Albemarle County Planning Commission

March 23, 2004

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Rodney Thomas, Chairman; Bill Edgerton, Calvin Morris, Marcia Joseph, Jo Higgins, William Rieley and Pete Craddock, Vice-Chairman. 

 

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

 

Call to Order and Establish Quorum:

 

Mr. Thomas called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.

 

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.

 

Bill Schrader stated that he lived in Crozet and had just newly moved into the area.  He stated that he wanted to see what they could do about removing some of the speed limit restrictions in the area of Crozet in front of Route 240.  He pointed out that he had just paid for a speeding ticket he got in front of the old ConAgra Plant on Saturday night. He asked why they were maintaining a 25 miles per hour speed limit in front of a plant that is no longer operating 24/7 if they are not doing that for school systems.  At the end of the day the lights are turned off on the school speed limit signs and he asked why the same thing could not be done in front of ConAgra. He suggested that the speed limit be increased from 25 miles per hour.  He asked what he needed to do to get that sign down.

 

Mr. Thomas asked Mr. Kamptner to help him with this question.

 

Mr. Kamptner stated that the Planning Commission certainly does not have any authority over speed limits.  He asked Mr. Cilimberg if he had any comment.

 

Mr. Cilimberg stated that these matters come up before the Board, and that he could certainly forward this information on to the Board of Supervisors for their knowledge.  He noted that if Mr. Schrader would like to come to the Board’s day meeting in May that he could do so.

 

Mr. Schrader pointed out that when he was paying for his ticket that there were three other persons paying tickets for this exact same location.  He stated that it was a speed trap.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there was anyone else present to speak on other matters not listed on the agenda.  There being none, the meeting proceeded.

 

Review of the Board of Supervisors Meeting - March 17, 2004

 

Mr. Cilimberg summarized the actions of the Board of Supervisors at their March 17, 2004 meeting.

 

Consent Agenda:

 

SUB-04-046 Patrick Siemon, Private Road Request - Request for an internal private road in association with a proposed final plat. (Yadira Amarante)

 

Approval of Planning Commission Minutes - January 20, 2004.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if any Commissioner would like to pull an item from the consent agenda for discussion.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that she would like to pull SUB-04-046, Patrick Siemon, Private Road Request because she was still not sure exactly what the Commission would be approving if they followed staff’s recommendation and conditions of approval.

 

Ms. Amarante stated that this was a request for a private road to create a 2-acre parcel, which was shown in Attachment B. The applicant needs to provide frontage to create the lot. The existing 30-foot access easement was created when the residue parcel, 17B1, was subdivided off of 17B. The applicant could have extended the private road if that was the only building site available to them, which would have given them the required frontage. Another way the applicant could provide the frontage was by using the existing 50-foot access easement. The request is to turn that 50-foot access easement into a pipe road.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that in essence the private road that they would be approving would be that private road, which serves only one lot, and would not serve the adjacent lot or the lot it comes through.

 

Ms. Amarante stated that was exactly correct.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that she had problems with that because the way the ordinance is written is that you must have frontage on a pubic or a private road in order to create a lot. She pointed out that she sat in two Board of Supervisor’s meetings where many, many people on Gilbert Station’s Road were there talking about how bad the road was, how much it needed repair, and how they wanted it desperately to be on the six-year road plan.  One of the reasons that the ordinance is written the way that it is to minimize access to public roads. In reading the justification from the applicant, she did not think that the road itself has to be 1,300 feet long to come up to the standards for VDOT. It just has to go to wherever it cuts off where the three lots are located.  Regarding the 22-foot width, according to the private road standards the width of the road, has to be 14 feet and it has to be prime and double sealed if it is over 7 percent.  From looking at this it is about 10 percent in some areas, and therefore would probably have to be primed and double sealed.  It is probably 600 to 700 feet long and not 1,300 feet.  Therefore, she could not support it mainly because of hearing all of the complaints and what is going on along that road.  In addition, there are other ways that these lots could be located that there could be some sort of easement through the residue of 17B1 to access that without having to punch in another entrance onto Gilbert Stations Road.

 

Ms. Amarante stated that staff asked VDOT for their opinion in terms of whether or not the existing accesses and entrance was adequate in terms of sight distance and all of that.  Staff did not approve it immediately, but left it up to VDOT to approve the subdivision when not more than one access point to the public road is not appropriate. She agreed that a road could be built over that stream that would probably be about 600 feet long. The connection for the improvement of the private road to meet that 3 to 5 lot standard would only have to be to that intersection, and then a driveway could be built from that intersection to give access to that lot.  The other times that they have done waivers like this was that it was a waiver of Section 5.05, which says if you front on a private road and you want access directly to a public road that they could ask for a waiver of that section.  She stated that what they ended up doing was just eliminating the first part of that by giving them frontage on a private road coming off of the existing private road and just went straight to asking for that entrance onto the public road.  She pointed out that she spoke with the applicant earlier and she believed that a reason why he located the lot there and wanted that extra entrance was because he was under the impression that he would have to build a public road within that 30 foot easement, which is incorrect.  She pointed out that the applicant was present.

 

Mr. Thomas asked Mr. Kamptner if he needed to open the public hearing.

 

Mr. Kamptner stated that it was not a public hearing, but he could invite the applicant to come up and present his statement.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if the applicant would like to come up and speak to the Commission.

 

Pat Siemon, applicant, stated that he was not a developer, and all he was trying to do is to bring his son up from Florida so that he could enjoy his grandchildren. He passed out photographs of the property for the Commission’s review so that they could see the two ways that they could make it happen.  He stated that they could either punch through the 200-foot right there or he could use the existing easement. He pointed out that he had not measured it, but had walked the area several times.  He stated that it may not be 1,300 foot, but it is not 600 foot.  The real concern that he had was the year round capability to be able to get up and down the driveway. There were some real steep hills that he would have to probably weave around or do something with to get over the stream and get through the woods.  He pointed out that it was not going to be easy.  He pointed out that his son was going to have to get to work in the winter.  The road itself is very steep. He pointed out that his daughter slipped and slides with four-wheel drive coming up that existing slope that has to be improved to the state road standards.  He stated that there were lots of hills and lots of problems that would go away if the Commission could see their way clear to approve his request.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if the Commissioners have any questions for the applicant.

 

Mr. Higgins asked staff if this was before the Commission because the third lot is being created

 

Ms. Amarante stated that the third lot was not really being created. She pointed out that this was a tricky one in terms of who would get to approve the private road. Private roads are really intended for three lots. Our ordinance is written so that every lot created has to have frontage on a private road or a public road.  The Zoning Ordinance allows lots to come off of an access easement. But because three lots are shown, which are not necessarily in the subdivision, but that 33-48 which is where that 50 foot access exists is already an existing parcel.  The 50-foot access easement was created long before the existing 30-foot access easement that serves the residue was created. She stated that she believed that there was not an actual entrance there, and asked if that was correct.

 

Mr. Siemon stated that it was a dirt entrance that he kept cleared and used as access to park his tractor.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that she was trying to judge whether they were being sensitive to the traffic and road conditions that exist versus how it would affect this if it were not approved.  This could potentially be reconfigured or be brought back as two lots.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that it was coming as a residue of an existing lot.  The 30-foot easement was serving 17B and 17B1 in the rear.

 

Ms. Amarante stated that the end product of the parcel that was being subdivided would be two parcels. The agent cannot approve a private road if more than two parcels are shown in the subdivision. If a separate parcel were shown, then the private road going through it would be considered part of the subdivision because it was providing access to the property.  That is why they could not administratively approve that right-of-way. She pointed out that only two lots would be created and actually only one lot will gain access from this private road.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if staff felt that was a hardship based on the existing conditions of Gilbert Stations Road.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that she was concerned because there were so many people at that meeting and she thought if there was a way that they could eliminate one more entrance onto that road that it would be good thing.  She pointed out that she was not exactly sure that was what they were approving.  She stated that maybe if that 50-foot easement was created there that it could serve the back residue parcel.

 

Mr. Siemon stated that he was aware of the concern that some Gilbert Stations residents have, but those folk are 2 ½ miles from his property. The group that spearheaded the effort that went before the Board of Supervisors recently lives in Bronx Mills Road, which is almost 3 miles away.  They are currently going to get some paving out there.  He stated that he did not think that their section of road would ever qualify for paving.  The folks in his neighborhood are not the people who are expressing this concern.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if there was any way that the 50-foot easement could serve both yourself and your son.

 

Mr. Siemon stated that his residence exists in the back.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if this was compliance or against the ordinance.

 

Ms. Amarante stated that she was bringing this before the Commission because they have the authority to grant this type of private road.  She restated that the Commission has seen other examples of this type of waiver before and this would not be precedent setting in terms of what they have given in the past

 

Mr. Thomas asked if VDOT has approved this entrance.

 

Ms. Amarante stated that VDOT has approved that entrance for a single user in terms of sight distance.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that he did not see anything wrong with this request at this point. He asked how the other Commissioners felt about the request.

 

Mr. Craddock stated that he was comfortable with the request because it seemed to have an adequate explanation.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that she was comfortable with it, but had one question about the note on the plat that the private road would provide reasonable access by motor vehicles as required by 14-5-14.  She asked if that has to do with grades.

 

Ms. Amarante stated that had to do with the certification from the surveyor that says that the width of that easement is enough and that is the standard.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he appreciated Ms. Joseph bringing this to their attention because he would not have understood it so thoroughly. He supported the idea of decreasing access points on rural roads wherever possible.  In addition, just as a matter of point, that Ms. Joseph was quite correct that the portion of this that would have to be brought to those standards was indeed exactly at 600 feet. However, it seems that the sight distance at this location is better than at the existing 50-foot easement. He supported the request because it will be the same amount of traffic in either case, but would be coming in at a safer location.

 

Mr. Morris stated that the Commission needs to be sensitive to the people on Gilbert Stations Road, but because the applicant has stated that it was 3 miles away that he would support the request.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked staff why the owner was not asking for family division since it was for his son, which would have precluded the request from being before the Commission.

 

Mr. Siemon stated that in order to do that he would have to title the land to his son, who then has 2 acres and enough money to buy a tent. He stated that he could not afford to pay for the house.  He pointed out that his concern was that his son might change his mind.

 

Mr. Edgerton agreed with Mr. Rieley that it was going to be the same amount of traffic. He asked if the existing 30-foot access easement servicing 17b as well as 17B1, and Mr. Siemon stated that it was.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that she was happy that he told them that the 50-foot easement existed before because it does make a different. She pointed out that he had the right to use that and could have used it to serve the existing residence and still have the two entrances. She stated that because of that she would support the request.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the matter was back before the Commission for action.

 

Mr. Morris suggested pulling the approval of the Planning Commission minutes for January 20th from the agenda because that was done last week.

 

Mr. Rieley moved for approval of the consent agenda for SUB-04-046, Private Road Request, with the recommended conditions.

 

Ms. Higgins seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (7:0).   

 

            Public Hearing Items:

 

ZTA-03-01 Relegated Parking - Amend Section 4.12, Parking, Stacking and Loading, of Chapter 18, Zoning, of the Albemarle County Code, by adding Section 4.12.20, Relegated parking, to require that at-grade parking be located no closer to a street than the primary structure(s) on a lot in all districts other than the rural areas (RA) zoning district.  Section 4.12.20 also will establish regulations related to this requirement, allow the planning commission to waive the requirement under prescribed circumstances, and will allow the commission’s decision to be appealed to the board of supervisors.    (Elaine Echols)

 

Ms. Echols summarized the staff report.  Previously, the Planning Commission supported making relegated parking mandatory, which was parking to the side or the rear of a structure, but asked staff to help in developing a list of exceptions to grant on a case by case basis.  The Commission asked staff to develop the language, hold a focused discussion meeting and then bring the results of the meeting back with the amended ordinance language for consideration at that time for potential adoption. On March 3, 2004, staff held a focused discussion on the relegated parking amendment dated 2/9/04.  A copy of the proposed amendment is included as Attachment A.  Five members of the public provided input and a summary of their comments, questions and concerns are provided in the staff report. Staff thinks that there are additional clarifications that are needed to be placed into the ordinance that relate to granting waivers, such as clarification about relationships to the ARB, forming utilities and that the relegated parking regulations would not apply to single-family detached residences.  The most compelling comment received was that it was important to have a reduced front yard setback in order to place the building closer to the street rather than having a period of time in which there was a very deep front yard requirement for a building in which nothing could go. She pointed out that right now parking could go in that area.  Staff recommends that the Commission take no action tonight on this particular ordinance, and wait so that the relegated parking proposal would take place in conjunction with the other ordinance amendments currently under review. This would be particularly helpful on the proposed amendments that relate to setbacks.  Staff sent an email to the Commission and everyone on the list for the development community concerning relegated parking. In addition, staff sent out mailings about the other Neighborhood Model Text Amendments that would be discussed at a focused discussion meeting at the end of this month on Wednesday, April 31st. If the Commission has any questions about the staff report, she would be glad to try to answer them.  She pointed out that there were a few people in the audience who would like to speak.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if any Commissioner had any questions for staff before they open the public hearing.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that she had one question on page 2 of Attachment A. She suggested adding some words in item 2 that talks about the reasons for the waivers.  She noted that it seems to be carefully worded, but that there is an item that says the potential safety of patriots and employees cannot be achieved with adequate lighting and other reasonable design solutions or . . .”  It seems like that is directly focused on something, which may be issues that have been up. She stated that when it reads that the potential safety . . . cannot be achieved with adequate lighting that they were going into another area because of the pressure to minimize lighting, shield lighting and that so of thing.  She asked staff to give them a little history on that particular one because it does not fit with anything else.

