Master Plan Effort in Charlottesville Receives Strong Community Support

The Strategic Investment Area (SIA) plan is an area of approximately 300 acres in the Downtown Extended Zone of Charlottesville, Virgina. It includes portions of the Ridge Street, Belmont, Downtown, and Martha Jefferson Neighborhoods. Three public housing sites as well as a Section 8 apartment complex are located within the SIA. The City has identified this area as a potential “growth” area due to its low density and available land areas, and its location as a gateway to Downtown. The SIA Study was initiated in order to create a transformative process for redevelopment and to identify key strategies for both public and private development and investment within the boundary area.

The consultant team is led by Cunningham | Quill Architects and includes OCULUS (Landscape and Open Space Design), Bolan Smart (Economic Consulting), and Kittelson & Associates (Transportation Planning). The process began by outlining a strategy for public outreach and engagement, which ultimately included more than 33 stakeholder and focus group interviews as well as 3 Open Houses; 3 walking tours covering portions of the SIA; and 5 Community Meetings.

Lee Quill presenting at one of the many Community Meetings

Lee Quill, FAIA presenting at the July 17, 2013 Town Hall Community Meeting

The information gleaned during all of the interviews, discussions, and interactions with stakeholders has led to a strategy for transformation. In May, The team presented 3 scenarios for development planning in the Study Area. Key Plan Components of all scenarios included Economic Development; Connectivity; Landscape Framework; Civic Open Space; Sustainability; and Variety of Housing. The Scenarios were organized around concepts of a Linear Park; a Central Plaza; and a Network of Open Space Nodes. Following the presentation, attendees were invited to provide comments in a hands-on table discussion and then reported back to the group.

Responding to the comments and ideas expressed during the May meeting, the Team developed a draft plan for the SIA. On July 16th and 17th, the Team presented their recommendations and draft composite vision plan during stakeholder group meetings and in a Town-Hall-format Community Meeting. These recommendations can be categorized as investments in people, investments in linkages, and investments in economic development. The proposed composite plan includes mixed-use buildings and mixed-income housing, organized along a new linear park. It also emphasizes and bolsters an existing connection between the center of the study area and the Downtown Mall via 2nd Street.

Following the presentation on July 17th, the Team is now revising their recommendations and developing a final Plan with implementation strategies to serve as the City’s road map for future growth. It is expected that the final Plan will be presented to, and reviewed by, the City Council, Planning Commission, and PLACE Design Task Force in the Fall.

See below for video footage of a CBS interview with Lee Quill, FAIA about The Strategic Investment Area

Double Click To Play The Video. Or, CLICK HERE