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Friday, Jan. 26, 2024

This Sunday, Charlottesville's mayor and city manager will be live on the radio talk show In My Humble Opinion to have an important conversation about future city developments.

If you have the hour free at noon, it'd be worth a listen. (Links to how are at the bottom of this email.) Neighborhoods reporter Erin O'Hare will ask them about how they intend to handle new developments of all sizes — but especially larger ones.

An aerial view of a city. There a trees between buildings and homes. In the foreground are large, mostly empty lots. In the background are mountains.
Credit: Sanjay Suchak/Dexter Auction

Listen to In My Humble Opinion on Sunday to hear from the mayor and city manager about their plans for working with developers

Charlottesville's new zoning code allows for denser development. Officials want it to spur the construction of more housing of various sizes and price points. The city needs that, they say. 

There are multiple indicators that Charlottesville is becoming a place that only higher income people can live. Our area median income is increasing as folks with high incomes arrive and folks with lower incomes leave. A report commissioned by the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership in 2018 showed that housing costs in the city are rising much faster than people's wages. As a result, people with lower incomes are generally paying a large percentage of their monthly earnings on housing — an unstable way to live. And Erin has personally met with multiple families who left Charlottesville because their jobs did not provide enough income to afford a home here.

But there is real concern that the new zoning code won't help this situation at all. That it will instead allow developers to fill the city with expensive new homes and apartment buildings.

How will city leaders avoid this? I'm sure Mayor Juandiego Wade and City Manager Sam Sanders will have a lot to say about this.

Although, they might not have to look far for a possible solution.

A sign in the median of a road reads, "Fifeville" and "Historic, Green, Diverse." Two cars drive by the sign, with a basketball court to one side.
Credit: Andrew Shurtleff/Dexter Auction

Fifeville residents got a say in a private developer’s plans by making an unusual agreement

In Charlottesville's Fifeville neighborhood, a developer and a neighborhood association are doing something quite rare. They are working together — formally — to develop a vacant parcel of land. That means neighboring residents actually changed the developer's plan so that it benefits them.

I'd recommend reading Erin's story before listening to the talk show, because one of the questions Erin will pose is: Can this process be repeated with other developments?

To listen live, tune in to 101.3 FM WVAI in Charlottesville Sunday, Jan. 28 at noon, or catch the Facebook live stream.

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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I'm Dexter Auction's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at [email protected]! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a [email protected].