Staff Contact:                                                      Scott Clark

Planning Commission:                                        March 2, 2004

Board of Supervisors:                                         April 14, 2004


SP 2003-082 Old Dominion Equine Associates




Request for special use permit to allow an equine veterinary practice in accordance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for veterinary services and animal hospitals. This use would include an office (located in the building formerly occupied by the Cash Corner store) and a horse barn. Operating hours would be 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. The applicants expect to have one staff person (beyond the two veterinarians) on site at a time, and to have fewer than three clients visiting per day. The site would be used mainly as an office for off-site visits, with occasional on-site evaluations and minor medical procedures. Any horses kept overnight would be housed in the barn.


The applicants are requesting a waiver of section 5.1.11 of the Zoning Ordinance, which includes supplemental regulations for animal hospitals, veterinary offices, etc. These regulations largely address the noise impacts of boarded animals.




The property, described as Tax Map 50 Parcels 20C and 20D, contains 1.704 acres, and is zoned RA Rural Areas and EC Entrance Corridor. The site is located on Route 231 at the intersection of Route 640, in the Rivanna Magisterial District.   The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Areas in Rural Area 2.




This site has no past planning or zoning applications. Records and an interview with an area expert indicate that the original store was built in the 1920s, but the current store building (not now in use) dates from 1966.




The property is zoned RA Rural Areas. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Area.




The applicants wish to open an equine veterinary service in the Rural Areas that will accommodate their office and occasional on-site evaluation of a small number of horses. See Attachment D for a more detailed description from the applicants.




Staff recommends approval of SP 03-082 with conditions. Staff recommends approval of the waiver of section 5.1.11 of the Zoning Ordinance.


STAFF COMMENT (Special Use Permit)


Staff will address each provision of Section of the Zoning Ordinance below:


The Board of Supervisors hereby reserves unto itself the right to issue all special use permits permitted hereunder.  Special use permits for uses as provided in this ordinance may be issued upon a finding by the Board of Supervisors that such use will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property,


The use would consist of an office located in a former store building, plus a barn for overnight observation of horses. The office use would generate fewer traffic impacts than a store, as it will mainly be used by the applicants (the majority of whose patients are located elsewhere) rather than visitors. The small horse barn is a typical feature of this portion of the County.


 that the character of the district will not be changed thereby,


An equine veterinary use is compatible with the Rural Areas.


This property is located in the Entrance Corridor overlay zoning district. On January 20, 2004, the Architectural Review Board expressed no objection to this proposal, provided that the applicant meets the following conditions:


1. Relocate the westernmost row of 3 parking spaces southward so the wheelstops are a minimum of 28’ back from the front wall of the building. Aligning the wheelstops parallel with the south wall of the existing building is preferred.

2. Provide a preliminary landscape plan that reflects the surrounding rural landscape.

3. Provide landscaping along all parking areas to the satisfaction of the ARB.

4. If lighting is provided, it should be appropriate to the rural environment.


The Design Planner has found that condition number one has been satisfied on the applicant’s revised plan (see Attachment C). Staff has recommended conditions below to ensure that the remaining issues are addressed. These changes would be shown on the applicants’ site plan.


and that such use will be in harmony with the purpose and intent of this ordinance,


Equine veterinary services are supportive of rural area activities.


The former Cash’s Corner store is located in the Southwest Mountain historic district. Although it is not yet considered a contributing structure to that district, it will become eligible for consideration in 2016. The Historic Preservation Committee has encouraged reuse as a strategy for protecting country stores, which are among the County’s most rapidly disappearing historic resources. Thus this project would support the County’s historic preservation goals, provided that the character of the building is not changed. The Historic Preservation planner encourages the applicant to:


1.       Adaptively re-use the structure by making renovations necessary for the use of the structure while saving the original fabric and maintaining the character, and

2.       Accommodate additional required space in a separate structure.


with the uses permitted by right in the district,


This use would not conflict with agricultural or forestry. The small scale of the use is not expected to conflict with residential uses.


with additional regulations provided in Section 5.0 of this ordinance,


Animal hospitals are subject to the regulations in section 5.1.11:



Each commercial kennel, veterinary service, office or hospital, animal hospital and animal shelter shall be subject to the following:

a. Except where animals are confined in soundproofed, air-conditioned buildings, no structure or area occupied by animals shall be closer than five hundred (500) feet to any agricultural or residential lot line. For non-soundproofed animal confinements, an external solid fence not less than six (6) feet in height shall be located within fifty (50) feet of the animal confinement and shall be composed of concrete block, brick, or other material approved by the zoning administrator; (Amended 11-15-89)

b. For soundproofed confinements, no such structure shall be located closer than two hundred (200) feet to any agricultural or residential lot line. For soundproofed confinements, noise measured at the nearest agricultural or residential property line shall not exceed fifty-five (55) decibels; (Amended 11-15-89; 6-14-00)

c. In all cases, animals shall be confined in an enclosed building from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (Amended 11-15-89; 6-14-00)

d. In areas where such uses may be in proximity to other uses involving intensive activity such as shopping centers or other urban density locations, special attention is required to protect the public health and welfare. To these ends the commission and board may require among other things: (Amended 11-15-89)

-Separate building entrance and exit to avoid animal conflicts; (Added 11-15-89)

-Area for outside exercise to be exclusive from access by the public by fencing or other means. (Added 11-15-89)


These requirements largely apply to confined small animals, such as dogs, which would be a nuisance to nearby residences. Horses, however, are an expected feature of rural Albemarle, and their sounds are not expected to create a nuisance.


and with the public health, safety and general welfare.


The Virginia Department of Transportation has determined that the entrance to this property on Route 640 will require a sight-distance easement in order to provide safe entry and access. Staff has recommended a condition below requiring that such an easement be granted to VDOT before this use may begin. VDOT and Engineering staff have determined that an easement affecting only the subject property would provide approximately 350 feet of sight distance; the current speed limit on Route 640 of 40 mph would necessitate 400 feet of sight distance. The applicants can satisfy this condition by either securing a sight-distance easement from neighboring property owners to increase the sight distance to 400 feet, or by asking VDOT to carry out a traffic study. In the latter case, if VDOT determines that travel speeds are typically 35 mph or less, the necessary sight distance can be provided by an easement affecting only the subject parcel.


The Building Official has determined that the former store building is suitable for this office use, as determined by Chapter 34 of the 2000 International Building Code (which includes standards for fire safety, means of egress, and general safety). The Virginia Department of Health has approved the site for a septic system to serve an office of this scale (the horse barn will not use the septic system).




This is a small-scale veterinary use that fits well with the rural surroundings, and provides an opportunity to maintain a historic structure through adaptive reuse. The use will require some modifications of the site for safety and visual impacts, which have been addressed through revisions to the plan or will be required by the recommended conditions of approval below.




Staff recommends approval of the waiver of section 5.1.11 of the Zoning Ordinance. Staff also recommends approval of SP 03-082 with the following conditions:


1.       The site shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan titled Old Dominion Equine Associates Concept Plan, revised 2/16/04, and prepared by Muncaster Engineering.

2.       The applicants shall provide a preliminary landscape plan that reflects the surrounding rural landscape to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board.

3.       The applicants shall provide landscaping along all parking areas to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board.

4.       Any outdoor lighting shall be designed to be appropriate to the rural environment to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board.

5.       The applicants shall grant sight-distance easements on Route 640 to the satisfaction of the Virginia Department of Transportation.




A.     Location Map

B.     Site Map

C.     Conceptual Plan for SP 03-082

D.     Project Description from Application

E.      Waiver Request
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