Albemarle County Planning Commission

January 13, 2004

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, January 13, 2004 at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were William Rieley, Rodney Thomas, Bill Edgerton, Calvin Morris, Jo Higgins and Pete Craddock. 

 

Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning & Community Development;   David Benish, Chief of Planning & Community Development; Susan Thomas, Senior Planner; Michael Barnes, Senior Planner; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.

 

Call to Order and Establish Quorum:

 

Mr. Cilimberg called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum. He pointed out that the Commission would handle all of the items through the public hearing for

SP-03-78, Daniel Tribastone here in room # 241 and then move next door to room # 235 for the two work sessions. 

 

            Election of Officers: Chairman and Vice-Chairman:

 

Mr. Cilimberg opened up for nominations for the election of Chairman of the Planning Commission for the upcoming year.

 

Mr. Rieley nominated Mr. Thomas to be Chairman of the Planning Commission for the upcoming year.

 

Mr. Edgerton seconded the nomination.

 

The motion was approved (6:0).

 

Mr. Cilimberg turned the meeting over to Mr. Thomas, the new Chairman.

 

Mr. Thomas asked for nominations for Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission for the upcoming year.

 

Mr. Edgerton nominated Mr. Craddock to be Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission for the upcoming year.

 

Mr. Morris seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (6:0).  

 

Mr. Kamptner pointed out that the Secretary was already designated and that the Commission did

not need to take any action.

 

            Set meeting Time, Day, and Location for 2004:

 

Mr. Morris moved to keep the Planning Commission’s meeting time the same on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m., in meeting room #241, County Office Building.

 

Ms. Higgins seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (6:0).  

 

            Adoption of Rules of Procedure:

 

Mr. Edgerton made a motion to accept the Rules of Procedure for the Planning Commission.

 

Mr. Kamptner stated that before the motion was made and seconded that there were two

changes that need to be made as a result of the reorganization.  He noted that Sections 1c and

1d need to be amended to refer to the Director of Planning rather than the Director of Planning

and Community Development. He pointed out that all of our ordinances are now reflecting the

new organization.

 

Mr. Edgerton amended his motion for approval to include the two changes to the Rules of Procedure as suggested by Mr. Kamptner.

 

Mr. Morris seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (6:0).  

 

Mr. Rieley suggested that they ask Mr. Kamptner to bring to the Commission a discussion of the short board rules and procedure, which was a result of a conversation that he had with Mr. Davis.  He stated that there were some distinctions and that in some cases there might be an advantage of doing that. He stated that this was something that the Commission could take a look at.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if all the Commissioners were in agreement to the suggestion.

 

It was the consensus of the Commission to ask Mr. Kamptner to bring the information suggested by Mr. Rieley to the Commission for discussion.

 

Other Matters Not Listed on the Agenda from the Public:

 

Mr. Thomas invited comment from the public on other matters not listed on the agenda. There being none, he stated that the meeting would move on to the review of the Board of Supervisors meeting.

 

            Review of Board of Supervisors Meeting – January 6, 2004

 

Mr. Cilimberg reviewed the actions taken on January 6th by the Board of Supervisors.

 

Consent Agenda:

 

Approval of Planning Commission Minutes – November 4, 2003.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if any Commissioner would like to pull any of the minutes from the consent agenda.  There being none, he asked for a motion.

 

Mr. Rieley asked that they be granted a one-week reprieve on the minutes sent for corrections due to the massive volume and the fact that he did not get a chance to make it all the way through those.  He noted that there were a lot of substantive things that they discussed.

 

Mr. Thomas agreed with Mr. Rieley and asked if the other Commissioners agreed.

 

The general consensus of the Commission was that they be allowed a one-week reprieve on the minutes sent for corrections.

 

Mr. Morris moved to approve the consent agenda as submitted.

 

Mr. Edgerton seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (6:0).  

 

  

Deferred Items:

 

SP-2003-72 Linda Vest – Alltel (Sign #87) - Request for special use permit to allow the construction of a personal wireless facility with a monopole, approximately 85 feet in total height and 10 feet above the height of the tallest tree within 25 feet.  The proposed facility includes flush-mounted panel antennas and ground equipment.  This application is being made in accordance with Section 10.2.2.6 of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for microwave and radio wave transmission and relay towers in the Rural Areas.   The property, described as Tax Map 109, Parcel 43C, contains 2.16 acres, and is zoned RA Rural Areas.   The proposal is located on Rt. 718 (Murrays Lane), approximately 1 mile north of the intersection of Murrays Lane and Route 29,  in the Samuel Miller Magisterial District.   The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Areas in Rural Area 3.  (Stephen Waller) DEFERRED FROM THE DECEMBER 2, 2003 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING. APPLICANT REQUESTS DEFERRAL TO JANUARY 20, 2004.

 

Mr. Cilimberg stated that the applicant was requesting deferral of SP-2003-72, Linda Vest, to January 20th.

 

Mr. Thomas opened the hearing and asked if there was any public comment.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back to the Commission for discussion and possible action.

 

Mr. Edgerton moved to accept the applicant’s request for deferral of SP-2003-72, Linda Vest – Alltel, to January 20, 2004.

 

Mr. Morris seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried with a vote of (6:0). 

 

Mr. Rieley stated the item was deferred and that the Commission would hear SP-2003-72 on January 20th.

 

SDP 02-083 Blue Ridge Shopping Center Major Site Plan Amendment - Request for approval of an amendment to the approved final site plan SDP 96-133 by relocating the site’s entrance to align with Radford Lane, and increasing from 49,869 to 54,033 square feet of total building area. (Stephen Waller)  DEFERRED FROM THE DECEMBER 16, 2003 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING.  APPLICANT REQUESTS DEFERRAL TO JANUARY 20, 2004.

 

Mr. Cilimberg stated that the applicant was requesting deferral of SDP-02-083, Blue Ridge Shopping Center Major Site Plan Amendment, to January 20th.

 

Mr. Thomas opened the hearing and asked if there was any public comment.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back to the Commission for discussion and possible action.

 

Mr. Rieley moved to accept the applicant’s request for deferral of SUB-02-083, Blue Ridge Shopping Center Major Site Plan Amendment, to January 20, 2004.

 

Ms. Higgins seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried with a vote of (6:0). 

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the item was deferred and that the Commission would hear SUB-02-083, Blue Ridge Shopping Center Major Site Plan Amendment on January 20th.

 

Public Hearing Items:

 

SP-03-78 Daniel Tribastone (Sign #54) - Request for special use permit to allow a math and reading center in accordance with Section 20.4.2.2 of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for Schools of Special Instruction. The property, described as Tax Map 61Z, Block 3, Parcel 205C, contains 1.836 acres, and is zoned PUD (Planned Unit Development).   The proposal is located on Rt. 1427 (Hillsdale Drive), approximately 100 feet southeast of the Hillsdale Drive/ Branchlands Boulevard intersection, in the Rio Magisterial District.   The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Urban Density in Neighborhood 2.   (Michael Barnes)

 

Mr. Barnes summarized the staff report. The applicant’s proposal is for a special use permit to allow a private school, the Kumon Center, which is a math and reading tutoring center for up to 100 students.  The proposed school would be located within an existing condominium building, the existing Branchlands Professional Center building, on Incarnation Drive. The applicant is Daniel Tribastone.  The office building is owned in a condominium regime. The proposed school would consist of 1 or 2 employees and with hours of operation generally from 4 to 8 p.m.  The bulk of the students will use the facility after normal business hours, i.e. 5 p.m.  This proposal is similar to the one referred to by Mr. Cilimberg that was approved at the last Board of Supervisors meeting for the same building for a driving school, but this one is for a reading school.  The major issue of both of these special use permit applications has been the parking and the shared parking regime on the site.  These issues have been resolved satisfactorily to Zoning and staff recommends approval with the following two standard conditions for schools:

1.       Maximum enrollment shall be 100 students.

2.       Normal hours of operation for the school shall be from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM provided that occasional school-related events may occur outside of these hours.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any questions for Mr. Barnes. There being none, he opened the public hearing and asked if the applicant or anyone else would like to address the Commission.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back to the Commission for discussion and possible action. 

