Development waivers, UVA retirements, and real estate report: News briefs

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Notes from the news desk. File photo. Notes from the news desk. File photo.

Check c-ville.com daily and pick up a copy of the paper Wednesday for the latest Charlottesville and Albemarle news.

Waiver denied for Meadowbrook Flats construction 

The Charlottesville Planning Commission delivered a blow to plans for a five-story apartment building at the corner of Emmet Street and Rugby Road when it denied a critical slopes waiver needed for construction of the Meadowbrook Flats building last week.

The planned 73-unit structure—which would include 40 percent affordable units —would be on the same 3.5-acre parcel as the Meadowbrook Shopping Center. Owner Clara Belle Wheeler and developer William Park initially included the shopping center in plans for a second phase of development, but ultimately abandoned that idea. Neighbors have continued to express concerns about the project.

According to Charlottesville Tomorrow, locals said the building wouldn’t mesh with the surrounding area and would eliminate the last remaining green space at the site. The Charlottesville City Council will take up the issue of the waiver at its November 4 meeting.

Meanwhile, the Planning Commission approved a special use permit for The Standard, a 600-unit development geared toward students that will take the place of an office complex on West Main near 10th Street. Public housing residents in nearby Westhaven have criticized the project because it lacks affordable units.

UVA hospital CEO announces retirement

UVA Medical Center Vice President and CEO R. Edward Howell announced last week that he will step down next year.

Howell, who is 64 and has led the University’s hospital system since 2002, said he plans to retire in July 2014. In his time at the helm, he has overseen major expansions, including the addition of nearly 100 inpatient beds, the construction of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, and a new transitional care hospital. That growth has pushed the financial footprint of the hospital north of $1 billion, which represents about half of UVA’s total budget at a time when public academic medical centers are poised to take a beating due to dwindling government support and rising health care costs.

Howell, who previously served as CEO of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, told The Daily Progress he plans to pursue teaching and family and personal interests. “I think it’s a good time for me to refocus some of my activities,” he told a reporter. UVA says it plans to conduct a national search for its next Medical Center CEO.

His retirement announcement came a week after Meredith Wu, dean of UVA’s College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, said she would step down in May.

Real estate quarterly report reveals more home sales 

In a report released on Tuesday, October 15, the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors said overall home sales in the area were up nearly 26 percent compared to last year from July through September.

According to The Daily Progress, the report states that 850 homes were sold in the third quarter, and six localities saw double-digit percent sales increases since last year. Albemarle County saw 83 more homes sold than this time last year, for a 25 percent gain, and Charlottesville had an 18 percent uptick with 23 more sales.

The report also revealed that more than half the homes sold in the third quarter were on the market for 46 days or less, a number that’s down from 70 days in the same quarter last year.

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