- "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 
The first significant case regarding the relatively new practice of zoning, Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. (1926), opened the floodgates for use-based zoning in the United States.
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. 
The Virginia General Assembly has identified the manner in which a locality may exercise its zoning power with great specificity in a number of statutes, including the following:
|Va. Code § 15.2-2286.1||Clustering single-family dwellings|
|Va. Code § 15.2-2296 et seq||Conditional zoning (proffers)|
|Va. Code § 15.2-2305||Affordable housing programs|
|Va. Code § 15.2-2316||Transfer development rights|
|Va. Code § 15.2-2241-2242||Subdivision housing|
- October 21, 1953 – Albemarle County Board of Supervisors discuss whether to support an effort to repeal a state law requiring a referendum to implement a zoning ordinance. 
- November 12, 1953 – Albemarle Board of Supervisors and Albemarle Planning Commission hold a joint meeting to discuss a request from Commissioners for the Board to work toward repeal of a state law requiring a referendum before a zoning ordinance is adopted. 
- October 29, 1963 – The Daily Progress publishes an opinion column by Crozet resident Alan Rosenkrans who argues that zoning is unnecessary and will be bad for Albemarle County. 
- November 11, 1977 – Albemarle County Supervisors direct planning staff to work on update of zoning ordinance that would reflect the new Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan. 
- May 14, 1980 – Albemarle County Board of Supervisors hold public hearing on the new zoning ordinance 
The Origins of the Zoning Power
Refer to  of The Albemarle County Land Use Law Handbook, prepared by Albemarle County Attorney’s Office, published by Albemarle county, July 2019.
In 1762 Charlottesville was founded by an Act of the Assembly as the Albemarle County seat. Charlottesville was established as a gridded town plan from the start. Dr. Thomas Walker was assigned by the County as Trustee, and a two acre public square was set aside for the courthouse at the northern edge of the fifty acre town. The site for the courthouse was selected on a hillside directly above the gridded village, several blocks above Three Notch'd Road or the main street of town. Over time, business activities around the Court Square included taverns, tailors, milliners, a printing shop, a gunsmith, and a jeweler. A portion of the original courthouse (1803) still stands as a part of the current complex of structures. The original twenty-eight block grid corresponds to the following existing streets: Sixth and McIntire on the east and west respectively, Jefferson and South on the north and south. A plan from 1818 indicated east/west streets as 66 feet in width, while north/south streets as 33 feet wide; this plan also indicated a two block by seven block annexation added directly to the north of the original grid.
In 1854, the city held its first mayoral election. The mayor-city council form of town government continued until 1888, when Charlottesville was incorporated. At this time, a ring of land surrounding the original grid was annexed to create a city of 781 acres. Throughout the early 1800's, business activity and urban development slowly began to shift from Court Square down to the Three Notch'd Road, now called Main Street. As James Alexander indicates in his Recollections from 1874, "Main Street as It Was in 1828 and as It Is at This Time. - This street, when we first knew it, had few houses, and only two or three business places on it, now it has from one end to the other, fine houses and substantial business stores; then it was rough, and in winter season with mud enough to stall wagons passing over it; now it is macadamized and is well graded; then there were only patches of paved sidewalks, now there are wide sidewalks laid with brick or slate its entire length."
Several distinct residential settlements emerged both within the original city grid and around its periphery. Park Street to the north and Ridge Street to the south included houses of prominent merchants and businessmen from the city. The westernmost section of downtown called Vinegar Hill and later Random Row, emerged as a business and residential center largely occupied by portions of the town's black population. Other significant nineteenth century neighborhoods included Belmont, Star Hill, and Fifeville.
After the Civil War land use patterns around Charlottesville began to change. Without access to slave labor, once-wealthy landowners could no longer afford to cultivate large tracts of land. At the same time, Charlottesville was outgrowing its boundaries and began promoting the growth of local industry. Newly established real-estate development companies divided up farmland for industrial usage. By 1890, most of the estates in Albemarle County that ringed Charlottesville no longer belonged to individual farmers. City council refused to annex land unless the conditions of the streets and drainage improvements had been approved by the City Street Committee and sub-division plans were submitted. In turn, developers adapted to the changes in the bureaucratic approval process as well as changes in finance, real estate, and building technology. Developers began to consolidate their development process. Larger Developers, such as the Belmont Land Company, a corporation named after the 551-acre Belle Mont estate that had been owned by a man named Slaughter Ficklin and the Charlottesville Industrial and Land Improvement Company which owned all but 50-60 acres of the Rose Hill estate land owned by John H. Craven, a farm manager for Thomas Jefferson's Tufton property, bought large estates, subdivided them, laid out the roads, alleys and underground drainage utilities, built houses, set-up building and loan associations and marketed their new neighborhoods. (Source: The City as a Park: A Citizen's Guide to Charlottesville Parks. Prepared by Gregg Bleam Landscape Architects. Historian Aaron Wunsch.)
