STAFF PERSON:                                                                            Tarpley V. Gillespie

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                          May 4, 2004

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                                          June 9, 2004


SP 2003-052 Larry Hawkins


Applicant's Proposal:

The Applicant, Mr. Larry R. Hawkins, has requested approval of a special use permit for a Home Occupation- Class B, to allow for an Excavation Contractor on his property.  The proposed use would include the outdoor storage of the up to 7 pieces of large excavating equipment.  The applicant does not have any employees report to this location, but has employees who meet him on various job sites.  The applicant is requesting approval of the special use permit for a Home Occupation Class-B with two modifications to Section 5.2 of the Zoning Ordinance, the Home Occupation standards.  Attachment B is a concept plan.  This plan is not drawn to scale, but shows the general orientation of the proposed storage area relative to the house and driveway.



Request for special use permit to allow a Home Occupation Class B for an Excavation Contractor in accordance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance, which allows for a Home Occupation Class B.   The property, described as Tax Map 94 Parcel 7B, contains 2 acres, and is zoned RA, Rural Area.   The proposal is located on 3117 Hearns Lane, approximately .25 miles from the intersection of Hearns Lane and Running Dear Road (Route 808), in the Scottsville Magisterial District.   The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Neighborhood Density in the Village of Rivanna.


Zoning History:

This two acre parcel was subdivided from an adjacent parcel in 1986 and the house was constructed in 1989. 


In January of 2003, the Department of Building Code and Zoning Services staff visited this site and determined that there was an existing excavation contractor business on this site, as well as several inoperable vehicles and miscellaneous debris.  Zoning staff began working with Mr. Hawkins to remedy the situation and to apply for a Home Occupation Class B for the Excavation Contractors business.  On March 2, 2004, a Notice of Violation was issued for two violations of Section 10.2 of the Ordinance: Permitted uses in the RA District.  (See Attachment C) The violations were for a junk yard on the site, and for the contractor's equipment storage yard.  These two violations are currently outstanding.  An approval of the Home Occupation Class B permit for an excavation contractor would remedy the violation related to the contractor's equipment storage yard, but not the violation related to the junk yard. 


Character of the Area:

The property contains 2 acres and is surrounded by low density residential uses and wooded areas.  Hearns Lane is accessed from Running Deer, a relatively low density single family residential subdivision located within the Village of Rivanna.  Just to the east of the property, past a wooded area, is a recent phase of the Glenmore Development, with houses currently under construction.  Although the property is currently in a "rural setting", it is in the Development Areas.  Although not adjacent, its proximity is close to the boundary with the Rural Areas.


Comprehensive Plan and Neighborhood Model:

The Comprehensive Plan designates this property for Neighborhood Density Residential Development in the Village of Rivanna.  The Neighborhood Density Residential designation recommends 3-6 dwelling units per acre and anticipates some non residential neighborhood service uses to serve the residential uses. 


Staff believes the proposed home occupation would not serve or relate to the surrounding residential uses and would exceed the scale of a neighborhood service use.  As a result, staff cannot find the use to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan's land use designation.


The Neighborhood Model provides additional support to the Land Use Plan by setting forth principles for how development should take place in the Development Areas.  Because this is an existing single family residential site to be used for the storage of excavating equipment, staff finds that the twelve principles of the Neighborhood Model do not apply. 



Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions of Section of the Zoning Ordinance and cannot recommend approval as requested. 



Staff will address the issues of this request in two sections:

  1. Section of the Zoning Ordinance
  2. Modifications and Waivers of Section 5.2 of the  Zoning Ordinance


1.   Staff will address each provision of Section of the Zoning Ordinance:


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


It is staff's determination that this home occupation may negatively impact adjacent and nearby properties. Of specific concern are the visual impacts, along with traffic and noise. 


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

The proposed site is currently surrounded by woods on three sides.  However, these woods are not owned or controlled by the applicant and are designated for more intense future development in the Land Use Plan.  New construction is currently underway at the Glenmore site and visible from this site when the foliage is down.  The applicant proposes outdoor storage of his equipment, with a total of nine white pine trees strategically planted in rows of three to shield the


view of the equipment from his neighbors on Hearns Lane.  (See Attachment B- Concept Plan).  Staff believes that the nine pine trees will not adequately screen the use as proposed.


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

Section of the Ordinance states: "There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the buildings or premises, or other visible evidence of the conduct of such home occupation."  This use will be visible from the neighbors on Hearns Lane as well as from the new construction underway at Glenmore.  Due to the size of the proposed storage area and the minimal screening proposed, staff finds this proposal to be in conflict with the intent of ordinance regarding home occupations. 


            with the uses permitted by right in the district,

As proposed, staff does not find this use to be in harmony with the residential uses permitted in the RA District.  However, if the proposal were to meet all of the standards for Home Occupation Class B Permits as outlined in Section 5.2 and described later in this report, the use could be in harmony with the district. 


and with the public health, safety and general welfare.  

The County Engineering staff has advised that Hearns Lane does not meet private road standards as stated in Section 14-514 of the Albemarle County Code.  Site distance is limited on the road due to wooded areas on each side of Hearns Lane.  However, there are three existing pullouts along Hearns Lane which average 8 feet in width and 40 feet in length.  Engineering staff has determined that bypass traffic can adequately pass the applicants equipment (including the longest pieces of equipment-the dump truck and trailer) using the existing pullouts.  The existing entrance onto Running Deer Drive (State Route 808) is adequate. 


