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Council makes several appointments to Planning Commission
Lyle Solla-Yates
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Credit: Stacey Evans
Incoming Planning Commissioner Lyle Solla-Yates
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Sean Tubbs | Monday, March 19, 2018 at 10:12 p.m.

The Charlottesville City Council has made three appointments to the seven-member Planning Commission, but only one will join the body right away.

Lyle Solla-Yates, a resident of 10th & Page, will join the body effective immediately to fill a vacancy.

“I’ve been hoping to do this for a long time,” Solla-Yates said shortly after the council announced its choice. “I am honored to be selected by council and look forward to working with the other commissioners on a Comprehensive Plan that reflects our community’s values and needs.”

Solla-Yates is employed by the Nature Conservancy as a software commodity manager. In 2008, he earned a master's degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia. He is a member of the Community Development Block Grant Task Force and also a member of the 10th & Page Neighborhood Association.

He will fill the seat held by Corey Clayborne, who resigned from the commission in January after moving outside of the city. Clayborne has also served as the commission’s representative to the Board of Architectural Review.

On June 30, former Planning Commissioner Hosea Mitchell and Hunter Smith will join the panel.

Commissioners Kurt Keesecker and John Santoski both have served their full terms and have been staying on to help oversee the commission’s review of the Comprehensive Plan.

Mitchell, a Belmont resident, previously served on the commission from October 2006 to August 2008. He has lived in the city since 1977 and is a retired vice president and general manager of Varian Medical Systems.

“Now that I have retired, I would like to re-engage in our community,” Mitchell wrote in his application. “Smart development, the preservation of neighborhood character and redevelopment are very important to me.”

Mitchell served on the board of commissioners of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority after leaving the Planning Commission. He earned a master’s degree in planning from UVa in 1983.

Smith is the founder and president of Champion Brewing Company and a resident of the North Downtown neighborhood. He also is a member of the board of directors for Unity C’Ville and the Piedmont Housing Alliance.

On his application, Smith cited “civic duty, opportunity to learn, desire for meaningful engagement in city of my birth” as reasons he sought to serve in the position.

“I’m honored to have been chosen,” Smith said in a message to Charlottesville Tomorrow. “It’s a critically important time in Charlottesville’s future, and I hope to be helpful.”

The appointments come at a time when the Planning Commission is continuing its update of the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Several groups have asked that the completion of its work be postponed until the city has adopted an affordable housing policy. Earlier this month, the council extended the deadline for commissioners to complete their work from June to October.

There will be one more new commissioner by the end of the year. The second and final term of Genevieve Keller expires at the end of August.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to meet Thursday for a joint session with the City Council to get information on transportation options for the area around Hydraulic Road and U.S. 29. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission’s offices on Water Street.

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