In 1916, Charlottesville more than tripled its size with the annexation of the land surrounding the city. By the 1950's the Rose Hill neighborhood had developed into a mixture of working-class housing, small family-owned businesses, boarding houses and several large manufacturing companies built to be served by the rail spurs. As with Preston Avenue, black-owned businesses continued to grown along Rose Hill Drive and Forrest Street (later renamed Forest Street). After WWII, homes were built on parcels which had been designated for commercial/industrial use. Business growth and neighborhood employment opportunities declined with the closing of manufacturing companies, such as the Essex Corp. fountain pens and pencils company, by the 1970's.
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.  At this time, zoning restricted businesses from encroaching on white residential areas, but not black ones. 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 
The first major modification to the 1929 map and ordinance was adopted in 1939, following the annexation of 1938.
In 1949, City Council adopted modifications to the 1939 zoning ordinance, including a revised map adding an A-B Business district.
In the Venable neighborhood, University Circle is rezoned from A-1 to A. In the Rose Hill neighborhood, parcels along Rose Hill Dr and Forest St are rezoned from A-1 Residence to B-1 Business. In the Jefferson Park Avenue neighborhood, Montebello Circle is downzoned from A-1 to A. In the Woolen Mills neighborhood, areas along Caroline Ave north of Chesapeake were rezoned from B-1 Business to A-1 Residence, and parcels on the south side of East Market St east of Carlton Rd are downzoned from C Industrial to B-1 Business.
In 1963, a zoning map amendment was adopted to designate the newly annexed areas added to the city that year.
At their June 9, 1964 meeting, the City Planning Commission proposed an amendment to the zoning code to delete two-family dwellings from the R-1 zone to single-family home and other uses such as schools, churches and parks, that were then allowed. 
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. 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.
In Belmont, one homeowner on Hinton Avenue had converted a single family house to add an independent apartment. The city ordered this to be an illegal action. 
Council next discussed the matter on April 15.
City Attorney Clyde Gouldman told Council that there were three major revisions in the zoning amendment. These were the addition of the new R-1A zone to limit density in single family neighborhood, new bulk and height regulations, and a rewriting of the historic preservation section to designate individual properties.
Councilor Bitsy Waters offered an amendment to reinstate a B-5 district, allow accessory apartments limited to 400 square feet in existing structures in excess of 2,000 square feet and on lots of 6,000 square feet, and to allow duplexes in existing units of 2,400 square feet on lots of 7,200 square feet.
Councilor Kay Slaughter supported the apartments if the home was owner-occupied and that could help with homeownership. Councilor Tom Vandever expressed doubt and said that might not protect neighborhoods near the University of Virginia. Councilor David Toscano said he would support the R-1A designation but he had reservations. Councilor Alvin Edwards also supported R-1A. 
Before their discussion that evening, Eugene Williams of the Dogwood Housing Limited Partnership said Council had not done enough to educate people about the plan, which he said would lead to perpetuation of housing discrimination in Charlottesville.
The joint public hearing with the Planning Commission was held on May 6. Reverend Edwards told the audience that the main change was the addition of the R-1A zoning. Speakers in favor of that category included the of the Johnson Village Neighborhood Association, residents of the Fry's Spring neighborhood, the head of the Belmont Neighborhood Association, the president of the Venable Neighborhood Association,
Opponents of the zoning included University of Virginia students who were concerned about the impact restricting rentals would have on prices, property owners who felt their rights were being taken away. 
At their meeting on May 20, 1991, Council discussed the matter again again and approved a motion allowing accessory apartments in structures of at least a 1,600 square feet as long as the owner lived there and there were two off-street parking spaces provided. They held first reading of the zoning map on this date. 
- 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. 
- Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County adopted Sustainability Accords. 
- On March 16, 1998, City Council rejected a zoning text amendment to permit up to 10,000 square feet gross (7,500sf net) retail in a B-1 zone with a special use permit, with instructions to the Planning Commission to "recommend proper square footage and percentage of pharmaceutical and medical inventory to other retail stock." The ZTA was prompted by an applicant who previously requested a rezoning to expand an existing nonconforming pharmacy, which was withdrawn after concern that more intense business zoning would be too severe for the area.
Fifeville Transition Zone (TZ)
On November 1, 1999, a new Transition Zone district was created in Fifeville. The new district along the north edge of Fifeville, 9th and 10th Streets, and Cherry Avenue was intended to facilitate development and encourage preservation of adjacent neighborhoods.
The idea of the Transition Zone was discussed at least as early as September 3, 1996, during a B-1 rezoning discussion for property on 5th St SW then zoned R-3. Satyendra Huja led a discussion about transition zones generally at the Board of Architectural Review on August 20, 1996.
On January 5, 1998, Council appropriated $3,000 to fund "activities which will help define a 'transition zone' in the Fifeville area," including hiring UVa graduate students, surveying the neighborhood, and conducting workshops.