 

Mr. Rieley moved for approval of SP-2003-78, Daniel Tribastone, subject to the conditions recommended in the staff report as follows:

1.       Maximum enrollment shall be 100 students.

2.       Normal hours of operation for the school shall be from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. provided that occasional school-related events may occur outside of these hours.

 

Mr. Morris seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (6:0). 

 

Mr. Thomas stated that SP-2003-78 would go to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval and would be heard on February 11th.  He pointed out that was all of the public hearing items and that now the meeting would adjourn to room # 235 for the work sessions.

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:20 p.m. to the two work sessions in Room # 235.

 

The meeting reconvened at 6:25 p.m. in meeting room # 235.

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission moved to Room #235 to hold the next two work sessions. Members attending were William Rieley; Bill Edgerton; Rodney Thomas, Chairman; Calvin Morris; Jo Higgins and Pete Craddock, Vice-Chairman.

 

Other officials present were David Benish, Chief of Planning & Community Development; Susan Thomas, Senior Planner; Elaine Echols, Principal Planner; Lee Catlin, Facilitator; Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning & Community Development; Michael Barnes, Senior Planner; Mark Graham, Director of Community Development and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.

 

Mr. Thomas called the regular meeting back to order at 6:25 p.m. He stated that the meeting would begin with the work session on the CPA-2003-07, Crozet Master Plan Facilitated Session.

 

CPA 2003-07 Crozet Master Plan - The Planning Commission will continue review of the Master

Plan prepared by the County's technical consultants, for adoption into the Comprehensive Plan,

Land Use Plan as an amendment to the Community of Crozet Profile.  (Susan Thomas)

 

Lee Catlin, facilitator, stated that the Commission had previously worked through Section E, which was now Section G, entitled Forms, Maps and Site Development Guidelines.  She noted that at the last work session that they had finished up with Places.  She pointed out that they had just a small amount of text to get through before getting to the maps. 

 

Ms. Thomas stated that on the marked up copy that they would begin with page 18. 

 

Ms. Catlin stated that they had been working their way through this material in a facilitated process for quite some time and wanted to continue in the same way.  She pointed out that they wanted to get everybody caught up and on the same speed in thinking about the Crozet Master Plan.  She turned the meeting over to Susan Thomas to make some introductory remarks before they start working through the language.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that they just have a little bit more of the narrative portion to go through, which was about 4 pages.  Then, they would be in the Design Guidelines, which would be the 4 maps and a multitude of matrixes.  When they finish with the narrative portion she would give a few brief remarks from staff’s point of view just to give the Commission something to think about and to open the discussion.  Tonight would be their opportunity to have a discussion about the colors on the Place Type Map, which was really the Land Use Map component of the Crozet Master Plan.  Very related to the land use issues are things like road alignments and placement of the facilities.  She pointed out that they have an opportunity for a good general discussion and that the map to the far left was probably the map that they would spend the most time on.  Staff has some suggestions on how to incorporate the matrixes. At this point they would go back and start working through the narrative section.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that they would start working through the last section of text in the same manner as before.  She stated that they would start with the section on the Deviations from the Neighborhood Model Site Development Guidelines.  She asked if anybody had any comments or questions.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if anyone had any questions from the previous meeting that they would like to follow up on.

 

Ms. Higgins asked what were the deletions and insertions that were in the document already.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that showed the changes from the consultant’s report that staff has made to recommend for Comp Plan language.  The changes reflect something changed from the consultant’s report, which was the very thick item that they have before them.  She stated that not hearing anything that she would move on to the next page entitled The Built Environment and Place Type and The Built Environment Transect Applied to Place Type.  She asked if there were any additional comments beyond what staff has already marked up.  Since there were no comments, they moved on to the descriptions on the Hamlets, the Neighborhoods and the Downtown. 

 

Mr. Thomas asked if an explanation would be provided on what some of the terms such as CT meant.

 

Ms. Echols asked how the Commission feels about these particular headings. She pointed out that they had hamlets, neighborhood/villages, downtown and districts as the place types. She stated that the terms all have different definitions.  Hamlets seem to be sort of an odd term to use within a development area, but they could not find a better term to use. She asked if anyone else had a better suggestion.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that it was very much organized as a hierarchy with hamlets being the smallest, which generally were seen on the fringe of the map. She pointed out the location of each place type on the map.  She stated that there were not a lot of hamlets.  Downtown was the primary place, which had been identified very quickly by the community as a place to be preserved as the center not only geographically, but also in terms of the most intensive uses and really as the heart of the community.  She agreed with Ms. Echols, and pointed out that other than going to some term like settlement that they did not come up with anything.  She noted that it was very useful to be able to distinguish different kind of places.

 

Mr. Rieley pointed out that he had some misgivings about using the word hamlets because its meaning does not quite apply to what they were talking about. He stated that one item of concern, which precedes hamlet, was in the first paragraph in Place Types.  Previously they had discussed the use of the word “Distinct Place” in order to have consistency in the terminology.  He asked that they go back to that conversation and be consistent throughout the document.

 

Mr. Thomas suggested that the Neighborhood/Village be changed to just Village and that they further define it with the neighborhoods.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that they would follow through for consistency sake on that terminology. She stated that the Commission raised the question on the building block elements, which were the hamlets, neighborhood and downtown.  She stated that the Commission was comfortable with these elements, even though there might be a better word for hamlet that was not occurring to anybody right now. But in terms of concept, the Commission was okay with this.

 

Ms. Echols stated that they might want to consider the Neighborhood/Village based on Mr. Thomas’ remarks.

 

Mr. Thomas suggested that the title be changed to just Neighborhood or use Village with the Neighborhood.

 

Mr. Rieley agreed with Mr. Thomas’ suggestion for clarity.

 

Ms. Echols asked that the Commission turn to page 45 of the Crozet Master Plan, which would help explain what the CT’s are.

 

Mr. Morris pointed out that the print was too small, which made it very difficult to read.

 

Ms. Echols pointed out that the different districts were CT-1 & 2, CT-3, CT-4, CT-5 and CT-6 in the district.  On page 45, those districts were shown in different colors that correlate with the map that was on page 46.  The CT-1 was more of a preservation area, which was shown in green.  The CT-3, which is colored yellow, is the least dense housing that is available.  It really is speaking to the residential uses more than the single-family detached uses.  The CT-4 is starting to get into a mixture of uses, which is a lower intensity commercial or that type of use in addition to residential uses perhaps with a higher intensity residential use.  The center is where they were going to have a pretty good mixture of uses, which supports the downtown core, and Crozet would only have one color that was the downtown core.  The core would be located at the most intensively developed part.  The center supports the downtown core with a mix of uses and residential types of amenities.  When applied to the Neighborhood, it is a focal point and near by residential densities could support some of these activities.  However, its market area may extent beyond the quarter mile radius to 1 to 2 miles. It is serving a larger market area.  The core is the commercial hub for several neighborhood villages affecting an area of approximately 2 to 5 miles out from the center.  The district is a different animal, which is a special single use area.  An extreme example would be the Airport, which is a single use area that really does not support a mix with residential uses right there at the facility.  That use was sort of set apart.  She pointed out that in this case, there are 3 of districts.

 

Ms. Thomas pointed out that these districts have the potential for mixing much more than an Airport, but that an airport has some mix of uses along the perimeter. She noted that the purple was there to remind us that they do really want to allow for and capture some jobs in Crozet because not only does that support the downtown business community, but it also has some positive transportation implementations.  The lumber yard is currently very much an employment center and if it ever redevelops she felt that they would want it to continue to offer a lot of employment potential because it was embedded in the heart of the community and was within walking distance of many homes.  In addition, that area was within walking distance of many support services like groceries and restaurants, etc.  One of the oldest districts in the community was the ConAgra and Acme property.  Once again, that area was shown in purple because they hope and anticipate that there will be redevelopment activities taking place there. She pointed out that in fact some activities already are and that district is very much coming alive. She stated that in the Crozet area none of these have to be as exclusively a single use as you might find in a bigger area.  She pointed out that if the Yancey Lumber Mill were part of the development area, that might truly be a single use district because by its nature it does not mix well with a lot of other kinds of uses. But, for these other areas in Crozet, they offer an opportunity for mixing.  She stated that they were shown in purple so that they know that is really where they want to emphasize the employment opportunities.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that titles across the top of the chart kind of implies that hamlet is over the green.

