Page 1

OPEN FOR BUSINESS The Office of Economic Development serves as the business community’s liaison to City staff. Our Office is committed to treating all business owners in a respectful manner and handling all inquires with prompt, accurate responses.

A Guide for Local Businesses During Construction Projects

Please consider contacting the Office of Economic Development to help your business prepare for upcoming construction projects.

Office of Economic Development City of Charlottesville 610 East Market Street, Room B230 Charlottesville, Virginia 22902 434.970.3110 www.charlottesville.org/econdev


Notes:

The goal of this guide is to serve as a proactive tool for businesses facing large construction projects near their business location. It is meant to be a source of planning, offering strategies and information to implement so that business owners can maintain customers, protect access, and successfully manage the business during the construction process. We recognize that construction can cause a hardship on businesses in our community, but these projects make our community, and our businesses, even stronger. We hope this guide can help jumpstart the process of finding ways to mitigate the construction impact. The City of Charlottesville’s Office of Economic Development (OED) is dedicated to ensuring Charlottesville remains a business-friendly community. During construction projects, our staff is committed to serve as a resource and liaison for questions or issues that may arise. Please take a few minutes to read through this guide and keep it as a future point of reference. We welcome any feedback. Comments can be sent to ecodev@charlottesville.org. 2

19


Notes:

CONTENTS

4 | Introduction

6 | Managing the Construction Process 10 | Marketing Strategies 12 | Small, Women– and/or Minority-Owned Business Information 15 | Resources & Contacts 16 | Timeline for Business Owners 17 | Local Government 18 | Notes

18

3


INTRODUCTION

Construction projects can take a toll even on the most successful businesses, as regular customers make fewer visits and new customers avoid the inconvenience. However, being proactive, having a positive outlook, and planning for long-term benefits is vital to making it from groundbreaking to completion.

Staying Informed The City of Charlottesville plans for large construction projects years in advance. This type of information may not be a featured news story, but projects are discussed at City Council meetings, work sessions, Planning Commission meetings, and PLACE Design Task Force meetings. Also local news agency, Charlottesville Tomorrow, utilizes technology to interface news articles on a interactive map, allowing searches by neighborhood or block. The Daily Progress, C-ville Weekly, and TV news stations may also feature information about upcoming projects. City Council

UNDERSTANDING LOCAL GOVERNMENT'S ROLE It is important to understand the role of local government during the construction process. City staff and officials must uphold all ordinances and codes. However, they are also responsible for serving the residents and business owners of Charlottesville. Working with a collaborative mindset and approach will help limit the frustration during the construction project.

Neighborhood Development Services (NDS)—NDS is the City department that oversees many of the different aspects of construction. NDS is responsible for Development Review, Building Inspections, Permitting, Code Enforcement, Transportation Planning, Traffic Engineering, Structural Engineering, and Zoning Enforcement. NDS can be reached at 434.970.3182. Project Management—City staff play the role of Project Manager for City-funded construction projects. Staff is in direct communication with the general contractors to ensure quality and timeliness of the project.

Signage—Working with City staff can help business owners understand

Planning Commission PLACE Design Task Force The best way to prepare and minimize the effects of construction on your business is to get involved early and stay involved throughout the duration of the project. Attend public meetings and get in contact with local government and business officials. Business owners’ questions and suggestions are invaluable when planning for a successful construction project. Take advantage of what others have done before you. Plenty of other businesses have had to prepare for construction projects, and their ideas can serve as a basis for developing your own unique plan for making it through difficult disruptions. 4

how to place signs that will inform customers of closures, temporary business signs, and new traffic patterns. Signage must be approved by the Zoning Administrator.

Traffic—Responsible for the planning and design of traffic engineering improvements, to include traffic signals and control devices. Staff determine street and parking closures and also coordinate temporary electronic traffic signs. Is there a special event or time for your business? Coordinate with the Traffic staff to plan for these events.

Zoning—The Zoning staff is responsible for ensuring all zoning, related to land-use and signage is properly enforced. Speaking with Zoning staff will help business owners understand what is allowed under the current City code. 17


CONSTRUCTION PLANNING TIMELINE 12-18 months before construction

However, even the most prepared business can be caught off guard by the unexpected. Sometimes there will be unique circumstances that have an impact on your business that you can’t prepare for:  Construction delays due to extreme weather.