In 2002, Walker Square was proposed as a by-right development in the TZ district, containing 225 units in seven residential buildings and one commercial building. The plan reportedly met all but three of the transition zone guidelines. On May 14, 2002, the Planning Commission rejected a motion to approve the site plan due to a traffic gate arm at the entrance to 7th Street.
- On October 4, 1999, City Council approved a special permit for up to six unrelated persons for 1025 Wertland Street, a proposal to renovate a historic building into offices on lower floors and apartments above using historic tax credits.
- On October 4, 1999, City Council also approved a special use permit for The Terraces, allowing up to 28 units at 100 West Main Street, including 4 efficiencies, 21 one-bedroom units, and 3 three two-bedroom units.
- On August 21, 2000, City Council rezoned three lots at 916 Grove Street and 911 King Street from R-1A to Transition Zone. The item was first considered at the July 3, 2000 meeting, after the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning on June 13, 2000. The properties were acquired by Richard Hewitt in a property swap with the Piedmont Housing Alliance, who wished to add it to his proposed development and rezoning of the old Lee Tennis Products property. As of 2022, the property remained vacant, after being acquired by the University of Virginia in 2016.
- On November 20, 2000, City Council rezoned the rear 1,730 square feet of 500 Lexington Avenue (then the Martha Jefferson Hospital) from R-1A to B-1.
In 2003, the City of Charlottesville rewrote its zoning ordinance:
- Increased mixed use zoning throughout the city
- Increased the by-right density in many locations.  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.
- Entrance corridor overlay along main roads. 
- New university-specific districts close to grounds: 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.
Timeline 2003 rezoning
- June 2, 2003: Council receives report on new zoning ordinance.
- July 7, 2003: Council holds a public hearing on the new zoning ordinance 
- July 17, 2003: Council holds a work session to go through details of suggested ordinance 
- July 21, 2003: Council holds additional discussion on the rezoning 
- August 4, 2003: Council holds additional discussion 
- September 2, 2003: Council holds additional public hearing and moves ordinance on first reading 
- May 1, 2007 – Downtown Design Review Committee presents a report to a joint session of the Planning Commission and Board of Architectural Review recommending the maximum height of buildings Downtown be reduced to 70 feet, with north & south streetwall heights of 40 feet and a 25-foot step back. After discussion, the committee added a provision for special use permits for a fourth story on the Downtown Mall side, with a 45-50' height maximum to "allow for a significant ground floor store front."
- December 11, 2007 – Planning Commission holds a public hearing for zoning text amendment ZT-07-12-29. The ordinance would create the Water Street Corridor and South Street Corridor zoning district from a portion of the existing Downtown Corridor zone and split the Corner District off from the West Main North zone.
- February 12, 2008 – Commission public hearing scheduled for ZT-07-12-29, deferred prior to the meeting.
- March 25, 2008 &ndash Planning Commission work session on Downtown & West Main rezoning proposal.
- April 8, 2008 – Planning Commission votes to initiate and approve ZT-07-12-29 on a final vote of 5-1, with Cheri Lewis dissenting.
- May 5, 2008 – Council holds its first reading of the ordinance, voting unanimously to carry it over to its next reading after hearing a presentation from Jim Tolbert about the 1.5 years of work put into it.
- May 19, 2008 – Council adopts the rezoning after removing it from consent agenda.
- November 3, 2008 – Council holds first reading of ordinance to adjust allowed densities on West Main and downtown, 
- November 17, 2008 – Council adopts density changes on its consent agenda.
- Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County completed a regional livability plan. 
Some residents of the Fry's Spring neighborhood petitioned City Council to downzone 68 parcels in the neighborhood from R-2 to R-1. City Council voted 3-2 to deny a rezoning on September 2, 2014. 
On April 28 and 29, 2015, a technical assistance team from Smart Growth America visited Charlottesville to conduct a Sustainable Land Use Code Audit workshop. Charlottesville was one of 14 communities nationwide selected to receive one of Smart Growth America’s 2015 free technical assistance workshops. 
On March 21, 2016 the zoning for West Main Street was revised by City Council, splitting it into East/West districts rather than North/South and lowering allowed heights. The change followed recommendations made by Rhodeside & Harwell in the West Main Streetscape study.
In 2017, the city considered form-based code in the Strategic Investment Area.  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."  By Roger K. Lewis, The Washington Post, July 24, 2004.
Department of Neighborhood Development Services (NDS) Director Alex Ikefuna referred to the zoning ordinance as a "wastebasket of errors.” Ikefuna was making a point that if NDS is to improve its efficiency, the city must update its zoning ordinance.
In a sign of things to come, in the December 2018 the Minneapolis City Council passed 2040, a comprehensive plan to permit three-family homes in the city’s residential neighborhoods, abolish parking minimums for all new construction, and allow high-density buildings along transit corridors. Minnesota is a Home Rule state. https://slate.com/business/2018/12/minneapolis-single-family-zoning-housing-racism.html-->
Discussions regarding "upzoning" and "downzoning"
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