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City Council approves permit for second phase of South First Street redevelopment

The next phase of a Charlottesville public housing redevelopment is moving forward.

The City Council unanimously approved a special-use permit and critical slope waiver for phase two of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s project on South First Street during its meeting on Monday.

The permit was required because the development includes outdoor parks, playgrounds and ball courts that would be private. Public facilities are allowed on the parcel by-right. The critical slope waiver is necessary because construction would occur within certain topographical areas.

Phase two, estimated to cost $26.7 million, will replace the existing 58 units at South First Street with 113 multifamily units. It also includes a 7,000-square-foot community center and 3,000 square feet of office space.

In phase one, a 63-unit development is planned on undeveloped land next to the existing public housing stock. Work is expected to start in the spring and take about a year.

CRHA officials hope to begin construction on phase two in March 2021.

The design and development was conducted with heavy resident engagement and involvement of those living in the existing public housing.

“It’s not perfect, but it is great I think in terms of redevelopment,” Mayor Nikuyah Walker said. “This is definitely setting a great standard and I’m hoping it’s something we can continue”

The work is part of a larger three-phase redevelopment of the city’s public housing stock.

Phase one includes the first phase of work on South First Street, new units on Levy Avenue and redevelopment of Crescent Halls.

Phase two will include a redevelopment of units on Sixth Street and modernizing public housing on Madison and Riverside avenues and Michie Drive.

Phase three will be the redevelopment of the Westhaven complex.


The council also voted 4-1 to approve a special-use permit for the first Chick-Fil-A in the city limits.

The restaurant will be at the site of the Burger King at the Barracks Road Shopping Center, which will be demolished.

The permit was required because the proposed restaurant would have a drive-thru. The drive-thru will have two lanes for ordering that would be covered with a permanent overhang. The two lanes would converge into one after the ordering station.

The restaurant would be the third standalone location in the area. The others are located north of the city on U.S. 29 and east of the city on Pantops Mountain. There is also a Chick-Fil-A inside Fashion Square Mall.

The final proposal is subject to review by the Board of Architectural Review.

Councilor Michael Payne cast the lone dissenting vote, citing a desire to combat carbon emissions by focusing on pedestrian connections.

“I think the way we make progress on the issue is each small decision at a time,” he said. “I’m not ready to give up on that vision of potentially moving away from car-centric development.”

The Crossings II

In other business, the council unanimously voted to extend the deadline for financial assistance to The Crossings II.

The project, estimated to cost about $14.7 million, would be similar to The Crossings at Fourth Street and Preston Avenue, which provides a place to live for people who are homeless. It would have have 80 units, including 12 accessible to those with disabilities, for people who make no more than 50% of area median income.

In October, the council allocated $750,000 to Virginia Supportive Housing for the project at 405 Levy Ave. and 405 Avon St., which the organization does not own.

Among the requirements for the city’s financial commitment was that CRHA or another agency would agree to provide rental assistance vouchers by Dec. 31 and Virginia Supportive Housing would acquire the land or secure a long-term lease by March 15.

The rental assistance deadline was extended to March 15.


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