What, Pray Tell, is the Character of the Area Surrounding the Shops at Stonefield?
Albemarle’s Architectural Review Board is in a bit of an unenviable position, but let’s be serious.
The Shops at Stonefield are going to be big, likely going to be ugly, will probably look like almost any other big box development in the US, and will represent a huge step towards homogeneity in Charlottesville/Albemarle.
The ARB guidelines state (PDF):
Compatibility with the character of the Entrance Corridor:
5. It is also an important objective of the Guidelines to establish a pattern of compatible architectural characteristics throughout the Entrance Corridor in order to achieve unity and coherence. Building designs should demonstrate sensitivity to other nearby structures within the Entrance Corridor. Where a designated corridor is substantially developed, these Guidelines require striking a careful balance between harmonizing new development with the existing character of the corridor and achieving compatibility with the significant historic sites in the area.
Maybe they’re operating under guidelines different than the ones I was able to find.
So, what exactly is the character? I looked at the existing “entrance corridor”:
Seminole Square mall – Cheeseburger in Paradise, the Express Car Wash, Chili’s, strip with Sprint and the UPS Store, on the east side of 29, Burger King, and lots of parking lots. Stonefield is replacing the old Blockbuster and 7-11, and lots of trees and natural landscape. If the ARB truly wanted to be consistent, the Shops at Stonefield would have to emulate trees.