Funding method weighed
Albemarle looks at development

By Julie Stavitski  / Daily Progress staff writer
September 2, 2004

Albemarle County supervisors got a peek at the North Pointe development plans Wednesday, which helped to prompt a discussion on how to fund infrastructure within the commercial and residential area.

North Pointe developer Charles Rotgin Jr. has submitted a rezoning plan that uses a community development authority to help fund an elementary school and library in the development proposed for the corner of U.S. 29 and Proffit Road.

Community development authorities are a way for developers to finance necessary infrastructure and have been used by the county in previous rezonings.

According to county staff, the North Pointe CDA is a way to reduce development costs and pay for the proffered improvements. Authorities approved in previous rezonings addressed affects of the new developments.

A second plan has been submitted that does not include the school, library and other infrastructure to be funded by the authority.

County staff has recommended using CDAs to implement projects proposed in a master plan or in “exceptional” projects considered after zoning is in place that prove a CDA is needed.

“These developments would have gone a long way in meeting the neighborhood model,” assistant county executive Thomas Foley said, referring to the county’s set of 12 principles that strives for smaller and more connected neighborhoods in mixed-use communities.

Foley said the challenge lies in defining improvements above and beyond the neighborhood model.

Supervisor Kenneth C. Boyd said he would have issues approving a CDA policy because of the lack of such definitions.

“I wouldn’t want to restrict [CDAs] with some sort of policy,” Boyd said.

Boyd said he would prefer to go through the North Pointe rezoning process before approving a CDA policy.

However, Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker contended that a policy was necessary to proceed with the North Pointe rezoning.

“We need to decide, in regards to North Pointe, under what circumstances we will approve a CDA for a project,” Rooker said, adding that such authorities must be approved “across the board fairly.”

Several board members also agreed that a CDA would have to offer significant benefit to the public. “As an individual board member, if I don’t see a public benefit, I wouldn’t vote for it,” Rooker said.

County Attorney Larry W. Davis suggested that if board members wanted to proceed with the North Pointe rezoning while refining a CDA policy, they should hold the public hearing on North Pointe and defer the decision on the rezoning until a CDA policy has been approved.

Additionally, developer Rotgin said the work done by an ad-hoc committee of county staff and board members has paid dividends.

“We have a better plan,” Rotgin said of the 269-acre development, adding that out of 45 issues the county has had with the plan, 43 have been resolved.

The revamped North Pointe plan calls for retail shops, at least one hotel, a cinema and hundreds of residential units. The original plan was vetoed by the Planning Commission in November.

Contact Julie Stavitski at (434) 978-7237 or jstavitski@dailyprogress.com.