Start meeting with transportation and government officials to gauge the extent of the project.

 Unmarked and buried utility lines create unforeseen difficulties for the construction crew.



Bring up specific concerns regarding access to your business so that construction crews can plan.

 Construction accidents cause utility lines to break or leak.



Reach out to other businesses being affected and start discussing ways to pool resources and jointly address the disruption.



Determine a leader who will be the point of contact between your business and the other parties involved.



Develop a promotional campaign.

3-6 months before construction  Begin work on designing signs and coordinate with other

businesses and the City to determine placement locations.  Plan special events to take place to draw in customers.

1 month before construction 

Aim for the installation of new directional signs BEFORE any detours or construction begin.



Finalize plans regarding the project schedule, access to the business, and points of contact.

During construction

Ways to Stay Informed 1. Sign up for City Press Releases and Announcements at www.charlottesville.org 2. Visit the City’s Capital Project viewer at www.charlottesville.org/GIS 3. Introduce your business to the Office of Economic Development 4. Subscribe to the OED’s newsletter (more information on page 11) 5. Check the City’s online Event Calendar for upcoming meetings



Stay positive!



Continue attending construction meetings and stay in contact with relevant parties.



Implement marketing strategies letting customers know your business is open. 16

6. Read local news publications/ watch local new stories 5


MANAGING CONSTRUCTION It’s important to analyze how a construction project will affect your specific business. Consider these questions regarding construction impacts. Will the construction…  Reroute foot traffic?  Impede access for deliveries?  Have detours and lane closures?  Bring noise and dust inconveniences?  Cause utility disruption? As a business, how will you...  Retain current customers?  Attract new customers? The following ideas are intended to mitigate negative effects before, during, and after the construction project.

Before It Begins

RESOURCES & CONTACTS City of Charlottesville Office of Economic Development 610 East Market Street 2nd Floor, Room B230 Charlottesville, VA 22902 www.charlottesville.org/econdev 434.970.3110 Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) 2211 Hydraulic Road, Suite 107 Charlottesville, VA 22901 http://www.cvsbdc.org 434.295.8198 SCORE | Central Virginia 209 5th Street, NE Charlottesville, VA 22902 www.centralvirginia.score.com 434.295.6712

 Reduce Inventory—If lower sales are projected, save cash.

Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce 209 5th Street, NE Charlottesville, VA 22902 www.cvillechamber.com 434.295.3141

 Current Loans or Lines of Credit—Talk with existing lenders or, prepare for an emergency by establishing lines of credit when sales are up.

Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville dbaccville@gmail.com 434.295.9073

 Maintain a Lean Staff—Hold off on hiring vacant positions, reduce hours, or shift job responsibilities.

Please visit the Business Assistance page of the OED website for a complete list of resources available to you at www.charlottesville.org/ecodev.

Things to Consider

6

15


SWaM RESOURCES eVA—This is Virginia's online, electronic procurement system that allows state agencies, colleges, universities and many local governments to use eVA to conduct all purchasing and sourcing activities for goods and services. The online public information tools section provides information about which state agencies are buying history and trends. For more information, visit: www.eva.virginia.gov. Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD)—This state department promotes economic growth by helping Virginia businesses prosper and to enhance and ensure fairness in the procurement process for all of Virginia’s small, women, and minority-owned businesses. The SBSD also provides management and technical assistance, as well as advice on how to do business with the Commonwealth. Also, it administers several loan programs for small and disadvantaged businesses. Additionally, the SBSD is state department is dedicated to enhancing the participation of small, women- and/or minorityowned businesses in Virginia’s procurement opportunities. SBSD is responsible for administering the certification of the SWaM business under Virginia’s SWaM Procurement Initiative. Your business will be included in the online SWaM Vendor Directory, which is the listing used to locate certified vendors and improves your likelihood of being selected as a supplier for state agencies. SBSD also administers the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification program, which is a federal program to increase the participation of certified DBEs in projects funded by the US Department of Transportation and other federal sectors. Projects typically include heavy construction such as building and designing roads, bridges, railroads, and airports. For more information, visit: www.dmbe.virginia.gov.

