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Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan describes & illustrates community goals and guides decision-making for various matters.

On this page, you can walk through two types of draft revisions to the Comprehensive Plan:

  • Revisions to the Community Values statements (re-envisioned as Guiding Principles). These are overarching priorities for the entire Comprehensive Plan.
  • Revisions to the topic-specific Vision Statements. These are priorities and outcomes for each topic-specific chapter.

This is only our first step in updating the Comprehensive Plan.

  • These initial updates unincorporated community feedback we received earlier this year.
  • We will continue to use community input to refine the Guiding Principles and Vision Statements.
  • We will then proceed with draft revisions to the goals and actions in the Comprehensive Plan, to work toward outcomes that are in line with the updated Guiding Principles and Vision Statements.

The current plan was adopted in 2013. Planning Commission began review/revisions in 2017-2018, with many community discussions and development of draft chapters, which are all available here, under “Related Materials.”

Our collective charge: continue and finalize updates, with a focus on Housing Affordability and Equity.

If you would like more background on the general purpose and content of the Comprehensive Plan, please visit this page.

If you would like more background on the general purpose and content of the Comprehensive Plan, please visit this page.

Comprehensive Plan Community Values / Guiding Principles

Community Values (2013)

These are statements that describe the overarching themes for the future of the City. For the 2013 Comprehensive Plan, the focus was on implementing the City Council 2025 Vision. That vision remains in place today, but the Council is in the process of updating their Strategic Plan.

2013 Community Value Topics

  • Economic sustainability
  • A center for lifelong learning
  • Quality housing opportunities for all
  • Charlottesville arts & culture
  • A green city
  • America’s healthiest city
  • A connected community
  • A community of mutual respect
  • Smart, citizen-focused government

Guiding Principles (2020 Draft)

For the Comprehensive Plan update, we are proposing to evolve the idea of the Community Values chapter from 2013 into Guiding Principles specific to the topics addressed in the Comprehensive Plan.

These statements will remain complementary to the City Council vision, but they will be cross-cutting, describing priorities that may not be limited to only one topic-specific chapter. With these, the Plan can more easily demonstrate how strategies from different chapters will work together to address these important priorities.

(click the “+” for more information)

All residents, regardless of race, age, income, neighborhood, country of origin, religious affiliation, gender expression, sexual orientation, and other personal characteristics should have equitable and expanded access to safe and affordable housing, good jobs and wealth building opportunities, parks and natural resources, high-quality education and training, and other infrastructure, information, and services that support a high quality of life. The City will support development and initiatives that take into consideration the full range of needs of Charlottesville’s diverse community.

The City should actively and meaningfully seek community input in strategizing and implementing all planning efforts and should utilize local and regional partnerships, including those with UVA and Albemarle County, to achieve stronger, more effective outcomes.

The City should continue to reduce its environmental impact and improve air and water quality as part of all efforts related to the built and natural environments. Charlottesville’s residents, institutions, and businesses should also be empowered to reduce their environmental footprint and benefit from energy efficiency efforts and high-quality natural resources.

Residents and visitors should be able to travel safely, efficiently, and affordably throughout the city and region, with easy access to services, employment opportunities, and amenities.

Vision Statements by Topic

Below, you can see the existing Vision Statements and draft revisions. Notes on these items:

Chapter Titles

  • Some chapter titles have been adjusted to better reflect the contents of the chapter.
  • In the case of the Land Use chapter and Historic Preservation & Urban Design chapter, these revisions propose combining those two chapters into one chapter, to better reflect the interconnectivity between those topics in Charlottesville.

Click the “+” to Review the Vision Statements

  • Once it is open, you can click “-” to close it.
  • If you want, you can open previous versions and revised versions at the same time to compare them.

Existing Statements

(Starting Point for Revisions)

  • The use of land in Charlottesville supports human activities and reflects community values.
  • Our land use plan aims to promote harmonious development and support neighborhoods and places that allow residents to live, work, shop and play in proximity.
  • Charlottesville’s land use patterns will create, preserve, and enhance neighborhood character, improve environmental quality, integrate a diversity of uses, encourage various modes of transportation, promote infill development, and increase commercial vitality and density in appropriate areas.
  • These interdependent parts will converge to enhance the social, cultural, recreational and economic needs of our City.
  • Urban design and historic preservation contribute to the character and quality of neighborhoods, and to the aesthetic value of the entire community.
  • The City of Charlottesville will be a well-designed community with neighborhoods, buildings and public spaces, including the Downtown Mall, that are human scaled, sustainable, healthy, equitable and beautiful.
  •  The City must recognize each neighborhood’s sense of community—its unique and diverse sense of place–and take steps to integrate new buildings, development and uses into their neighborhoods.
  • Charlottesville housing will represent and support a city of well-maintained and inclusive neighborhoods that reflect social, racial, ethnic and economic diversity for all current and future residents of all income levels.
  • Charlottesville will be a “Green City,” with clean and healthy air and water, sustainable neighborhoods, ample open space and natural areas that balance increased development and density in residential and economic centers, and walkable, bikeable, and transit supportive land use patterns that encourage healthy lifestyles and low carbon footprints.
  • Develop a safe, equitable, reliable, and efficient transportation system that provides a range of transportation choices for all users, reduces single occupancy vehicle travel by providing frequent and extended coverage, and increases travel by public transit and active transportation modes.
  • A strong economy is essential to the social, cultural and financial vitality of our city.
  • Public and private initiatives help create employment opportunities and a vibrant and sustainable economy.
  • The City of Charlottesville is committed to creating a strong, diversified economy and an environment that provides career ladder employment opportunities for residents.
  • At its best, Charlottesville is a community with an effective workforce development system and a business-friendly environment that supports entrepreneurship; innovation; heritage tourism; and commercial, mixed use, and infill development; and access to a growing array of diverse employment and career ladder opportunities for all.
  • The City of Charlottesville’s civic facilities and services are important to fostering a healthy and vibrant community.
  • Residents benefit from access to excellent public services, recreational facilities and public buildings.
  • Therefore, Charlottesville will have outstanding civic and recreational facilities, bicycle and walking trails and be served by a strong support system that includes one of the nation’s best emergency response systems.
  • Effective and efficient water, wastewater and stormwater services will support the health and welfare of the City.