 

Ms. Echols stated that there were some examples that were given of different types of uses if the parking was in the back of the buildings because the characteristics of the uses might create an unsafe situation for employees or customers. The Commission talked about the different ways that you could achieve relegated parking and also try to create a safe environment from a public safety standpoint from the police enforcement and surveillance standpoint as well as from the visibility of individuals walking to and from the corridors.  The Commission has said that you may not be able to create that in every case from a design, but that the lighting part of implies that the applicant would meet the lighting requirements in the Zoning Ordinance.  This section was not talking about any different kinds of lighting, but if there was no reasonable way that you could create a safe situation, then the Planning Commission would consider a waiver.  The Commission would want to look at a design solution and know that someone had at least tried and not that it was just well that this use has these characteristics and they don’t have to provide relegated parking.  She asked if anyone that was there would correct her if she was wrong in that regard.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that it was well put.

 

Mr. Morris asked to piggyback on Ms. Higgins question.  He asked if there was any input from Chief Miller and his staff on this.  He asked if they had any history of other communities moving in this direction and is there a safety issue.

 

Ms. Echols stated that staff did not get any specific input from the Police Department on this particular ordinance.  But when staff brought the principles of the Neighborhood Model to all of the different Department heads, including the Chief of Police, they said that the SEPTIF principles could be applied with the Neighborhood Model in a way that it did not decrease the amount of safety generally for the citizens of Albemarle County. They looked at it generally, but certainly if the Commission wanted staff to take that to him that they would be glad to take it to him.

 

Mr. Morris stated that he would definitely like to get his input.

 

Ms. Higgins noted that she had the information, which was the SEPTIF Handbook that everybody refers, and she would be interested in the Police Department’s perspective on surveillance because they have alluded to surveillance and safety. She pointed out that she had extreme concerns about creating an environment or affecting the load statistics that the County has, but that the Police Department cannot leave the right-of-way and that they do not travel to sites and she was wondering if that has changed. She stated that if their ordinance was looking at change should the Police Department be looking at different authority. Also, when you start talking about inserting wording into a Zoning Ordinance that talks about potential safety, she thought that they might be leaving a gap. When you start letting someone out of a requirement based on a potential safety issue that she felt that there was no weight in the rest of the ordinance.  It is very easy to prove that a parking lot in front of a building is safer than the parking lot behind the building. A parking lot that has bright lighting is safer than a parking lot that has dim lighting.  It is not that one is unsafe, but one is safer. She pointed out that it was the whole turn lane issue. If you have a turn lane, it is safer than not having a turn lane, but does that mean that you put in a turn lane in every case. She requested some feedback from the Police Department on the rules and regulations about monitoring, surveillance, and statistics that deal with parking lots specifically with that information since they have the time.

 

Ms. Echols noted that relegated parking does not have to be to the rear, but it can be to the side.  There are certainly ways from the street that they could get that surveillance, but she would be very glad to ask Chief Miller if he could give us some feedback on this.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that was a good idea because they had a lot of communications from citizens on this.  He asked if any other Commissioner had any questions for Ms. Echols.  There being none, he opened the public hearing and asked if there was anyone in the audience who would like to come forward and speak on this request.  He stated that they would go down the list of persons to speak first and then ask if anybody else would like to speak. He asked that the first person signed up, Jim Kennan, come up to address the Commission.

 

Jim Kennan, a resident of 3157 Garth Road in the White Hall District, stated that his family has lived here for 70 years. He stated that he was very, very interested in this issue and was delighted to hear that it was still being examined carefully. He asked that the Commission focus in their review of this in the specific areas of cost, environmental impact and practicality. With the exit of many major economic activities recently in this area, small businesses are left and they are the keys to our County and region’s economic vitality.  It appears that this proposal could add considerable capital and operating costs to the already financial overburdened sector of our community upon which we’re so depended by increasing site development and facility maintenance costs, lighting, security, risk management and related expenses. As he understands the concept, slightly modified by what he has heard here this evening, some new residential housing would be impacted as well adding yet more costs at a time that they were seeking to provide affordable housing for those among of who are so in need of it.  Regarding environment, the ordinance could well require that these sites be developed into more hard surface as much more of a site is needed to provide for the standards than is needed to provide for the standard front. He stated that he had these questions for the experts: Do more hard surfaces incur increased storm water generation than sheet erosion?  He would suspect that they do.  In this scenario it appears that a rear egress for deliveries, parking and related fencing could easier require building inferior roadways behind properties leading to the removal of further vegetation and more hard surfacing. Similarly as the courts, which they hear about all the time, are holding businesses increasingly more reliable currently from a financial standpoint for the security of their parking lots and all that occurs therein. He asked whether or not the increased need for strong external lighting, which is inconsistent with local policy, could defuse and curtail such illumination wherever possible. And finally, there is the issue of practically.  It would be helpful for him and for many others to know the instances where relegated parking has in fact been successfully implemented and what benefits have been achieved in the process.  Such a very significant move could easily have unintended consequences discovered as they go along the way.  Wouldn’t such lessons learned benefit Albemarle County as it wrestles with parking issues?  Are we benefiting from the practical experience of other regions before they launch into such a major change at this time of particular economic challenge?  In closing he would observe that there is historical presence of relegated parking dating back to the 1800’s and even before.  As a child it was his misfortune to live for a while in a very large East Coast city where residence and service parking were at the rear of the residence. There were nearby businesses that similarly had what they would call relegated parking today.  Ladies and gentlemen, they called them alleys.

 

Kathleen M. Galvin, Former Co-Chairman of the DISC Committee, stated that they met from 1997 to 2000.  She pointed out that there were three reasons why she wanted to address relegated parking tonight.  First, she wanted to give some historic perspective on this as a former member of DISC.  Second, she would like to address the more salient comments that were made during the March 3rd discussion session.  Third, she wished to support the staff’s proposed zoning text amendment regarding relegated parking with a few provisos. Regarding historic context, DISC was appointed by the Board to craft a framework for future growth within the development areas.  It consisted of about 20 persons from various area citizen, business and professional groups as well as elected and appointed bodies and institutions.  Throughout this process DISC expressed the importance of ensuring a high quality of life in a wake of increased development within the designated growth areas.  Maintaining this high quality of life is predicated on fostering the creation of pedestrian oriented as opposed to automobile dominated environments. This paradigm shift gave rise to a new form of development.  Places replaced large swaths of land dominated by single land use and interconnected network of streets; pathways and greenways replaced large arterials that connected point A to point B.  Increased residential densities and employment opportunities within new town and neighborhood centers would allow the region to diversify its menu of transportation options. Finally, pedestrian oriented site design gave rise to a more compact human scale form of development via narrow roads, smaller blocks of housing, more and varied uses and walk able distances from center to edge. This new form demanded a more intense use of the designated growth areas; thereby increasing the longevity of their boundaries without precluding intentionally designed open spaces within them. The second point addresses some of the comments from the March 3rd Focus Group’s discussion. The intent behind her response is to clarify misconceptions for the record and to address questions caused by the public in light of her experiences with DISC as well as a profession architect and urban designer.  One of the first public comments is that Albemarle County gets the rap as being bad for business with these kinds of regulations and why is relegated parking elevated higher than the other principles of the Neighborhood Model?  Relegated parking is but one of 12 principles and like many of those principles relegated parking plays a supporting role to the first principle, which is Pedestrian Orientation.  Furthermore, creating a pedestrian friendly environment entails more than just a sidewalk.  This is evidenced by the lack of pedestrian activity along Hydraulic Road and Route 29, which has very little activity.  A pedestrian environment includes narrower streets, sidewalks, street trees, and destinations within walking distance.  An average block ranges between 250’ to 600’.  In many ways the tighter street grid enables pedestrian activity.  Two retail projects in Denver, Colorado, Quebec Square and Stapleton organized parking within street grids thereby allowing these centers to evolve into a more urban form over time.  She pointed out that there was a lot here as they could understand.  Secondly, with regards to relegated parking as stated in an article by Philip Langdon (“New Urban News”, October 2003) if surface parking is placed to the rear or side of the building, “it does less damage to a retail district’s coherence.”  District coherence is good for business.  As evidenced by a strong turnout at the ULI “Place-making” conference at Reston Town Center last fall, the development industry is very interested nationwide in building mixed-use projects on a main street model even though it takes more skill.  Do you really want a sea of parking behind a building? That implies a concern for safety, which has already come up.  She pointed out that she would provide handouts for the Commission.  It stands to reason, if you are trying to create a block network within the parking area and the block size was not more than 600’ on one side and you were trying to diminish the size of the parking lots for shared parking, then you are diminishing the size of your parking lots.  That is what is done conventionally now.  Plus if you have offices and residences over retail with good street level lighting aimed downwards, the surveillance potential is increased substantially. As expressed by Dean Brennan and Al Zelinka, planners writing a book on design for safety and crime reduction, it is critical to optimize visibility to and from spaces in a manner that supports informal surveillance of people and activities.  Finally, she pointed out that she did support the zoning text change and would like to add that there is one exception that might be giving some flesh to the bounds here.  When you are not dealing with the possibility of putting parking adjacent to an arterial greater than four lanes wide, that is a real troublesome design problem for many transportation planners and designers across the Country. In that instance, if there can be demonstrated on the site plan that there is a pedestrian realm on the site and that in a sense that adjacency had to be sacrificed for parking in order to support an interior pedestrian district, then that might be one consideration for the review.  She passed out copies of her presentation that were much more detailed.  (See the attached memo dated March 23, 2004 to the Albemarle County Planning Commission and Planning Staff from Kathleen M. Galvin in reference to relegated parking and responses to 3/3/04 focused discussion on relegated parking.)

 

Timothy Hulbert, a resident of 2246 Brandywide Drive in Charlottesville, stated that he worked for the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, an alliance of 1,200 member enterprises.  He thanked the Commission for this opportunity to offer some comments on the continuing subject of relegated parking.  On behalf of a number of their member enterprises, he asked to echo the growing concerns of those Chamber member enterprises regarding this new mandate.  He stated that these were real world concerns about:

·         Customer safety and customer confidence in their personal safety;

·         Business security, the added costs, practicality, workability and affordability;

·         Business competitive equity;

·         Commercial and neighborhood lighting issues;

·         Governmental administration and broad discretion; and,

·         The County’s questionable receptivity to business and consumer issues.

He pointed out that in the staff’s memo that 12 of the 25 items addressed have the word waiver or exception in it. Perhaps the waivers or the exceptions are becoming the rule and need more thinking.  He pointed out that when you have waivers and exceptions that they were making potential issues for lawsuits.  He stated that the County’s approach was the regulatory hammer rather than incentives.  He felt that carrots work better generally than sticks, but the County continues to use its sticks.  He stated that he was not sure if carrots grow in Albemarle County.  On the last matter, the Chamber has a continuing concern that the County is neither listening nor open minded to any perspective that does not conform to its “New Urbanism” point of view.  They share many of the County’s goals to develop this community in a constructive manner, included in the DISC process, which their Chamber participated in from the beginning.  They look at the Neighborhood Model District as “a model” and not “the sole model” for growth, construction of a beautiful Meadowcreek Parkway and much more. It has not been demonstrated, however, that mandated “relegated parking” across all commercial applications is safe, workable, equitable or affordable. We doubt whether such a rigid “one-size-fits-all” approach can ever be. In looking at some of the discussions in the memo, there is a discussion about Barracks Road and how we would redesign Barracks.  He pointed out that he would suspect that everyone would redesign Barracks Road somewhat because he has not seen the perfect development yet.  But, it is a model for urban commercial development and is an enhancement of this community.  He pointed out that it has parking in front of the buildings and it works. Again, they appreciate the Commission’s consideration of these and other issues.  He stated that he would hammer a little bit on the safety issue, particularly the perception of safety.  There was a Board of Directors meeting this morning and the conversation about safety on this issue really exploded. Therefore, he suggested that the Commission talk with people like Kathy Train, Joyce Robins and Carol Clarke because he felt that they would learn that these are real serious issues.  He questioned whether they would ever get this issue sold, but pointed out that it might be time to punt.  (See the attached letter dated March 23, 2003 from the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce by Timothy Hulbert.)