14

 Review and Update Your Business Plan—Is there an opportunity to improve your current business model? Develop Networks  Join local business organizations to gain access to information and resources from others that have gone through this before or to pool your resources during the construction period.  Create open lines of communication with nearby businesses, the construction companies, and City government. Consider selecting a “block captain,” or similar individual, who will be the designated point of contact for construction concerns for the nearby group of businesses. This streamlined communication can reduce confusion between all parties involved.

The best way to prepare and minimize the effects on your business is to get involved early and stay involved throughout the duration of the project.  Communicate—Good communication will be an essential tool to gathering information and strategies.  Create a specific, project-based group with other affected businesses for communication, resources, and collaboration.  Start informing customers in advance of construction projects. It’s never too early! This helps prevent any surprises and customers to start planning for disruptions well in advance of the project.  Galvanize employees to help with the idea-making process for marketing and dealing with problems that may arise.

7


DURING CONSTRUCTION Making some simple changes to your traditional business operations can help lessen the effects of construction on you and your customers. The following best practices have been implemented by other businesses to make it through construction.  Develop a relationship with the construction crew. These workers are likely to be outside your location for several months and could potentially be new customers. Think about creating incentives for them to patronize your establishment by having special deals only for them.  Get contact information for project supervisors. Communication is vital to stop something from becoming a serious problem.  If you are a restaurant, offer delivery services to customers, either on your own or through a professional delivery company.  Since there’s already construction outside, why not do a little renovation of your own inside? Take advantage of the disruptions to do some remodeling and updating of your own business so that it’s ready to welcome back more customers after completion.  Try introducing new products or experimental concepts to bring in customers who otherwise might try to avoid the construction. Proper Signage—Traffic delays are part of construction projects, but customers need to be directed towards your business. Work with the City government and contractors to establish effective signage. 8

The SWaM program is designed to significantly increase the use of small businesses for procurement by the Commonwealth. When your company is certified, it may qualify for specific initiatives, including the small business set-aside program, which includes businesses owned and operated by women or minorities.

How to Become SWaM Certified If you qualify for SWaM certification and are interested in selling products and/or services to the government, simply follow these easy steps to become registered: Register for SWaM Business Certification online at the DMBE website: www.dmbe.virginia.gov/swamcert.html. Register on eVA in order to receive notification of bids for your business’s products and/or services on the eVA website: www.eva.virginia.gov/pages/eva-registration-buyervendor.htm. Register with the City of Charlottesville so that you will receive notifications of bid opportunities from the City. If you are interested in registering with other local governments, you will have to complete registrations with each jurisdiction. To complete the City of Charlottesville registration online, visit: www.charlottesville.org/index.aspx?page=698. Register with the federal government to begin receiving bid notifications from them by visiting the Virginia Procurement & Technical Assistance Program at: http://www.novaptac.org/ online.html.

13


SWaM BUSINESSES An important goal for the City of Charlottesville’s Office of Economic Development is to help facilitate the success of small, women- and/or minority-owned businesses (SWaM). These enterprises help contribute to a diverse, sustainable economy and make the city a premier location for business. There are many resources available to SWaM businesses in the Charlottesville area. In particular, the SWaM procurement initiative administered through the Virginia Department of Small Business Enterprise (SBSD) enhances opportunities for qualifying businesses and ensures a level playing field for all small businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A business must meet only one of the classifications below to become SWaM certified:

Small: An independently owned and operated business, which has 250 or fewer employees, or average gross receipts of $10 million or less. Women-Owned: A business that is at least 51% owned by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens. Minority-Owned: A business that is at least 51% owned by one or more minority individuals, which include those belonging to the following minority groups: African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, or Native American. In 2014, the Commonwealth of Virginia created the Micro Business classification. Micro Businesses are certified under the SWaM program and have no more than 25 employees and have an annual average revenue of $3 million or less. 12

If possible, request that signs be included in the project budget. Continually check to verify that any and all signage installed prior to construction stays clear and accurate. Most businesses include “Open for Business” signs as well as “Business Access Here” signs specifically for parking, driveways, alternate access points, and simple directions.

After Construction The sense of relief that the construction is finally over is also shared by your customers. Celebrate with a grand re-opening or similar end-of-construction events to show that business is back to normal and bring back customers who stayed away from the area by making a specific outreach plan.

