City and County Officials Discuss Future River Development

By: Jaclyn Piermarini Email
By: Jaclyn Piermarini Email

July 2, 2014

It has the potential to drive economic growth and be a new attraction for our area. The Rivanna River corridor is beginning to get developed and local politicians want to make sure its done right moving forward.

Builders just broke ground on a new development called Riverside Village. Right now, it's not much more than red dirt and gravel. If you've driven on Stony Point Road recently, you might have noticed the cleared land.

Developers plan to build between 31 and 69 housing units and 46,000 square feet of commercial space.

It’s a mixed use development that will border the Rivanna River right along the Albemarle County and Charlottesville border. Charlottesville City Councilor Kathy Galvin says that's why county and city officials tackled the topic during their recent get-together.

"We're realizing its better to work together city and county to preserve what’s good in the rural areas and what’s great in the urban areas. One of the key assets that we share is that Rivanna River. "

The development of the area would have impacts on both localities. That’s why Albemarle Co. Supervisor Ken Boyd says it’s something they agreed should be planned on, not random.

"It’s building up now so we need to decide maybe on some mini-master planning or small master plans for the area.

Boyd says there is a lot of potential there.

"I'd like to get a vision for what the city and county would like to see along that river. In other words, do we want it to build up or do we want to keep it rural? Do we want to make it recreational facilities for people? How could city and the county could come together and what is the vision it could have for that community?"

So what about the river's current residents? Galvin says the eco-system is a major consideration for any growth plan.

"It’s a very sensitive eco-system and we don't want to be building everywhere along it because then you can have a very degraded river and you have a privatization of the banks of that river that you can only get to if you pay admission or buy something.”

If this new development is just the beginning of growth along the water, how can they make sure it’s done right? Galvin says working together is crucial.

"I want to make sure, and I heard that today with my colleagues both city and county, that we want to preserve the natural areas that need to be preserved. We want to make sure that we ensure access to everybody because it’s a public resource. At the same time, let’s let the private owned developers come in and create nice destinations along that river where it is appropriate."

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