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City Council to receive report on climate action plan
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City Council to receive report on climate action plan

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Outdoor dining

DAILY PROGRESS FILE

At its meeting Monday, the City Council will consider an ordinance to partially waive and reduce the fee for restaurants to rent outdoor dining space on the Downtown Mall.

Charlottesville is reigniting its climate change goals.

The City Council will receive a report on its climate action plan during its meeting Monday.

In July 2019, the council adopted a goal to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas output by 45% by 2030 and totally eliminate emissions by 2050.

The goal is tied to the Compact of Mayors, which the city joined in 2017. The group is a global coalition of mayors and city officials committed to curbing climate change.

Efforts to initiate a community engagement process around the plan this spring were derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. Planning efforts for a revised process resumed in the late summer and are being finalized this month.

Over the next six months, the city will start planning mitigation efforts by creating a Climate Action Committee, topic core teams, discussion groups and task forces and conducting community engagement.

Community input will include virtual listening sessions, online surveys and facilitated small-group discussions.

According to a staff report, about 90% of the city’s emissions are generated by residential and commercial sectors and citywide transportation. The process will focus on increasing energy performance, switching to lower or zero-carbon fuel and energy sources and incorporating emission reduction strategies into planning and zoning.

The initial process is expected to produce a draft report in the spring.

Cafe rentals

In other business, the council will consider an ordinance to partially waive and reduce the fee for restaurants to rent outdoor dining space on the Downtown Mall.

The fees, which are $5 per square foot, were deferred until September after the start of the pandemic.

Restaurants are focusing on outdoor dining to improve safety measures for customers.

The proposed ordinance would waive the fee for March and April when restaurants could not operate and provides a 50% reduction in the fee for the time operations were restricted to 50% capacity.

Restaurants seeking to rent public parking spaces to increase outdoor dining options will receive a 50% discount.

The reductions will remain in effect until March 8, unless otherwise extended by the council.

Any accounts paid prior to the start of the pandemic or the deferral of the fees will receive a credit.

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CARES funding

The council also will consider allocating a large part of its contingency fund from the second round of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act stimulus package.

Earlier this month, the council approved disbursements of the roughly $4 million.

Of that money, $625,000 was set aside as a contingency reserve to address any unforeseen impacts from the virus.

The council received several requests for money from the reserve and will review them at Monday’s meeting.

The total of the requests was $410,000.

The Public Housing Association of Residents asked for $110,000 to continue its emergency food program.

The Conscious Capitalist Foundation requested $20,000 for a program to mentor students and aid with the virtual learning process. Each mentor will work with at least five students.

The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority asked for $80,000 to pay all past due rent balances. The money would benefit 163 households.

The city also is planning to set aside $200,000 for a Black Community Wellness Center. No organization has been selected for the project, but a staff report indicates Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital might lead.

A pilot for the project could be run from the Carver Recreational Center.

The wellness center would support members of Charlottesville’s Black community who suffer under the compounded stress of historic trauma and COVID-19, impacting their capacity to protect themselves from disease, build individual resilience and manage their mental health needs.

Strategic Plan

In other business, the council will accept input on its Strategic Plan update.

The plan is a high-level document outlining the council’s vision and goals over a three-year period.

The plan is mostly abstract, with the 2018-20 document including goals of an inclusive, self-sufficient community; healthy and safe city; beautiful environment; strong, diversified economy; and a responsive organization.

The council is planning work sessions from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 20 and Dec. 15.

The City Council meets virtually at 6:30 p.m. Monday. To register to participate, visit charlottesville.gov/zoom.

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City hall reporter

Nolan Stout is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7274, nstout@dailyprogress.com, or @nstoutDP on Twitter and Facebook.

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