 

Ms. Thomas pointed out that the hamlet could go from green to the orange pink.  She pointed out that this was not quite as broken down as the matrixes you will find later on specifically on page 49 on table 1.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that while she was reading this she specifically looked at how these fell under the titles and the hamlets seem to imply that the neighborhood straddles the next two.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that Ms. Higgins’ thought was that the titling across the top should more accurately reflect what goes underneath it.

 

Ms. Higgins pointed out that was where she got the idea that the hamlet was the least intense and would be around the green. 

 

Ms. Thomas stated that the hamlet would have a center of possibly the CT-4 with the yellow and green around that.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that it was confusing and suggested that there might be a way to clarify that using a sliding scale.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that the place type should reflect more clearly the CT zone that it was representing.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that staff tried to provide colors so that they could get a brief explanation of what the colors meant while you were also looking at the map.  She pointed out that certainly a larger matrix with color could be substituted to the left of this map going back to pages 45 and 46.  She pointed out that from the consultant’s standpoint that they have a multitude of backup matrixes.

 

Ms. Catlin suggested that they redirect the conversation a little bit because they were in the text piece and not in the matrixes.  She suggested that they stay with the text, but make the note that when they get to the matrixes that issue may be something that they need to consider.  She thanked Ms. Higgins for her remarks on this section.  She stated that they have defined what the CT numbers mean here and if everybody feels comfortable in understanding that, then they could continue on through the text piece.  She suggested that they move on to Built Environment Corridor Type.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated the he had a suggestion.  If someone sits down and starts to read this document and begins with the narrative, and then they get to the hamlet and don’t understand, then he would suggest that they include a brief definition of what that is.  He pointed out that the definition was very well laid out on page 49 at the top.  He suggested that they take that language and use it for Neighborhood Villages in the same manner. He pointed out that the way this was being presented anticipates a lot of familiarity with the terminology than perhaps someone looking at it has.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that a little more descriptive narrative needed to be added on these three items for clarity so that people would be able to understand what they were talking about.  She asked if there was any suggestions on the Corridor Type or the Natural Environment Open Space System and Rural Character.

 

Ms. Thomas suggested that on page 19 in the second sentence under The Built Environment: Corridor Type that they add “with some corridors” for clarity.

 

Mr. Rieley suggested putting in a period after thoroughfares.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that on page 19 it discussed site development guidelines and referred to the extensive public hearing process.  She pointed out that she was curious and had checked the meeting minutes and it does not have a list of the people attending.  She asked how many people who participated in the meetings actually live in the growth area.  She pointed out that she participated and did not live in the growth area.

 

Ms. Catlin pointed out that they had documentation of the people who attended, email lists and things like that which staff would be happy to provide.  She stated that whether that has a place in a Comp Plan document or not, she was not really sure.  She noted that data does exist and staff could make it available.

 

Ms. Higgins suggested that there needs to be something that goes with this section, possibly in a staff’s file, to clarify that.  The lead sentence in this whole section of the Site Development Guidelines deals with how extensive the public participation was. She asked that someone tell her what extensive means. 

 

Mr. Thomas suggested that the word extensive be removed to just state the process.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that it was up to the Planning Commission whether they wanted to change that qualifier.  She pointed out that those lists could be made available to her since staff has all of that material.  She stated that her question to the Planning Commission was that she was not sure that the charge before them right now was to evaluate the public participation process as much as it was to take the work that the Board gave to them to go through and make this a Comp Plan Amendment.  That is a question for the Commission to determine.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that there was no data sheet in the document concerning this and since it was referred to in several places in the document that she felt it should be provided.

 

Mr. Rieley suggested that a footnote be included telling where that information can be found.

 

Ms. Echols stated that there was a place at the end of the Master Plan called Community Process Documentation that makes reference to the meetings and in some cases the number of attendees.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that it was very inconsistent. She asked that the modifiers be considered in this case and be used as a lead into it.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that the suggestion might be just to make it read as a public participating process, but to take out the word “extensive.”

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he thought that it was extensive and would rather see the documentation for the use of the word.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that they could possibly make that information available to the Commission to the best extent possible so that the Commission could take a look at it. Then the Commission could decide if it should be referenced in the plan or if it was just enough that they have the information since they could support the use of the word “extensive”, and then they could make that decision later on.  She stated that if the word “extensive” was left in, then the Commission wanted to know why it was being used.

 

Mr. Thomas suggested that they could possibly use a footnote.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that going back to the Corridor Types sentence, Mr. Rieley’s suggestion was that they get rid of the “and the continuum is inverted.”  She stated that he suggested that they add “distinctive” and qualify “the corridors” to say “with some corridors.” She asked if there was anything under Corridor Type or should they move to Open Space System and Rural Character.

 

Ms. Thomas referred to the staff comment on the bottom of page 20 under Natural Environment Open Space and Rural Character about the appropriate level of development for the recommended new parks in Crozet.  Staff has discussed this issue.  In the eastern part there was a desire to preserve what they call the knoll in kind of a natural form, but this was a development area and it might be that the parks need a more urban style of development throughout Crozet. Crozet is so interesting because it is a blending of an urban and a rural feel.  It is not a development area quite like a Neighborhood One or Neighborhood Two, so that is where it gets to be more of judgement call. She suggested that was something for the Commission to think about in their discussion.

 

Ms. Catlin asked if there was any response to that or anything that needs to be reworked in these two paragraphs.

 

Ms. Higgins stated regarding the rural character that she felt that staff’s comments were more key to trying to preserve more usefulness to the spaces that were reserved.  She stated that they talked about pedestrian interconnections and different pathways. She asked to speak for the horse community for bridal path use, which was one thing that she has already talked with Dan Mahon about at length and made some suggestions. This whole development area was displacing some uses that have existed for a very long time. She pointed out that she had ridden in several parks that have incorporated bridal paths due to pressure by the community, but also because it involves policing people on horseback which deters inappropriate behaviors in areas that are natural and intended to be wooded and less available for surveillance for people walking dogs or alone.  She suggested that they identify that use in this document.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that in terms of what they might do with that, that she would want to see some attention paid to multi-use such as walking, horseback riding and bridal uses, bicycling or running.  She stated that in a section that they worked on last time that there was some discussion about facilities and uses. She suggested that might be incorporated in that section.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that in the second sentence under Natural Environment it should be corrected to say, “several elevated parcels were identified.”

 

Ms. Higgins asked that a sentence be inserted to explain that there will be a range or variety of parks and they will not be altered in the same way.  She stated that it did not read that way.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that this was very general language in this section.  She pointed out that it does not only refer to the two major parks, but that those are the ones that involve the biggest projects.

 

Ms. Catlin pointed out that there was a section in Places, which they discussed last time that talks about parks and recreation and recommendations, which gives a little bit more information. She stated that referred to creating a network of public parks and greenways that work on a number of levels that defines out four or five purposes and levels. She asked if that was language that addresses it.

 

Ms. Higgins pointed out that a lot of times people only read the section on guidelines, particularly when staff meets with an applicant.  She stated that a lot of times the other texts just get lost.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that she would like that restated here in the guidelines about the variety of parks.  She asked how the other Commissioners felt.

 

Mr. Thomas and Mr. Rieley stated that it was a good idea.

 

Ms. Catlin stated what she heard was that there would be some sort of statement or something that echoes what was a little earlier in the document about there would be a range or variety in parks and open space in recreational uses.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that they were proposing two major public facilities.  There was a potential for a trailhead on Crozet Avenue right at Lickinghole Creek, but the rest would come in as a part of the development of those areas as pocket parks that was more neighborhood oriented.