 

Tom Loach stated that like Kathy Galvin he was on the DISC Committee for both DISC II and I. He felt that the interesting thing to note tonight was the difference between the presentation of the last speaker and Ms. Galvin. He asked that the Commission made their decision on relegated parking based on the actual data.  He pointed out that Ms. Galvin came and gave the Commission specific data with a point by point analysis. What we heard tonight from the recent speaker from the Chamber of Commerce was more perception and with no fact.  Therefore, he felt that if they were going to look at this issue from the point of safety that he would agree that they go to the Police Department and not come back with a perception of what someone thinks, but what is the data and does it show that those businesses that have parking to the rear and to the side now are less safe in Albemarle County.  Another question to consider is if that is the experience of other areas where there is no urban development?  He asked that the Commission look at the data and make their decisions based on the data and not on perception of I feel and I think. 

 

Neil Williamson, Executor Director of the Free Enterprises Forum, stated that like Ms. Echols he has spent the last year with relegated parking.  He commended staff for the excellent job they did with their memo outlining the concerns that the Focus Group raised and their answers.  He pointed out that the key question in front of the Commission was whether mandated relegated parking, which staff took as their direction, is the way that they want to go.  Mr. Loach correctly recommends some facts.  As he has reported to this Commission, he has traveled up and down the East Coast looking at some of these developments.  He stated that all of the Commissioners were somewhat familiar with Reston Town Center which has a wonderful relegated parking system.  They have boutiques that had nothing that you can carry out heavy, and if you go less than one-half mile south you have a grocery store with parking out front and an Office Depot.  He stated that one might say that maybe that is just Fairfax County, but he also has spoke to them about Merrimont, which was down in the Raleigh, Durham area.  They have a commercial center that was being worked on, but they were still trying to get the correct boutique fit. However, if you go one mile down 15 or 522 there is a Home Depot, grocery store and a large sea of parking.  There is no size that fits all.  The safety in the boutiques works because of the traffic that is going on in there, the hours that they operate and the products that they sell.  This Commission considered developing a list of uses that would fit relegated parking.  He felt that correctly this Commission said that they could not do that.  Business people continually invent uses and we can’t say that this is the right or the wrong use.  In order to create a preferred form of development that you are suggesting with relegated parking; that it currently exists as an examination of any permit that comes forward for your approval.  Mandating relegated parking goes back to the parking ordinance.  Last January the County wanted to mandate relegated parking across the entire County.  This year the County is mandating it only in the growth area.  My question is do we need a mandate at all.

 

Bob Hodous, a resident of the City, agreed with what Mr. Kennan, Mr. Hulbert, and Mr. Williamson have said. There are a couple of things that have not been considered. Number one, there are some uses for which you appear to be mandating relegated parking for that he seriously questions.  For instance, he disagrees with the need for relegated parking for multi-family dwellings. He pointed out that a lot of people would rather have their dwellings back from the road so that they don’t get the road noise. But, yet if the parking was in the rear and there is no exception for that, with what he has seen on the web site he felt that it was going to be possibly making this type of housing less attractive to people who want to be there and consequently making it more difficult to develop.  If they are looking at increased development, it would seem that there are places where they would want multi-family residences and they would want them to be attractive from the point of view of how they look and also the livability because of sounds from roads.  Number two, some of the places that he saw that would not be subject to exceptions to relegated parking would include Albemarle Square, Fashion Square Mall, and Rio Hills Shopping Center.  He stated that he could not see any of those as being exceptions of what is on the web site.  He asked the Commission whether they really think that having the rear of Rio Hills Shopping Center faces Route 29 North would be prettier. He asked if they really feel that it would be nicer to have Fashion Square Mall right out at the road as opposed to being back behind some screening and some parking, which really tends to soften it.  He asked if they wanted the dumpsters and the loading docks of Albemarle Square at the front on the street level as opposed to back behind.  He felt that there were a lot of situations where mandating relegated parking just does not fit and he would encourage the Commission to instead allow development on a case by case basis where it seems reasonable for development rather than mandating it throughout the growth area.

 

Mike Holmanez stated that he lived in Crozet and did not have a business or a store.  He stated that he wanted to add something about hard data versus perception. He stated that hard data was the way to go when they were dealing with science and labs, but when it affects human lives in how they feel and how they perceive life; he felt that all of the emphasis should be put on perception. In human lives there is no one solution that fits all and he did not think that it should.  He asked that the Commission consider allowing them to develop on a case by case basis where it seems reasonable for development rather than mandating it throughout the growth area.

 

Kelly Strickland, representative for Rivanna Engineering, stated that he lived in Albemarle County.  He pointed out that the classic example of relegated is probably the down town mall in Charlottesville.  He felt that was an instance that everybody in the room would probably agree that it works absolutely perfectly.  There are probably a lot of places in Albemarle County where a similar application would work very, very well.  Master plans are a great way to accomplish this type of thing, but, he did not know about the downtown mall application, even if it had a street going down through the middle. He noted that the downtown mall actually does because it has an emergency egress right-of-way.  But, he did not know if that typical plan necessarily works for the entire development area or commercial districts in the County.  He encouraged the Commission to look at what the City has done in incorporating the Torte Gallis plan and master planning along with what they were doing with the master planning process and incorporating relegated parking into that.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there was anyone else to speak on relegated parking. There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for discussion and maybe some more questions for staff.  He asked if there were any more questions on the staff report. He asked what the pleasure was of the Planning Commission at this point with the recommendation for us to not take an action on it, but to wait to recommend approval until the other zoning text amendments are ready for approval.

 

Mr. Morris asked staff to obtain input from Chief Miller and his staff on relegated parking and the safety issues.  In addition, he suggested that staff obtain any history of other communities moving in this direction.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that from what she had heard tonight that there were some issues that they should deal with in the interim having to do with some the following:

 

·         Requested feedback from the Police Department on the rules and regulations about monitoring, surveillance, and statistics that deal with parking lots specifically dealing with relegated parking.

·         Requested staff to provide input on some of the safety issues or concerns including the perception issue from the Police Department.

·         Address other specific examples that were brought up by the public that might not be addressed in the text such as multi-family housing.

·         Staff mentions in the questions that the regulations that apply are for uses that require site plans, which could potentially cover single-family detached residences.  All of those details would have to be reviewed to make sure of their applicability.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that she went back and looked through the Comprehensive Plan to see what it talked about with relegated parking.  There was only one section that discussed locating buildings behind and beside large structures out of the eleven concepts in there that talked about parking.  She pointed out that the most that she got from that section was that it really is pedestrian positive and that what they were trying to do was create areas that make people feel comfortable walking to and from.

 

·         She requested staff to take a look at the ordinance language that really focuses on the pedestrian aspect of this and come back to the Commission with some suggested ordinance language. She asked staff to address the fact that you could not have parking in front of the building if you provided pedestrian ways with more vegetation. 

 

She stated that there was a place in Lexington that had something like that. She pointed out that it was not a huge parking area, but there is a sidewalk or a walkway that attaches to the main sidewalk along the roadway that goes to the buildings. 

 

·         She felt that there were other things that could be done to mitigate the sea of parking such as terraced parking lots where you have green space in between different parking areas.

 

·         She asked staff to take another look at the wall system and the fencing.  She acknowledged that staff had wrote about that in there, but she felt that it was something that could start hindering the ARB if they put things like that in there which may not be appropriate. The ARB looks at very contextual aspects.  When the ARB reviews design they look at what is across the street and what is side by side.  A wall sitting there by itself is not often something that contributes to the entire corridor since it was just one segment. She felt that issue really needs a second look. She felt that it was just an example of something that could be appropriate, but is not necessarily something that is going to make it appropriate in every single setting.

 

Mr. Craddock stated that he would like to make some comments about some of the issues of the speakers, particularly about Barracks Road Shopping Center. Barracks Road is a classic example of the old style of development, but it does work because you can get to the stores.  He stated that he did not go to the mall because it was a long walk.  But, if he needed something at Barracks Road he could park almost right at the front door and run in and get it.  He pointed out that was the same reason that he did not go to the downtown mall because he did not want to park on Water Street and walk all the way to where the store is.  He pointed out that he did not want to spend two or three hours wondering around, but just wanted to get his purchase and leave.

 

·         He supported the idea of different uses requiring different parking needs.

 

·         He stated that the Commission had received a letter tonight from a gentleman who was concerned with convenience stores.  He pointed out that he worked at Seven Eleven many years ago when he went to college and the reason they don’t have parking lots behind Seven Eleven Stores is safety. Most of the time there was only one person in the store.  They had four doors and when there was one person in the store three of those doors were usually locked for safety reasons. He stated that convenience stores were called convenience stores because someone could pull up, get what you want and then get out.

 

·         He pointed out that there were some items here that need to be looked at and he would find it hard to have mandatory relegated parking across the whole County or even in the whole growth area.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that she received two emails from persons who could not be here.  One of those individuals was Rick Dreher, of Albemarle.  He was opposed to plans for relegated parking because he feels like it would invite more crime regardless of how much lighting there is.  He asked how they would handle handicap and senior citizens, loading docks, and dumpsters. A second citizen, Patrick Boyle, a Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Company, who lives in the City but does a great deal of property business in the County sent in an email.  He states that affordable housing and affordable commercial space go hand in hand, and while the cost issue is not as apparent as those of safety and convenience, he believed pushing parking in the back will have an impact on the cost of developing any commercial parcel. It will require more driveways to access to the rear parking lots, and it will indirectly impose greater aesthetic requirements on the facades of buildings that would be pushed closer to the streets. Based on the comments tonight she was feeling like Mr. Craddock that as they move to become more like a city that in a nutshell that they need to be sensitive what the Police Department says. She felt that parking garages, parking behind buildings and in heavily screened areas might not be unsafe, but they are less safe.  She noted that her perception as a shopper might be more important.  The Planning Commission over the history of the last few years has made a great acknowledgement of having empty stores being a concern in the County.  There has been a successful economy, but she would suggest that there are some stores that are not patronized as much as stores.  If their decision finds that the perception of the public was that they do not patronize a certain store and they lost that potential business, then they might see a down turn in the economy.  Therefore, the decision that was made in the ordinance at this stage could have a long and far reaching effect.  She pointed out that they were considering imposing on small stores with a small business a two-sided building with a front and back door and since they cannot monitor both doors, then there will be an increase in the cost of maintenance for it. She pointed out that she had looked at the designs of strip malls, which were small buildings with small shops. She pointed out that she did not know if there was a reasonable way to design a front door without a large window to look out on the street with an orientation for the utilities and loading provisions for trucks. It is a very frustrating thing to do and she was not sure how they would handle loading spaces in the designs.  She felt that the cost of the building becomes more important with double-sided buildings and you have to pass that on to the business. She pointed out that she was not sure how they could justify that. 

 

Another concern about the design aspect is that they keep talking about the growth area and she thought that Entrance Corridor was what everybody was thinking.  She stated that nobody would design a building that has a back truly on a road, but if they are not on the Entrance Corridor there will be no design standards.  The back of an entire shopping center would be allowed by meeting a minimum setback and it will truly look bad.  It will potentially be on a parallel road that they were trying to strive to develop.

 

·         She suggested that the Commission introduce safer design standards and that the crime prevention issues are relevant and that maybe the twelve principles are each important but the health, safety, welfare issue is more important than all of the twelve principles.

 

·         She pointed out that she was not enthused with relegating parking moving forward in its current form with the waiver process.  She stated that if they have to decrease the safety of any citizens by any percent that it is not worth making relegated parking mandatory.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that he would like to respond to some of Mr. Craddock’s responses. He felt that a couple of the speakers that spoke this evening spoke with some real wisdom about the piece that relegated parking plays in a bigger concept, which is the pedestrian orientation and the mixed use community. Everybody is worried about parking safety issues.  Certainly if they keep their activities in the County as segregated as they have been in the past, then that will be an issue for sure.  If you have a retail district with nothing but retail and the lights go off at 9 p.m. and all of the parking is behind the store, then that will be a safety issue.  But if you have people living there, then that won’t be a safety issue if you have a true mixed-use community.  He pointed out that he was a designer by training and he believed in design to problem solve and he felt that they have an opportunity to make for a better future for Albemarle County.  He felt that this was one piece of it and that was why he was in favor of giving it a try. He believed that the way that this has been structured that they have the ability through the waivers to make the exceptions when they are necessary.  He pointed out that he was very intrigued by Mr. Sutton’s email and some of the comments that he made to the Commission several months ago about the necessity of having direct parking in front of all of his convenience stores.  Unless he was mistaken, probably the most successful convenient store was the Bellair Market and all of the parking was relegated on that with the exception of the two handicap spaces in the front of the store. He noted that people do manage to work with those situations.  It also happens to be in a good neighborhood.

