We, the undersigned faith leaders, are writing in support of the draft of the Comprehensive Plan unanimously recommended to Council by the Planning Commission on October 12, 2021.
We believe the proposed Comprehensive Plan is a tremendous step forward for Charlottesville. It is the product of more than four years of hard work by some of our community’s most dedicated and knowledgeable advocates for affordable housing. The time, energy, and professional input involved have produced an historic document. It captures our desire to make our city accessible to all and to create more space for the people and neighborhoods historically disadvantaged by racial injustice.
Major accomplishments in the Comprehensive Plan include:
- Setting the stage for ending single-family-only zoning, a tool of systemic racism, and allowing more housing citywide across income levels;
- Encouraging equitable development by allowing higher intensity General Residential and medium-density in historically exclusionary white neighborhoods, while prioritizing affordable housing construction in historically Black, Brown, and low-income neighborhoods;
- Addressing the loss of Black culture and generational wealth by slowing displacement and expanding opportunities for affordable homeownership;
- Prioritizing land-use and transportation policies that will enable the city to meet its climate goals.
A strong Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map committed to deep affordability are essential first steps in exploring how for-profit and nonprofit developers can create more affordable housing in Charlottesville. Alongside these efforts, we urge Council to make a sustained and concentrated commitment to exploring and implementing government and non-market solutions that will guarantee affordability for generations to come. The Comprehensive Plan is one piece of a complicated housing ecosystem, and all of the tools at our disposal need to be employed. We ask that target outcomes be tracked, and a serious review occur, before the next time the Comprehensive Plan is due to be updated.
We are ready to move on to the zoning rewrite, a critically important, complex, and time-consuming task that will present many opportunities to further address our city’s affordable housing crisis.
Please vote in favor of the Comprehensive Plan draft currently in front of you. Changes or delays will only hinder Charlottesville’s ability to address many of our most pressing issues.
Thank you for your consideration.
- Rev. Dr. Alvin Edwards, Mt. Zion First African Baptist
- Rev. Liz Hulme Adam, Tabor Presbyterian Church
- Rev. Neal Halvorson-Taylor, Grace Church | Red Hill
- Dr. Elizabeth Emrey, Co-Pastor New BeginningsChristian Community
- Cass Bailey, Trinity Episcopal Church
- Pastor Brenda Brown-Grooms, New Beginnings Christian Community
- Ann Marie Smith, MDiv, Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville
- Rev. Dr. Jim Bundy, United Church of Christ, retired
- Rev. Will Brown, University Baptist Church
- Rev. Dorothy Piatt-Esguerra, Westminster Presbyterian Church
- Apostle Sarah A. Kelley Faith, Hope and Love In’tl Healing and Deliverance Center
- Rev. Dr. Michael Cheuk, Charlottesville Clergy Collective
- Rev. Sandra Wisco, (ELCA) Lutheran
- Kimberly Hayes, Charlottesville Church of Christ
- Pastor Devin Coles, Union Baptist Church, Fluvanna County and Amazing Changes Ministries
- Derrick Stone, Bahá'ís of Albemarle County
- Rev. Dr. Marvin L. Morgan, Sojourners UCC, C’ville
- Rev. Maren Hange, Charlottesville Mennonite Church
- Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Emrey, Co-Pastor New Beginnings Christian Community
- Rev. Ellen Longmoore, Retired UVA Chaplain
- Rev. Robert Lewis, Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church