 

Ms. Catlin summarized that what the Commission was saying was that the pubic space network of Crozet seeks to reinforce and build upon the concept of active recreation fields, unstructured recreation areas, natural areas, meadows, reserves and preserves.  They are linked to the fullest extent possible through the patterns of streams and greenway network.  She asked if that gets at the kind of vision that the Commission wants out there for the open space.

 

Mr. Rieley and Mr. Thomas both agreed with that language.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that in the first paragraph under Natural Environment Open Space System and Rural Character on page 20, which was right after the Built Environment Corridor Type, there are some sentences that do say some of that.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that it referred to unstructured recreation areas.

 

Ms. Catlin asked if the language in the first paragraph was sufficient for defining and putting out what you want to see for open space system and rural character.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that it is with what Ms. Thomas’ articulated about the intentional present of elevated usable land.  He asked if that was articulated in the document.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that it says that Crozet offers significant views to the mountains and surrounding forest and farms.  The community sends a clear message that it wants to preserve the aesthetic qualities and agricultural history and character. To honor this several elevated parcels were identified and recommended for preservation as open space.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that the intention is that the parcels will be maintained as meadow and in some cases woodland.  If you go to page 55 of the Master Plan, you will see a green infrastructure map that is a little bit different than the other one in that it has some additional suggestions that are not hard and fast.  For instance, there was some superimposed language. If you go to eastern park, it says meadows on page 55.  It also identifies pocket parks as green and squares as community garden playgrounds, which shows some fields, etc.  She pointed out that this was not meant to be so descriptive, but rather to show the continuance of the types that you could have.  She stated that information might help to clarify the variety.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he felt almost the opposite way that he did the last time that he talked about how descriptive that this part should be. He pointed out that he had argued for a lot of flexibility. From his experience, all of the areas in green would become a target very quickly, and therefore holding the open space is a very good thing and would require a lot of attention.  He suggested that they take this section very seriously.

 

Mr. Edgerton suggested adding something in the second to the last paragraph on page 20 where it states that the preservation of these areas is in something close to their original state.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that the Commission would like to see something come back to them that strengthens the idea of preservation of open space as opposed to it being a target for more developed recreational space.

 

Mr. Rieley suggested adding to that “or development of any kind.”

 

Ms. Echols called the Commission’s attention to page 54 of the green infrastructure map in case they wanted to add something to this document, which relates to the green infrastructure map. 

 

Ms. Higgins pointed out that she had read somewhere that there was a percentage of green to the developable area. She asked if she read that it was 50%.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that there were a couple of different percentages that show up. In one place it said that 35% of the Crozet’s developable area was in floodplain or steep slopes.  Then in another part of the document there was a reference that 50% remains in green, which would include the undevelopable areas.

 

·         Ms. Catlin stated that the Commission wants the words “active recreational fields” taken out of the open space discussion.  She asked if the elevated parcels were something separate and distinct from that or was it something that since there was two of them that you think it is important to call those out as protected areas to the extent that you can in the language of this plan.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he agreed with Ms. Higgins that they need a strong rationale for preserving those.  He stated that they needed a good strong reason for doing this and then they need to stick by it.

 

Ms. Catlin pointed out that there were two specific sites that are under consideration for this particular protection.

 

Ms. Thomas pointed out that the consultant used the term upland to really distinguish the area from floodplain, which was often what they got for open space.  She pointed out that it was upland because they were more visible since they were the remnant of the pasture and orchard in many cases in Crozet.

 

Ms. Catlin reflected back to the Commission a little bit about what they talked about on this section.  In the first paragraph, the Commission suggested that they get that active recreation feel out of there and to reorder that a little bit so that it emphasizes the natural areas meadows, reserves, etc. Then in the second paragraph, the idea was that somehow there was a strong statement and justification for the elevated parcels and why they need to be reserved to the strongest extent possible.

 

Mr. Edgerton pointed out that Ms. Higgins made a good point that elevated was an irrelevant term since it was a qualifier.

 

Mr. Rieley suggested the use of the parcels that are specifically identified on the plan.

 

·         Ms. Catlin stated that there needs to be a better descriptor of what that space really is. 

 

Ms. Catlin stated that that the next section was Stormwater, which had a recreation paragraph there that might need clarifying it a little bit.  She asked if anybody had anything on this section or on the paragraph on recreation.  She stated that since there were no comments that section would remain as it is.    She asked if there was any comment on the discussion concerning the dark skies.  There being no comments, she noted that text would remain as it was.  She pointed out that the Commission was now done with the text part of this Comp Plan Amendment and they would begin on the graphics portion.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if anything could be done with the power company poles in Crozet to make the lights comply with our ordinance.  She suggested that something should be included in this document since pole lights were still going up in that area.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that the Commission has another work session coming up.  She pointed out that the discussion about the map was going to get them to the discussion which they have been holding off for a while, and that is does a line really mean a line and does a color really mean a color. She noted that they certainly did not want to rush that discussion.  She pointed out that they could adjourn here now knowing that they have worked through a great percentage of the document and know that next time they need to do the map discussion and the matrixes.  She stated that prior to that, staff would make available to them the public participation documentation for the Commission’s consideration of mentioning that in the document.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that she had been reading the discussions that the Board has had about the additional area.  She asked if this whole document does not include percentages of numbers or any criteria about that additional area.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that there was a qualifier in an earlier part of the document that depended on whether that was going to be put in or out.  She stated that the Commission got to that section before the Board actually took their action.  Therefore, they put that someplace and said that depending on which way the Board goes this will be brought into the document in a proper way.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that when you are looking at the maps that there was no way to tell know that all of this does not correlate to where the red line is that picks up in those areas.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that the Place Type Map shows colors in the new northern area.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if any of the percentages and numbers have been adjusted.  She questioned if the population was the same. She pointed out that area was a chunk of land, which was more densely populated than a lot of the whole Master Planned area.  She felt that information was crucial in order to adjust the figures in the document.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that staff would have to check the development area statistics.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that a general comment would be that given that the boundary adjustment is done and it is a done deal, that they need to go back through the document and make sure that is represented consistently throughout.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that the map was generally in that area an acknowledgement of what was there already with just a little bit of recommendation for the undeveloped area.  The point was not so much to beef up the numbers in the community, but to adjust the boundaries to reflect really a functioning community. 

 

Mr. Rieley suggested that they add an addendum that says on this date the boundary was changed and here is the map and what it looks like and here are the locations for these particular sets of data.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that information would be added to the addendum section or add it somewhere in an appropriate place.

 

Ms. Catlin summarized the major points of discussion as follows:

 

·         The idea of bringing into consistency the “distinct place” versus “place” throughout the document as discussed last time that was an up front kind of issue.

·         An addendum should be made that discusses the boundary adjustment, the impact on the map and that kind of thing.

·         Document the contribution of the public participation process so that the Commission could decide whether “extensive” is an appropriate word to use and can it stay in there.

·         In the built environment area for hamlet, neighborhood and downtown, the Commission wants some definition there that is pulled from the matrix that makes it clear to the reader right at this moment exactly what those are talking about. 

·         Note for when they get to the matrixes when they look at the titling of Place Type and how it lines up with the CT zones to consider if that is confusing to the public and if there is a better way that they can represent that.

·         In the Built Environment Corridor Type, rewrite the second sentence so that it says that with some corridors the existing settlement follows a linear pattern along an important thoroughfare.

·         There was a lot of discussion on the Open Space System. The sentence needs to be reworked to say natural areas, meadows, reserves, preserves, unstructured recreational areas are linked . . .” That in the second sentence there needs to be a better description of what they were talking about with several elevated parcels and that there needs to be some strong statement in there as to the justification as to why those should be so carefully protected.

·         There was some mention in the areas where they talk about the uses that they try to incorporate some existing uses like bridal paths, horse trails and those kinds of things to make sure that language gets in there.

 

She asked if there was anything else that needs to be added.

 

 

 

 

Ms. Echols added the following comment:

·         There needs to be some consideration of pages 54 and 55 to consider the matrix and the map.  The Commission wanted to come back to that after they have looked at the map to see what they wanted to do with that.

