Charlottesville Planning Commission makes big decisions

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Charlottesville Planning Commission made some big decisions for projects involving Hillsdale Place, a drive-through coffee shop, and new townhouses at their meeting on Tuesday evening.

One of the commission's biggest complaints regarding Riverbend Development's Hillsdale Place was how big a red sign was in the design proposal.

Neither the planning commission nor Riverbend Development would say whether or not the "anchor" store in the design with a red sign and large red balls in front of it is a Target. The potential store would replace the closed Kmart off of Hydraulic Road.

The planning commissions voted for Riverbend Development to reconsider the large red sign, and either invert the red and white or find a way to minimize the red by 50 percent.

Ashley Davies, Vice President of Riverbend Development, said the feedback they received is still progress.

"We'll go back and make some design alterations to the facade," said Davies. "We thought tonight was a great outcome and we've also been working very hard and very closely with staff on all the details of that site plan."

The commission did approve Riverbend Development's special use permit request for a drive-through coffee shop in the Old Wells Fargo bank off of Emmet Street.

The commission also discussed the development of townhouses near Fifth Street Station.

Property owners, Belmont Station LLC., submitted an application for 50 townhouses in a subdivision behind Jackson-Via Elementary School off of Longwood Drive.

The homes are supposed to be mixed with market value and affordable housing. The developer hopes to partner with a nonprofit such as Habitat for Humanity to help build homes.

The planning commission was split on whether or not the proposal was a good idea at all but unanimously decided that there were too many unresolved questions, such as road dangers and school capacity for the area.

Matt Alfele, the City Planner with the Neighborhood Development Services, said it is now up to Belmont Station LLC. to decide what to do next.

"The applicant heard a lot of suggestions from planning commission tonight," said Alfele. "It will be up to them to see how they want to address and adjust the plan. They can definitely interact with different members of staff just to get their opinions, and then decide what they want to bring back the planning commission so the planning commission can make a recommendation to [the Charlottesville] City Council."

Belmont Station LLC. declined to comment on camera but said the commission's feedback was appreciated.

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