The Charlottesville City Council on Monday voted to give $800,000 to an affordable housing project and to a program that helps low-income homeowners repair and rehab their properties.
The council voted to allocate money from the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund at its meeting on Monday.
City staff recommended giving $750,000 to Virginia Supportive Housing for The Crossings II at 405 Levy Ave. and 405 Avon St. The organization doesn’t own the property, but expects to secure it by early 2020.
The project would be similar to The Crossings at Fourth Street and Preston Avenue, which provides a place to live for people who are homeless.
The Crossings II would cost about $14.7 million and have 80 units, including 12 accessible to those with disabilities.
The units would be available for people who make no more than 50% of area median income.
City staff also recommended about $42,000 go to the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program, which applied for $600,000 to support critical rehabilitation and emergency repairs for low-income city homeowners.
If Virginia Supportive Housing doesn’t secure a site for Crossings II, staff recommended fully funding the AHIP request.
The council unanimously supported the VSH proposal. The vote was 4-1 for the AHIP request, with Mayor Nikuyah Walker casting the dissenting vote.
The council wants to add more money to the fund at the end of the year through surplus funds, but City Manager Tarron Richardson cautioned that no surplus is guaranteed.
The Affordable Housing Fund was a point of contention during the budget process. The city had to determine whether to increase the real estate tax to contribute $1 million to the fund or keep it stagnant and invest $800,000. The council went with the latter choice.
During public comment, several people spoke in favor of more funding for affordable housing projects.
Kizzy Walker, a city native, said low-income Charlottesville residents fill the jobs that cater to visitors who peruse the Downtown Mall, attend events in town or fill Scott Stadium and John Paul Jones Arena for University of Virginia sports.
“We are being pushed out of our own communities where we have lived for generations to make room for students and people with more money,” she said. “I feel like we are treated like we don’t have a place to call home here.”
West Main apartments
In other business, the council approved a special-use permit for a 55-unit apartment building at 602-616 W. Main St.
Councilors Mike Signer, Wes Bellamy, Kathy Galvin and Heather Hill voted in favor of the permit. Walker voted against it.
Heirloom Development plans to construct the second phase of an apartment complex, and the permit covered a 52-foot-tall building with retail space on the ground floor facing West Main Street.
The building will sit on property owned by University Tire & Auto Center.
The first phase was approved in 2016 and completed this year. It will be a six-story apartment building behind the existing Blue Moon Diner with about 60 units.
The building will have a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments, with the possibility of three-bedroom units.
Units in the first phase have been advertised at $1,499 for a studio apartment and $4,090 for a three-bedroom apartment.
The Planning Commission voted 4-2 last month to recommend approval of the permit, with the dissenting votes focused on parking requirements that dictate 53 underground spaces.
The commission’s recommendation included a requirement for 53 parking spaces. The council instead voted that parking requirements will follow the zoning ordinance, but all spots must be on site.
As part of the recommended conditions for the permit, Heirloom must create a protective plan for the Holsinger Building, a 1912 structure that serves as the annex for the adjacent First Baptist Church.
In other business, the council received an update on plans to create a department of equity and inclusion. City staff plans to return at a later meeting with more details on potential funding and structure for the department.