City of Charlottesville Construction Marketing Assistance Program The City of Charlottesville has created an assistance program to help minimize business inconveniences and show support for the business community. The Office of Economic Development (OED) manages the Construction Marketing Assistance Program to specifically help businesses affected by qualifying, local construction projects. This program is designed to partner with multiple affected businesses to market and advertise during the duration of the construction project. Contact OED with inquiries. Program details include:  A dollar-for-dollar match by the City of Charlottesville up to $5,000.  A group of businesses (3 or more) must develop and place the ad or media purchase.  The campaign must mention all affected businesses, not just the individual businesses involved.  The campaign must take place during the time of the construction project causing disruptions. 9


MARKETING STRATEGIES Cooperative marketing plans represent an opportunity for businesses to come together and pool resources for a marketing campaign. Successful marketing campaigns by other businesses in the past have included:  A marketing and communications campaign to encourage the news media to cover reconstruction and create publicity for the businesses.  A series of business-generating promotional events in the neighborhood—construction crews are often willing to adjust schedules if given enough advance warning about important special events for the business.  An email distribution list with construction updates.  Update social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Foursquare to include special events and promotions to draw customers to local businesses.  Create a smartphone app that includes information on businesses in the affected area and provides updates about construction and promotions.

Additional No-Cost Marketing Opportunities The OED also publishes a monthly newsletter with approximately 500 subscribers. City businesses are encouraged to submit entries such as press releases, special events, and updates related to projects to be included in the newsletter. Submissions are due by the 20th of each month. For more information or to subscribe to the newsletter, please visit: www.charlottesville.org/econdev or contact the OED 434.970.3110.

Consider marketing opportunities that deliver measurable outcomes to gauge the impact and return on your investment.

 Build and enhance e-commerce capabilities so that people can make purchases online.

The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau website includes an online directory of local businesses that may appeal to visitors of the Charlottesville area (e.g., restaurants, shops, galleries, wineries, etc.). Businesses manage their own listing and content. For more information, please visit: www.visitcharlottesville.org/partners/help/.

10

11

 Color images of the signs to post online at web portal.


MARKETING STRATEGIES Cooperative marketing plans represent an opportunity for businesses to come together and pool resources for a marketing campaign. Successful marketing campaigns by other businesses in the past have included:  A marketing and communications campaign to encourage the news media to cover reconstruction and create publicity for the businesses.  A series of business-generating promotional events in the neighborhood—construction crews are often willing to adjust schedules if given enough advance warning about important special events for the business.  An email distribution list with construction updates.  Update social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Foursquare to include special events and promotions to draw customers to local businesses.  Create a smartphone app that includes information on businesses in the affected area and provides updates about construction and promotions.

Additional No-Cost Marketing Opportunities The OED also publishes a monthly newsletter with approximately 500 subscribers. City businesses are encouraged to submit entries such as press releases, special events, and updates related to projects to be included in the newsletter. Submissions are due by the 20th of each month. For more information or to subscribe to the newsletter, please visit: www.charlottesville.org/econdev or contact the OED 434.970.3110.

Consider marketing opportunities that deliver measurable outcomes to gauge the impact and return on your investment.

 Build and enhance e-commerce capabilities so that people can make purchases online.

The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau website includes an online directory of local businesses that may appeal to visitors of the Charlottesville area (e.g., restaurants, shops, galleries, wineries, etc.). Businesses manage their own listing and content. For more information, please visit: www.visitcharlottesville.org/partners/help/.

10

11

 Color images of the signs to post online at web portal.


SWaM BUSINESSES An important goal for the City of Charlottesville’s Office of Economic Development is to help facilitate the success of small, women- and/or minority-owned businesses (SWaM). These enterprises help contribute to a diverse, sustainable economy and make the city a premier location for business. There are many resources available to SWaM businesses in the Charlottesville area. In particular, the SWaM procurement initiative administered through the Virginia Department of Small Business Enterprise (SBSD) enhances opportunities for qualifying businesses and ensures a level playing field for all small businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A business must meet only one of the classifications below to become SWaM certified:

Small: An independently owned and operated business, which has 250 or fewer employees, or average gross receipts of $10 million or less. Women-Owned: A business that is at least 51% owned by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens. Minority-Owned: A business that is at least 51% owned by one or more minority individuals, which include those belonging to the following minority groups: African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, or Native American. In 2014, the Commonwealth of Virginia created the Micro Business classification. Micro Businesses are certified under the SWaM program and have no more than 25 employees and have an annual average revenue of $3 million or less. 12

If possible, request that signs be included in the project budget. Continually check to verify that any and all signage installed prior to construction stays clear and accurate. Most businesses include “Open for Business” signs as well as “Business Access Here” signs specifically for parking, driveways, alternate access points, and simple directions.