Revised Vision Statements

(2020 Drafts)

(Note: This revision proposes combining the Land Use chapter with the Historic Preservation and Urban Design chapter, to better reflect the interconnectivity between those topics in Charlottesville.)

  • Through the City’s land use and urban design plans, policies, and regulations, including zoning, Charlottesville will strive to eliminate racial and economic inequities and segregation, increase the supply and affordability of housing, enhance neighborhood livability, improve environmental quality, support an efficient transportation network, promote infill development, and increase commercial vitality.
  • Charlottesville will be a “living” community with amenities and spaces that are welcoming, human-scaled, sustainable, well-utilized, equitable, and beautiful. Charlottesville’s urban design and historic preservation efforts will contribute in both overlapping and distinct ways to the character and quality of neighborhoods, and to the aesthetic value of the entire community.
  • The diversity of people in the city will be celebrated and supported, and the unique and diverse sense of place and history of each neighborhood will be recognized, respected, and enhanced. Communities will not be solely dictated by the past, and will look for ways to broaden the range of recognized histories and narratives.
  • Recognizing that past engagement efforts did not always effectively seek input from the full community, the City will use new and evolving strategies to directly seek input from all community members, particularly those who are not often heard from and those who are most impacted by potential decisions.
  • The City will emphasize and demonstrate the importance of community involvement by facilitating transparent, accessible, and respectful input opportunities, and by effectively communicating the ways in which community input will be considered in and will inform decision-making.
  • The City will widely and proactively share information about opportunities and events, welcoming all residents into planning and decision-making processes while ensuring that they understand the process and how the outcome could potentially impact their lives.
  • The City will utilize a variety of best practices in community engagement and seek out information-sharing partnerships with local organizations.
    City-appointed boards, commissions, and committees will be both representative of and sensitive to Charlottesville’s diversity and range of perspectives and will provide and encourage opportunities for informed participation by interested community members.

(Note: This Comprehensive Plan Vision Statement is influenced by the Affordable Housing Plan vision and also includes additional aspects of housing.)

  • The City of Charlottesville will recognize the importance of housing for all residents by implementing strategies to achieve a housing market that is affordable, healthy, high quality, and, above all, equitable.
  • The City will identify and address injustice in the provision of housing options for all, regardless of personal or familial characteristics or circumstances.
  • Housing policies and plans will celebrate and enhance the variety of available housing types and sizes, for both rental and ownership opportunities. The Charlottesville community will make clear steps toward addressing affordability, homelessness, and displacement of people from their neighborhoods, with an end result of culturally and demographically diverse and thriving neighborhoods.
  • Charlottesville will be an environmental leader, with healthy air, water, and land, as well as ample and accessible open space and natural areas, and a preserved and enhanced tree canopy.
  • The City will work to ensure food security and access to healthy foods for all residents by supporting local urban agriculture and creating a more just food system. The Charlottesville community will make steady progress toward meeting the goal of citywide carbon neutrality by 2050. The city’s land use patterns will be well-integrated with its transportation network and will equitably balance land use, housing, and transportation goals with environmental and climate goals. Charlottesville’s built environment will utilize green infrastructure and encourage healthy and low-carbon lifestyles by supporting walking, bicycling, and transit use, and access to outdoor public spaces and natural areas.
  • The City will work to both mitigate and prepare for the potential impacts of climate change by increasing reliable access to and use of clean energy sources, updating its building standards, and improving environmental quality for all residents.
  • Charlottesville will enhance the reliability, safety, efficiency, and equitability of the transportation system, and continue to ensure integration with the regional transportation network.
  • The City will efficiently manage and serve vehicular travel with existing facilities, and look to expand transportation options for walking, bicycling, and transit. A continuous and connected network of sidewalks, bicycle facilities, and trails, as well as frequent, affordable, and expanded transit coverage, will support increased walking, bicycling, and public transit use, particularly in lower-wealth areas and areas currently lacking access. Adoption of new transportation technologies will further expand travel options throughout the city.
  • The transportation network will be well-integrated with land use to support access to jobs, services, and destinations while reducing reliance on the automobile and single occupancy vehicle travel. As this is achieved, provision of parking will be coordinated with urban form goals, while mitigating potential impacts to neighborhoods and respecting the needs of residents, businesses, employees, visitors, and others.
  • Charlottesville’s economy will be vibrant and resilient, with a diversified and broadened economic base.
  • The City of Charlottesville will be supportive of businesses, including small and minority-owned businesses as well as new business ventures, and will actively participate in regional economic development initiatives.
  • The City will connect the community with meaningful opportunities for wealth creation. The building of career ladders of opportunity and economic mobility will be bolstered by ensuring that local economic growth is paired with the development of employment, training, and other opportunities for residents.
  • The City of Charlottesville will ensure that all residents have access to outstanding schools, recreational facilities and trails, civic facilities and public buildings, public services, and the infrastructure needed to support a full range of educational and economic opportunities.
  • Effective and efficient utilities and public services will support the health and welfare of residents and the quality of the environment in both the city and region.
  • The City will set a national standard for emergency response and community-oriented public safety, with clear strategies aimed at building trust and relationships with all neighborhoods.