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Commission backs proposed virus relief funding; W. Main Apartments approved

Charlottesville is one step closer to allocating a portion of its federal coronavirus relief package money.

The Planning Commission forwarded a set of recommendations for $246,699 to the City Council at its meeting Tuesday.

The city received the funding in March through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program

The council created three categories to distribute the money: public services, economic development and administration/planning.

Under the recommendations, the Community Investment Collaborative will receive the $98,679 allocated for the economic development category. According to a staff report, the money will be used for 24 grants that provide technical support to micro-enterprises. The grants will help businesses cover expenses and adapt to the changing economic environment caused by the pandemic.

CIC President Steven Davis said that $2,000 to $3,000 of the money would be used for administrative costs and the rest would go to businesses.

The public service program funding will be split between the Thomas Jefferson Health District and the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless.

The health district would receive $49,661 for outreach, testing and linking to care related to the virus. Rebecca Schmidt, population health manager for the district, said that the application was to fund two community health workers to engage priority communities in preventing the spread of the virus and help the department with its response to the pandemic.

The amount recommended will only allow the health district to hire one worker at $18 an hour.

The homeless coalition will use the remaining $49,017 to provide rental and utility assistance to 25 households making less than 30% of the area median income.

The final $49,339 will be used to cover administration and planning related to the selected projects.

In other business, the commission approved the final site plan for the building at 612 W. Main St. as part of its consent agenda.

Heirloom Development plans to construct the second phase of an apartment complex on the site that houses the University Tire & Auto Center, which will be demolished.

The company received a special-use permit in October allowing for a 52-foot-tall building with retail space on the ground floor facing West Main Street.

The permit allowed for 55 units, but the final site plan only includes 45. In discussing the agenda items prior to the meeting, Commissioner Rory Stolzenburg said that it was “disappointing” to see fewer units in the development.

The first phase, completed last year, is a six-story apartment building behind the existing Blue Moon Diner with about 60 units.

Phase two will have 14 studio apartments and 20 one-bedroom, nine two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units for a total of 58 bedrooms. It includes 43 underground parking spaces and 6,700 square feet for retail use spread across three spaces.

Units in the first phase have been advertised at $1,499 for a studio apartment and $4,090 for a three-bedroom apartment.

As part of the conditions for the permit, Heirloom must create a protective plan for the Holsinger Building, a 1912 structure that serves as the annex for the adjacent First Baptist Church.


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