After Construction The sense of relief that the construction is finally over is also shared by your customers. Celebrate with a grand re-opening or similar end-of-construction events to show that business is back to normal and bring back customers who stayed away from the area by making a specific outreach plan.

City of Charlottesville Construction Marketing Assistance Program The City of Charlottesville has created an assistance program to help minimize business inconveniences and show support for the business community. The Office of Economic Development (OED) manages the Construction Marketing Assistance Program to specifically help businesses affected by qualifying, local construction projects. This program is designed to partner with multiple affected businesses to market and advertise during the duration of the construction project. Contact OED with inquiries. Program details include:  A dollar-for-dollar match by the City of Charlottesville up to $5,000.  A group of businesses (3 or more) must develop and place the ad or media purchase.  The campaign must mention all affected businesses, not just the individual businesses involved.  The campaign must take place during the time of the construction project causing disruptions. 9


DURING CONSTRUCTION Making some simple changes to your traditional business operations can help lessen the effects of construction on you and your customers. The following best practices have been implemented by other businesses to make it through construction.  Develop a relationship with the construction crew. These workers are likely to be outside your location for several months and could potentially be new customers. Think about creating incentives for them to patronize your establishment by having special deals only for them.  Get contact information for project supervisors. Communication is vital to stop something from becoming a serious problem.  If you are a restaurant, offer delivery services to customers, either on your own or through a professional delivery company.  Since there’s already construction outside, why not do a little renovation of your own inside? Take advantage of the disruptions to do some remodeling and updating of your own business so that it’s ready to welcome back more customers after completion.  Try introducing new products or experimental concepts to bring in customers who otherwise might try to avoid the construction. Proper Signage—Traffic delays are part of construction projects, but customers need to be directed towards your business. Work with the City government and contractors to establish effective signage. 8

The SWaM program is designed to significantly increase the use of small businesses for procurement by the Commonwealth. When your company is certified, it may qualify for specific initiatives, including the small business set-aside program, which includes businesses owned and operated by women or minorities.

How to Become SWaM Certified If you qualify for SWaM certification and are interested in selling products and/or services to the government, simply follow these easy steps to become registered: Register for SWaM Business Certification online at the DMBE website: www.dmbe.virginia.gov/swamcert.html. Register on eVA in order to receive notification of bids for your business’s products and/or services on the eVA website: www.eva.virginia.gov/pages/eva-registration-buyervendor.htm. Register with the City of Charlottesville so that you will receive notifications of bid opportunities from the City. If you are interested in registering with other local governments, you will have to complete registrations with each jurisdiction. To complete the City of Charlottesville registration online, visit: www.charlottesville.org/index.aspx?page=698. Register with the federal government to begin receiving bid notifications from them by visiting the Virginia Procurement & Technical Assistance Program at: http://www.novaptac.org/ online.html.

13


SWaM RESOURCES eVA—This is Virginia's online, electronic procurement system that allows state agencies, colleges, universities and many local governments to use eVA to conduct all purchasing and sourcing activities for goods and services. The online public information tools section provides information about which state agencies are buying history and trends. For more information, visit: www.eva.virginia.gov. Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD)—This state department promotes economic growth by helping Virginia businesses prosper and to enhance and ensure fairness in the procurement process for all of Virginia’s small, women, and minority-owned businesses. The SBSD also provides management and technical assistance, as well as advice on how to do business with the Commonwealth. Also, it administers several loan programs for small and disadvantaged businesses. Additionally, the SBSD is state department is dedicated to enhancing the participation of small, women- and/or minorityowned businesses in Virginia’s procurement opportunities. SBSD is responsible for administering the certification of the SWaM business under Virginia’s SWaM Procurement Initiative. Your business will be included in the online SWaM Vendor Directory, which is the listing used to locate certified vendors and improves your likelihood of being selected as a supplier for state agencies. SBSD also administers the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification program, which is a federal program to increase the participation of certified DBEs in projects funded by the US Department of Transportation and other federal sectors. Projects typically include heavy construction such as building and designing roads, bridges, railroads, and airports. For more information, visit: www.dmbe.virginia.gov.