 

Ms. Catlin stated that next time the Commission would focus on maps and matrixes to finish this review.

 

In summary, the Albemarle County Planning Commission held the fourth facilitated worksession on the Crozet Master Plan.  Lee Catlin facilitated the work session and assisted the Commission in their review of Section E, which was now Section G, entitled Form: Maps and Site Development Guidelines, of the proposed Master Plan for Crozet. The Commission reviewed and discussed staff’s recommended Comprehensive Plan language for changes to Section G of the technical consultants’ Crozet Master Plan final report.  The Commission discussed the proposal and provided comments and suggestions for changes to the document, but took no formal action.  Staff will make the changes and bring it back to the Commission for review. The Commission requested information from staff regarding the public participation during the consultant’s process. The Commission will begin the next session discussing the maps and matrixes of the document.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the next work session was on the Belvidere Preliminary Rezoning Request.

 

Belvidere Preliminary Rezoning Request - The applicant, Stonehaus Development, proposes a 240 acres development with a mixture of single-family homes, townhouses, apartments and a commercial area.  The proposal area, known as the Belvedere Tract, is situated north of Rio Road between the Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Dunlora Subdivision in Neighborhood 2.  While the applicant has not formally submitted a rezoning request, it is expected that they will request a rezoning from R-4 (Residential) to PUD (Planned Unit Development).   (Michael Barnes)

 

Mr. Barnes summarized the staff report.  (See the attached copy of the staff report.)  He stated that this was a preliminary review for the rezoning of this property. The major thrust of this process is to get input early on in the process from staff, the applicant and the general public.  This was to try to give the developer an idea of the major issues that they would be facing and also to sort of steer them in the right direction. The purpose of the staff report was to sort of draw out the principal questions that the staff has and to try to get some feedback from the Commission on what they think of those concerns.  Also, staff would like to know any additional concerns that the Commission might have that the applicant should be considering when they come back with a rezoning proposal at some point in the future.  Staff’s major concerns are lumped into three major areas:

1.       The Meadow Creek Parkway or such other named road and preserving the capacity for another north/south connector east of Route 29 and still within the development area.

2.       With the upcoming Master Plan.

3.       Some of the interconnections to the adjacent properties and the importance thereof for those connections.

 

There are a series of other design questions that staff has which are noted in the staff report.  He asked if the Commission had any particular comments to those other concerns that they would like to add that staff would be happy to move those forward. The applicant’s proposal is proposing 

two sections.  The site located north of Rio Road east of the railroad tracks and west of Dunlora. The applicant has discussed two different sections of their proposals, which is shown as the southern portion and upper portion.  In the staff report, staff refers to the southern, middle and northern areas of the property.  The southern portion includes the commercial zone and the urban density residential.  Then the proposal moves upward into an area of townhouses with smaller single family lots.  He pointed out that the area shown in yellow are larger lots.  The applicant has not given staff any specifics on square footages or on the range of dwelling units.

 

Staff believes that the project is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan in the following areas.  Staff has explained its concerns in the staff report and asks that the Planning Commission provide direction on these concerns. The first issue deals with Belvedere’s Effects on Regional Transportation Plans:

 

·         The Meadow Creek Parkway has been on the books for years.  Staff has had discussions with Mr. Ford, at the MPO level, about the nature of the road and some of the members on the Boards to try to interpret how this road should be in the future or the need for it.  Staff is using the Comprehensive Plan as a guide for where this road will be built as envisioned in the Comp Plan for this section.  The applicant proposes running the road along the railroad track which needs about 100 feet of right-of-way in this section.  This would accommodate a kind of limited or controlled access road.  The Meadow Creek Parkway is talking about more of a controlled access.  The applicant here is talking about a series of curb cuts and road intersections in this area, which somewhat changes the nature of the road if that was to become the road for Meadow Creek Parkway. In this area the applicant has their road network internalized for the possibility of a controlled access.  The applicant is proposing that the road alignment continues out towards the north part of the site.  The Comprehensive Plan looks at two different possible alignments because of environmental, floodplain and topological restraints.

 

·         Staff supports the Meadow Creek Parkway Phase II and believes that the developer should assist in the establishment of this road.  Does the Commission continue to support the concept of Phase II? 

Phase I of the Parkway has been designed.  Phase I is contemplated as a 2-lane road with limited access and will run between the Route 250 By-pass and Rio Road. The Comprehensive Plan establishes the necessity for Meadow Creek Parkway Phase I and Phase II and assumes that Phase II will be a 4-lane, limited access facility.  The Parkway’s Phase II will run from Rio Road northward to Polo Grounds Road and onto the Hollymead Community (Attachment H).  Since the Parkway linkage between downtown Charlottesville and the recently approved developments in the Hollymead Community and relieve congestion pressure on Route 29, staff strongly supports the eventual establishment of Phase II (or a road performing a similar function) and believes that accommodation of this road is needed as part of any proposal for the Belvedere site.

·         Staff might support the applicant suggestion to shift Phase II’s alignment to run along side of the railroad; however, staff is concerned about environmental, topographic, and other constraints involved with the alignment(s) in the northern portion of Belvedere.  Staff believes that further assessment of the constraints is needed before a rezoning northern portion of the site can occur.  Does the Commission believe that the northern portion of the proposal should be deferred to allow any constraint concerns related to the alignment of Phase II to be resolved? 

There are numerous challenges in establishing an alignment for Phase II of the Parkway.  The Rivanna River, wetlands associated with the river, the railroad track, existing development and topography are all complicating factors. When Dunlora was planned, it was contemplated that the Parkway would be on the Belvedere track adjacent to the western boundary of Dunlora (Attachment H).  As road moved northward, the concept suggested one of two alignments are possible in the northern portion of the Belvedere Track.  The first alignment would continue the road along the railroad tracks and cross the river adjacent to the railroad bridge (Attachment H, option 1).  Topography, floodplain, and numerous wetlands make this portion of the alignment very difficult.  The second alignment would break to the east and cross the Rivanna where two bluffs are in close proximity (Attachment H, option 2).  This alignment would take the Parkway through the Bentivar Subdivision.

The Belvedere proposal calls for shifting Phase II’s alignment to the west in the southern portion of the site and then following the “Option 1 Alignment” in the northern portion of the site (Attachment H).  Staff supports shifting the alignment to the west and running the controlled access Parkway along the tracks in the middle portion of the Belvedere track, but staff has strong reservations about limiting Phase II to Option 1 in the northern section of Belvedere before all of the environmental and engineering constraints can be fully understood.

·         The applicant would like Phase II to change in character from a 4-lane road to a 2-lane road and from a controlled access road to more of a typical street, especially in the southern portion of the site.  Staff is concerned that an increased number of intersections will decrease the capacity of the road.  Furthermore, staff believes the Master Plan’s transportation planning component is the best venue for deciding what the nature of Phase II should be. Does the Commission have any preference or concerns related to design nature and purpose of Phase II?

The applicant also proposes changing the nature of Phase II from limited access road to more of a typical street and reducing the number of lanes from 4 to 2 (Attachment B).  Staff believes that the Master Plan is the mechanism for answering the question of whether the nature of the road should be changed because the Master Plan’s transportation component will detail the capacity that Phase II will be required to have in order to make it a regional interconnection.  Finally, if the Parkway is to proceeds adjacent to the tracks, then it will the either have to go around the Fairview Swim Club or relocate it and the Master Plan process will assist in answering that question.

Staff stated that their discussions tonight was not to discuss which alignment was the best one or the other, but just to point out the different restraints on the applicant’s two proposals.  He pointed out that staff has been directed to review the two proposals, but at this point in time staff has not had a chance to respond back to some of the requests.  There is sort of a parallel track that was going along which was the Master Planning process for the northern portions of the County, which would be looking at transportation linkages as well as identifications of possible centers and linking those centers to the land use concepts with the transportation.  That leads to the staff’s next concern that they don’t know exactly how to address.  Staff has had discussions with the applicant on this topic.  If you look at the bigger scale of the Neighborhood II, where does it make sense to have the focal points.  He asked if the focal points would be in Belvedere or in this northern portion or do they want them down by Rio Road or other places.  Staff has not taken a strong stance on this question and does not have a strong opinion to say that this is an area that needs to be preserved for the focal point until the process starts.  It is an open question in whether those options should be preserved so that it can be investigated during the Master Plan process.  He pointed out that was a question for the Planning Commission.  

