STAFF PERSON:                                                                              MARGARET DOHERTY

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                                          JUNE 29, 2004

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                                          JULY 14, 2004

 

ZMA 04-02     FONTAINE AVENUE TOWNHOMES

UPDATED:  This staff report has been revised to reflect the most recent proffers.

Applicant’s Proposal:

The applicant and property owner, Weatherhill Homes, proposes rezoning a 12.6 acre parcel, located on Fontaine Avenue, from H-C (Highway Commercial) to PRD (Planned Residential Development) to allow 61 dwelling units (see Locator Map – Attachment A).  The applicant has provided a set of proffers (Attachment B) and conceptual elevations (Attachment D).

Petition for Rezoning:

Request to rezone 12.6 acres from Highway Commercial (HC) and Entrance Corridor (EC) to Planned Residential Development (PRD) and Entrance Corridor (EC) to allow 61 dwelling units.  The property, described as Tax Map 76 Parcels 12A and 12G are located in the Samuel Miller Magisterial District on the north side of Fontaine Avenue [Route #702] approximately a quarter mile west of the intersection of Fontaine Avenue and Route 29. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Neighborhood Service, in Neighborhood 6.

Existing Conditions:

The site is bordered on the west by a large historic estate property, known as Foxhaven, on the north by vacant land owned by the University of Virginia, on the east by the Buckingham Circle subdivision and across the street to the south by the UVA Forestry Department.  To the west is Trinity Presbyterian Church, which has a large congregation.  To the east is the Fontaine Avenue Research Park, which serves as a major employer in the immediate area.  The site is also within close proximity to two major highways, Route 29 and I-64. 

Subdivision and Zoning History:

SP-1996-32 approved fill in the floodplain for the construction of the pond.  This approval required Engineering Department approval of a wetlands mitigation plan.

By-right Use of the Properties: 

The property is currently zoned Highway-Commercial, which permits numerous high intensity commercial uses, such as:  grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, car sales, and a large number of service type uses.  It also allows uses permitted in R-15 by Special Use Permit. 

Applicant’s Justification for the Request: 

The applicant has stated a desire develop the property in conformity with surrounding residential uses, rather than propose a use allowed under Highway-Commercial zoning.  The applicant proposes high density residential with an extensive green area and water feature.   The dwelling units are designed to meet a wide market, with a mix of large expensive townhomes, medium-sized townhomes, a few affordable townhomes and garden-level accessory apartments for rental opportunities.  The proffers include an agreement to offer 9 of the units (15%) to be marketed by the County to homebuyers making less than 80% of the average medium income for our area.

Recommendation

Staff recommends approval of the rezoning (ZMA 04-2) with the attached proffers.


 

STAFF ANALYSIS

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan:

This section assesses the ability of ZMA 04-02 to meet the goals set forth in the Comprehensive Plan’s Land Use Plan, Neighborhood Model Principles, Community Facilities Plan, and Open Space Plan.

Conformity with the Land Use Plan

The Land Use Plan shows this area as Neighborhood Service, which should:  include uses such as neighborhood-scale commercial; specialty shops; professional and office uses providing retail, wholesale, and/or business within a Community.  This scale of commercial is the type anticipated within a planned development approach; include urban density residential uses as a secondary use; require a small site size (1-5 acres), collector road accessibility, water and sewer availability, and compatibility with adjacent land uses.

When the Neighborhood Service designation was put on the Land Use Plan, it was in recognition of the commercial uses and buildings already on the site and on nearby properties. This proposal does not include any neighborhood-scale commercial uses; however, the density of the proposed project is consistent with the Urban Density classification. There are two other commercial buildings nearby as well as the offices of the Virginia Department of Forestry.  Use of this site in a residential capacity will remove a significant portion of the Neighborhood Service area from future retail and service use.

Conformity with the Comprehensive Plan’s recommendations for Neighborhood 6

The specific recommendations for this site are as follows: 

·        Development plans along Route 250 West and Fontaine Avenue are to be sensitive to their status as Entrance Corridor roadways;

·        Limit the Neighborhood Service designation on Fontaine Avenue west of the Bypass to existing zoned land; and

·        Provide pedestrian connections from the residential areas in the Neighborhood to the Fontaine Avenue Research Park.

 

Conformity with the Neighborhood Model

Below staff assesses the ability of ZMA 04-02 to meet the twelve principles of the Neighborhood Model. 

Pedestrian Orientation

The plan includes sidewalks throughout the development, through the park area, along Fontaine Avenue, connecting to a potential future greenway and across Fontaine Avenue.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths

The plan includes a private street through the middle of the development, which has sidewalks and street-trees on both sides.

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks

Staff has determined that this is not the best location for interconnection and that it will be very difficult to develop the project with public roads, which are the only kind of roads which may provide interconnections.  The proposed street running north/south could be extended if conditions warrant a connection in the future.  The plan shows a construction and access easement for the benefit of the property to the north for this potential connection.

Parks and Open Space

More than half the site remains undeveloped with this proposal.  The plan provides a small formal garden/park a large pond/wetland amenity with a bike/pedestrian pathway crossing the dam and providing access to a playfield and beyond.

Neighborhood Centers

This site has easy access to Route 29 and I-64, therefore convenient vehicular access to multiple neighborhood centers exists.  Additionally, the Fontaine Ave./JPA area of shops provides a convenient neighborhood center. 

Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale

The building elevations and site plan with small private yards and large public spaces creates places of human scale.

Relegated Parking

The only ability to relegate parking on this site is to hide it in garages, after many attempts with previous applications, staff believes it is nearly impossible to relegate the parking, given the size and shape of the buildable area on the site and the type of townhomes with garages proposed.

Mixture of Uses

The project provides only one type of use, residential, however a church and a large employer are within close proximity.

