Last night Charlottesville City Council approved purchasing floodplain acreage next to the Rivanna River.
Several of the Councilors and the City Manager spoke thoughtfully about the purchase.
There has been much talk about the Rivanna Corridor in the last two decades. I hope, this time, City leadership, staff and elected, will get serious. Spending five million dollars is a serious move. Other moves, like rewriting the zoning code for the acreage in the flood plain, should be undertaken post haste.
The implementation of the draft zoning ordinance will further decrease the City’s shrinking tree canopy. How low can the canopy percentage go? The code writers say we can’t ask developers for more than 20% canopy coverage, the State’s maximum requirement.
But developers and landlords can be incentivized,
the code’s green-scape zones and setbacks can be adjusted
and we can ask our City Councilors to join us in this goal.
Look at the money. The City takes in 100 million in real estate tax, the city spends one thousandth of that planting trees.
We talk the green City talk, let’s start walking the walk.
Trees and density can coexist, you just act. Plant a $10 tree in the ground, care for it, and step back.
In 1975 the City had a plan to plant a multitude of trees in the commons, in the right of way. In the Woolen Mills 90 trees would line East Market Street from Firefly to the Rivanna. Shade, walkability, habitat, carbon sequestration, oxygen production, stormwater control! Of the 90 trees, one has been planted at 1606 E Market.
Square that lack of follow through with the Standards and Design Manual chapter 9.6.4 which reads
“Trees must be installed along all rights-of-way regardless of location of overhead or underground utilities.”
Ask the City to plant the commons and to support designs that incorporate nature in housing plans.
I am a small scale, affordable housing provider going for 100% canopy.
We can get this done.
In the words of Wangari Muta Maathai:
“We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment.”
“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.”
We have CATEC, we have UVA, we have thousands of hipsters. We can build a bathroom. Get people involved that know how to work with their hands. Dig a foundation, build with all the ash being cut down in the park. Make a composting unit or a vault system, using drinking water to transport human waste is insane.
• Residents’ voices should be heard for all major development decisions involving new policies and projects at the local level.
• Planning efforts should ensure weaker housing markets should be equitably incorporated in the fabric of stronger markets without causing displacement or gentrification.
• Public safety is essential around the buildings in which people live, requiring the cooperation of social service agencies, schools, youth-oriented agencies and other groups, in addition to traditional law enforcement agencies.
• Policy improvements that aim to ensure neighborhood affordability should include homeownership programs, repair programs, rental assistance programs, and related education efforts.
• Housing efforts should not focus exclusively on units and costs, but also local amenities that overlap with We Will’s other pillars.–We Will Chicago