176 acres

East Belmont Carlton (Hogwaller) is a 176 acre neighborhood, it comprises 3% +/- of the City.
If the proposed Carlton Views rezoning is approved and built out East Belmont Carlton will have 281 supported affordable units (1.6 SAU/acre). If that density of affordable units per acre prevailed throughout the City we’d have 10,627 supported affordable units. Crisis solved.

East Belmont Carlton is clearly a target neighborhood for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC pronounced “lie-tech”) savvy developers.

North entry, Carlton Views I

Council could formalize and speak openly about Hogwaller as the receiver neighborhood for affordable housing. If Council decides to pursue this course it must plan for the well being of the people to be housed there.
If we choose to economically segregate a portion of the City we must also provide a landscape of opportunity so the people can rise up out of that enclosure.

August 27, the day Carlton Views shook. Residents were briefly evacuated.

The planning commission was vaguely troubled by the notion of warehousing people in a food and services desert. During their 11 minute discussion the topic came up. Should we build the housing first and hope the amenities come later? Is that a plan?

PHA Council CRHA worksession

The residents at Carlton Views require outdoor amenities along the lines of those being planned for the Friendship Court Phase 1 redevelopment. Some where to sit under cover, somewhere to watch toddlers playing, somewhere to grill, somewhere to recreate.

“It’s all we got”

(below, an excerpt of a story on Low Income Housing Tax Credits-LIHTC. The full story is available on NPR)

Daniel, the civil rights lawyer who has been focusing on the program, says the industry’s focus on rates of return can lead to blind spots in other areas. He discovered that 90 percent of projects in Dallas were built in high-poverty areas. He filed a lawsuit against Texas that in 2015 went all the way to the Supreme Court and helped set standards for fair housing nationwide.

Daniel says getting deals done matters more to the developers, syndicators and banks than how many units a project has or where it’s located. Building low-income apartments in high-poverty areas doesn’t get met with as much opposition.

“They don’t make these deals in good places. They make these deals in the same places they won’t lend,” he says. “They were being put there because it’s easier to do.”

Nationally, only an estimated 17 percent of projects are built in high-opportunity areas – places without a lot of crime and with access to jobs and high-performing schools — according to forthcoming research by Kirk McClure, a professor of urban planning at the University of Kansas who has studied LIHTC for more than a decade. And that matters: Studies show that moving to these types of areas helps children rise out of poverty so that when they’re adults, they may not need any government housing help.

The balance of power in the LIHTC program, Daniel says, tips heavily in favor of the banks, brokers and developers.

“They’re the ones that have a lot more influence than the poor people who need the housing. Nobody else involved in it has got any reason to come in and criticize it,” Daniel says.

Even housing advocates independent of the industry are not likely to publicly criticize the program, he says.

“If they take it away, what do you have? Not only do you take it away from poor people, but you also take it away from all the intermediaries who lose the money,” Daniel says. “It’s difficult to get anybody to look at it from the taxpayers’ point of view. Or even the families that should be benefiting from it. It’s all we got.”–NPR

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?
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?
2. To encourage innovative arrangements of buildings and open spaces.
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
4. To encourage the clustering of single‐family dwellings for more efficient use of land and preservation of open space.
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.
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.

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:
Encourage mixed-use and mixed-income housing developments.*
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 (10)

At Pantops, Mcintire was attentive to the vestiges of a prior institutional landscape and a set of buildings that could be adapted for the treatment of patients with mental illness. In 1877, Reverend Edgar Woods had purchased 373 acres at Pantops and opened Pantops Academy, a boys’ preparatory school, with close connections to the University of Virginia.

Pantops Academy

UVA Special Collections Pantops Academy

The Academy promoted the healthy, uplifting, character of the site–a setting and a rhetoric that could have easily been adapted from education to healing patients. In 1894, the Academy catalog declared, “The place formerly belonged to Thomas Jefferson, and is on the hill opposite his home, MONTICELLO. Its name was given by him for two Greek words, meaning ‘All seeing,’ in allusion to the prospect, which embraces the town of Charlottesville, the University of Virginia and a wide extent of plain and mountain scenery, not excelled by any other portion of the land. The surrounding region is one of the most healthy which the country contains, and is absolutely free from every kind of malaria …. It is scarcely possible to emphasize too much the unsurpassed location of the Academy, which not only delights the eye with the wide range and beauty of the landscape, but which ensures the best sanitary conditions, through perfect drainage and purest mountain air. Its distance from Charlottesville secures it from town temptations.” The Pantops Academy drew much of its food from its own farmlands declaring, “The teachers and pupils live together as one large family. The table is largely supplied from the farm, thus commanding abundance of milk and cream from its own dairy, fresh vegetables and fruit from its own garden and orchard and its fresh meat from its own flocks.”

