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Charlottesville Affordable Housing Action Items

October/November 2018 

1.   City Manager Search

a.    Background: The City of Charlottesville City Council is seeking a City Manager. In our form of government (“Weak Mayor System”), the City Manager has significant authority to run the affairs of the City. Council is seeking input on the qualities that members of the public would like to see in our next City Manager.

b.    Habitat’s Position: We believe that, for Charlottesville to truly become the World Class City it aspires to be, Council must choose an extremely skilled and capable City Manager, with significant experience reforming and reimagining government and/or other large entities. The new manager must have a strong urban planning vision and a track record of creative and proactive support of affordable housing production.  

c.    Action Needed: Please take a few moments to fill out the survey at the following link:

2.    Comprehensive Affordable Housing Strategy

a.    Background: The City of Charlottesville has been undertaking a process to update its outdated Standards and Design Manual. The SADM sets the regulations that guide the shape of development of our streets, sidewalks, lots, utilities, etc. and is a critical component in enabling or, conversely, discouraging creative urban design. City Council recently declined to vote to adopt City staff’s recommended update, stating that there was a significant disconnect between the community’s vision of safe, walkable streets and affordable housing and the dimensional requirements in the draft manual. They sent it back for further outreach and work.

b.    Habitat’s Position:

We agree with Council and the Charlottesville Area Affordable Housing Coalition that the draft manual does not reflect community values. In particular…

  • The SADM adds unnecessary expense to the cost of construction, which disadvantages affordable housing. See proposed revisions to Sections (pavement sections), 9.4.1 (materials), and Table 4-2 (street elements).
  • The SADM discourages efficient use of tight urban lots. See proposed revisions to Sections 9.6.3 (general requirements, private utilities), 9.8 (utility easements) and Table 9-4 (utility easements), (ROW width), (clear zones), 4.4 (alleys), and 9.2.2 (depth of utility cover).

c.    Action Needed: Please contact members of City Council at and the Planning Commission at

Let them know that the draft SADM needs significant work, specifically in the areas referenced above. Ask both bodies to work with the Charlottesville Area Developers Roundtable (CADRe), the professional organization of local design experts that deals most extensively with the manual, to produce a more appropriate set of regulations.   


This page will be updated on a monthly basis with new action items for people looking to advocate for affordable housing solutions in the greater Charlottesville area.

Last update: 10/29/18