The Belvedere Story
Belvedere is the first neighborhood in Albemarle County planned in accordance with the design principles of the County’s Neighborhood Model, a new planning and development paradigm for the County. It is intended to manage growth and development in a very different way than the typical subdivision design.
The Neighborhood Model is closely aligned with the principles of Traditional Neighborhood Design or, more broadly, New Urbanism. It includes strategies to create mixed-use development incorporating places to live, work, shop, relax and enjoy. The 12 guiding principles of the County’s Neighborhood Model include the following:
- Pedestrian orientation
- Neighborhood-friendly streets and paths
- Interconnected streets and transportation networks
- Parks and open spaces as amenities
- Neighborhood centers
- Buildings and spaces of human scale
- Relegated parking
- A mixture of uses and use type;
- A mixture of housing types and affordability
- Site planning that respects terrain
- Clear boundaries with the rural areas
Planning began for developing Belvedere in the mid-2000s. The first homes were delivered in 2008. Since then, Phase 1 of the residential component of the neighborhood has been completed, with Phase 2A more than halfway built out and Phase 2B infrastructure almost complete.
Kate White, Bret Harris, and their family were the first homeowners in Belvedere in 2008. They relocated from Vermont and chose Belvedere out of all of the options available to them. Kate said, “We knew we wanted to move into Belvedere from the moment our realtor talked about it. We were attracted to the design of the people-to-people and people-to-nature connections.” She continued, “We had been living in a very rural area and knew we wanted a community close to the city, with sidewalks and woods for the kids to play in. It was a bonus that the homes are energy efficient. Belvedere is a perfect fit for us: nature trails near the river, a great community of people-oriented to being together, and an overall vibe of health and connection. We liked it so much we created a blog, Home at Belvedere, which we have left up on the internet as a historical document."
Belvedere offers an unbeatable location just north of the Charlottesville City limits in the urban ring of Albemarle County. While the Neighborhood links to miles of walking trails and has easy access to the Rivanna River, Belvedere is just minutes away from public and private schools, great shopping and dining, downtown Charlottesville. There are also major employers, including the University of Virginia and UVA Medical Center, Martha Jefferson Hospital, State Farm Insurance, the National Ground Intelligence Center, GE, Northrop Grumman, PRA International, SNL Financial, and others.
COMMUNITY LINKS OF INTEREST:
- The Center at Belvedere - Community center tailored to healthy aging
- SOCA at Belvedere - (Soccer Organization Charlottesville Albemarle) - SOCA Field House
- Rivanna Trail System - The mission of the Rivanna Trails Foundation is to promote, create, and protect pathways, trails, and greenways in the Rivanna River Watershed that connect communities and people to one another and to nature.
HISTORIC LINKS OF INTEREST:
- Video from the Presentation at the Center at Belvdere in May 2021: Dr. Angela Anderson on the History & Stories of the Original Communities of Free State, Belvedere and Dunlora.
- Free State Historical Marker
- C-VILLE Weekly article - Charlottesville archaeologists uncover local Black stories
- Central Virginia History Researchers (CVHR) African-American Families Database