Pantops Academy

Baseball team, Pantops Academy, 1892. University of Virginia, Holsinger Studio Collection

The Academy provided an indoor gymnasium but insisted that the site itself, with its elevated views, its hills, pastures, gardens, and river would provide for the healthy “physical culture” of the students with the “large grounds and the ample range the country thus affords.” Even though the Academy had closed in 1904, the prominent dorm and classroom building, built in 1884, and the rambling principal’s residence still dominated the site. Mcintire could imagine that they would be easily adapted for a psychiatric treatment hospital. Essentially what Mcintire could see in Pantops was what he had seen in the possibilities of a Rivanna public park–a landscape that would provide comfort and engagement and continue to cultivate the vital historical relationship between people in the region and their river.


Rivanna at Riverview Park. Montalto in the distance.

It was only a matter of months between Mclntire’s Pantops purchase in July 1929 and the crash of the stock market. In the midst of the Depression, the University was not able to expand to Pantops, and in 1937 the University’s Board of Visitors resolved to sell Pantops to James H. Cheek for use as a private country estate and horse farm. The proceeds of the sale were devoted to the development of psychiatry at the University hospital. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, Pantops was divided for private residential and commercial developments. State Farm Insurance opened a regional headquarters on part of the land in 1979. The Pantops Shopping Center opened in 1984. The Westminster Canterbury Retirement Community opened in 1990 and the new Martha Jefferson Hospital moved to Pantops in 2011. By 2010, Free Bridge carried an average of 38,000 cars a day over the Rivanna between Pantops and Charlottesville; however, the automotive landscape that gripped the river and determined adjacent lands uses did little to connect people to this particular and special place or to the Rivanna itself, with its rich historical, cultural, and environmental resources.

Pantops sidewalk

Sidewalk to the summit.

Mclntire’s vision for the Rivanna embodied a complex ideal concerning the proper relationship between the Rivanna, the broader development of the city, and the citizens of Charlottesville. Interestingly, the person who enacted part of this vision in the wake of Mclntire’s failure was John Wesley Bagby (1888-1968), a life-long employee of the Charlottesville Woolen Mill, who labored initially as a mill hand and became the superintendent of the dye works. In 1928, Bagby purchased 23 acres of the Albemarle Golf Club lands along the Rivanna for $3,000. Around 1940, Bagby began using his land as a site for periodic circuses and carnivals. This tradition lasted for half a century. When the three-ring Barnum and Bailey circus visited in 1954, the enormous circus tent pitched on the banks of the Rivanna, just south of Free Bridge, would accommodate 10,000 spectators who came to see elephants, tigers, clowns, and high-wire gymnasts perform. Here was a vision of a city gathering along the river for amusement, entertainment, relaxation, and neighborly socializing. But even these events only took place periodically.

Circus grounds

Bagby’s Circus Grounds 2014

The rising national environmental movement began to frame local connections to the Rivanna from the 1960s onward. The Virginia Assembly passed the Scenic River Act in 1970; the Act required that scenic values be considered in public planning decisions around designated scenic rivers and established regulations to prevent the construction of dams that impeded the flow of water on scenic rivers. The section of the Rivanna River in Fluvanna County was designated in 1974, and the designation was moved upstream to the dam at the Charlottesville Woolen Mills in the late 1980s and to the South Fork Reservoir Dam in 2009; this later designation was granted after the Woolen Mills Dam was removed in 2007 to promote the ecological health of the river and its fish population. The opening of a jointly purchased city-county park in 1986, now named Darden Towe Park, prompted a series of initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s to open trails along the Rivanna with legal easements over privately held property. The trails now amount to ribbon parks and are popular for outdoor exercise, walking, running, and biking.