Staff pointed out that the next question dealt with the Eastern Connection.

·         The Eastern Connector

  How should the possibility of the Eastern Connector be considered as part of a rezoning?  Or should it be not considered because the alignments for the road remain very vague at this time?

Recent work by the Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Transportation Committee (CHART), which is a subcommittee of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), may recommended the establishment of an Eastern Connector which would link Route 29 to Route 20.  CHART has not identified any possible alignments for this road.  There are two possible alignments could affect this project.  One alignment would cross the Rivanna near Penn Park and connect to Rio Road.  This alignment could affect how the entrance to main entry road of Belvedere should be designed.  The second possible alignment would cross the Rivanna River in or near the Key West subdivision and then potentially pass either through Belvedere or follow the Rivanna’s floodplain northward.  This second alignment would have far greater impacts to the Belvedere site and the existing neighborhood surrounding Belvedere. 

At this time, it is not anticipated that the Eastern Connector will be considered as regional transportation planning component in the upcoming Master Plan for the Communities of Hollymead and Piney Mountain and Neighborhoods 1 and 2.

Mr. Rieley asked to add one point since he has not missed any CHART meetings.  He stated that to the best of his knowledge that nobody has suggested that the Eastern Connector go through Key West.

Mr. Morris stated that it was just a natural option that has been on the table ever since they were talking about the Eastern By-pass.

Mr. Benish stated that CHART has shown a general corridor where the study will take place.

Mr. Rieley pointed out that it was shown in the CHART document as a blob and it does not show lines which means anything.  From his work on the committee, he pointed out that there was some lines that many people are interested in, but that was not one of them.

Mr. Barnes pointed out that the blob right now was showing the bottom portion along Rio Road, which certainly would have an impact on that entrance. 

Belvedere’s Effects on the Upcoming Master Plan.

As noted above, the County will be hiring a consultant by late spring to perform a Master Plan for the Communities of Hollymead and Piney Mountain and Neighborhoods 1 and 2.  The Master Plan is expected to take up to two years to complete.  It is expected that the Master Plan will focus on regional transportation solutions and the identification of commercial and neighborhood centers.  Unlike the Master Plan recently completed for Crozet, this plan is not expected to achieve the design detail for the entire study area, but instead, it will select a limited number of centers or corridors where a concentration of the urban form will be focused. 

Staff believes that there are two areas of guidance that a completed Master Plan would provide.  These areas are the alignment and nature of Meadow Creek Parkway Phase II (as discussed above) and an identification of center locations within Neighborhood 2 and the character of these centers (i.e., neighborhood verses community verses regional focus). 

Identification of Center Location and Character.

Staff is concerned that approval of the Belvedere proposal will set locations of centers without the benefit of the Master Plan.  The applicant believes that the only viable center location is near Rio Road.  Does the Commission believe that the Belvedere proposal can move forward without negatively affecting the Master Plan and the future locations of centers?

One of the Master Plan’s major benefits is its broad scope and its ability to focus future development into walkable nodes or centers.  This portion of Neighborhood 2 is underserved from a commercial service standpoint and is ripe for the infill of several neighborhood-scale centers.  Undoubtedly, the Master Plan will recommend several centers in and around the Belvedere track and it will determine their scale and character.

Staff is concerned that if the Belvedere proposal moves forward that there is a possibility that the outcome of the Master Plan will be altered.  The applicant has argued that the only economically feasible location for a center is along Rio Road because of the traffic volumes associated with this road.  They recognize that the Meadow Creek Parkway Phase II has the possibility of significantly increasing the vehicle volume within their development and thus allow for the possibility of another center within the northern portion of the Belvedere track.  However, they do not believe that Phase II will be built any time soon and they are extremely hesitant to include any non-residential uses in the northern portion of the site.  Therefore, the applicant is only willing to consider mixed use options in the southern most portion of the proposal.

Design Issues

The proposal’s conceptual design is shown in Attachments A and B.  The design is deliberately general in nature, but with the limited amount of detail, it is unclear to what degree the applicant is incorporating these issues into the design.  Any rezoning proposal for this area should incorporate these items. Staff encourages the Commission to augment or clarify any items on this list.

 

Staff pointed out that the final concern was a very specific question on the possibilities of certain interconnections.

Interparcel Connections.  Aside from the major regional transportation road planned through this area, the applicant should maximize the number of vehicular and pedestrian connections to the surrounding neighborhoods.  Attachment I shows a series of possible connections.  Staff believes that most of these connections should be made, but the most important interconnection are as follows:

i)         The three connections to Dunlora.  If a neighborhood center is planned for Belvedere, then the residents of Dunlora should be able to get to it without going out onto Rio Road.  Staff believes that the risk of cut-through traffic in Dunlora (i.e., Belvedere residents traveling to Rio Road) is minimal because the Belvedere residents will use the major north/south roads within their own development.

ii)       The Free State Bridge Connection.  Again, if Belvedere is to have a neighborhood center, then the Northfields residents should be able to access the center directly.  This bridge connection also provides the Belvedere residents with a second means of access to Rio Road.  Note: Replacement of Free State Bridge is in the County’s Six-Year Secondary Road Improvement Plan.

iii)      Connection to future development on the parcels north of Dunlora and east of Belvedere to allow for future development that might occur on that property.

iv)      A new connection to Carrsbrook Drive via a bridge.  This would provide future residents in the northern portion of Belvedere with access to Route 29 without the need to use Rio Road.

An interconnection of special interest to staff is one proposed by the applicant.  Attachment I proposes a direct connection between the Rio Road/ Greenbrier Drive intersection and the proposed Belvedere neighborhood center.  While this connection has not been fully investigated, it is an intriguing possibility that would open that whole area up to redevelopment and probably make the Belvedere neighborhood center more vibrant by tying it into the activity along Rio Road.  This interconnection might also provide the opportunity to shift Belvedere’s main entrance to the westward along Rio and to reserve Belvedere’s currently proposed entrance for the limited access Meadow Creek Parkway.

·         Mixture of Housing Types and Affordable Housing.  Neighborhood 2 lacks in the diversity of affordable housing that is found in other portions of the Development Area.  The County is currently working on policies that will increase the amount of affordable housing within new developments to a minimum of 15%.  Staff believes that a diversity of housing types is one of the most efficient way to achieve affordable housing and will seek to have a significant percentage of Belvedere’s housing stock be deemed affordable.

·         Open Space and Trails.  The current proposal shows several small parks.  These should be designed to be focal points of the community and provide an appropriate set of amenities.  Additionally, the greenway trail system linkages should be provided between these spaces and the Rivanna Floodplain where possible.

·         Environmental Protection.  Sensitive environmental features should be placed into open space.  The stream valleys and critical slopes associated with them should be protected to the extent possible.  Impacts from stormwater facilities and sewer utility lines should be limited and the design should contemplate how these facilities will be incorporated into the open space amenities such as a trail system.  Additionally, the tops of the critical slopes should be included within the open space and not included within individual lots.  This encourages tree removal and grading on these slopes in order to create a buildable lot.  Finally, the Rivanna Floodplain offers excellent opportunities for active and passive recreation.  Access should be provided to this area should be provided to the general public and not limited exclusively to Belvedere’s residents.

Implementation of the Neighborhood Model.  With the general nature of the concept plans (Attachments A and B), it is difficult to determine whether the applicant has met the various principles of the Neighborhood Model.  It does appear that the plan calls for interconnected streets with sidewalks, tree streets and buildings framing the street.  Conceptual grading for the site will be important as well as the development of neighborhood center.

