Willoughby Neighborhood is Growing

The Willoughby neighborhood in Charlottesville/Albemarle is going to grow. Generally, this is where the development is located.

* I’m fascinated by neighborhood mobilization and I’m also curious as to 1) what percent of the neighborhood knows about this and 2) what percent is for/against it. And why.

The following was sent in by a reader (and I’m grateful):

“Don’t know if you’re repping any homes in Willoughby or any of your buyers are looking there, but there are some plans in the city and county that they may wish to consider.

Keith Woodard has submitted Part I of his plans for Willoughby Place Apartments to the City and it appears on the Planning Commission Agenda for June 14. He was also seeking a steep slope waiver to build the permitted number of by-right units (around 50, or 196 beds, if I recall correctly, for the entire city portion of the project) on his five acres in the city.

What makes this interesting is that he has also submitted plans to the county for the five acres adjacent to his city property. While I don’t have details on those plans, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re talking anouther 50 units and around 200 beds.

All 100 units will enter and exit on Harris Road in Willoughby, as the property is constrained by Moore’s Creek and I doubt the County would give permission to build an automobile crossing into the Avon Center development, should it ever be built.

This would be a great opportunity for the city and county staffs and planning commissions to work together with the developer and the surrounding community for approval of the project. For the city or the county to consider its portion individually neglects the reality that when built, these adjacent parcels will appear part of one project and will be managed in that way. For either entity to consider the development before it in a vacuum would crystalize all the worst fears about the city and county being able to work together.

As you say, if you don’t own it, expect that it will change.

Woodard had the city apartments approved five or six years ago but did nothing, so had to get the site plan reapproved. In the facebook era neighborhood mobilization is easier.*

Part I of the city plan looks to be about half the units and beds — 25 units/100 beds or so.

From Albemarle’s “County View”: (bolding mine)

ZMA 201100003, Willoughby Apartments
Planner: Claudette Grant

PROPOSAL: Rezone 5.671 acres from Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning district which allows residential (3 – 34 units per acre), mixed with commercial and industrial uses to PUD zoning district to add residential density to plan. Proposed maximum number of units is 90 for a density of 15.87 units/acre.


EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE PLAN LAND USE/DENSITY: Neighborhood Density Residential – residential (3-6 units/acre) and supporting uses such as religious institutions and schools and other small-scale non-residential uses; Parks and Greenways – parks, greenways, playgrounds, pedestrian and bicycle paths in Neighborhood 5.


LOCATION: on City/County boundary east of 5th Street and portion of Willoughby Apartments in City. Proposed access from Bent Creek Road

TAX MAP/PARCEL: 076M2000006800

I’ve been trying to find the permitting/planning information on the City of Charlottesville’s website, but their embarrassing lack of a GIS site is highlighted once again.

From an email circulating amongst the Willoughby residents:

Dear Willoughby Property Owners:

This morning I just received an email from the City about the Developer’s request to change the current zoning in the Albemarle County portion to allow him to build more apartment units. I don’t know when the zoning public hearing is yet but have an inquiry in to Claudette Grant. The application fee of $2500 was submitted on April 18th. I also asked Claudette if the Developer was granted an easement of right of way to access Bent Creek Rd. I believe Coran Capshaw and Hunter Craig own this adjacent property. I’ll let you know what I find out.

1. I need volunteers to spearhead being actively on top of the Albemarle County portion by attending relevant meetings, meeting with Claudette Grant, the assigned Planner with the County to be a voice and reporting back to Willoughby property owners. I am not in the County so I can not effectively take it on.

2. Please attend as many of these really important meetings as possible, even if you are a City resident attending a County meeting or vice versa.

3. I contacted an attorney who graciously bent his ear for 20+ minutes about the very possible encroachment or developing on Willoughby Common Property in the City without legal right of way and he said to hire a surveyor and have him/her survey the area, mark it and record it, then we will have an expert determine if this is true. This info can nip so much in the bud. Do we have support or interest in hiring a surveyor like, Roger Ray to get it done? We have to act quickly. Once it is approved for the Developer, it is done. I will call to get a rough estimate.

4. Please understand, the Developer is trying to put over 180 units (City and County combined), the equivalent of 360+ more vehicles going in and out of Willoughby at the entrance at the serpentine portion of the road which will mean cars lining up legally along Harris Rd.

Related reading:

Willoughby homeowners resist association

(Willoughby) Neighborhood on the line

(Visited 36 times, 1 visits today)


  1. clmckinley November 2, 2012 at 08:30

    It is worth noting that this development has been denied by the city because they do not have an appropriate entrance. This denial effectively stops the development in the county as well because it is required to have at least two entrances.

    The fact that the city actually issued a denial is important because it means the developer will now need to start the process over and will be required to now meet today’s guidelines instead of being grandfathered in from his original filing date in the early 2000s. The most important of these is the steep slope guidelines. This development is on very steep ground and any run off will go into Moores Creek, which has been identified by DEQ as the most endangered creek in the Charlottesville region.



    1. Jim Duncan November 2, 2012 at 11:38

      Thanks for sharing this. I suspect that eventually the developer will get his way (as they often tend to), but for now it is denied.

      1. clmckinley November 2, 2012 at 13:29

        The developer has a lot of hurdles in front of him right now, but developers are good at the waiting game.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *