Comment Wall: North Fork
What excites or concerns you about this site?
What services are most needed in this neighborhood?
What design features or amenities would you like to see at this site?
Do you support affordable housing development on this site?
It will be critical to ensure public transportation into and out of Charlottesville that will enable medical center workers to get to work for standard shift and clinic hours. Many of these workers do not have access to, or can afford private transportation. The University provides a shuttle to the HR building on Old Ivy Road. We can do offer a affordable public transportation to this site as well.
I think there needs to be good public transportation for this plan. People living out of town will likely need to come in to town to work and buy. I would like for this location to have an ease of access for those who English is not their primary language.
I hope the university will insist upon sustainable building practices for this initiative. To the extent possible, the university should push developers to follow the latest building codes (even if those codes have not yet been adopted state-wide). The emphasis should be upon energy efficiency and clean energy. This location should incorporate rooftop solar to the maximum extent possible, possibly with battery backup on-site. The houses should attempt to generate electricity equivalent to their full needs on-site, if possible. All houses should be full electric - no gas. Electrical panels should perhaps install smart panels able to handle and manage modern electrical demand - even during outages. The overall construction should consider resilience for quick recovery from storms. Can bidirectional charging infrastructure be built in, to prepare for cars to supply battery backup during outages? Get the university sustainability experts to help in designing a forward-looking smart sustainable affordable housing site.
I am in favor of affordable housing I remember talking with a builder about ten years ago about this issue. He said "I am building affordable housing in Crozet" I went to look at it. He was correct the "price point" was affordable. What I think is most important however is "inclusiveness" how do you remove the sigma of living in "affordable housing"? I don't have the answer checking with communities that are doing a good job would be something to explore. I would like to see mixed residential areas, one that comes to my mind is a residential area across from the old Lexus Nexis printing plant on Carlton Ave that I believe was built by either Piedmont Housing or Habitat. I know of at least one resident that lived there that could afford to live anywhere that they wanted. Inclusiveness of all incomes, races, social status, and education........... are important ingredients.
As others have noted, the out-of-town location of this site means that transportation options are critical. They must be expanded concurrently with development in order to avoid dumping more vehicles on 29 and/or stranding residents without cars in North Fork. Although there are jobs and services in the North Fork park and nearby, there's no guarantee that those who choose to live here will be the same people who have those jobs. One option is to commit to a travel demand management program that includes active, ongoing management (Arlington's process is one example: https://arlingtontransportationpartners.com/programs/property-developme…). Another option might be to include a substantial park-and-ride lot that is convenient to U.S. 29 and to initiate frequent bus service into Charlottesville during commute hours. This approach has worked well in other university communities such as Chapel Hill; the ridership from the park-and-ride lot can allow transit service to function in an area that otherwise wouldn't have enough density / demand to support it.
At least some of this site should be sold fee simple to enable those in need of affordable housing not only to have access to it but to permit creation of wealth that is readily transferable. This not only would permit long-term economic growth of financial credit and household wealth for a class of working poor who have not had access to owning a home, but also to enable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to poarticipate in the development of the site in accordance with its tried and true model of affordable home ownership.
What most concerns me about this site is the lack of public transit in northern Albemarle County. I worry that Charlottesville/Albemarle residents who would otherwise enjoy living and working in this area will be deterred from living there without frequent and easy-to-access public transit between this part of the county and other parts of the 29 N corridor, the airport, downtown Charlottesville, and UVA. Development of this piece of land offers an excellent opportunity for the university to collaborate with the county, the city, and the airport to bring regular, reliable transportation to this area.