SP-03-53 Unity Church of Charlottesville Amendment (Sign #48) - Request for special use permit amendment to allow a church (increasing from 200 to 250 seats) in accordance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance, which allows for "church building and adjunct cemetery.”  The property, described as Tax Map 61 Parcels 4 and 4B, contains 4.44 acres, and is zoned RA, Rural Areas.  The proposal is located on Rt. 743 (Hydraulic Road), approximately .25 miles north of the intersection of Hydraulic Road and Lambs Road in the Jack Jouett Magisterial District.  The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Rural Areas in Rural Area 1.  (Scott Clark)


Mr. Scott stated that this was a request to amend an earlier special use permit originally approved in 2000 and most recently amended earlier this year for the time extension.  The church is located in the Rural Areas and within the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir Watershed, but is on the edge of the development areas.  The boundary line is right on Hydraulic Road.  He summarized the history from the staff report.  (Attachment D - Copy of the Staff Report.)  A site plan was approved for a 300-seat church and three accessory building in 1993.  It has expired, and a new site plan will be required if the current request is approved.  In 2000, the Board of Supervisors approved a request for a 200-seat sanctuary and church use of the existing buildings, with conditions.  In 2003, the Board of Supervisors approved a request to extend the construction deadline for SP-00-002 to 30 months from the approval date of SP-03-086, with conditions.  This is an amendment to increase that to 250 seats.  In general, the plan for the site has not changed greatly from the 200 seat approval. The applicant’s did need to negotiate a change to the entrance with VDOT.  The requirement was for a right turn taper, which is shown on the conceptual plan.  The other major concern with this proposal is the change that happened between the 2004 and this current request is that this current request is that this location is now within the Entrance Corridor. This request has gone to the ARB for advisory comment three times. At the beginning of the meeting staff passed out a memorandum about the recommended conditions in the staff report, which were originally written to address the ARB’s concern about the parking lot located at the northeast corner of the parcel was in fact incorrect and has been revised so that the conditions handed out in that memo are now what staff is recommending for approval.  (See Attachment D - Memo dated August 24, 2004 addressed to the Planning Commission from Scott Clark.)


Mr. Benish stated that essentially what happened was that the action letter that came from the ARB was incorrect.  Therefore, staff picked up the wrong conditions.  A revised action letter was resubmitted, which is reflected in the revised language.  Mr. Clark will explain the change in the conditions.


Ms. Joseph asked if staff had a copy of the original plan.


Mr. Clark pointed out that the plan before the Commission differs only from the original approved plan in the size of the building.


Ms. Joseph asked if all of the parking, the building and everything are pretty much in the same location that was approved previously.


Mr. Clark stated that the general layout was the same, but that there was now more parking because of the larger building that required additional parking.  The conditions are intended to ensure that the applicant’s will be required to take that lot and angle it farther towards the traffic circle before they can get a site plan approval.


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


Mr. Rieley asked what the reason was that the ARB was asking them to cock that parking lot.


Mr. Clark stated that the ARB really wanted to have the parking area farther from the road just for visual reasons plus if it was moved back then more of the existing tree line could remain for the screening effect.  The existing tree line comes all the way out to the road and over to the existing parking area now.  He pointed out that the plan that Mr. Benish was putting up is not the one that is actually in their packet because it is a new plan that is in response to the ARB’s request, which has not been reviewed yet because it just became available today.  The existing tree line is shown on that plan.


Mr. Rieley pointed out that there are now three plans to look at.  He stated that the new plan looks better than the second plan.


Ms. Higgins applauded staff for including the original conditions in the report.  She asked if the recommended conditions replace all of the conditions on the previous approvals so that if staff left one off that it went away.


Mr. Benish stated yes, that was the intent.  He stated that the recommended conditions would run with this property and with this special use permit and were intended to replace the previous ones.


Mr. Thomas opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to come forward and address the Commission.


Lynn Foster, Chair of the Building Team for Unity Church, stated that she did not have a lot to add to what Mr. Clark has said, but she would be glad to address any questions.


Mr. Thomas asked if there were any questions for Ms. Foster.  There being none, he asked if there was further public comment.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for discussion and a possible action.


Mr. Rieley stated that he was uncomfortable with the language in condition 3 which gave the Design Planner the authority to approve the rearrangement of parking.  He questioned why it did not give that discretion to the ARB.


Mr. Benish pointed out that was not the intent of the language. He stated that Mr. Clark would get with the Zoning Administrator to come up with some language that satisfies the language of condition 3 in terms of enforcement, but holds true to the intent that it was going to meet the ARB requirements and not be an administrative decision.  He stated that it was just to follow through on the implementation of that condition for the ARB.


Mr. Rieley agreed with Mr. Benish’s suggestion that staff would work on the language of condition 3 before the request goes to the Board so that condition 3 would not be an individual’s interpretation.


Mr. Morris moved for acceptance of SP-03-53, Unity Church of Charlottesville Amendment, with the amendments to the conditions as revised by staff including working out the language on condition 3.

1.       The church sanctuary shall not exceed 250 seats;

2.       Construction of the two hundred fifty (250)-seat sanctuary shall commence within thirty (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.       The site shall be developed in general accord with the conceptual plan titled “Unity Church”, revision 4 (“6/28/04 Comments”), prepared by Muncaster Engineering. Adjustments to the number of parking spaces approved by the Zoning Administrator, and a rearrangement of the parking spaces to the satisfaction of the Design Planner, shall be deemed to be in general accord with the conceptual plan. Any expansion of, or addition to, the uses, activities or structures must be determined by the Zoning Administrator to be in general accord with the conceptual plan, the staff report, and the Architectural Review Board action of August 2, 2004.

4.       The applicants shall relocate the 22-space parking lot shown north of the driveway nearer to the traffic circle.

5.        The applicants shall provide plantings to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board;

6.       Location of water meters and water lines on the site shall be adjusted to the satisfaction of the Albemarle County Service Authority;

7.       The property may not be further divided;

8.       There shall be no more than one (1) residential dwelling on this property;


Mr. Craddock seconded the motion.


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


Mr. Thomas stated that the motion carried for approval of SP-03-53, Unity Church of Charlottesville Amendment, and will go to the Board of Supervisors on October 13.


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