 

Mr. Benish stated that since this was a new process he wanted to step back a little bit and make sure that everybody understands what they were trying to achieve.  The Commission would not be taking any direction tonight, but just to provide some direction to the applicant and staff.  This process identifies a way to help the applicant and staff define what the significant issues and expectations are before they enter into a rezoning process.  This is a way to provide some direction to the applicant early on in the process to provide some direction. He pointed out that this process was similar to the way staff looks at public projects to identify whether it is consistent with policies or not and touch on expectations for design.  But the compliance with the plan review process is not in and of itself a review of the site plan, but the review of concepts to ensure that it is consistent with the policies.  Staff wants to make sure that the members of the public are aware that is the kind of level that they are at.  Staff has found a lot of pieces of this consistent with the Comprehensive Plan particularly in the kinds of land uses that are proposed.  He noted that a lot of this property is zoned with urban R-4 zoning, which is an important factor to keep in mind.  Last week during a discussion about the Six-Year Road Plan, several Board members raised the issue of whether the concept of the Meadow Creek Parkway should be reconsidered and alternatives be reevaluated to the concept, and they directed staff to begin that type of an evaluation.  That discussion came up again at the MPO when they were discussing the proposed CHART plan. The MPO Committee recognized what the County Board of Supervisors had asked staff to do and is going to follow that process.  Staff is working on that now and is determining the most effective way by which to go through that type of analysis requested by the Board.  That is just too new on staff’s plate to be able to tell the Commission exactly how they are going to address that.  There are a couple of studies that staff is proposing for the next Neighborhood Plan what is in effect the Phase III Route 29 Corridor Transportation Study, which is referred to as the 29/H250 Study.  Those are several potential opportunities that they could use to help address that issue.  At present staff is trying to collect their thoughts on what is the best approach for looking at these possible alternatives.

 

Mr. Rieley asked to make a statement concerning this project.  He suggested that the name be changed from Meadow Creek Parkway Phase II because it was not even connected to Meadow Creek Parkway Phase I.  He stated that he had been involved with the City’s Phase I Meadow Creek Parkway, but it has nothing to do with this project.  He stated that therefore he did not have a conflict of interest. He stated that one thing that has become apparent at CHART when they were looking at the funding for what was called the Phase II Meadow Creek Parkway was that the way that project has been conceived and thought of is not really going to happen. He stated that he really thought that it was right that the Board was stepping back and reevaluating that connection within the context of the kinds of roadways that they had been talking about here.  He noted that also CHART and the MPO has been discussing this in dealing with networks and small scaled roads and not trying to build failed highways.  One of the things he supposed was an opportunity for this project coming to the Commission and is a problem was that he thought that they were at a stage in which this northern leg that runs up to Free State is going to have to be reconsidered or reconceived.  To have it reconceived as part of this project is an opportunity and a problem.

 

Mr. Thomas agreed with Mr. Thomas’ last statement. In the past the Commission worked through the list of questions.  He stated that if there were no objections that they would begin by working through the list of questions.  He asked if any Commissioner had any comments generally about the project.

 

Ms. Higgins asked what was the terminus of Phase I of the Meadow Creek Parkway.

 

Mr. Barnes stated that the terminus was right about the mouth of the entrance of Dunlora.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that it was in front of Ktech.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that if Phase I was done and it actually ends at Rio Road then it was going to create that intersection anyway.  She questioned how much flexibility they had.

 

Mr. Benish stated that Phase I ended at the railroad bridge.

 

Mr. Graham stated that for clarification on Phase I, that actually Meadow Creek Parkway would be a continuation into Rio Road.  The East side of Rio Road/Park Street would actually key into that road.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that it would become the straight through, but actually at the entrance of Dunlora.

 

Mr. Rieley pointed out that Phase I and Phase II of Meadow Creek Parkway do not touch, but both actually run into Rio Road but don’t run into each other.  He pointed out that it does not make sense to call it the same roadway.

 

Mr. Thomas pointed out that it could connect, which leads to another question.  He asked whether it would be better for it to connect and continue on around, as the applicant was proposing, by the railroad tracks or come in by the church.

 

Mr. Barnes pointed out that staff does not know how to address those alignment type of issues. He stated that it might be a possibility to connect the two, but from staff’s standpoint we are trying to avoid that sensitive topic.  He stated that quite honestly they did not know quite how to align it because there was a lot of traffic.

 

Mr. Benish stated that he did not sense that they were far away with the concept of the applicant here.  Basically, the applicant followed the Free State Road alignment, which was a different roadway that really was in the only remaining corridor that they could probably get a public road in and was going to have to suffice for whatever north connections that were made in there.  Certainly at the rezoning level, if they have to build that intersection at Route 29, that would be an important issue.  He stated in the context of looking back at policy and broadly where that connection is going on Rio Road, that staff does not see that as a significant issue right now at this level. 

 

Mr. Rieley stated that what the Commission needs to give guidance on was whether or not this notion of a continuation of the road that comes out of the City actually becomes a 4-lane highway and runs up towards the north as currently shown in the Comprehensive Plan.  He asked if that was something that the Commission feels comfortable saying that this project needs to acknowledge and work around.  Or was it whether that roadway would be more appropriate if conceived of in a different way and could be accommodating as a kind of neighborhood street that the applicants are now proposing.

 

Mr. Barnes pointed out that part of that question was whether it was two- or four-lane.  The subset of that was if it was an urban typical street with very limited access control or was it more of a more limited access control more similar to Phase I division with the two-lane limited access.  He stated that to the best that he could understand it, that the applicant was proposing a two-lane road that has multiple access points on it.  He asked for the Commission’s guidance on the number of access points that the applicant could have along the road itself.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that the old version was 4-lane with limited access.  He stated that was the way that it was conceived.

 

Ms. Higgins pointed out that she had been involved with the consultant in this study.  She stated that at 55 miles per hour criteria with limited access was why they had this swing out because of the railroad tracks and the floodplain.  If they were not at the 55 miles per hour criteria, then hugging the railroad and the crossing could be done with much less radius to it. There was a lot of discussion about the road alignment in a safe corridor against the railroad.  It made a lot of sense not to leave it unusable or a hard to access piece of property as a slice.  It got into specifics with a pretty close alignment, but it still has an opportunity to fluctuate based on what the exact findings would be.  If you talk about the Free State option and try to avoid upgrading the railroad crossing it makes sense for a road with a similar function to hug the railroad. She pointed out that it made a lot of sense for a road to follow along a railroad for a very acceptable transportation corridor.

 

Mr. Benish pointed out that the current Comp Plan calls for a 4-lane roadway.  As Ms. Higgins indicated that back in the mid-90’s when she was on a Task Force that they sort of stepped back from the original limited access with the 55 miles per hour concept and what the Comp Plan calls for.  The Comp Plan calls for the 45 miles per hour design speed with a controlled access roadway. It provided for three access points, but the Comp Plan calls for one access point at the intersection location between Rio Road and River View and there were two others towards the other river.  The other thing was that in 2001, an additional paragraph was added.  The paragraph said that the concepts of Phase I should be considered and incorporated to the extent that was feasible in Phase II, which was a way to suggest that the roadway might evolve without a study to determine from a regional network standpoint whether that could be done as to avoid a roadway.  He noted that was a baby step towards a transition.  He pointed out that the intent was to reflect the Jones Study Report.  He pointed out that it definitely calls for it to be 4-lanes.  He pointed out that it introduced the notion of something different and it at the 45 miles per hour design speed.

 

Ms. Higgins pointed out that there was one between the crossing of the railroad and Rio Road and then two between the railroad and Route 20 north.

 

Mr. Benish stated that was correct, which would allow for access points to undeveloped property, which again give the potential to work with developers to get portions of that road incorporated in their plans.  He pointed out that the two were included for the possibility for the back entrance for South Forest Lakes in combination with Polo Grounds Road to tie into it.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that the issue of crossing the river was a huge issue.  In order for this access to serve any kind of volume for major transportation that there has to be a crossing of the river, which was very expensive and there was no money to do it with now.  One of the questions that the Commission has to grapple with was to what degree should they embrace a neighborhood street that stops and does not continue further.  Also, to what degree do they leave it open for that roadway to extend to the north knowing that there will be tremendous resistance by the adjacent communities.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the purpose of the connector road going through there was to get the traffic to the parkway or to the Eastern Connector. He suggested that they possible leave open the option for future connection of the dead-end in the future.

