Zoning

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Zoning is a land-use regulatory mechanism that determines what can be done with property. This article is intended to be a compendium of zoning history in both Albemarle County and Charlottesville.

"Zoning" or "to zone" means the process of classifying land within a locality into areas and districts, such areas and districts being generally referred to as "zones," by legislative action and the prescribing and application in each area and district of regulations concerning building and structure designs, building and structure placement and uses to which land, buildings and structures within such designated areas and districts may be put. Virginia Code § 15.2-2201 [1]
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Virginia

Every Virginia locality is a “mere administrative subdivision” of the commonwealth. All power to regulate land use resides with the General Assembly, which delegates parts of that power to localities under narrow conditions.[2]

The first zoning enabling legislation for Virginia was adopted in 1922 and gradually expanded in scope and coverage until the present framework was adopted in 1962. These basic statutes continue to change in greater or lesser measure with almost every session of the General Assembly. [3]

Albemarle County

Refer to "The Albemarle County Land Use Law Handbook" by Greg Kamptner, County Attorney, Albemarle County Attorney’s Office February 2018

Chapter 2 The Origins of the Zoning Power

Albemarle County, Virginia [4]

Charlottesville

1929

The first zoning code was initiated in June 17, 1929 and written by Allen Saville of Richmond, VA. The author argued for single family zoning but after community protest, the initial zoning code had two family residential as the lowest density option. [5] At this time, zoning restricted businesses from encroaching on white residential areas, but not black ones.[6] Within a few years, the black neighborhoods of Kellytown and Tinsleytown (now known as Rose Hill) were disrupted by new industries, such as Monticello Dairy, City Laundry, and the Triangle Service Station on Preston Ave.

How 1920s-era zoning laws separated people from what they love about cities. Planning By Christina Sturdivant Sani (Fellow) October 4, 2018 [7]

1957

Letter to Planning Commission from Harland Bartholomew Associates

Harland Bartholomew Associates submits a revised draft of the Charlottesville zoning ordinance to the Charlottesville Planning Commission. [8]

1991

City Council decided to discourage construction of any types of housing besides single-family homes in the white and relatively wealthy neighborhoods of Fry's Spring, Johnson Village, Lewis Mountain, Venable, Barracks-Rugby, and Greenbrier.[6] That year, the city instituted a new R-1A single-family zone. This affected 4,500 parcels of land in the City, lots that had previously been too small for R-1 single-family designation, a process referred to as "downzoning." Proponents of downzoning intended to protect neighborhood stability and encourage homeownership. Opponents said that single-family zoning is exclusionary and would make housing less affordable. The change essentially prohibited multifamily apartment buildings in those neighborhoods.

1998

The Charlottesville Planning Commission sought to implement a goal to increase home ownership in the city. They brought forth a proposal to rezone 200 properties to restrict them to single family residential. That would have eliminated several commercial uses and lowered density. [9]

2003

In 2003, the City of Charlottesville rewrote its zoning ordinance and increased the by-right density in many locations. [citation needed] The allowable number of unrelated people within a household was reduced from four to three in R-1U and R-1US university residential zoning districts.[10]

By increasing the number of University of Virginia students who live near central grounds, the new zoning ordinance has reduced student demand for parking spaces. U.Va Architect David Neuman reported to the Charlottesville Planning Commission on June 8, 2010 that "fewer than 10% of the students" use their cars to commute to school.[citation needed]

Timeline

  • June 2, 2003: Council receives report on new zoning ordinance[11].
  • July 7, 2003: Council holds a public hearing on the new zoning ordinance [10]
  • July 17, 2003: Council holds a work session to go through details of suggested ordinance [12]
  • July 21, 2003: Council holds additional discussion on the rezoning [13]
  • August 4, 2003: Council holds additional discussion [14]
  • September 2, 2003: Council holds additional public hearing and moves ordinance on first reading [15]

2017

In 2017, the city considered form-based code.[16] Form-based code is a type of zoning ordinance that focuses more on a building’s style and size, and less on its use.

"Among the innovations championed by the New Urbanist or neo-traditional movement, and by many other architects and planners, are "form-based" zoning codes. The primary goal of form-based codes is to guide the configuration and architectural quality of urban and suburban environments. That contrasts with conventional zoning, which often concentrates on the use of buildings, such as whether a block is residential or commercial." [17] By Roger K. Lewis, The Washington Post, July 24, 2004.

2018

Department of Neighborhood Development Services (NDS) Director Alex Ikefuna referred to the zoning ordinance as a "wastebasket of errors.”[18] Ikefuna was making a point that if NDS is to improve its efficiency, the city must update its zoning ordinance.

History & Impact

In May of 1924 the Commerce Department published the "Standard State Zoning Enabling Act" (SZEA) which was widely circulated and adopted by most states. [19]

A new video by the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University shares some history of the impact of car-centric planning and zoning for single-family homes.[20]

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References

  1. https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title15.2/chapter22/section15.2-2201/
  2. https://www.albemarle.org/upload/images/Forms_Center/Departments/County_Attorney/Forms/LULH_Consolidated.pdf
  3. http://mccandlishlawyers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Virginia-Planning-and-Zoning-Law1.pdf
  4. https://www.albemarle.org/upload/images/Forms_Center/Departments/County_Attorney/Forms/LULH_Consolidated.pdf
  5. Web. Altered Zone Law Commission, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, June 18, 1929, retrieved October 9, 2017 from University of Virginia Library. Print. June 18, 1929 page 1.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Web. Zoned out: How neighborhood associations and zoning regulations have shaped our city, Caris Adel, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, 2019-01-23
  7. https://ggwash.org/view/69332/have-you-ever-wondered-why-so-many-american-streets-are-bad
  8. Web. A Preliminary Report Upon Land Use and Zoning, Charlottesville, Virginia : Prepared for the City Planning Commission, Harland Bartholomew and Associates, book and map, Atlanta, 1957, retrieved October 9, 2017.
  9. Print: Planners to discuss city zoning proposal, Kimberly O'Brien, Daily Progress, Media General A, Page .
  10. 10.0 10.1 Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, July 7, 2003.
  11. Charlottesville City Council Minutes, 2 Jun. 2003. City of Charlottesville, Virginia. Retrieved 10 Apr. 2009
  12. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, July 17, 2003.
  13. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, July 21, 2003.
  14. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, August 4, 2003.
  15. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, September 2, 2003.
  16. Web. A new type of zoning worries residents, Jordy Yager, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, 2017-02-28, retrieved 2019-02-07.
  17. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/realestate/2004/07/24/traditional-zoning-cant-meet-the-challenge-of-modern-development/08753d68-ed3c-49ed-93e4-cfb145eccee0/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.09490cf131ec
  18. Web. City zoning director calls ordinance a ‘wastebasket of errors’, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, 2018-10-24, retrieved 2019-02-07.
  19. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015086414615;view=1up;seq=3
  20. https://youtu.be/7pq-UvE1j1Q