Size: 10.24 square miles
Population (2012 estimate): 43,956
Change since 2010: +1.1%
Density: 4,293 people per square mile
Size: 726 square miles (3/4 the size of Rhode Island)
Population (2012 estimate): 102,251
Change since 2010: +3.3%
Density: 141 people per square mile
Once a key river town, Scottsville has the distinction of being Albemarle's only incorporated town; and although smaller in population than Crozet, it actually has elected government officials.
Size: 1.54 square miles
Density: 368.8 people per square mile
–source: U.S. Census Bureau
Nearby county populations:
Fluvanna: 25,967- up since 2000: 30%
Greene: 18,771- up since 2000: 23%
Louisa: 33,430- up since 2000: 30%
Nelson: 14,827- up since 2000: 3%
Buckingham: 17,088- up since 2000: 9%
Orange: 34,246- up since 2000: 32%
Augusta: 73,658- up since 2000: 12%
–source: U.S. Census Bureau (2012 estimates and growth b/w 2000-2010)
–>>For local taxes, see our Government section
What's this area like?
Well, according to the census, women constitute about 52 percent of the Charlottesville-Albemarle population. Charlottesville's more diverse with about 30 percent minorities, while Albemarle has less than 20 percent. Albemarle skews older— about 15 percent of its residents are over 65, according to the Census, perhaps a result of its reputation as a great retirement destination, while less than 10 percent of Charlottevillians are above 65.
Virginia requires convicted rapists, pedophiles, and other violent sex offenders to register their whereabouts with the state police. You can search the database to see if there's one living near you. http://sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/.
CHARLOTTESVILLE– In residential areas of the city, the 10pm-6am limit is 55 decibels (or about the level of loud talking), 65 decibels for 6am-10pm. In 2008, the city also created a 75-decibel limit after 10pm (now after 11pm) outside restaurants and anytime in its downtown business district. Charlottesville police are the enforcers and may be willing to come out and measure the racket with their special meters. 970-9041.
ALBEMARLE– Noise enforcement in the county depends. Mostly, if noise is audible 100 feet from the property line, police can tell you to pipe down. After neighbors started complaining about noise from a winery in 2011, the Board of Supervisors set a 60-decibel limit from 7am to 10pm and 55 decibels after 10pm in rural and residential areas that is enforced by the zoning administrator. And if you have the misfortune to live beside a barking dog in a non-rural area, you have to listen to it bark its head off for 30 minutes before going to the magistrate and getting a summons issued for the yapper's owner. Confused? Plan B: earplugs. 296-5807.
Remove the snow!
CHARLOTTESVILLE– Many people don't realize that a city ordinance requires all citizens to remove snow from the sidewalks along their property within 48 hours of the snowfall's cessation or face a $75 administrative fee.
CHARLOTTESVILLE– You're subject to a fine if you let them grow over 18 inches tall, and although the city has "no mow" zones near creeks and streams in five city parks, it took one man's fight against City Hall to adjust the law somewhat. And city residents are still required to mow right up to the street— even if the grass doesn't actually belong to them. Enforcer: zoning department. 970-3182
The Newcomers Club of Greater Charlottesville says it's open to all who have been residents of the area for less than three years. 980-2725
Before you dig...
Since undergrounding utilities is all the rage, Virginia has one sweet phone number you should call first to avoid death and injury when you put that shovel in the ground. After you call "Miss Utility," someone comes out, free of charge, and spray paints lines where underground utilities lie. 811 or 800-552-7001
Currently you are served by only one company. Depending on where you live, it's probably this one:
Dominion Virginia Power 866-366-4357
But it could also be one of these:
AEP-Virginia - 800-277-2177
Central Virginia Electric Cooperative - 800-367-2832
Rappahannock Electric Cooperative - 800-552-3904
Some solar/wind companies:
Cville Solar - 981-1076
Altenergy Incorporated - 293-3763
Old Mill Power Company - 979-9288
Skyline Turbine - 540-246-9463
The following company offers local service: CenturyLink (residential 888-723-8010; business 800-786-6272). Comcast/Xfinity (Bundles cable, internet and home phone 800-599-1302) Businesses can also buy local service from Level 3 Communications (877-253-8353).
