After City Council’s rejection of his zoning and permit requests earlier this year, Justin Shimp, developer of the embattled Hogwaller Farms project in Belmont, is back with fresh plans for a newly acquired parcel partially overlapping the site of his previous proposal.
The name of the new project—Rootstock Farm Apartments—should be better received by neighbors who said they found “Hogwaller” offensive. It will include two apartment buildings with a combined 28 units and, as with the Hogwaller Farms proposal, includes plans for agricultural space and eventually a farm store.
The Hogwaller project faced a myriad of obstacles throughout its lifespan. Shimp’s plans required rezoning from both Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and many residents in the neighborhood were concerned about building in the floodplain the property lies in. In March, City Council rejected Shimp’s requests in a 3-2 decision.
Shimp recently expressed his frustration with the Hogwaller project’s detractors.
“Our experience there last time was that the people who lived on that street wanted the project approved, and a couple of people from North Downtown didn’t like it—for whatever reason,” he says.
However, the Rootstock project shouldn’t have to face the same roadblocks. According to Shimp, construction on the property would be by-right and would not require rezoning or a City Council vote—except to approve a proposed new street on the property.
Quote of the week
“These limits on witnesses’ ability to view Virginia’s executions severely curtail the public’s ability to understand how those executions are administered…or [are] otherwise botched.” —The attorneys representing four news organizations suing the Virginia Department of Corrections for prohibiting public viewing of executions
Hundreds of activists descended on the Downtown Mall last weekend for two separate marches. On Friday, as part of the global Youth Climate Strike, students (and their grown-up allies) gathered at the Free Speech Wall and called for systemic changes to address the climate crisis. On Sunday, as part of the international Interfaith March for Peace and Justice, protesters marched to the site of the Heather Heyer memorial on Fourth Street in a plea for renewed efforts to ensure peace and justice around the world.
Daniel McMahon of Brandon, Florida, was arrested earlier this month on four federal charges for interfering in a Charlottesville City Council election by cyberstalking candidate Don Gathers. The indictment alleges that McMahon, 31, was “motivated by racial animus” and used his online platforms to harass and intimidate the candidate by threatening physical injury. He faces up to seven years in prison.
An apple a day
The Thomas Jefferson Health District has received a $50,000 grant from the state to open a health clinic in the Yancey School Community Center in 2020. The clinic will staff a part-time community health worker, and provide family planning and sexual health services on a monthly basis. The building is already well-frequented, and includes tenants like PVCC and JABA.
A first-year UVA student has started a nonprofit, Homoglobin, to advocate for changes in the policies that ban sexually active gay and bisexual men from donating blood. The FDA has rolled back restrictions on allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood in recent years, and all donated blood is screened for potentially dangerous pathogens.