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250 apartments proposed on West Rio

A developer wants to build 250 rental apartments along West Rio Road in front of the Charlottesville Health and Rehabilitation Center.

GW Real Estate Partners, LLC, owned by brothers Rob and Will Gordon and contract purchaser of the site, is requesting a rezoning from R-6 Residential to Planned Residential Development of five properties totaling about 8.2 acres for a project called The Heritage on Rio.

In Albemarle’s Places29 Master Plan, which is part of the county’s Comprehensive Plan, most of the property is shown on the future land use map as urban density residential, which recommends density of between six and 34 units per acre. A portion of the property is shown as urban mixed use.

The Comprehensive Plan is the county’s guiding document for its long-term vision for land use and resource protection, and includes master plans for the designated development areas of the county. County staff and the Board of Supervisors look to the Comprehensive Plan as part of the rezoning process

The proposal has a gross density of 31.28 units per acre, according to the application.

If the properties were developed under the R-6 zoning by-right, or without approval from the Board of Supervisors, there could be approximately 50 homes built, Valerie Long, an attorney with Williams-Mullen who is representing the developers, said at a community meeting Monday.

Long said that the apartments would be in seven buildings on the site. The four buildings along Rio Road are proposed to be 3-story buildings, while the three in the back will be three- and four- stories.

The buildings have not yet been designed, she said, and will need approval from the county’s Architectural Review Board.

The developer is currently planning to build 30 affordable apartments, affordable to those who make 80% of area median income, which is currently $52,500 for one person. The apartments would be affordable for 10 years. Long said the number of apartments comes from 15% of the additional 200 units the rezoning would allow.

“We have a partnership with a fairly large property management company out of Northern Virginia called Gates Hudson, and they manage somewhere around 20,000 units, and they would be in charge of managing this property,” Rob Gordon said.

The proposal also includes an amenity area with a clubhouse, a pool and a fitness center, and a space for outdoor recreation.

The Gordons are proposing to build a 10- foot wide asphalt multi-use path along Rio Road to replace the concrete sidewalk.

Long said the Charlottesville Health and Rehabilitation Center has a deed for its driveway, and that will stay in place. The results of a traffic study showed that a traffic signal is not required at either of the two proposed entrances, Long said.

The developer is proposing to relocate a nearby bus stop along Rio Road to move further away from the curve of the road, and wants to provide a shelter and bench at the stop.

At the community meeting, some area residents asked about stormwater management.

“A lot of jurisdictions, they have the ability to make what’s called permeable paving, especially for the parking units, and that way a lot more water stays on the facility instead of getting dumped off into the storm sewer system,” said Places 29 Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee member Christopher Rembold. “I just think that should be a consideration for this.”

Long said the stormwater on the site is proposed to be handled with an underground facility.

Scott Collins, the civil engineer for the project, said his firm looks at all aspects when starting stormwater management projects.

“We don’t take anything off the table right away, we analyze everything and look at all possible means and methods to have the site comply with county and state requirements,” Collins said. “So absolutely, we look at permeable pavers as an option on every project … a lot of times it doesn’t make sense based on slopes, or drainage areas or what have you.”

Public hearings with the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors have not yet been scheduled.


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