Brian Haluska

Brian Haluska


Brian Haluska is the principle planner for the City. He has worked as a city planner since 2004 in Neighborhood Development Services. He is the lead planning official directly overseeing the redevelopment site plan for Friendship Court.


What stuck out to you from the Housing Needs Assessment report done last year?

How does adding mid- and high-level housing stock affect the overall market, and potentially open up more affordable housing?

What are the tools the city needs, to incentivize additional housing stock at more affordable levels?

How does zoning affect affordable housing? Who’s in charge of changing the city’s zoning?

What is form based code? How does that affect affordable housing?

What can you tell us about the two 9-story buildings about to be built around Friendship Court?

Those buildings are going to be mixed-use right? What sort of businesses do you think will be there?

Do you think these businesses will have any job opportunities for low-income residents at Friendship Court?

Do you see a disconnect between the businesses that surround Friendship Court and the low-income residents who live there?

What lessons do you think the City could learn from the community engagement process that PHA did with Friendship Court’s redevelopment?

Does every neighborhood need to take on its fair share of affordable housing?

Does the City use a racial equity tools to analyze its housing stock?

Is the Friendship Court site plan for redevelopment the most complex plan you’ve ever dealt with in Charlottesville?

What’s an example of the Friendship Court site plan’s complexity?

How do the fluctuating rates of return with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and the fluctuating costs of construction affect a project’s plan?

What, in particular, do you like about the Friendship Court site plan?

What do most people not understand about developers and making a profit?

Reducing construction costs, land costs, parking minimums — how do these affect the price of rent for each housing unit?

The Reimagining of Friendship Court

By Jordy Yager

The redevelopment of Friendship Court is slated to be the largest new construction of low-income housing undertaken in Charlottesville in more than two decades. The plan alone is groundbreaking, having been directly created by current Section 8 residents in partnership with Piedmont Housing Alliance. City staff calls it the most nuanced and complex plan they’ve ever encountered. It ambitiously attempts to balance promises of zero resident displacement with the city’s broader affordable housing needs, while also calling for hundreds of new, likely higher-income, residents to move in, as residents hope to de-stigmatize the lasting effects of poverty born out of generations of racist government policy and neglect.

This year will be the make-or-break year for Friendship Court’s redevelopment efforts. Millions of dollars in city, federal, and private funding stand between the massive plan and the highly anticipated 2020 groundbreaking. And while the green lights have begun to align and most residents are excited, the plan has its critics — those who call for greater levels of resident autonomy, greater security measures to guard against social and cultural displacement, and greater reparations for past wrongs.

In crafting this project, we’ve tried to tackle all of this and more by separating the longer narratives into five major questions:

Part 1: What is the plan?
Part 2: How did we get here?
Part 3: Does mixed-income housing work?
Part 4: Who does Friendship Court belong to?
Part 5: What’s next?

But we also wanted to give you access to as much of our reporting as possible, so we’ve created a timeline that details the history of this area, dating back 150 years, through the use of more than 130 maps, documents, archived articles, and photographs. Similarly, we wanted you to actually hear each of the two dozen long-form interviews we conducted, and not merely the portions we’ve included in the individual stories. So we’ve included more than 300 audio clips throughout the story: in the articles, the timeline, and on each person’s profile page. Our hope is that with all this, more of the picture will begin to emerge, and that, as we stand ready to make powerful and significant changes in the city, we all can help craft the solutions.