Charlottesville Breaking News

Costco at Stonefield: Supes vote to approve another big box

Back when Stonefield was known as "Albemarle Place," and still on the drawing board, developers touted the "town center" development as a place with "rich architecture, upscale boutiques and eye-catching entertainment... casual sophistication mixed with unmistakable class." 

There were architectural renderings that showed the newly built, pedestrian-friendly streets teeming with activity in a lush urban landscape. Today, courtesy of different developers, the "town center" is a largely isolated landscape that has the feel of an abandoned movie set, and with the recent announcement that big box discount store Costco will be moving in, there's some doubt about the "unmistakable class" we were originally promised.

Moreover, a Costco is not in line with the spirit of the county's Places29 Design Plan, which was implemented to guide future growth along the corridor, and allows a maximum building footprint of 80,000 square feet. The planned Costco will be 155,000 square feet. A vote on allowing the square-footage increase, which county planning staff have already recommended for approval, is expected to take place at the Board of Supervisor's September 11 meeting after the Hook goes to press.

Most supes we contacted were mum a...

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UVA embraces Tom Tom

The upcoming Tomtoberfest promises a weekend of innovation, music, food and fun, as the Tom Tom Founders Festival founder, Paul Beyer (center), joined UVA innovation bigwigs Philippe Sommer (left), director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Darden School, and David Touve, Director of the Galant Center for Entrepreneurship at UVA's McIntire School of Commerce, to announce the line-up of the fall festival that takes place September 25-28 in downtown Charlottesville and on UVA Grounds. Among other things, the weekend features a candidate forum on Wednesday September 25, a block party with live music, public art and plenty of food, and the humorously named "Lawnie flash seminars" on Saturday, September 28 in which residents of the Lawn speak on contemporary topics from their rooms. Presumably, they will be fully clothed. For a full list of events visit www.tomtomfest.com.

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Lockn' loaded

Traffic snarls at the outset of the Lockn' music festival caused tempers to flare, but cars were inside and parked and festival goers were rockn' on Saturday afternoon, September 7.

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Fired up: County, UVA celebrate new station

Ivy residents are now a bit safer thanks to the opening of Albemarle's new fire station. At a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, August 29, UVA and county honchos praised the collaboration that made the new station possible and spoke of the benefits, including faster response times to emergencies occurring in the swath of countryside between the city and Crozet, as well as reduced insurance rates for businesses and homeowners in that area as a result of the new station's proximity.

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Key West & Goliath: Neighbors square off with AT&T over tower

For four years now, concerned residents of the Key West neighborhood on Route 20 North have been battling telecommunication giant AT&T over the company's plans to place a 103-foot cell phone tower in the neighborhood. That battle will come to a head on September 11, when the proposal comes up for final approval by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

Armed with research showing that the tower could easily be placed elsewhere, that it will depress real estate values, harm the environment, and could potentially cause health problems, Key West residents hope to nix AT&T's plans.

"AT&T is attempting to improve its profits substantially by placing the tower in the middle of our neighborhood," says Key West resident Bob Toplin. "Clearly, the Board of Supervisors ought to stand up for the county’s citizens in a situation such as this."

 The Key West neighborhood, just a few miles north of Pantops Shopping Center, is only about six minutes from downtown Charlottesville, but the community enjoys a kind of peace and quietude typically found much farther out in the country. Deer roam the neighborhood in herds, unafraid of being hunted, and long-time residents there— which until earlier this summer included this reporter— are protective of that peace.

"We've evaluated a variety of options, and this site will provide residents of Key West and the surrounding area with the wireless phone and mobile Internet coverage they...

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