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Commission to discuss townhouse development near 5th St. Station

A local developer is taking a second swing at a defeated townhouse development near 5th St. Station.

The Charlottesville Planning Commission will hold a virtual joint public hearing with the City Council on a rezoning request by Charlie Armstrong during its meeting Tuesday.

Belmont Station LLC, which Armstrong owns, is seeking to rezone about 10 acres from residential to planned development for the Flint Hill project.

The triangular property is off Flint Drive and sandwiched by Longwood Drive, Moseley Drive, Shasta Court and Moores Creek.

The City Council denied a rezoning request in May 2019 for 50 townhouses on the parcel with a minimum of five units that would be affordable for 10 years. As part of the conditions offered with that rezoning request, three acres would have been donated to the city for a park.

The Planning Commission recommended approval, but the council denied the request over concerns about internal roads and the type of affordable housing that would be provided on the site.

Under city code, Armstrong had to wait one year to submit a new plan.

The revised development has 37 single-family homes and two eight-unit condominium buildings.

The proposal has a maximum density of 60 units, or six units per acre. Armstrong has offered that 15% of the units will be affordable for 30 years at 25% to 60% of area median income. There is no plan to give the city parkland, but 4.7 open acres are left along Moores Creek.

In a staff report, city officials expressed concerns about the language regarding the affordable housing units. The application indicates that the lots will be conveyed to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, but also indicates construction will occur in one phase.

Staff also noted that the proposal might be more appropriate for a different type of residential zoning, but Armstrong said last year that the planned unit development option offers more flexibility.

“The ability to provide more innovative design is really the driver behind PUD here,” he told the Planning Commission at a public hearing.

A few written comments by residents on Shasta Court are included in the Planning Commission packet. The comments are focused on density and say the development will negatively impact traffic and parking in the area.

Tuesday’s meeting will be the first of the commission since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March and the city canceled most government meetings.

City officials have asked Dr. Denise Bonds, medical director of the Thomas Jefferson Health District, to provide comments on the proposal or be available for the meeting after one resident emailed the commission expressing concerns that the proposal would violate social distancing recommendations.

Preliminary reporting indicates that the virus is more likely to spread among densely populated cities and common areas and is not connected to single-family housing or housing types that don’t include shared areas.

In other business, the commission is expected to give approval to a final site plan for a proposed Starbucks with a drive-thru at the former Wells Fargo bank at 1617 Emmet St. The City Council approved a special-use permit for the coffee shop last summer.

The parcel sits at the corner of Emmet Street (U.S. 29) and Angus Road. It is next to a KFC and at the end of the parking lot for Best Buy and Petco, near the U.S. 250 Bypass.

The existing entrance to the property off Emmet Street would be eliminated for the store. Site access would come off the entrance to the Best Buy shopping center.

Charlottesville and Albemarle County are already home to multiple Starbucks stores. The closest Starbucks to the one proposed for the Best Buy area is within the Harris Teeter at the Barracks Road Shopping Center.

The Planning Commission meeting starts virtually at 5:30 p.m. and the public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. To register to participate, visit


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