AT&T - 1252 Emmett Street, 242-8900
nTelos - 220 29th Place Court, 882-7014, 341 Towncenter Lane, 882-4529.
U.S. Cellular - 302 Pantops Ctr, 971-7691, Fashion Square Mall, 973-9674, and 632 Albemarle Square, 973-1674
Verizon - 874 Rio East Ct, 973-5022, and 100 Riverbend Dr, 293-3216
Efficient stuff for heating. Available only through the underground pipes of Charlottesville's Public Utilities, which serves the city limits and nearby suburbs. Public Utilities is so hungry for customers it provides several helpful services: one free pilot-lighting of your furnace each year as well as $100 rebates for converting to programmable thermostats, gas water heaters, and even low-flow toilets.
Pilot lighting & gas emergency: 970-3800
Propane and fuel oil
An alternative for folks who don't live on the natural gas pipeline. While fuel oil is generally just for heating, many Central Virginia households use propane for both cooking and hot water in addition to heat. Many local companies will fill your tank.
Coal and firewood
UVA, in addition to burning natural gas and fuel oil, also makes heat the old-fashioned way: with coal. But as far as we can tell, no one is selling coal retail in Charlottesville, and there are probably only a few dozen houses with those cute little coal-burning fireplaces anyway. As for firewood, every modern-day Paul Bunyan and his brother seems to be selling the stuff come fall.
Make sure you get what you pay for in firewood, as a cord is 128 cubic feet, e.g. 4 x 4 x 8 or 3 x 6.5 x 6.5. Prices typically range from $90-$160 per cord.
In addition to the myriad national providers, residential customers have several firms with a Central Virginia presence to choose from, including:
Broadband Network Services, Inc. - 817-7300
Pure Internet - 392-4804
Many years ago, when cable was thought to be a natural monopoly, the city struck a deal making Adelphia the sole provider. In 2006, Adelphia was divvied up between Time Warner and Comcast, the latter of which got dibs on the local cable market. Technically, it's not the exclusive provider; it just works out that way. The company provides everything from local broadcast channels to public access (which gives City Council and other civic meetings) to all the premium goods including HBO and Cinemax. 800-266-2278
CHARLOTTESVILLE- Before they open the taps, the city demands a letter of credit or a deposit. But that's not what scares some customers. Ever since the drought of 2002, rates have skyrocketed, essentially tripling since 1999 levels. And with the summer water (May-September) priced higher than "winter" water, there are incentives to save. Including your 10 percent utility tax plus the $4 fees for both water and sewer, you should be looking at a monthly bill of $78 for using 5,000 gallons. Charlottesville Utility Billing Office. 970-3211
ALBEMARLE- Like Charlottesville, leaders want to encourage conservation, so in 2009, Albemarle implemented a system that drastically rewards thrift and punishes gluttony. Your total monthly bill for using 5,000 gallons (including that pesky 10 percent tax and assuming you use public sewer) should be around $70. Albemarle County Service Authority. 977-4511
If you're not on the sewer grid
Then you should save about half from your bill! Make sure to regularly get your in-ground septic system pumped— about every five years or so— because rebuilding a septic field can cost over $10,000. These things are regulated by the local Health Department at 1138 Rose Hill Drive, which can show you a little sketch of where your septic field is located. 972-6259
Be aware of water rates If you live in Albemarle and dwell in a single-family house, you can dramatically curtail your water bill by using less than 3,000 gallons a month because rates jump from $3.33 per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons you use to $6.66 for gallons 3,001-6,000 gallons and then to 9.99 per thousand up to 9,000 gallons. After the 9,000-gallon-a-month level—which is where lawn-watering will get you— you'll be shelling out $13.32 per thousand gallons. Ouch!