Mixture of Housing Types and Affordability

The project meets the County’s goal for 15% of the total units meeting an affordable price-range.  The applicant has proffered 9 affordable units.  They are located throughout the project as shown on the application plan (3 townhomes in the northwest corner and 6 garden level condominiums).

Redevelopment

None of the existing structures have been found to have any historic value and are proposed to be demolished.  This project is a good infill example where existing roads and utilities are utilized and/or updated to serve the site.

Site Planning that Respects Terrain

The project strives for the greatest density within the constraints of the wetlands and riparian buffer, which take up most of the site.  The Engineering Department is reviewing a mitigation plan which they believe results in a site plan that respects terrain to the greatest extent possible.  Resulting slopes will have to be graded to 3:1 or will require slope stabilizing vegetation.

Clear Boundaries with the Rural Areas

Not Applicable.

 

Conformity with the Open Space and Natural Resources Plan

The Open Space Plan shows a Major and Locally Important Stream Valley and Adjacent Critical Slope around Morey Creek, and identifies Morey Creek as a perennial stream with non-tidal wetlands, wooded areas and floodplain.  The wetlands associated with Morey Creek have been significantly altered in this location, but remain in a relatively natural state upstream.  The Open Space Plan states, “When wetlands are to be disturbed on a development site, require the developer to provide evidence of compliance with State and Federal wetlands regulations prior to County approvals.”  Most of this work was completed when the wetlands were recreated with a pond mitigation plan.  The proposed plan protects these areas to the greatest extent possible.

 

Conformity with the Entrance Corridor guidelines

A portion of the site is within the old right of way for Route 29, which is an Entrance Corridor District.  Development in this area will require ARB review, however, development will likely be limited to a bike/pedestrian pathway and landscaping.

Analysis of the Rezoning Request

Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district

The applicant is requesting a rezoning PRD (Planned Residential Development).  The intent statement in Section 19 of the Zoning Ordinance for PRD district is as follows:

The PRD is intended to encourage sensitivity toward the natural characteristics of the site and toward impact on the surrounding area in land development.  More specifically, the PRD is intended to promote economical and efficient land use, an improved level of amenities, appropriate and harmonious physical development, and creative design consistent with the best interest of the county and the area in which it is located.

In general, this proposal is in keeping with the intent statement.  The proposal protects a large area of wetlands, while utilizing the land to its most efficient use.  The pond area and pathways provide amenities which are harmonious with the site.

Anticipated impact on public facilities and services

Roads

VDOT is requiring a right-turn and taper into the site, as shown on the Application Plan.

 

Water and Sewer

An existing 10” diameter water main is located at the southernmost corner of the property. This line is extremely old (100 years plus) and can only provide a fire flow of approximately 1000 gpm at that point. A more viable section of the water main is located approximately 1200 feet to the east.   The applicant is proposing to extend this water main to get the required fire flow to this site.  A 24” sewer main owned by RWSA is located on site. There is sufficient capacity in this sewer main for the proposed development.

Stormwater management

Staff has reviewed the applicant’s conceptual stormwater management plan and has determined it to be feasible from a conceptual standpoint. 

 

Schools

Impacts to the school from the proposed 55 additional townhouse dwelling units will be minimal.

Fiscal Impact

A fiscal impact analysis has been performed for the project (Attachment C).  The applicant asked staff to consider new assumptions when running the model, therefore, three scenarios are provided:  1) current zoning; 2) proposed rezoning given standard assumptions; and 3) proposed rezoning given developer-supplied assumptions.  The fiscal impact given our standard assumptions is $162,000 /year, the fiscal impact given the developer-supplied assumptions is $22,000/year.  The applicant has proffered a donation of $52,000 towards the County’s Capital Improvement Program.  Some of the projects identified in the CIP summary for this area include and urban gym, a Southern Urban Area park, a southern urban area library, a western fire station and sidewalk improvements.  The plan includes a sidewalk along the frontage of this parcel connecting to the sidewalk on the south side of Fontaine Avenue, which was constructed from the Route 29 off-ramp to Fontaine Research Park.

Anticipated impact on cultural and historic resources

  The existing buildings have been found to have no historic significance. 

Anticipated impact on nearby and surrounding properties

The greatest impact on surrounding properties is increased traffic.  Traffic from Route 29 South often suffers long wait times making the left turn onto Fontaine Avenue which has forced  U-turns on Buckingham Circle.  The traffic generated by this new development will mix with, but will not exacerbate this unfortunate situation. 

Public need and justification for the change

This plan provides for a quality infill project that is in line with the County’s growth management policies and addresses most of the Neighborhood Model principles.

Private Roads

The project includes private roads, which if the applicant wishes to sell the townhouses as individual units, will have to be approved by the Planning Commission under Section 14-232, subsection A (1 & 4).  A private road waiver request can only be processed with a subdivision plat, which has not been submitted.  However, staff has reviewed the rezoning application with the knowledge that private roads will be necessary to support this rezoning.  Staff will support an eventual private road request if it is accompanied with a plat that is in general accord with the rezoning and County private street requirements.

Summary

Staff has identified the following factors, which are favorable to this rezoning request:

  1. The proposal meets all applicable principles of the Neighborhood Model Principles;
  2. The project provides for the affordable housing target of 15% of the total # of units; and

3.      The proposal ensures building massing and architecture that will create a human-scale development.

Staff has not identified any factors, which are unfavorable to this request:

Recommended Action

Staff recommends approval of the rezoning (ZMA 04-02) with the attached proffers. 

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Attachments:


 

A.  – Locator Maps

B.  – Proffers

C.  – Fiscal Impact Statement

D.  – ZMA 04-02 Application Plan and Building Elevations

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