The environmental focus on the Rivanna River is a much narrower vision than Paul Goodloe Mcintire had tried to effect. When Charles Hurt filed plans for the Pantops Shopping Center in the 1980s, people advocating for the Rivanna’s ecology opposed the plan, worrying about pollution, run-off, and flooding. The Rivanna represented a problem and a threat for the Pantops Shopping Center development. The Center ended up being constructed with its back to the Rivanna, largely disengaged from the river.
Mclntire’s failed 1920s plans for connecting the city and the Rivanna represented a more complex integrated vision that reflected the historical realities of the river’s significant place in the region. The vision saw people living, working, recreating, and being healed in a landscape that intermingled human artifice with a key environmental and cultural system-the Rivanna River. In the early twentieth-first century, the Rivanna is part of many people’s lives in the region. When they turn on the tap in their sinks, water arrives from the South Fork of the Rivanna River. When their streets and houses shed rainwater, or when they flush their toilet, they send away liquid waste that eventually ends up in the Rivanna. And yet relatively few people really experience, know, or understand the Rivanna River. The rise of the single purpose planning, for recreation, water supply, sewage disposal, transportation, and housing has exacerbated this reality. When Mclntire’s vision for the Rivanna failed, many citizens in Charlottesville lost sight of their history and their river.


The Rivanna behind Riverbend Shopping Center

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

our town

City Councilors are visiting the Woolen Mills October 3, 2013. The visit is part of an ongoing program “Our Town Charlottesville” where the Councilors go out and mix with the people, the governed, us. The meetings provide a moment when one can interact with the legislators on a more even footing than at a City Council meeting.
The time of the gathering is 6-8PM, the place, Woolen Mills Chapel, 1819 E Market Street. Food and childcare provided courtesy of your tax dollars. If you have questions you’d like to ask of your elected representatives, or feedback you’d like to provide for them, this is a good opportunity.
If you’d like to submit written questions in advance for the Councilors to ruminate I am compiling a list:
or email the Councilors at

The Place

Neighborhood of the Year is awarded to the Woolen Mills.

The reasons are many, but not the least of which is the Woolen Mills neighborhood’s continued active participation in City planning discussions in an effort to enhance their neighborhood’s assets and, therefore, create unique assets for the entire Charlottesville community.
Ms. Victoria Dunham, Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association president is here to accept the award.-Charlottesville Planning Commission Tuesday, February 12, 2013


For decades, Woolen Mills neighbors have asked for the reversal of the split parcel industrial zoning overlaid on our residential backyards by the same City Council that authorized the removal of the Vinegar Hill neighborhood.

Having contiguous Residential and Industrial zoning with no buffer is an outrage. Preventing this very mix of development was the impetus for the adoption of zoning ordinances by municipalities in the early 20th century. Look at the zoning matrix, see the type of development allowed by right in the Manufacturing-Industrial zones. Brutal massing of structures and parking is allowed. Frenetic programming is permitted on M-I zoned land 24/7. Truck plazas and trash transfer stations are not compatible with a residential neighborhood.

By right one could construct an 85 foot tall parking garage with a party deck on the top floor and a drive through fast food retaurant at the ground level. Complete with big signs.
R1-S districts are meant to provide quiet, low density areas for people to grow up, to raise families, to flourish and to grow old.

Why has Council allowed this bad zoning practice to persist for 54 years? As Mr. Tolbert pointed out at your land-use plan work session in 2006:

(this is) a very hard line between industrial and residential. Not something that is typical in a land use plan or in a zoning ordinance.

We do not seek to evict our manufacturing neighbors. We have sought to change the land-use plan so, as the City continues to evolve, we will have a course plotted to leave this urban planning error in the past.

Our historic neighborhood has been stable for a long time. Our housing runs the gamut from public housing and affordable senior multi-family to detached, single family homes. But the Woolen Mills neighborhood cannot be the sacrificial anode, the Wild Zone as the City of Charlottesville experiments with yet another corridor or a code. Our people deserve peace and quiet. We are not asking for the almost exclusionary zoning of the Greenbrier or Barracks-Rugby neighborhoods, but we are asking for good zoning practice, quiet neighborhood streets, smell reduction, historic preservation and better communication with the City.

When I see projects proposed in Charlottesville which feature Brooklyn-like density of 37,000 people per square mile I am reminded of Jane Jacobs statement:

“But I hope no reader will try to transfer my observations into guides as to what goes on in towns or little cities or in suburbs which are still suburban. Towns, suburbs and little cities are totally different organisms from great cities. We are in enough trouble already from trying to understand big cities in terms of the behavior and the imagined behavior of towns. To try and understand towns in terms of big cities will only compound confusion.”
—The Death and Life of Great American Cities-Jane Jacobs