Where's my water from?
If you're on either the city or county water system, your water is stored at one of these five reservoirs: Beaver Creek if you live in Crozet, Ragged Mountain, at which a larger new dam is being built, South Fork Rivanna, Sugar Hollow, or Totier Creek if you live in Scottsville. The quasi-public body that chlorinates and sells the water to Charlottesville and Albemarle is the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority.
CHARLOTTESVILLE- Curbside recycling is free: newspapers, magazines, catalogs, cardboard, aluminum cans, other metals, even #1 and #2 plastic bottles and glass bottles are picked up at curbside on the day your trash is collected. The city also contracts with Van der Linde Recycling for household trash, which means that everything thrown in your trash can goes to the company's state-of-the-art recycling facility on Route 250 East. Private companies, such as Dixon Disposal, also offer trash and recycling services for individuals and businesses. Guidelines available from the City Public Service, 970-3830.
ALBEMARLE- If you live in the county you'll have to contract with a private hauler, as the county doesn't offer trash and recycling services. However, thanks to Van der Linde Recycling, nearly all major county haulers now offer single stream recycling. And now, the County is considered dealing with Van der Linde directly by letting him take over the Materials Utilization Center, currently run by the RSWA. There's also the McIntire Road Recycling Center (906-0763) which is open to city and county residents, and accepts almost all major categories including cardboard, books, spray cans, #1 and #2 plastic, and colored glass. W-F 8:30am-5:20pm, Sat 9:30am-5:20pm, Sun 12:30-5:20pm. And if you have a lot of metal, you might get some real money down at Cycle Systems in the Woolen Mills neighborhood. 296-6465
ALBEMARLE- While some people haul their own trash to the Ivy Transfer station, bury it on their property, or take it to Van der Linde Recycling, most suburbanites hire one of the many private haulers who advertise their services in the Yellow Pages. Typically, they charge $20-25 a month.
CHARLOTTESVILLE- The city gets this done via a private firm that swings by your house once a week, but you have to pay (to cover landfill fees and encourage recycling) via the dreaded sticker system. You have to buy stickers, which you affix to your trash can or bag– weekly– by buying 32-gallon stickers for $2.10 each or 13-gallon stickers for $1.05. Or spring for the annual trash decal (32-gallon:$94.50/50-gallon: $147.50/64-gallon: $189.00/96-gallon: $283.50) and paste it on the side of your trash can. These can be purchased at City Hall or at any number of local grocery and convenience stores. For more information, call 970-3146.
$35 large-item disposal- Until 2004, Charlottesville residents got a big bonus: up to two annual visits from a huge truck with a giant claw that would take away jumbo trash like refrigerators, tree limbs, and sofas. They still pick up, but now you have to pay— and prices went up July 1.The first pick-up is $35; second is $50; all subsequent pick-ups are $100. To schedule, call 970-3830.
Free leaf pickup- Another bonus of living in the city. Free collection begins each November with pickup of bagged leaves (the city even provides free bags) and vacuuming of raked-to-the-curb leaves. They'll also take your Christmas tree and debris after a storm. 970-3830
ALBEMARLE– You're allowed to burn stuff in the county! But there are some rules. Moreover, between February 15 and April 30, open burning may take place only between the hours of 4pm and midnight, unless you're burning a distance of 300 feet or more from woodlands or other material capable of spreading fire to woodlands. Other regulations also apply. Fire Marshal: Howard Lagomarsino. Albemarle Department of Fire & Rescue: 296-5833
CHARLOTTESVILLE– No outdoor burning in the city without the Fire Marshal's approval. Certain grills and artificial pits for cookouts are fine, but check first to be sure yours has the okay. Fire Marshal: Gary Whiting. Charlottesville Fire Department: 970-3240
Though it operates under the name Materials Utilization Center, everyone in Charlottesville knows it as "The Ivy Landfill." Located on Dick Woods Road (Route 637) in Ivy, it no longer actually puts trash in the ground but does accept your junk for around $66/ton (and then ships it far away). Hours: 7:30am-4pm Monday-Saturday. Effective July 2010, the facility stopped collecting batteries, paint, and fluorescent light tubes on a regular basis. You can, however, dispose of many of these items at Van der Linde Recycling, which some locals call our "landfill of the future." The Ivy facility is also the site of the Encore Shop, which lets people claim "trash" as treasures. 977-2976
Reporting dead animals
CHARLOTTESVILLE- Call City Public Service (970-3830) or police dispatch (977-9041) for pickup.