 

·         He personally would like to urge the Commissioners to see this for what it is as a piece of the pedestrian orientation of a mixed use community, which has been demonstrated throughout the Country to allow for a healthier way to grow and that is why he was in favor of pursuing this.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that he was glad that they have a little more time to work on this. He felt that there have been very legitimate concerns raised.  He noted that he certainly believed that relegated parking is an important piece of the puzzle, but he also felt that they need to get it right. He felt that they were right in front of this in many ways. He stated that it was going to be difficult and they need to keep talking about all of these issues and hoped that they would arrive at the best balance between these competing boundaries.

 

Mr. Thomas concurred with Mr. Rieley. He stated that it was a piece of the puzzle and needs to be worked on quite a bit to make it work for both sides.  He felt that the current proposal needs to be massaged quite a bit more and that the Commission needs to work very hard to get it to work for both sides.  He stated that the Commission needs to work on this and wait for the upcoming meeting. 

 

Ms. Higgins asked that when staff brings this back based on Ms. Joseph’s comments, that she would like to see the focus about pedestrian orientation, site features to accomplish the same goals, and look at it more from a constructive way than a regulatory mandated way.

 

In summary, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on ZTA-03-01, Relegated Parking, and took public comment. The Commissioners held a discussion and made some comments and suggestions. 

 

Individual Planning Commission members made the following comments and requests regarding relegated parking:

 

·         Obtain input from Chief Miller and his staff on relegated parking and the safety issues including any history of other communities moving in this direction.

·         Get feedback from the Police Department on the rules and regulations about monitoring, surveillance, and statistics that deal with parking lots specifically dealing with relegated parking.

·         Have staff provide input on some of the safety issues or concerns including the perception issue from the Police Department.

·         Address other specific examples that were brought up by the public that might not be addressed in the text such as multi-family housing.

·         Make sure that the regulations clearly state that the regulations do not cover single-family detached residences since there are some types of these houses that require site plans, which could potentially cover single-family detached residences. Look at the ordinance language that really focuses on the pedestrian aspect of this and come back to the Commission with some suggested ordinance language. Address not having parking in front of the building with providing pedestrian ways with more vegetation. 

·         Explore other ways to mitigate the sea of parking such as terraced parking lots where you have green space in between different parking areas.

·         Take a second look at the wall system and the fencing.  This could be something that could start hindering the ARB if they put things like in that may not be appropriate. This section might be an example of something that could be appropriate, but is not necessarily something that is going to make it appropriate in every single setting.

·         Look again into the issue of different uses requiring different parking needs, especially for convenience stores. The questions were raised concerning regarding relegated parking about the possibility of increased crime, how they would handle handicap and senior citizens, loading docks, and dumpsters.

·         Explore the negative effects on affordable housing and affordable commercial space especially the cost issue of the impacts on the cost of developing commercial properties.

·         Address parking garages, parking behind buildings and in heavily screened areas which might not be unsafe, but they are less safe. 

·         Address the shopper’s perspective.

·         Consider the long and far-reaching effect this may have on the economy.

·         Consider how to justify the increased cost of building design for two-sided buildings for increased maintenance costs and how to handle loading spaces in the design.

·         Understand that the crime prevention issues are relevant and that maybe the twelve principles are each important but the health, safety, welfare issue is more important than all of the twelve principles.

·         Recognize that relegated parking is a piece of the pedestrian orientation of a mixed use community, which has been demonstrated throughout the Country to allow for a healthier way to grow and that is why he was in favor of pursuing this.

·         Continue to discuss the issues to arrive at the best balance.

 

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to delay action on ZTA-03-01, Relegated Parking, in order that staff could bring back the requested information to the Commission for further discussion.

 

SP 2003- 086 Unity Church in Charlottesville Extension (Sign #60) - Request for special use permit to allow an extension on the expiration date for a special use permit for a church, in accordance with Section 10.2.2.35 of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for church buildings and adjunct cemeteries.   The property, described as Tax Map 61, Parcel 4, contains 4.5 acres, and is zoned RA Rural Areas.   The proposal is located on Hydraulic Road, approximately 0.25 miles north of the intersection with Lambs Road, in the Jack Jouett Magisterial District.   The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Area in Rural Area 1. (Scott Clark)

 

Mr. Benish summarized the staff report.  On May 17, 2000, the Board of Supervisors approved a special use permit request for a 200-seat church on this site. This approval was subject to several conditions, including a four-year time limit for construction to begin on the new church building. Since that time, the applicants submitted a second application (SP 2003-053), requesting an amendment of their original permit to allow expansion to 300 seats. That permit request was indefinitely deferred by the applicant to allow resolution of a conflict with VDOT related to the larger church size. The current request seeks an extension of SP 00-02 approval for 30 months (to November 12, 2006, if this request is approved at the May 12 Board meeting).  Staff finds that circumstances relative to the church's special permit extension request have not changed in a manner that would alter staff's original recommendation for approval.  Therefore, staff recommends approval of SP 2003-086, a request to extend the existing approval for the church use for an additional 30 months, with the following conditions that have revised to bring them up to the modern form that is used. (These conditions will replace those from the approval of SP-2000-02)  One deletion is the requirement for ARB review, but that is a requirement and under the current method of condition staff does not like to give items that are already mandated or required.

 

1. Use shall be limited to a maximum two hundred (200)-seat sanctuary and use of the existing building 2 for youth activities accessory to a church use;

2. Construction of the two hundred (200)-seat sanctuary shall commence within 30 months of the approval of this permit or it shall be deemed abandoned and the authority granted by this permit shall thereupon terminate;

3. New approval of septic system from the Health Department;

4. The site shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan found on Attachment F of the staff report for SP 2000-02.

5. The property may not be further divided;

6. There shall be only one (1) residential dwelling on this property; and

7. Any expansion of, or addition to, the uses, activities or structures outlined in the staff report for SP 2000-02 shall require additional review and approval by the Board of Supervisors.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any questions for staff.  

 

Ms. Joseph asked if the request for 300 seats would come back as an amendment to this special use permit.

 

Mr. Benish stated that was actually another special use permit that would be coming before the Commission, which would essentially be changing those conditions. The applicant has a proposal for a different plan so that condition regarding the plan that was approved would most likely be   changed.  He pointed out that would be another matter that would come before the Commission.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any other questions for staff.  There being none, he opened the public hearing and asked the applicant to come forward to address the Commission.

 

H. McDaniel Ball, representative for Unity Church, stated that he did not have anything to add.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there was anyone else present to speak on this application. There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for discussion and possible action.

 

Mr. Rieley moved for approval of SP-2003-086, Unity Church in Charlottesville Extension, subject to the conditions as recommended by staff:

 

1.       Use shall be limited to a maximum two hundred (200)-seat sanctuary and use of the existing building 2 for youth activities accessory to a church use;

2.       Construction of the two hundred (200)-seat sanctuary shall commence within 30 months of the approval of this permit or it shall be deemed abandoned and the authority granted by this permit shall thereupon terminate;

3.       New approval of septic system from the Health Department;

4.       The site shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan found on Attachment F of the staff report for SP 2000-02.

5.       The property may not be further divided;

6.       There shall be only one (1) residential dwelling on this property; and

7.       Any expansion of, or addition to, the uses, activities or structures outlined in the staff report for SP 2000-02 shall require additional review and approval by the Board of Supervisors.

 

Ms. Higgins seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (7:0).

 

Mr. Thomas stated that SP-2003-086 would go to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval and would be heard on May 12th.

 

 Return to PC actions letter

 

SP 2003-088 Jazzercise (Sign #67) - Request for special use permit to allow establishment of an exercise studio in accordance with Section 27.2.2(15) of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for indoor athletic facilities in an LI, Light Industrial district.   The property, described as Tax Map 61W, Section 1, Block A Parcel 8 contains 2 acres, and is zoned LI, Light Industrial.   The proposal is located on the north side of Rt. 866 (Greenbrier Drive), approximately 1/4 mile west of Rt. 29N (Seminole Trail, in the Rio Magisterial District.   The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Community Service in Neighborhood One. (Susan Thomas)

 

Ms. Thomas summarized the staff report. She passed out copies of the revised conditions of approval. This is a very straight forward proposal.  The applicant proposes an indoor athletic facilities on property zoned Light Industrial, which is allowed by special use permit.  Jazzercise is interested in locating at this site. It serves a larger neighborhood either within walking distance or even on a transit line.  It seems like a compromise in immediate area and the corridor. This use does not pose any threat or nuisance to any other business in the building. This is 3,000 square feet, which is cut out of a much larger building. Mr. Morris had a question today about a violation.  There were some changes done to the building without modifications of the site plan and one person failed to get a zoning clearance. That violation abatement is included in the conditions of approval.  If the Commission has any questions, she would be happy to answer them.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any questions for staff.

 

Ms. Higgins asked how the proposed tenant be held liable for the violations that are related to owner.  She asked how they could impose something on a tenant of a building for something unrelated.

 

Ms. Joseph pointed out that the special use permit would run with the building and land.

 

Ms. Thomas pointed out that was typical.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any other questions for Ms. Thomas.  There being none, he opened the public hearing and asked if the applicant would like to come forward and address the Commission.

 

Elizabeth Haulser, representative for Jazzercise, spoke for the request.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there was anyone else present who would like to speak regarding this request.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for discussion and possible action.

 

Mr. Morris stated that this was a straight forward request, but asked could they make an individual in a building correct someone else’s violation.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that the special use permit goes with the property and that it would be the responsibility of the property owner to correct those shortcomings.

 

Ms. Higgins moved to recommend approval for SP-2003-088, Jazzercise, with the revised conditions 1-5 distributed tonight.

 

1.       This permit is for an indoor athletic facility as described in the SP 2003-088 justification submitted December 22, 2003 and supplementary information received February 23, 2004;

2.       Violation 2003-301 shall be corrected to the satisfaction of the Zoning Administrator prior to commencement of the exercise studio use;

3.       The indoor athletic facility use shall be limited to 3,000 square feet of an existing building located at 340 Greenbrier Drive;

4.       Class size shall be limited to a maximum of 60 students;

5.       There shall be a 15-minute interval scheduled between classes so that class times do not overlap and create parking shortages on the site.

 

Mr. Morris seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried (7:0).

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the motion carried and the request would go to the Board on May 12th.

 

Return to PC actions letter

 

ZMA-2003-013 Glenwood Station (Sign # 48) - Request to rezone 9.31 acres from R-15, Residential with a special permit approval for office to PRD, Planned Residential Development with a special permit for office.  The property described as Tax Map 61, Parcel 129F.   The proposal is located on Rt. 631 (East Rio Road), approximately one mile from the intersection of East Rio Road and Route 29N, between Fashion Square Mall and Squire Hill Apartments, in the Rio Magisterial District.   The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Office Service and Neighborhood Service in Neighborhood 2.

AND

SP-2003-092 Glenwood Station (Sign #48) - Request for special use permit to allow office in accordance with Section 19.3.2.9 of the Zoning Ordinance, which allows for professional offices in a Planned Residential Development. (Margaret Doherty)

 

Ms. Doherty summarized the staff report.  This is the same project that the Commission recommended approval for in September that the Board of Supervisors approved in October of last year.  This is the Glenwood Station mixed use project that has town homes, apartments and offices on Rio Road. The application plan represents the same plan that the Commission approved back then.  What has happened here is in the site plan and subdivision process the applicants realized that they want to go to a fee simple ownership product with the town homes, which created the setback issue in the R-15 zoning district. The only way to rectify that was to apply for a rezoning for a Planned District that would allow a varied setback. Therefore, the application plan that the Commission now sees establishes the setbacks. But, besides that there is no plan change. Staff carried forward the conditions of the old special use permit, but dropped one condition because the traffic issue has gone away. The Commission has a copy of the action letter from September and the new conditions for the special use permit. The Commission had to review the new special use permit because the previous special use permit in the R-15 does not count towards the special use permit with the current rezoning request.  In addition, the applicant needed a special use permit for the offices.  This is really a technical item, but they have to hold a public hearing. The applicant is here to answer any questions. 

