STA-01-08, Comprehensive Revision of the Subdivision Ordinance.



Amend Chapter 14, Subdivision of Land, of the Albemarle County Code, to comprehensively revise the subdivision regulations by amending most existing regulations, repealing or adding other regulations, and reorganizing Chapter 14 and renumbering many existing regulations



Tucker, Foley, Davis, Graham, Cilimberg, Doherty





June 2, 2004


ACTION:                              INFORMATION:     X



  ACTION:                            INFORMATION:   











Staff from the development departments has been reviewing the entire Subdivision Ordinance for the purpose of updating the regulations to implement preferred practice, state code and the recommendations of the Neighborhood Model.  At their public hearing on April 6, 2004, the Planning Commission recommended the amendment by a vote of 6-1.


At its May 5, 2004 meeting, the Board directed staff to invite representatives of interested organizations to join them in a series of facilitated work sessions to discuss the recommended changes to the subdivision ordinance. The four issues which still appear to lack community consensus are street infrastructure (curb/gutter, sidewalks and planting strips), street interconnections, private streets and over-lot grading plans.  The purpose of the work session on June 2nd is to allow staff to present the proposed amendments and hold a discussion with representatives of interested organizations on one of the remaining issues, street interconnections.  The attached letter was sent to the organizations, inviting them to speak at the work session and outlining the process for review.




2.1 Protect and/or preserve the County’s rural character; and,

3.3 Develop and implement policies that address the County’s growth and urbanization while continuing to enhance the factors that contribute to the quality of life in the County.




The existing ordinance requires that a reservation of right of way be provided if a street would connect to a planned street on an adjoining parcel.  The existing ordinance attempts to address the concept of providing connections by requiring more than one means of access from an existing public street for developments of fifty or more units.  Unfortunately, this has not been effective in developing a network of streets in the Development Areas.  As a result, interconnections are rarely built and reservations to adjacent parcels are not made because there is no planned street on an adjacent parcel.  The proposed language in new Section 14-409 is intended to make sure that streets are built through subdivisions to adjoining properties, to ensure that interconnections are actually made to result in an overall urban street network in the Development Areas. 


The proposed amendments can be summarized as follows:




The issues raised by the development community and the Planning Commission are that constructing the connection for the benefit of the adjacent property is an undue cost, that it may be difficult given existing topography and that it may result in roads going nowhere.  In response to these concerns, staff drafted an administrative waiver process. 


The proposed ordinance allows the agent to waive the requirements of Section 14-409, if it is determined that extending the street would require offsite easements, disturb stream buffers, or would not otherwise serve a present public purpose.  In such a case: (i) the public street shall be constructed past the point at which the primary structures on the adjoining lots would rely on the finished grade for landscaping and other improvements, but in no case less than thirty (30) feet beyond the curb line or ditch line on the adjoining lot; (ii) the sub divider shall dedicate the required right of way to the abutting property line, along with all easements required to allow the street connection to be constructed in the future; the required easements shall prohibit any improvements being established therein; and (iii) the agent may require that the sub divider install and maintain a sign at the end of the constructed portion of the street stating that the street is a future through street; the agent may require that the sub divider maintain the sign until the county grants final approval of extending the street to the abutting property.    Staff believes that this allows interconnections to remain the standard, but also allows a reasonable and predictable waiver process when the situation warrants.




Staff recommends that if the Board wishes to make changes to the ordinance, it direct staff to make those changes and bring a final recommendation for an amendment back to the Board in one complete package after the worksessions related to the three remaining issues have been completed.


View letter to organizations

View Attachment A - Language on Interconnections

View Attachment B - Memo from County Attorney's office
View Comments
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