 

Mr. Barnes stated that leads on to the next question.  He stated that when you start to dead-end that road that you leave it open that it seems that the applicant would be least accepting of it in this area.  He asked the Chairman if the Commission would be willing to have more of a dialogue with the applicants by asking them some of these questions.  He pointed out that all of the information received from the applicant had been included, but that staff does not have all of the answers.  He suggested that if the Commission has further questions that they should ask the applicant. He stated that hopefully the Master Plan would start to answer some of those questions regarding the interconnectivity, particularly from Hollymead to this community.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that they had skipped to the issue of the upcoming Master Plan and its time frame and the degree to which that work could inform our decisions relative to what we are deciding here.  He noted that ultimately it would be better if these kinds of decisions were being made within the context of a broader area.

 

Mr. Thomas pointed out that he understood that the applicant does not want to wait for the Master Plan process.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that there was a similar situation in Crozet with their Master Plan in starting the process by right and trying to hold the developer until the Master Plan was completed.  She pointed out that there was one thing very unique about this particular parcel or this group of parcels.  These parcels have the railroad tracks, the river and Rio Road, which was a peninsula.  Even if it was within a Master Plan, the railroad was like dealing with God to try to cross.  She pointed out that it would take years to work out that issue.  She stated that the Master Plan was very important, but that if you isolated this piece she did not know if the decisions within the Master Plan about where to put the commercial area, towncenter or how the road system would work because it was very limited.  She noted that the applicant could go with the by-right development under R-4 zoning.  She stated that it really was a peninsula and if there was any time to justify it that she would say that this was a segment that just does not have the flexibility to fit within a bigger plan if that makes any significance.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that was a good point, but that he also was not quite ready yet to drop the north/south connector that is important.

 

Ms. Higgins suggested that perhaps there was a way to collaborate for a compromise and get part of it with a right-of-way for 2-lanes.  She stated that she did not know if they would make any headway because the road was so expensive.  She stated that she did not think that it should be a neighborhood road, but she was not sure that it needs to be 4-lanes. She suggested that there might be a way to do a 2-lane with some access points instead of building it.  She stated that there might be a way to accomplish something in the middle and actually give that feedback through the process of all of these decisions.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that regarding the Master Plan and the external connections with the role this piece fits into this system that he would be more comfortable moving ahead with this as a discreet element if they had a better sense of how that was working. But, he pointed out that he did not think it was reasonable to ask the developer to wait two years for that information. He stated that he wondered if there was a way in which they could structure the consultant’s work in such as way that they are looking at these connections.  Clearly this is a planning issue that they need to take a fresh look at.

 

Mr. Barnes stated that there were actually two elements of that being what are the connections and the possible centers. Staff has been wrestling with the fact that the applicant does have a fair amount of by right potential.  He asked if there was some way that they could meet half-way and compromise to develop a portion of it and the other portion of it could be preserved for one of those other issues for the road or the centers. He felt that one of the concepts, but he did not feel that they could do that tonight. He stated that he heard the discussion about the potential need to keep that the road sections open. He asked how the Commission would feel if they could preserve some of the roadway options and move forward with the rezoning to allow them achieve some of their lots for higher density and then you get the road connections based on the lots.  The other question is if there is anything else that they want to see up here besides the residential type of uses or single-family type of uses.

 

Mr. Thomas supported the idea of preserving or saving the area for future connections, which would leave the option open for the Eastern Connector.  He asked if the applicant was willing to put all of those options in there for connectors.

 

Mr. Morris asked if it was appropriate to ask the applicants some questions about the roadway.

 

Mr. Mike Stoneking stated that when they purchased the property back in 1988 before the Crozet Master Plan process had started, they had urged the County to select this area for the first Master Plan process. He pointed out that Crozet became the first choice.  Subsequent to that, they began to engage in the planning process for this parcel and the general issues surrounding it.  He stated that what had been pointed out tonight was consistent with their conclusions about this property.  The objections are fairly limited with the number of impacts being fairly well defined on adjacent properties because there are so few of them with the railroad barrier for the connection to Northfields. He stated that they concluded at the end of their preliminary evaluation after reviewing 8 concept plans that the parkway was a critical issue.  He pointed out that they had tried to understand on their property whether it needed to be reserved for that future connection. He stated that they had tried to anticipate reality during this planning process.  He pointed out that what the Commission eluded to was the conclusion that they arrived at a year or so ago.  That was that it was unlikely that this section of the parkway was going to be built in his lifetime. He stated there was also the notion of whether a town center was realistic on this property.  Their conclusion was that it was not realistic that the northern area could be a viable town center because it does not connect to anything.  He stated that logically if there was the sense of the Commission that that they could define the issues so that the range of options was fairly limited so they could accommodate some or all of those options in a Master Plan, then they would be happy to try to do that.  But what they could not do was wait for two more years for the Master Plan that may not provide any more information than they have today or any more insight as to how realistically they could develop the property which linked to the economic viability.

 

Mr. Thomas suggested that the applicant reserve the area for the 4-lane road and asked if there would be matter of a time frame that they could do that. He stated that the question was whether the Commission continues to support the concept of Phase II.  He stated that he would continue to support it.

 

Mr. Craddock stated that he would continue to support Phase II.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that she did not think that it would be consistent with the Plan to allow a reservation of right-of-way for two additional lanes to just sit out there for their life time.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if the Commissioners agreed that the term be used for a road serving a similar function.

 

Mr. Edgerton agreed to have a similar road with a similar function connecting up to it, but that he was very uncomfortable in how specific the alignments were.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he would like to have information from a consultant study on the Y intersection from this property onto adjacent properties.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that there have been some studies done on that.

 

Mr. Benish pointed out that an environmental assessment has not been done.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that there has not been an assessment of the by right impact.  She asked if they should plan for a road that would never be built or pick one that has the viability.  If this property was rezoned that they could potentially lose the opportunity to do any of this because there was no proffers.  She stated that she hoped that a compromise was possible.

 

Bob Hauser, of Darby Road, Frank Stoner, of Chestnut Oak Lane, and Don Skelly, of Ownesville Road, were present to speak for the developers.

 

Mr. Rieley pointed out that he was in support of the interconnections to the adjacent properties.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that it was the consensus of the Commission to support the connector road and that they should continue evaluating the need to provide the interconnection.

 

Mr. Benish stated that what he was hearing was that the concept for roadway interconnections, which he interpreting was providing a road that would provide for a northern connection, was something that they still wanted incorporated.  If the consultant wanted it to be done in a certain way that they need to continue to evaluate how that is being done.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that the Commission cares about the number of access points, but they would be open to consider more than one access point. He stated that they should continue to leave the options open for interconnections.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the Commission supports the Neighborhood Model, but that they need to look at it in terms of the impact of the large traffic volume.

 

Ms. Higgins requested staff to talk with VDOT about the traffic impacts to help clarify some of the issues.

 

Mr. Benish stated that staff would do a summary of tonight’s meeting and bring it back in two weeks to obtain their consensus.  Then staff will forward the Commission’s comments to the Board of Supervisors so that they will be aware of the information that you have provided to the applicant.

 

In summary, the Planning Commission held a worksession on Belvidere Preliminary Rezoning Request. Staff presented several areas of concern and requested feedback from the Commission on any concerns that they might have that the applicant should be considering when they come back for the rezoning request. During this preliminary review process the Commission discussed the proposal and provided comments and suggestions on the questions posed by staff to give the applicant an idea of what to expect during the public process. The Commission took no formal action, but requested that staff obtain information from VDOT regarding the traffic study, interconnections and other related traffic issues. Within the next two weeks staff will schedule another worksession in order to follow up on the areas of concern.

 

            Old Business:

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there was any old business.   There being none, the meeting proceeded.

 

 

 

            New Business:

           

Mr. Thomas asked if there was any new business.  There being none, the meeting proceeded.

 

Adjournment:

 

With no further items, the meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m. to the January 20, 2004 meeting.

 

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