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any questions for staff.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked staff for an explanation of condition #3 so that he would fully understand what they would be requiring of the applicant if the Commission approves this request.

 

Ms. Doherty stated that they are showing an entrance onto the Mall access road in the back. She asked the Commission to look at the attachments to see the entrance on the Mall access road.  The applicants have a final site plan in process that is nearly completed that shows that access and it also shows the sidewalks on the Mall access road for their frontage. The concern at the time of approving the special use permit was that the Mall may not give them that approval. The Fashion Square Mall property owners were concerned that this may affect future development on their property. If that was the case, then this would allow them to do an emergency access.  The applicants are close to receiving their final site plan approval and she assumed that was not an issue.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that they don’t have a resolution.

 

Ms. Doherty pointed out that the applicants don’t have a final site plan.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that he remembered the uncertainty with the Mall owners allowing that.  He asked if staff was comfortable with that just being the emergency access.

 

Ms. Doherty stated that she did not think that would happen and that the applicant could update them on that.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if the technicality for bringing this back before them was that the set back on the current layout would not be allowed under the R-15 normal setbacks.

 

Ms. Doherty stated that it was not that.  She pointed out that if the applicant subdivides, then the road becomes an access easement and the setback had to be measured from the access easement.  Therefore, it was just when you go to subdivide that there is a setback issue.  The applicant could develop this with a site plan and have condominiums for sale, but once you cut it into fee simple lots they can not meet the R-15 setback.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any other questions for Ms. Doherty.  There being none, he opened the public hearing and asked if the applicant wanted to address the Commission.

 

Mark Keller, with Terra Partners, stated that he had a page of notes, but felt that the explanation given by Ms. Doherty was very good. He pointed out that earlier this evening Ms. Echols mentioned that on April 6th that the Planning Commission would be considering some significant zoning text changes that are going to deal with setbacks, lot sizes and things like that.  These units reside in the middle or neck of the property and look like townhouses on the plan now, but actually are being processed as condominiums on the site plan. He pointed out that the marketing has a significant impact on the structure of the construction financing packet that the owners are currently working out right now and they hope to be breaking ground very soon. While they would love to wait and see the zoning text amendment fall into place, he pointed out that may take several months. That is a much more complex issue than they are dealing with now. He noted that they would like to love to be able to tell the financers that they would be able to market this as town houses with fee simple lots. It would allow them to provide not only a different type of unit, but a different type of ownership. This is a mixed use community. By allowing them to drape a subdivision plat over part of the project it would allow them to hit a broader market. He stated that they were running in front of where the Zoning Ordinance was going. He stated that they don’t have the time to wait for the changes to occur. As far as the access to the Fashion Square Mall, they have not heard anything from them and don’t feel that there will be any objections on their part.  He stated that the Simon Properties, which was the long-term leaser, had the concerns and not the actual owners of the Fashion Square Mall. The Simon Properties were concerned, if they decide to build out parcels or expand the Mall itself, of what impact this connection might have on the technicality of getting their site plan approved.  What they have given them in writing is an assurance if that should happen that they would either put in bollards or a gate to make it an emergency entrance only, which could be regulated.  He stated that the actual hard features, the curb, gutter and the paving, would all go in at the very first part of the project.  Therefore, they would be limiting the use of those improvements. He stated that at this point they are comfortable with those.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any questions for the applicant.

 

George Ray, developer of this project, stated that when this issue went to the Board of Supervisors the condition was put on the approval by the Board that they would have to resolve this issue with Fashion Square before the issuance of the fifty-first building permit.  He pointed out that he had not made this a top priority since he knew he had some time before he had to do that. They have gotten verbal approvals from the owners of the property, which were Mr. Montague and the Estate of Ben Miller.  He pointed out that they are both associated with Fashion Square Mall and he did not think that they were going to have any problems with them.

 

Mr. Thomas asked how the Commission approved this previously.

 

Mr. Ray stated that they approved it essentially the same way that the Board did.  He pointed out that condition was something that they had negotiated with the staff.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that they could use the single access up to 50 units, and Mr. Ray stated that was correct.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that if the condition was imposed because of the concerns of the mall at a later date that it would significantly change the impact of this development on the community because the traffic would be going out one way instead on two ways.

 

Mr. Ray stated that the traffic study anticipated that there would only be one.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there was anyone in the audience that would like to speak on this application.  There being none, he brought the matter back to the Commission for discussion and a possible action.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that it seems that this is consistent with their previous discussions.

 

Mr. Edgerton made a motion to recommend approval of ZMA-2003-092 for Greenwood Station, subject to the condition recommended in the staff report

 

    1.        The site shall be developed in general accord with the application plan entitled, Glenwood Station/Place, dated December 22, 2003, with minor changes allowed to accommodate the required parking when approved by the Zoning Administrator;

 

Ms. Higgins seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried (7:0).

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the motion carried.

 

Action on SP-2003-013:

Mr. Morris made a motion to recommend approval of SP-2003-013 for Greenwood Station, with the four conditions as outlined by staff.

 

    1.        The site shall be developed in general accord with the application plan entitled, Glenwood Station/Place, dated December 22, 2003, with minor changes allowed to accommodate the required parking when approved by the Zoning Administrator;

 

    2.        Final elevations of the office buildings shall be reviewed and approved by the Director of Planning prior to final site plan approval to ensure consistency with the elevations provided herein, dated August 25, 2003;

 

    3.        The Applicant shall construct, in its entirety, a second commercial entrance to their property from the Mall Access Road in general accord with the concept plan entitled, Conceptual Development Plan Glenwood Station/Place, dated July 11, 2003.   Should the County Engineer decide in the future that, for reasons associated with new development on the Fashion Square Mall property, the entrance should be restricted, said entrance shall be converted, by the Applicant, present owner or owner's association into an emergency means of ingress/egress-only by way of installation of gates, bollards or other device. The connection shall be constructed prior to issuance of the 50th building permit.  Sidewalks shall be provided along the entire Mall Access Road frontage; and

 

    4.        The office buildings shall have a 30' front setback and a 10' parking setback from Rio Road, as well as a 50' structure, 20' parking and 20' undisturbed buffer adjoining the Squire Hill development to the south.

 

Ms. Higgins seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried (7:0).

 

Action on ZMA-2003-092:

Mr. Edgerton made a motion to recommend approval of ZMA-2003-092 for Greenwood Station, subject to the condition recommended in the staff report

 

1.       The site shall be developed in general accord with the application plan entitled, Glenwood Station/Place, dated December 22, 2003, with minor changes allowed to accommodate the required parking when approved by the Zoning Administrator.

 

Ms. Higgins seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried (7:0).

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the motion carried and the requests would go to the Board on April 7th.

 

The Planning Commission took a ten-minute break at 7:50 p.m.

 

The meeting reconvened at 8:00 p.m.

 

CPA 2003-07 Crozet Master Plan - Amend the Land Use Plan section of the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan by replacing the existing profile of the Crozet Community with new land use policies, guidelines, recommendations, goals and strategies for future development within the Crozet development area.  The amended profile will include a guide that identifies the purpose and major findings and recommendations resulting from the Crozet master plan study; provide strategies for implementing the proposed Crozet master plan, including strategies for business and economic development, affordable housing, funding improvements, and for implementing the plan; and provide guidelines for the process and form of development within the Crozet development area through narratives, maps, illustrations and site development guidelines, including recommendations for public services, public utilities, social services, schools, historic areas, parks and recreation, greenways, and transportation.  This amendment also will establish new comprehensive plan land use designations for the Crozet development area and change existing designations throughout the Crozet development area, as shown on the map entitled “Master Plan: Place Type and Site Development Guidelines Map.”  The complete proposed profile of the Crozet Community is available for examination by the public in the Planning Department, Room 218, Second Floor, County Office Building.   (Susan Thomas)

 

Ms. Thomas summarized the staff report. This is the Commission’s eleventh or twelfth meeting on this plan. After a year long public process there has been an eight month Planning Commission process. The final report was delivered to the Board and Planning Commission last July. The work sessions were open to the public, but this is the public’s first opportunity to speak to the plan as a whole.  As you remember there was a public hearing on one particular recommendation, which was that of amending the boundary. Other than that, this will be the first public hearing on the plan in its entirety. There are a couple of housekeeping details.  Staff passed out a parkway definition prepared by Will Rieley. (See the attached handout) The Commission asked Mr. Rieley to come up with a parkway definition as part of the road treatment in the plan.  The Commission will need to discuss the definition.  Staff will format the document for the Comp Plan.  There is an error on the Place Type Map that staff did not catch.  Main Street is shown in red, which means on the key that it is an existing road, but Main Street does not exist yet and is a proposed road. Main Street should be shown as black because it is a primary Commercial Street. Staff will correct the color error. The parkway information could be incorporated into the plan in a number of ways if they chose to do so. It could be added to the drawings of the street dimensions and the street design illustrations, which are found in one of the attachments called Design Elements Thoroughfare Types. Staff would not put the quantitative information there, but they did leave a little space for parkway if the Commission wanted to add it there. She suggested that the information could be added at the bottom of the Street Design Criteria Road Matrix if the Commission wanted to get the definition in there.  Or the Commission could say that they don’t have a parkway in Crozet and they will deal with it at the next Master Plan.  There are three options on how to deal with the parkway definitions. The whole reason that the parkway issue came up was that they thought that they were working with a draft set of street criteria that that they hope VDOT will adopt and they will be used County wide. Therefore, they wanted to standardize the street criteria and so the idea of putting the parkway either on this chart or on the line drawings came up. There is a lot of flexibility on that one and the Commission can decide what they want to do. She stated that she would be happy to try to answer any questions or supplement any information that the Commission might have questions about.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any questions for staff.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that since she was not here when the public hearing was done to change the boundaries of the Master Plan, and that she has gotten emails to the effect of some exploration of that she asked staff to provide some background on that.  She asked what the benefits to having incorporated an additional area that was not necessarily involved during the committee process. As part of that question, there is a line that seems to bisect a fairly intense neighborhood. She questioned why it was drawn there and not so that it would pickup the whole neighborhood because one-half of that neighborhood was left out of the growth area.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that was a good question.  The boundary amendment was one of the major recommendations of the plan, but it came up in sort of an organic fashion. When they came forward with the framework plan in December, 2002, which was the first concrete product in the planning process out in Crozet. The consultants, staff and some of the public were pretty excited about it.  But, one of the messages that they immediately got from the community loud and clear was if the consultant and staff forgot one-half of the downtown area.  It was felt that they only designed up until Three Notched Road and there is a large part of down town that lies above it.  In our own defense, we stated that they tackled the designated development area first and that is where the boundary was.  They have not forgotten about the northern part of downtown, but it was not technically part of this study in a formal way. They knew that they would get to that issue, but they did not get to it first.  Staff focused on the development area first. Many of the citizens said that was a very artificial division because they did not look at their down town that way.  They requested a revitalization plan or redevelopment plan that looks at the entire area.  They quickly realized that maintaining this type of treatment of the historically settled part of Crozet, which was sort of the heart of the community, was very important.  They realized that it was going to be very difficult for the expenditure of public funds on an area that technically lay outside of the designated development area.  That seems like a silly technicality, but staff was very careful on where they direct the public dollars. There began to be a lot of interest in uniting down town and finally getting rid of the division that happened when Lickinghole was first put into place for some very good reasons.  The other issue that they quickly realized was that Beaver Creek Reservoir had not protection.  It was really a short distance from a high concentration of settlement with the entire run off issues and you get the water quality issues for the drinking supply for the very same community. Putting in storm water management facilities often involve a large public expenditure. Part of the area proposed for these facilities was outside of the development area.  It was for social, historic, environmental and policy reasons.  The southeastern quadrant of that designated development area had shown up in the original framework plan, which was the mid-point product of the whole process.  It was shown in the least dense most environmentally sensitive, most careful color. Even at the framework level, the consultants were beginning to say that it was going to be very hard to honor the premier principle of this plan relative to this southeastern quadrant because all roads and paths lead to down town. Down town stays primary no matter what else happens in the community because it will remain the heart of it all. The southeastern quadrant was going to be very difficult to link in any affordable way to down town. Aside from that, the County has had a long standing commitment to preserving the aesthetic qualities of Route 250 West. There is a standing committee and a volunteer citizen committee that both protect the corridor. This is one of the least disturbed of that Route 250 West Corridor. By removing that from the development area it would make it easier to protect it from visual and traffic impacts.  Staff felt that it was a fairly balanced kind of an amendment, but was not designed to be perfectly balanced.  Both of these changes stood on their own two feet, but certainly from the standpoint from working with the down town and accomplishing some really important commercial and employment opportunities the boundary amendment made it much easier.  The amended boundary was a part of the plan during the second half of the Master Planning process and shown on every map from there on.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any more questions for staff. There being none, he opened the public hearing. He stated that he had a list of speakers who have signed up.  Once the Commission goes through this list that they would ask anyone else who would like to speak.  He asked that the first speaker, Mr. Forrest Kerns, come forward to address the Commission.