ALBEMARLE- Call VDOT (293-0011) or police dispatch (977-9041) for pickup.
Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) urges citizens to report suspected pollution incidents during business hours by calling Jennifer Welcher at 540-574-7854 at DEQ's regional office (main number 540-574-7800)— or the Department of Emergency Management at 800-468-8892 on nights, holidays, and weekends.
In Virginia, potential jurors are selected randomly by jury commissioners using lists designated by the court, such as the voter registration list and the driver's license list. Jurors are reimbursed $30 for each day.
This town contains not only an old-fashioned rural co-op (Southern States), but also a major national catalog retailer in Plow & Hearth, and more garden centers than you can shake a watering can at. Plus, the City of Charlottesville offers 30'x30' plots of land that can be rented for just $40 a year ($60 to non-residents) in Azalea Park and at the old Fairgrounds near the Emmet Street Bodo's. Renewal registration starts the first Monday in February. New renters can sign up the third Tuesday in February. 970-3260
Every April, some of the most sumptuous gardens and grounds are open to the gawkers during Historic Garden Week. See "Annual Events" in our Outings section for more. 804-644-7776
Summer can hit Charlottesville pretty hard. In 2002, we suffered through a drought that has been classified as our worst and led to intense water restrictions which lasted for months. During the summer of 2010, we dealt with microbursts, intense storms that lasted for short amounts of time but left many C'villians without power. Even more vivid in our memories is the summer of 2012, complete with over 100-degree temperatures and the dreaded derecho, which left some without power for more than a week.
But this summer threw a curveball— or maybe a water balloon. Although May was dry with less than half normal precipitation, June got wet and wild with monthly rainfall soaring to more than double the average. June’s immense rainfall— more than nine inches!— pushed the total rainfall for the year to 130 percent of the norm, causing warnings of flash flooding. Out of 118 years on record, June 2013 is ranked number six in terms of rainfall over the month. Although this may seem to dampen your summer, remember that overcast days can save us from the heat, and showers in the summer allow plant life to flourish in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The effect Hurricane Sandy had on Virginia pales in comparison to the devastation on New York and the Caribbean. However, Governor McDonnell declared a state of emergency, based on the destruction of the storm as it neared us. Romney, Biden, and Obama all canceled campaigning in Virginia as the storm raged.
Let it snow!
The winter of 2009-'10 will likely go down as one of the most brutal in Central Virginia history with the December 18, 2009 "Snowpocalypse" dumping two feet on Charlottesville and Albemarle, followed less than two months later by the so-called "Snowmageddon," which dropped another 18 inches. Since then, winters have been been milder, and this past one was particularly lame as far as snowfall. Maybe winter 2013-'14 will be better for kids who want to sled.
Destructive Nature in the Ville
Though we have had scares in the past, tornados are not a major fear in Virginia. Although some speculated the series of microbursts that hit Charlottesville in early June 2010 might have had the makings of a tornado, the last time our part of the state saw serious tornado damage was in 1959. Of course, that's nothing compared to the devastating tornado activity in Oklahoma in May, 2013, which caused estimates of up to $5 billion dollars in damages. August 23rd, 2011, we experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 in Louisa county, accompanied by many aftershocks.
Sources: University of Virginia Climatology Office as well as the National Weather Service with stations in Blacksburg, Sterling, and Wakefield that compile data on this area.