  1. Modifications and Waivers of Section 5.2 of the  Zoning Ordinance:

Section 5.2 of the ordinance provides supplemental regulations governing home occupations. Home occupations are intended to be accessory and subordinate to the established use on the parcel.  In this case the primary use is single family residential and the excavation contracting business conducted as a home occupation is to be subordinate.  The applicant is requesting two modifications to Section 5.2:  In reviewing the requesting modifications, the Planning Commission should consider the intent of the regulations governing home occupations.  The applicant requests the following modifications:


  1. Section Such occupation shall be conducted either within the dwelling or an accessory structure, or both, provided that not more than twenty-five (25) percent of the floor area of the dwelling shall be used in the conduct of the home occupation and in no event shall the total floor area of the dwelling, accessory structure, or both, devoted to such occupation, exceed one thousand five hundred (1,500) square feet; provided that the use of accessory structures shall be permitted on in connection with home occupation, Class B.

The applicant is seeking a modification to this section to allow an area greater than 25% of the dwelling and greater than 1500 square feet to be devoted to the home occupation.  The total floor area of the dwelling, including the main floor and the basement, is 2304 square feet.  Without the size modification, the applicant would be permitted 576 square feet of storage.  The applicant is seeking to store the following seven pieces of excavating equipment on site:

  1. motor grader: 8 feet wide by 25 feet long
  2. rubber tire backhoe: 7 feet wide by 24 feet long
  3. D3 dozer: 7 feet wide by 13 feet long
  4. 939 track loader: 8 feet wide by 17 feet long
  5. tree chipper: 7 feet wide by 17 feet long
  6. Ford L 9000 Dump Truck: 8 feet wide by 27 feet long
  7. Trailer 8 feet wide by 30 feet long.

In order to safely accommodate and maneuver this equipment on site, Mr. Hawkins will need 2100 square feet of storage space, allowing for 4 feet of void space between each piece of equipment.  The applicant has an existing driveway that can accommodate the necessary turnaround area for the equipment.  There is a potential storage area measuring 4200 square feet located southwest of his residence.  The site can physically accommodate the necessary 2100 square foot storage area.  However, Mr. Hawkins would need a modification of the size limit from 25% of the residential floor area to 91% of the floor area.  He would also need a modification to allow the storage to be outdoors.  In staff's opinion, the size of storage area would cause it become the dominant use on the site.  Home Occupations are intended to be subordinate to the primary residential use on the site.  Staff finds this modification to be in conflict with the intent of home occupations.  Staff does not support this modification with the current concept plan.


2.  Section  There shall be no change in the outside appearance of the buildings or premises, or other visible evidence of the conduct of such home occupation provided that a home occupation, Class B, may erect one home occupation Class B sign as authorized by section 4.15 of this chapter.  Accessory structures shall be similar in fašade to a single family dwelling, private garage, shed, barn or other structure normally expected in a rural or residential area and shall be specifically compatible in design and scale with other development in the area in which located.  Any structure which does not conform to the setback and yard regulations for main structures in the district in which it is located shall not be used for any home occupation. 

As a part of zoning policy for many years, this provision has been interpreted to mean that no outdoor storage is allowed with a home occupation for this use.  Equipment associated with this home occupation must be stored within a building.  The applicant requests a modification of this provision.  The applicant justifies this request by the fact that the site is bordered by woods on three sides.  He has offered three rows of three white pine trees (See Attachment B).  These trees would be strategically placed to screen the view of the storage area from adjacent neighbors on Hearns Lane.  However, staff is concerned that, do to the size of the area, the storage will remain visible from various points along Hearns lane and from the residential properties to the west of this site. 



Staff has identified one factor favorable to this request:

  1. Approval of the special use permit would rectify an existing zoning violation.



Staff has identified the following factors, which are unfavorable to this request.

1.      The proposed use is incompatible with the Land Use Plan designation of Neighborhood Density Residential.

2.      The proposed size of the use conflicts with the intent of Home Occupation Class B permits to be subordinate to the primary residential use. 

3.      The proposal will be create a negative visual impact from adjacent and nearby properties. 

4.      There is an outstanding violation for the non-permitted use of a junk yard on this property.



Staff believes that the proposed use goes beyond the intention of the Home Occupation section of the Ordinance and does not comply with the Comprehensive Plan.  Staff believes that this use could be substantially detrimental to adjacent property and could have a negative impact on the character of the district.  Based on the findings contained in this staff report and the existing conditions on the property, staff does not recommend approval of SP 2003-052. 


However, if the Planning Commission is inclined to approve this Home Occupation, staff would recommend against approval of the requested modifications.  Staff offers the following conditions of approval to reduce the scale and intensity of the proposal. 


1.      A storage shed or garage, not to exceed 576 square feet shall be constructed for the purpose of storing excavating equipment.

2.      Any repair or maintenance of vehicles shall occur within the structure.

3.      No outside storage of equipment, parts, mulch, inoperable vehicles, scrap or other materials shall be permitted.  Any outdoor storage existing on the date of the approval of this permit shall comply with this condition within 30 days of the Board of Supervisor's approval of this special use permit.

4.      The new storage structure shall meet the minimum yard requirements for commercial structures, found in Section 21.7.2 of the ordinance.  (No portion of any structure shall be located closer than 50 feet to any residential or rural areas district.) 

5.      The storage structure must meet the minimum landscaping and screening requirements for commercial and industrial uses, found in Section 32.7.9. of the ordinance. 




  1. Application
  2. Concept Plan
  3. Notice of Violation March 2, 2004. 
  4.  Tax Map
    Return to PC actions letter