 

Forrest Kerns, President of the Jordan Development Corporation, stated that the Charlottesville Housing Foundation, which is now the Piedmont Housing Alliance built the Meadows apartments in 1979 and expanded in 1991.  They operate 58 apartments for low income tenants. The Jordan Development Corporation is a non-profit Board that operates the Meadows along with the Scottsville School Apartments.  Albemarle County regularly appoints representatives to the Board.  They operate with the County in providing housing for low income citizens of Albemarle County. In 2002, Jordan Development started discussions with Albemarle County Planning Department requesting zoning for additional apartments at the Meadows. They initially were asked to delay their request until the Crozet Master Plan was formalized and it was in place. Over this time they have had discussions with the Planning Department about the designation of a street that would connect Crozet Avenue and Old Trail Development. After looking at the map this evening he found that it was not designated to the south of the Meadows property. They support the present proposed location of this street.

 

Ms. Thomas pointed out that she did not think that the proposed location of the street had changed.

 

Mr. Jordan asked if the proposed road is still designated to come through the Meadows track.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that when they talked about road alignments during the work sessions with the Commission there were several alignments that they had some questions about, but the conversation pretty much centered on the fact that these are not precise, but conceptual in many cases and will depend a lot on the pattern of development or redevelopment that actually occurs on the site. They are opted in the case of Western Avenue to not to make a change even though it is not going to take probably take that path. Therefore, staff did not change any of the roads other than to pull out the names of them so that it would be clearer what they were. Staff’ intention was not to change this, since it was exactly the same. This issue was very much a topic during the Commission’s work session of finding the least evasive way to make connections.  Therefore, that has not been ironed out yet and staff’s intention was not to change anything on the map.  That does not mean that it will be a specific alignment because that alignment could flex.

 

Mr. Jordan stated that with that information that he could not make the comments that he had planned.  He pointed out that Jordan Development has been discussing the location of this street for a long time.  It connects the Old Trail Development which is a high income residential and business area and building a street through their low income housing development. Presently they have been anticipating building some more units there. This street would knock out one-third to one-half of the units that they propose to build. They would be very much opposed to a street being built across their property to accommodate the development behind them.

 

Mr. Thomas pointed out that as staff indicated, the roads are conceptual for discussion purposes only. As this plan moved along, he pointed out that he got phone calls asking if this road was going through their house.  He noted that he told them that it may or may not because it was a conceptual plan and not written in stone.

 

Ellora Young, County appointee to the Jordan Development Corporation, stated that the last time that they had a zoning request before the Commission regarding the Meadows that she had discussed the safety issues regarding the proposed road through the Meadows.  She pointed out that their residents were elderly, infirm and handicapped. Most are compromised by either hearing or sight. They have residents in wheel chairs and residents who pull their oxygen tanks behind them.  There are 30 car registered to their residents. To put in a short cut to a development with a potential of 1000 or more vehicles would overwhelm their residents and is a disaster ready to happen. After that discussion both the Planning Department and The Jordan Development Corporation expressed some interest in working together on this problem. However, it was not until she approached a member of the Board of Supervisors about the lack of movement on this issue that the Planning Department was forced to meet with them with Sally Thomas as the referee. There were many versions of the road put forward that day until one of the County engineers pointed out that no one knew which of any of the proposals were viable because a study to determine the best approach had not been done. It is my understanding when they left the meeting that Sally Thomas preferred the road south of the Meadows as is proposed on the map. She instructed the Planning Department to redraw their proposal and get back to them.  But again they have been unresponsive and they therefore conclude that negotiations are complete. She encouraged the Commission to adopt the drive from Old Trail Development to Crozet Avenue as it is drawn south of the Meadows. As an organization, all of us are unanimous and will no longer consider any road way for their property.

 

Craig Maupin stated that his concerns about this were not about the residents of Crozet, but it was about DISC.  He noted that it is coming from the outside of Crozet and it was not their input, but was a process that started ten years ago to bring high density development to Crozet. Since they were talking about doing these twelve miles from Charlottesville that it would have a big impact on not just Crozet but all of western Albemarle.  He noted that they have to consider that. There are two things that DISC seems to be interested in being high density development and getting plenty of money spent on infrastructure for that high density development. This plan has tens of millions of dollars and it is spent twelve miles from Charlottesville. He pointed out that this will have an effect on everybody. He stated that his first concern was that what this plan is about is about pushing targets for formulas and rules for high density development instead of really what the residents of Crozet want. In this plan they see the number of 12,000.  The residents of Crozet have been told that Crozet will suddenly stop growing 12,000. He felt that was a pretty remarkable statement. He pointed out that would not necessarily happen in the real world.  He pointed out that pushing high density development and sending thousands of people out to Crozet was going to have a real impact. He pointed out that they had been told that their by-right level was now at the capacity at 12,000. The safest way to keep it there is not to produce a land use map that has tons of up zonings in it.  He felt that was irresponsible and was a formula that was being applied out of place.  He stated that he had a problem with the process.  He pointed out that he sat on the historic committee and they talked about not just putting parts of Crozet in a registry, but they talked about protecting history. He stated that he found it hard to believe that they were that because he felt that was an incentive to destroy history and not to protect it.

 

Charlie Trachtra stated that he lived in the Rio District and was present to support the people of Crozet who were trying to protect their district and in turn trying to protect our County.  He presented a handout to the Commission of his opinion in writing. (See the attached handout.)   He stated that he hoped that this Master Plan and the others which follow will be like the County’s watch dogs and be something to guard the County’s resources and natural treasures. He stated that if this is what the County feels is a watch dog, and then they had better get a larger insurance policy to cover theft because this dog has not teeth.

 

Jack Marshall, President of Advocates of Sustainable Albemarle Population, stated that he lived in the White Hall District   He pointed out that the ASAP commends the Planning Commission for working with the people of Crozet to develop a long term Master Plan.  They applaud the plan’s recognition for a sustainable community as linked to management of its population growth and related to the achievement of an optimal population size, though they feel that the proposed growth of Crozet from three to twelve thousand is a little excessive. As Albemarle’s report to the committee of 2004 states, such planning promotes our quality of life by helping to protect the Rural Areas and their vital thriving urban areas.  The residents of Crozet devoted countless hours with you in good faith to develop a Master Plan.  The plan acknowledges that the proposed growth imposes significant costs for increase infrastructure for roads, schools, water and sewer, sidewalks, safety, and so forth.  As planners you know that growth costs and that residential growth does not pay for itself. The people of Crozet know that too and agreed to a Master Plan that identified necessary infrastructural elements that would be provided by the County for our growth area as the population expanded. What may be occurring now, however, is an unraveling of the County’s deal with Crozet.  Crozet is apparently still expected to absorb an additional nine thousand people as stated in the Master Plan, but the County is apparently not prepared to provide the funds to implement the community’s strengthening elements of the Master Plan.  That is not fair and it does not set the stage very well for a sustainable Albemarle population. The Crozet Master Plan becomes a little more than a plan for a development, but not a plan for a sustainable community. Those of us concerned with the success of local government are quite to condemn unfounded mandates when they are on the receiving end of short sited or self serving State or Federal decisions. Without providing the support for needed infrastructure to handle the population growth in Crozet, the County is burdening the community with the same kind of unfounded mandates that you must grow, which they are saying to Crozet, but somehow you must deal with the cost of the growth yourself.  He pointed out that this might erode the good faith in which other Albemarle County communities in the future would agree to spend their time and effort developing their own Master Plans. He stated that they believe that they have two alternative choices.  One is to fully fund the infrastructure costs appropriate for the pace of growth agreed to in the Master Plan or two, significantly slow the proposed pace of growth so that it does not outstrip the public facilities necessary to maintain the quality of life in Crozet.

 

Mary Rice thanked the Planning staff, particularly Susan Thomas, for all of the hard work and personal time they put into the Master Planning process.  She applauded the consultants and Lee Catlin for involving many citizens over a long period of time in a very cooperative effort. Virtually all of the citizens who came to the public forums and the town’s group meetings were looking to create a plan that would preserve Crozet’s unique small town character in the face of enormous growth. There is a lot to like about the final plan such as the emphasis on downtown Crozet, a  new library and an attempt to attract a small town feel with a community interconnected by sidewalks and bike paths to all an all an environment that fosters a sense of community for people within and around Crozet. But what is going to make this visual a reality.  She pointed out that she would offer a few suggestions.  The first has to do with the Neighborhood Model. She noted that she fully understands the importance of the mixed use aspect of the Neighborhood Model and sees how important it is that this aspect of the model is applied to new big projects like the Hollymead Town Center, but it be built from the ground up with bare land. However, as mixed use projects are developed in Crozet it is essential to remember that they the core with the unique aspects of Crozet is at the central downtown. So that in Crozet while it is good for people to be able to walk to a neighborhood store or a school, but it is much more critical for citizens to have the ability to walk, bike or drive to downtown park there and walk safely and conveniently within a core of a central shopping area.  She noted that she would hate to see stores built outside of downtown just so they would fit the Neighborhood Model.  If they are built they must be calibrated to fit as the plan states.  So if small store is approved for a neighborhood so that people can walk to get a quart of milk in the morning that could be a good thing.  But, if a real shopping center shows up in the center of the new development that is what will kill downtown. Along those lines, the communities spoke loud and clear about the importance of no new large scale development over at Route 250 West.  She pointed out that she was pleased to see that the final document states that, “the County must limit the amount of development on properties adjacent to Route 250 from I-64 to Route 240.”  Adhering to this policy will be critical to the support of downtown for Crozet and for the free flow of parking to I-64, thereby reducing the amount of traffic on Route 250 East towards Charlottesville.  Lastly, how can they implement the core aspects of the plan before the new developments gets out ahead of planning, which some things are happening right now? Much of the answer lies in funding the plan. They must insist that the County keep Crozet capital improvement projects that are on the CIP list at the top of the list.

The projects that are not in the CIP must be put on with definite dates of implementation. The County must negotiate with developers for maximum profit to pay for the impacts of their developments. She acknowledged that the Planning Commission is not the body that approves the County budget, but the funding for the Crozet Capital improvements is so essential to the success of the plan that it must be mentioned at every opportunity.  How can you implement the vision of the interconnectivity in a community as the 8th grader who just moved into to Waylands Grant won’t be able to walk to town on a sidewalk until she is a freshman in college, which is the way that the funding for Jarman Gap Road looks like now? She stated that funding plans like that is simply unacceptable.

 

Shannon Williams, resident of Gray Rock community, stated that he had lived in Western Albemarle for the past 3 ½ years.  He stated that in a way he was part of the problem of incoming dwellers to the area, but hopefully he was part of the solution as well. One of the things that attracted him to Crozet was the rural aspect of the environment.  He pointed out that he sees that aspect in the mountains that surround Gray Rock, which is the feature that attracts most of the people. To the extent that the Crozet Master Plan allows for upgrading and rezoning properties to allow for high density in 6 to 18 units per acre that becomes less attractive to him as a resident. He pointed out that he speaks on behalf of other professionals who live in the community such as Dr. Craig McCarter, Dr. Carl Wan and Dr. David Reed who share his sentiments. The control of growth in Crozet is going to be paramount to attaining professionals such as him as well as the others that he mentioned.  To the extent that rezoning is allowed as part of the plan for high density growth and it becomes in tune with the project in that area it becomes less attractive to people such as him. People are interested in sustaining and fostering the growth and the culture of the area. To that extent that they allow that to happen as part of the growth, then he would be less inclined to reside there.