14

 Review and Update Your Business Plan—Is there an opportunity to improve your current business model? Develop Networks  Join local business organizations to gain access to information and resources from others that have gone through this before or to pool your resources during the construction period.  Create open lines of communication with nearby businesses, the construction companies, and City government. Consider selecting a “block captain,” or similar individual, who will be the designated point of contact for construction concerns for the nearby group of businesses. This streamlined communication can reduce confusion between all parties involved.

The best way to prepare and minimize the effects on your business is to get involved early and stay involved throughout the duration of the project.  Communicate—Good communication will be an essential tool to gathering information and strategies.  Create a specific, project-based group with other affected businesses for communication, resources, and collaboration.  Start informing customers in advance of construction projects. It’s never too early! This helps prevent any surprises and customers to start planning for disruptions well in advance of the project.  Galvanize employees to help with the idea-making process for marketing and dealing with problems that may arise.

7


MANAGING CONSTRUCTION It’s important to analyze how a construction project will affect your specific business. Consider these questions regarding construction impacts. Will the construction…  Reroute foot traffic?  Impede access for deliveries?  Have detours and lane closures?  Bring noise and dust inconveniences?  Cause utility disruption? As a business, how will you...  Retain current customers?  Attract new customers? The following ideas are intended to mitigate negative effects before, during, and after the construction project.

Before It Begins

RESOURCES & CONTACTS City of Charlottesville Office of Economic Development 610 East Market Street 2nd Floor, Room B230 Charlottesville, VA 22902 www.charlottesville.org/econdev 434.970.3110 Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) 2211 Hydraulic Road, Suite 107 Charlottesville, VA 22901 http://www.cvsbdc.org 434.295.8198 SCORE | Central Virginia 209 5th Street, NE Charlottesville, VA 22902 www.centralvirginia.score.com 434.295.6712

 Reduce Inventory—If lower sales are projected, save cash.

Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce 209 5th Street, NE Charlottesville, VA 22902 www.cvillechamber.com 434.295.3141

 Current Loans or Lines of Credit—Talk with existing lenders or, prepare for an emergency by establishing lines of credit when sales are up.

Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville dbaccville@gmail.com 434.295.9073

 Maintain a Lean Staff—Hold off on hiring vacant positions, reduce hours, or shift job responsibilities.

Please visit the Business Assistance page of the OED website for a complete list of resources available to you at www.charlottesville.org/ecodev.

Things to Consider

6

15


CONSTRUCTION PLANNING TIMELINE 12-18 months before construction

However, even the most prepared business can be caught off guard by the unexpected. Sometimes there will be unique circumstances that have an impact on your business that you can’t prepare for:  Construction delays due to extreme weather.



Start meeting with transportation and government officials to gauge the extent of the project.

 Unmarked and buried utility lines create unforeseen difficulties for the construction crew.



Bring up specific concerns regarding access to your business so that construction crews can plan.

 Construction accidents cause utility lines to break or leak.



Reach out to other businesses being affected and start discussing ways to pool resources and jointly address the disruption.



Determine a leader who will be the point of contact between your business and the other parties involved.



Develop a promotional campaign.

3-6 months before construction  Begin work on designing signs and coordinate with other

businesses and the City to determine placement locations.  Plan special events to take place to draw in customers.

1 month before construction 

Aim for the installation of new directional signs BEFORE any detours or construction begin.



Finalize plans regarding the project schedule, access to the business, and points of contact.

During construction

Ways to Stay Informed 1. Sign up for City Press Releases and Announcements at www.charlottesville.org 2. Visit the City’s Capital Project viewer at www.charlottesville.org/GIS 3. Introduce your business to the Office of Economic Development 4. Subscribe to the OED’s newsletter (more information on page 11) 5. Check the City’s online Event Calendar for upcoming meetings



Stay positive!



Continue attending construction meetings and stay in contact with relevant parties.