 

Tom Loach, resident of Crozet, stated that he was mad as hell and was not going to take it any more. Our community has been trying since 1993 to work with the County to develop a plan to accommodate growth in Crozet.  If you take the time to read it the 1993 Crozet Community Plan could be considered to be the Reader Digest’s version of the current Master Plan.  It includes plans for road locations, revitalization for downtown with new businesses and a range of housing types and prices. It also includes plans for new sidewalks, and a new library. A new feasibility study was supposed to be done on the old Crozet School to see how it could best serve to benefit the community. With the passage of eleven years, there are not new sidewalks and there is not new library.  The feasibility study was never done and a downtown improvement done by landscape architect David Anhold several years ago has not been implemented. Roads like Jarman Gap which were suppose to be improved in 2003 have not been touched and the improvement plans have been put on the shelf until 2008 despite that not one, not two, not three, but four new developments have been approved and they all connect to Jarman Gap Road. Now Crozet has completed its Master Plan and charted our path to build from three to twelve thousand residents by right. But when they were still in the Master Plan process the community insisted on one thing and that was that any plan must be closely tied to infrastructure funding.  To that end the consultants included in the final plan a series of recommendations that would tie growth to infrastructure which from what he could read in the plan before you seems to have disappeared. We, as the community, have said all along that the recommendations from the consultants were negotiable, but negotiation takes to two parties and one of the parties seems to be missing.  With two professional architects and now an engineer and a planner there has never been a better Planning Commission better qualified to look at the work of the consultants and determine if their cost estimates and time line for implementing the infrastructure are appropriate.  It should be the job of the Planning Commission to evaluate the entire Master Plan including costs and then come up with a plan and time line for implementing infrastructure and forward it to the Board. It should then be the job of the Board to decide what if and how to fund the Master Plan. This takes him to another thing. That is fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me. To that extent, the committee has taken a stand that Crozet will not longer support any rezoning until such time as there is adequate infrastructure plan that matches the rate of growth.  Furthermore, until there is adequate evidence of full funding for growth, he would recommend no other growth area support rezoning in their communities to both protect themselves and show solidarity with the community of Crozet.  If the Board of Supervisors can pass a budget that subsidizes the most affluent residents in Albemarle between 9 millions dollars a year then it can afford to fund growth area infrastructure.  What you have before you tonight is a vote of not confidence in County government and hope that the Board gets a clear message from tonight’s meeting of the true feelings of Crozet.  If this plan goes to the Board without adequate infrastructure, then it is the same as saying to not only the residents of Crozet, but to all growth area residents to let them eat cake.  He pointed out that everybody knows what happened to the author of that quote.

 

Laura Juel, President of the Crozet Community Association, stated that the Crozet community got involved with this process as a way to have input into their destiny. As a result of this extensive planning, the citizens have already taken action to organize a trails organization and a historic district committee to help establish the downtown as a historic area. Many of these Master Plan ideas and recommendations are not new to us.  They have had the benefit of going through a similar process in 1993 as Mr. Loach stated. In 1993 the Community Study and the current Master Plan stressed the importance of a network of infrastructure and services to be concurrent with development.  The citizens of Crozet have been patiently waiting. She stated that she would like to bring to the Commission’s attention the Eastern Avenue design and the engineering of the bridge construction were noted as a high priority starting in 2005.  This project does not have any funding source.  She asked if this will follow the same path as the Jarman Gap Road project. Another example is the three hundred thousand dollars allocated for sidewalks.  This is a million dollar project. Crozet has been rejecting two times for sidewalk grants and it is time for the County to make a commitment to invest in its growth area. Without this investment the Crozet Master Plan as well as others to follow will be doomed to fail.  One could only wonder how many of these projects will be on the 2013 plan.

 

Michael Marshall stated that he was partly to blame for this meeting tonight because it was two years ago that Scott Peyton and he talked to Mr. Cilimberg and tried to persuade him that Crozet was the place that deserved to be master planned first.  He stated that he had done that with some reluctance having been on the School Board as Chairman and with the Crozet Community Association for about 20 years and some of that time as being President.  He stated that he had been very active in the community and had some knowledge about how local government works. He stated that they should be celebrating tonight. He thanked the Planning Commission for all of the time they had spent on the plan.  He also thanked the Planning staff, the developers and others who have attended the many meetings.  He suggested that the Commission adopt the plan and move it forward. He stated that there were three things on the top of the list, which were the crossing of the railroad tracks for Eastern Avenue, the bridge over Lickinghole Creek on the south edge of Eastern Avenue and the library.  The reason that this plan deserves to be adopted is that it has two very wise organizing principles.  First, the downtown remains the cultural center of the town and the community identify is not disturbed where it has historically been. Second, that Route 250 to the extent that it is possible retains its identity as a bypass around the town. If those two questions are raised and answered positively, then he felt that would unfold in a sensible way for you. He asked that the Commission move this plan along.

 

Karen Maupin stated that she was a resident of Yancey Mills, which is inside of the growth area and directly affected by it.  No offense to Mike Marshall, but she was going to disagree with him because she opposed the Crozet Master Plan for the following reasons. She noted that she did not judge the value of what makes Crozet special as to how much asphalt and concrete is poured in infrastructure because she did not want that in Crozet. The first reason that she did not want the Crozet Master Plan at all was that the plan emphases urban and high density developments. The majority of the Crozet residents oppose the plan. The opposition was ignored and eliminated throughout the process. The second reason was that the whole planning procedure was misleading and it was still misleading.  People are unaware of how zoning will drastically change to pack as many dwellings as possible into the growth area. The third reason was the historic neighborhood reservation did not fit into the planner’s recommendation but instead higher density housing was a priority. Crozet should not be a growth area because it was so far removed from Charlottesville with it limited water capacity.  This is a very interesting item that she has wondered how this could pass the Board of Supervisors. The residents of Crozet overwhelmingly voted to oppose the VDOT plan to widen Jarman Gap Road beyond Gray Rock.  Somehow, even with the consensus of the majority which was recorded on the Albemarle County website, VDOT has decided to widen Jarman Gap Road by adding 8 feet to the road behind Gray Rock in the name of bike paths.  There is evidence of recorded votes in opposition to the widening.  She asked how did this happen. She asked if there was any integrity to the leaders of this process. Will it stop here? The same type of process will continue throughout Albemarle County such as Hollymead and Glenmore because this is just the beginning. She stated that she did not believe that those residents would want to be subjected to this manipulative urbanization process. She implored the Planning Commission to give citizens and taxpayers a voice in this process and stop the Master Plan now by voting no.  There is a large enough group present tonight in opposition at this meeting to favor voting no.

 

Carroll Conley stated that he had been in Crozet all of his life since he was born and raised there. He stated that he would like to see Crozet stay as it as always been, but they all know that they can’t stop growth.  Crozet has been the best kept secret that there ever was. He pointed out that he owned 20 acres in downtown Crozet that was a lumber yard. That lumber yard has seen many businesses come and go such as Acme Visible Records, Morton Frozen Foods, and ConAgra, and it is still a thriving business. He stated that he aimed to keep it that way. Some of these proposals on the Master Plan would kill the lumber yard. He stated that the lumberyard was the largest employer in Crozet and the oldest business in Crozet, which has not always been under his ownership. He acknowledged that people are coming to Crozet, but that the lumberyard respects the neighbors and the community of Crozet more than it has ever done in the past. He opposed the East/West Main Street because it would take out the south side of his lumber yard completely and the entire buffer area next to the residential area. There would be traffic driving by his broiler rooms and dry kilns. He noted that they could not survive with the East/West Main Street. He stated that nobody can change growth, but that they need to respect the communities that are already there. This business has survived through some tough times.  He asked that the Commission look at this plan closely at that road.  He stated that maybe his family would sell that lumber yard one day because he did not close any bridges or doors. But as long as a member of his family wants to run that lumber yard and met the laws of this County, State and Country that the road would have to be opposed and the lumberyard would have to continue. It is the oldest business in downtown Crozet and a very good business.

 

Maged Hamza stated that he had been a resident of Crozet for almost two years. One of the things that he has been concerned about is the direction of Crozet in the way it looks. It is not northern Virginia or Georgetown, but just Crozet. He agreed that it was hard to stop growth. He noted that he talked to many of his neighbors and they petition that they not stop growth but just ration it.  He asked that they retain the rural look by having vegetation in the area.  He stated that they oppose the expansion of the road beyond Gray Rock. He thought that VDOT and the County heard what they had said in that instead of having two sidewalks that there only is one sidewalk and only bike lanes beyond that. He stated that they were concerned with the amount of vegetation that would be lost. He pointed out that in regards to providing bike lanes beyond Gray Rock, that he did not see his children riding bikes on a road like that with cars going 55 miles per hour.  He felt that would be very unsafe. He stated that they were concerned with the funding and asked that they make some recommendations about that.  They would really like to see the source of funding for this project. If the improvements are going to be made, then they would like to know where the money is going to be coming from and it was not the matter of taxing all of the residents later on. He noted that there was a traffic concern with bringing in more people. He noted that they don’t believe that the Eastern/Western Avenue would absorb this traffic.  All of this traffic would spill over on to Jarman Gap Road. He asked that something be done to address all of these concerns.

 

Kathleen Jump, representative for the Master Plan Steering Committee, stated that it was a committee of the Crozet Community Association and she had been asked to speak in that role. She thanked the County and particularly Susan Thomas for working so hard on this process. The Master Plan process has been underway since March of 2002. They were very glad to enter into this process which they swallowed hook, line and sinker as a mechanism to try to identify and have some impact on the growth of Crozet. They knew this was important and that all eyes were on Crozet because this was the first area to be master planned.  They feel that there is still time to do it right Crozet. She voiced concern that the development community was going to race ahead of the infrastructure to support this plan. These things need to go hand in hand. She asked that the Planning Commission support the Master Plan and make a recommendation concerning the funding so that the projects such as Jarman Gap Road and the sidewalks can be completed. 

 

Bob Helt stated that he lived at the end of St. George’s Avenue in the new development area. He stated that his concern was the pollution that would be caused by the run off of the new development along Route 240 and the proposed new road that would connect Route 810 and Route 240 behind Crozet School. He stated that he was familiar with the two creeks behind the school, which includes Parrot Creek that runs beside Crozet School and the other one is an unnamed creek that runs behind IGA. Both of these creeks meet and run down to Beaver Creek Dam that is a part of our drinking supply.  Even after working with the County on several projects, he pointed out that there is still a lot of run off. The new connector road proposed from Route 810 to Route 240 would go over both creeks and be a major source of pollution. He proposed that they name the unnamed creek Crozet Creek.  He stated that he was very concerned because he had watched both of those creeks for over 18 years and it does not take much to pollute those.

 

Jeff Werner, representative for the Piedmont Environmental Council and member of the DISC II Committee, stated that he lived in Charlottesville across from the Downtown Mall, which was the model for the Neighborhood Model. He stated that it works for his family.  He urged the Commission to adopt this plan because it was the result of the Crozet Community’s hard work and they should be applauded and rewarded.  He stated that he had heard the claims that the master plan was influenced by outside interest. He pointed out that he intentionally stayed away from this process and never went to any of the meetings so the no one could intend that this outsider the outcome. He stated that with or without this plan the growth currently planned for Crozet will cost real money. He pointed out that he was always amazed when he heard people complain about the excessive cost of the Neighborhood Model as if to say that by right development is somehow free and that by right development does not create traffic congestion, by right homes does not create school children and by right developments don’t need policemen or fire protection.  He asked that they be real straight forward tonight and acknowledge that with or without a major political shift in Albemarle County that he was hard pressed to believe that the County’s elected officers or the land speculators and developers who  hold land in Crozet will every allow the planned growth there to be removed from the Comprehensive Plan.  He stated that he equally doubts that the County will ever deny rezonings in Crozet that are consistent with the current Comprehensive Plan.  The truth is, again, with or without this Master Plan there is a fiscal reality of growth that the County needs to acknowledge.  He suggested that everyone to take a look at the County’s six-year road plan. The 9 ½ million dollars of road work on Proffit Road to service Baker Butler Elementary is not even scheduled to happen for another 8 years. He pointed out that there were many blank spaces in the road plan.  Georgetown Road gets 17,000 vehicle trips a day and it does not even have a date listed on the plan.  Therefore, we can assume that within a decade there might be improvements there.  The County needs to be pretty straight forward about the reality of what the State is giving us. He pointed out that he read the other day that the State will be allocating about 16 million dollars a year for the entire Culpeper District.  The plan really offers a rather showroom view of what is going to be available to handle the growth that we are planning for. He asked that the County adopt this plan and go for what the community has worked for. He asked that they acknowledge that the plan for Crozet will have a real cost.

 

Eric Strucko, former Chairman of the DISC Committee and a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician at Crozet’s Rescue Squad, stated that applauded the citizens of Crozet for doing a lot of good work over a long time to come up with an intelligent way to deal with what they were already facing, which is 12,000 residents coming to this community.  If the master planning process never happened 12,000 residents were coming to this community. If the master plan is voted down and development happens as it is currently zoned by-right 12,000 residents are still coming to this community.  This plan was an attempt by the citizens of the Crozet community to get together and address that problem.  The citizens did so and came up with a better way to develop a designated growth area, which had been designated as a growth area decades ago because it was an employment area that already had fundamental infrastructure in place that included public water and sewer with a reservoir in Beaver Creek.  The master plan is a way that the community got together and intelligently laid out a way for this growth to happen, but still retain Crozet’s historic character and small town feel surrounded by rural space and keep it a desirable place to live and raise a family. This has been done with a plan you can lay out where the green space is, where the residential development will happen and where the commercial development will happen. With a plan they could figure out where the infrastructure needs are going to happen and when they would be needed. This County has made a commitment to the designated growth areas and to Crozet in particular in this regard.  The County needs to invest the funds or lay out a plan to phase in the investment of the funds for the infrastructure concurrent with the development that happens.  This cannot be done without a plan.  This plan is ideal in many respects.  One of the major ones is that the community got together, and as Mike Marshall said hundreds of residents attended these meetings regularly over the course of a year to lay this thing out.  He urged the Commission to adopt the master plan because it was good for the community of Crozet and for the County because it sets a standard that other growth areas in the County can follow.  The master plan can serve as a blue print for funding. 

 

Paul Grady stated that he lives in beautiful downtown Crozet. He stated that he was looking forward to some growth occurring in Crozet, but that when it was all said and done he might wish he had not said that.  He pointed out that during the thirty years that he has lived in Crozet that he has seen the services diminish significantly. With the influx of new residents he stated that he was hopeful that the critical mass will be reached to make it economically feasible to have services provided that the community had in its hay day such as a movie theater, a shoe repair shop, more than one drug store and hopefully some new services like a fitness center and aquatic center. He stated that he would like to see Crozet become a self contained community so that no one ever had to drive into Charlottesville.  That can only happen if a significant amount of new employment possibilities are created within the community.  Having worked on the Crozet Master Plan for the better part of two years as a member of Steering Committee of the Crozet Community Association, he was generally supportive of the product before the Commission. He emphasized the obvious that it is not going to amount to a hill of beans unless there is funding forthcoming from the Board of Supervisors for infrastructure. It is going to be an enormous amount of money and all of the other growth areas will be hammering for their share of the money too.  It is going to be a big problem.  He strongly supported the creation of a central business district for downtown, which has taxing  powers to help finance needed amenities in the downtown area such as public parking lots so that individual property owners are not required to provide all of the parking.  In addition, more businesses could be located within the walkable downtown.  Keeping Route 250 as a scenic byway is also very important.  Directing all future commercial development downtown is essential.  He pointed out that he has advocated for sometime that the existing commercially zoned property near I-64 be up zoned to Light Industrial and that somehow that the lumber yard in downtown Crozet be encouraged to move out to I-64. In the meantime he felt that it was imperative that the first two blocks of Main Street from Crozet Avenue to High Street be built to remove the lumberyard trucks from the square and thereby allowing the square to become a park. He pointed out that he was pleased a couple of weeks ago when the Board of Supervisors agreed to terminate the reconstruction of Jarman Gap Road at the entrance to Gray Rock, but he still believes that the eastern end of Jarman Gap Road should be realigned to be opposite Main Street. At one place in the Master Plan it states that the Lickinghole Creek Bridge for Eastern Avenue should be built first, but the time line indicates that the railroad crossing comes first. He stated that he strongly believes that the railroad crossing is the most important because it would allow traffic easy access to downtown instead of directing traffic throughout Route 250 and away from downtown.  He pointed out that he strongly supports the creation of the Crozet Community Council that would oversee the implementation of the Crozet Master Plan in conjunction with a County designated Crozet Community Planner.  He noted that he has advocated for some time that Crozet should eventually incorporate and become a town and he sees this as a step in that direction.

 

Judy Burbush, resident of Crozet, stated that she was one of many people who have worked on the Crozet Master plan.  She stated that she was thrilled with the results of the Master Plan for two reasons. The first was that the master plan really incorporated the things that brought so many of us to Crozet. The other was the triggers that they thought would be built in that would tell us when the growth was going ahead of the infrastructure. The problem is that the alarms are already going off and they have already reached the point where the funding will not be where it needs to be. She implored the Commission to ensure that we get the funding we need because they all want this to be a success.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any more speakers.  He thanked everyone for their comments and suggestions. He stated that at this time the public hearing would be closed to bring the matter before to the Commission for discussion and possible action.

 

Mr. Thomas asked Susan Thomas if she had anything to add regarding Ms. Young’s comments about the meetings.

 

Ms. Thomas stated that staff did meet with Ms. Young and Mr. Kerns at the request and arrangement of Sally Thomas and they reviewed the points that had been discussed during the work session on the Meadows rezoning and expansion.  They talked a lot about the difficulty of making connections to Crozet Avenue from the west and the fact that there really is no easy answer on that one. They are not expecting the Meadows to build anything and are committed to work hard to minimize the impact of a connector road on their options and on their physical layout.  They are merely looking for a reservation so that they don’t lose future opportunities for connections and it may be that another connection opportunity presents itself before they even look at the Meadows one.  She pointed out that it was not easy and Ms. Young is right that the Old Trail Development is not enthusiastic about it either, but when they think about the traffic on Crozet Avenue tripling it just seems to make sense to try and preserve opportunities for connections where ever possible. They will try to figure out the design specifications of the road in a way at a future date that may be will work better than they think it can right now. She pointed out that she did not take away from that meeting any marching orders about altering our recommendations, but that they attempted to discuss their various points of view.  She noted that Mr. Benish was also present at that meeting.

 

Mr. Thomas asked if any Commissioner had any comments or issues to discuss.

 

Ms. Higgins stated that there is one thing that was talked about at the last work session which she felt was stated quite well and that in reading a few sentences it might make sense. The caveat, as Mr. Rieley had entitled it that will accompany these maps, actually talks about the Master Plan as adopted as part of the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan is intended as a general rule for future development and systematic change.  It is advisory in nature and with its accompany maps, charts and supplementary information it sets for the County’s long range recommendations within its jurisdiction. The Comprehensive Plan also serves as the guide for development in the implementation of the Zoning Ordinance. The development guidelines contained in the maps, charts and other supplementary materials in the Comp Plan are intended as targets rather than specific requirements consistent with the advisory nature of the document. She felt that a lot of the concerns in some specifically were sent by email and verbally is that some of the people, even though many have said there are a lot of residents that were involved, that actually many were not.  When a map involves your own private property starts to show lines and colorations that don’t agree with the neighborhoods as they exist, she felt that there was a concern or businesses that are in a path of roadways. But, as this guideline has shown and the reason why the roads have not been changed in their discussion before is that if you start adjusting roads based on a person’s input then you are actually implying that the grid of roads is a fixed alignment and actually none of these alignments are fixed.  She felt that this statement will help staff in the future as voluntary development comes to the table. This would not be where a neighborhood exists already, but on open land or land that is sold for purposes of development so that you can get from point A to point B, but it was not going to necessarily going to be through a piece of property like the Meadows unless it was completely voluntary. She stated that there was no assurance of that except for understanding the process of rezoning and redevelopment. She asked if everyone was satisfied with the way this was worded. She felt that a lot of the anxiety that had been expressed is that this is it and if it does not happen like this, then it won’t happen or it is going to happen like this. This understanding will be applied each time a property is review.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that was a good point to bring up since he had the same feeling tonight as everyone was speaking that many persons felt that it was a fixed map.  He noted that it was a conceptual map and was not set in stone.

 

Mr. Rieley felt that a few people articulated three general themes that really are consistent throughout that include keeping downtown central, protecting Route 250 and the third one that they heard over and over again was the necessity for the public infrastructure to keep pace with the development. That is a very important an important point. Jeff Werner is right to point out how terribly restricted the State funs are now, but at the same time they have to acknowledge the importance of the public’s role in this.  It is critical to the success of this plan that it is adequately funded. It is also critical to the future planning in Albemarle County that this plan be a success. He suggested that the Commission pass this along to the Board of Supervisors with their strongest recommendation that it be adequately funded.

 

Mr. Edgerton stated that he could not agree more. The point was made by several speakers, which he welcomed, that the growth is coming regardless of this process since it was already coming even before this process began. This is a conceptual plan.  There has actually been a sense since this plan was drawn that Western Avenue’s alignment was established earlier and it was not consistent with what is drawn here. That is a specific example of how they were limited in our ability to mandate a particular item on a piece of paper by the property owner’s desires and ability to develop the property. He pointed out that they have to draw the lines to develop the plan, but at the same time if you look hard at the lines and say they were set in stone that he could see how people could get anxious. He hoped that everyone hears that they cannot draw these lines as firm lines at this point, but this is a plan which will direct growth to occur growth in a more planned way.  He concurred with Mr. Rieley’s statement that they should recommend this on to the Board because it has been an incredible exercise and that a lot of people have put a lot of time and energy into it. He felt that this does represent much of the sediments of the community, but as it was pointed out many time that it won’t happen in a reasonable way without the financial support that has to come.  Unfortunately, that will probably involve some increase in taxation, which was not a very popular thing in Virginia right now.  He stated that they had confidence that this can be made to happen.

 

Ms. Joseph stated that there were some things that she questioned in the document, but she was willing to let this go forward and allow the Board to make the decision. She pointed out that she was sympathetic with Mr. Loach’s comments because they had talked about overlay districts years ago.  Since he had been working on this for a long time that she acknowledged that it was frustrating to see something like this and hope that it can be put in place without some words from the Board of Supervisors that this will happen.  That is tough for the Board too because nobody wants their taxes raised. Again, Crozet is going to develop with or without this plan. She pointed out that the master plan was an attempt to bridal some of that growth and make sure it develops the way that the community wants it to happen.  With the caveat that the Commission suggests that the Board really be serious about funding some of this infrastructure she supported moving this on to the Board.

 

Mr. Morris echoed  everything that has been said, but pointed out that he felt very passionate about our obligations as a Commission that if they ask any there group of citizens to make another Master Plan that we should not do that unless we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.  He stated that a lot of efforts have gone into making this plan, which he felt was a super plan, but now the County has to back it up.

 

Mr. Craddock concurred with everyone that made mention of Mr. Rieley’s point about the protection of Route 250 West and downtown and the provisions for the infrastructure improvements that are critical to this whole process. He suggested that with the next project coming up for review that this whole process will make that second one to be even better.

 

Ms. Higgins pointed out that when the Commission reviewed the Capital Projects plan that they at that time put a caveat with it and requested that Neighborhood Model implementation money stay intact because sometimes through the public hearing process they hear from all of the demands all over the County and if no one speaks to the specific demands of neighborhood infrastructure that it then begins to be pushed out into future years. This particular year of the CIP was actually just a review and only a few projects were added. It was added in the year when you just typically would just let the plan be reviewed and only emergency and safety things were added.  She stated that was a significant acknowledgement, but frankly it was going to be citizens that come to the Board with their expectations and through involvement in the process in the next year when they look at the whole plan and decide in which year things are funded.  Clearly there is an existing problem there and that this plan just brought people to focus on those areas. Of course, the classic one is Jarman Gap Road because there will be detention basin improvements that may be looked at.  There are people on staff who are capable of putting together the budgets to get these improvements done. She suggested that the citizens contact the staff who worked on the budgets if they don’t think a particular item is defined in the plan enough.  This is just the planning document and that the implementation document is really the individuals who pay attention to that.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that he agreed with all of the Commissioners remarks and he was willing to move this on to the Board of Supervisors.  He stated that he has always loved downtown Crozet because his family was from that area. He pointed out that the downtown was a very important part with the shoe shops, drug stores and Mr. McCauley’s Barber Shop. He stated that he has always looked at downtown to make it the center of this Master Plan and Scenic 250 West has always been at the top of the list for us. There are a couple of commercial pieces that were already zoned Highway Commercial that are being built upon. He concurred whole heartedly to pass the plan on to the Board of Supervisors.

     

Mr. Rieley made a motion to send CPA-2003-07, Crozet Master Plan, to the Board of Supervisors with a recommendation for approval and a request that priority be given to the funding for the infrastructure to support it.

 

Ms. Higgins asked if he was adding the parkway definition.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that was a good point.  He stated that the only reason that he would argue to incorporate the parkway definition in the Master Plan was if it had been in the document before, and then it would have established the definition. But, he would be perfectly happy to say that there is not a parkway in Crozet and leave it out.  Staff can file the definition away and pull it out sometime when it is more pertinent. He asked if the other Commissioners agreed.

 

It was the consensus of the Commission to agree with Mr. Rieley to leave out the parkway definition.

 

Mr. Morris seconded the motion.

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the motion carried and that the application would go to the Board of Supervisors on April 7th.  He thanked everyone for showing up tonight and the enthusiasm that they were putting into where they live.  He thanked staff for their work over the past two years and the Commission that has put a lot of work into this.  He stated that he hoped that the Crozet Master Plan would set an example for the next one.

 

            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 9:42 p.m. to the March 30th meeting.

 

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