Implement marketing strategies letting customers know your business is open. 16

6. Read local news publications/ watch local new stories 5


INTRODUCTION

Construction projects can take a toll even on the most successful businesses, as regular customers make fewer visits and new customers avoid the inconvenience. However, being proactive, having a positive outlook, and planning for long-term benefits is vital to making it from groundbreaking to completion.

Staying Informed The City of Charlottesville plans for large construction projects years in advance. This type of information may not be a featured news story, but projects are discussed at City Council meetings, work sessions, Planning Commission meetings, and PLACE Design Task Force meetings. Also local news agency, Charlottesville Tomorrow, utilizes technology to interface news articles on a interactive map, allowing searches by neighborhood or block. The Daily Progress, C-ville Weekly, and TV news stations may also feature information about upcoming projects. City Council

UNDERSTANDING LOCAL GOVERNMENT'S ROLE It is important to understand the role of local government during the construction process. City staff and officials must uphold all ordinances and codes. However, they are also responsible for serving the residents and business owners of Charlottesville. Working with a collaborative mindset and approach will help limit the frustration during the construction project.

Neighborhood Development Services (NDS)—NDS is the City department that oversees many of the different aspects of construction. NDS is responsible for Development Review, Building Inspections, Permitting, Code Enforcement, Transportation Planning, Traffic Engineering, Structural Engineering, and Zoning Enforcement. NDS can be reached at 434.970.3182. Project Management—City staff play the role of Project Manager for City-funded construction projects. Staff is in direct communication with the general contractors to ensure quality and timeliness of the project.

Signage—Working with City staff can help business owners understand

Planning Commission PLACE Design Task Force The best way to prepare and minimize the effects of construction on your business is to get involved early and stay involved throughout the duration of the project. Attend public meetings and get in contact with local government and business officials. Business owners’ questions and suggestions are invaluable when planning for a successful construction project. Take advantage of what others have done before you. Plenty of other businesses have had to prepare for construction projects, and their ideas can serve as a basis for developing your own unique plan for making it through difficult disruptions. 4

how to place signs that will inform customers of closures, temporary business signs, and new traffic patterns. Signage must be approved by the Zoning Administrator.

Traffic—Responsible for the planning and design of traffic engineering improvements, to include traffic signals and control devices. Staff determine street and parking closures and also coordinate temporary electronic traffic signs. Is there a special event or time for your business? Coordinate with the Traffic staff to plan for these events.

Zoning—The Zoning staff is responsible for ensuring all zoning, related to land-use and signage is properly enforced. Speaking with Zoning staff will help business owners understand what is allowed under the current City code. 17


Notes:

CONTENTS

4 | Introduction

6 | Managing the Construction Process 10 | Marketing Strategies 12 | Small, Women– and/or Minority-Owned Business Information 15 | Resources & Contacts 16 | Timeline for Business Owners 17 | Local Government 18 | Notes

18

3


Notes:

The goal of this guide is to serve as a proactive tool for businesses facing large construction projects near their business location. It is meant to be a source of planning, offering strategies and information to implement so that business owners can maintain customers, protect access, and successfully manage the business during the construction process. We recognize that construction can cause a hardship on businesses in our community, but these projects make our community, and our businesses, even stronger. We hope this guide can help jumpstart the process of finding ways to mitigate the construction impact. The City of Charlottesville’s Office of Economic Development (OED) is dedicated to ensuring Charlottesville remains a business-friendly community. During construction projects, our staff is committed to serve as a resource and liaison for questions or issues that may arise. Please take a few minutes to read through this guide and keep it as a future point of reference. We welcome any feedback. Comments can be sent to ecodev@charlottesville.org. 2

19


OPEN FOR BUSINESS The Office of Economic Development serves as the business community’s liaison to City staff. Our Office is committed to treating all business owners in a respectful manner and handling all inquires with prompt, accurate responses.

A Guide for Local Businesses During Construction Projects

Please consider contacting the Office of Economic Development to help your business prepare for upcoming construction projects.

Office of Economic Development City of Charlottesville 610 East Market Street, Room B230 Charlottesville, Virginia 22902 434.970.3110 www.charlottesville.org/econdev

City of Charlottesville Construction Guide  
City of Charlottesville Construction Guide  

Produced by the Office of Economic Development, this guide is intended to serve as a proactive tool for City of Charlottesville businesses f...