ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD STAFF REPORT

 

 

Project #: Name

 

ARB-2004-71: Dennis Enterprises Rio West

 

Review Type

 

Second Advisory Review for a Special Use Permit and Conceptual Review of a Site Development Plan

 

Parcel Identification

 

Tax Map 45, Parcels 100, 101, and 101B

 

Location

 

670-680 Rio Road West, North side of Rio Road West adjacent to Photoworks and across from the Daily Progress building

 

Zoned

 

Commercial (C1), Entrance Corridor (EC)

 

Owner

 

Auto LLC

 

Magisterial District

 

Rio

 

Proposal

 

To establish a new automobile dealership with outdoor storage and display of vehicles.

 

ARB Meeting Date

 

September 7, 2004

 

Staff Contact

 

Margaret Maliszewski

 

HISTORY OF SITE AND SURROUNDING AREA

The ARB conducted an advisory review for this Special Use Permit request and a review of the conceptual plan for the proposal at its meeting on February 2, 2004. The ARB did not support the request for the SP because the proposal did not meet the ARB Guidelines and the development did not reflect the traditional architecture of the area. The Board also indicated that in an area that contains offices and residences, motor vehicle sales is not an appropriate use. The Board offered recommended conditions in the event that the Planning Commission chose to support the project. Those conditions were as follows:

1.       Relocate the building closer to the EC.

2.       Limit the parking at the front of the site to a single row. Vehicles shall only be displayed / stored in areas behind the building, away from the EC.

3.       Limit building illumination to that which is necessary for safety and security.

4.       Limit the level of illumination of site lighting to eliminate negative impacts on the EC, to the satisfaction of the ARB.

5.       The site shall be landscaped to limit visibility of vehicles and the “sea of parking” effect, to the satisfaction of the ARB.

6.       Vehicles shall not be elevated anywhere on site.

7.       Preservation of the large shade trees is strongly encouraged or an alternative acceptable to the ARB must be shown.

 

On March 9, 2004 the Planning Commission reviewed the project. Their action was to recommend approval subject to the following conditions:

 

1.   The site shall be developed in general accord as per elevation and section dated March 9, 2004.

2.   Vehicles parked or displayed outdoors shall not be elevated anywhere on site (through the use of racks or other lift devices).

3.   Vehicles shall be displayed only in areas as per elevation and section dated March9, 2004.

4.   Between the building and Rio Road West, there shall not be more than two rows of vehicles.  One row shall be used for display vehicles, the other row shall be used for customer parking.  The intermittent, incidental parking of customer vehicles in the display vehicle row shall not be a violation of this condition.

5.   The building shall be moved at least 18 feet closer to the front property line adjacent to Rio Road West with concurrence with the Department of Engineering as it is shown on the plans entitled Application Plans for Dennis Enterprises – Rio Road, dated November 24, 2003, to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board. 

6.   The level of illumination of the site and building lighting shall be limited to eliminate negative impacts to the Entrance Corridor and adjacent residential uses, to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board.  The applicant shall turn off all lighting for night time hours at 9:00 pm, with the exception of security lighting. 

7.   The site shall be landscaped to limit the visibility of vehicles, to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board.

8.   If the existing large shade trees identified on the plans entitled, Application Plan for Dennis Enterprises – Rio Road, dated November 24, 2003, are removed, alternative landscaping shall be provided, to the satisfaction of the Architectural Review Board. 

9.   Display vehicles shall not display signage, flags, balloons, or other similar items beyond that required by the manufacturer.

10.  Spaces for display vehicles shall measure 9’x18’ and shall be striped.  Display vehicles shall be parked in striped display spaces only.   

 

The applicant requested deferral of the Board of Supervisors review of the proposal, revised the design, and is now seeking favorable comments from the ARB.

 

PROJECT CHANGES

1.       The front display area has been reduced in size from 5900 sf to 2500 sf.

2.       The building has been moved from 104’ to 86’ back from the front property line, a 18’ difference.

3.       Display area behind the building has been changed from a 2700 sf lot north of the building to a 6000 sf lot directly behind the building.

4.       The design and general appearance of the building has been revised.

 

ANALYSIS (based on plans dated 7/24/4)

 

The comments shown in italics are those that were provided for both the Special Use Permit and the conceptual plan at the February 2, 2004 ARB meeting.

 

1.      Relocate the proposed building closer to the EC and relocate the 5,900 SF vehicle display area behind the building.

2.      Limit parking at the front of the site to a single row. Vehicles shall only be displayed /stored in areas behind the building, away from the EC.

Proposal: The building has been moved 18’ closer to the EC. The front vehicle display area has been reduced by over half to 2500 sf, constituting a single row of parking adjacent to the EC. Other parking between the EC and the building appear to be customer parking spaces (16) along the front of the building.

Comments: Although the entire display area was not moved behind the building, the general number and layout of spaces between the building and the EC could have more of an appearance of a standard retail parking lot and less of an appearance of display vehicles for sale. Although experience has shown that dealerships tend to park more display vehicles in a given area than customer or employee cars, the layout of the front parking lot suggests that display vehicles would be limited to a single row if a minimum width travelway is maintained. And, a PC recommended condition of approval would limit display cars to only parking in striped spaces.

Recommendations: Display vehicles between the building and the EC shall be limited to a single row.  Indicate on the drawings the different functions of each parking area.  Indicate on the drawings that the display spaces shall be striped to a size of 9’x 18’.   

 

3.      Indicate on the plan that vehicles shall not be elevated anywhere on site.

Proposal: The note has not been included on the plan.

Recommendations: Indicate on the plan that vehicles shall not be elevated anywhere on site.

 

4.      Provide spot elevations for the retaining wall along the EC.

5.      Regrade the 2:1 slope to a 3:1 slope.

Proposal: Spot elevations have not been included. Notes indicate that the walls at the front of the property are +/- 3’ high and the ones on the west side and towards the back are +/- 6’ high. Proposed grading is not included on the plan.

Recommendations: Provide spot elevations for the retaining wall along the EC indicating top of wall and bottom of wall relationships at the highest and lowest points of the wall. Re-grade the 2:1 slope to a 3:1 slope.

 

6.      Indicate proposed materials for the retaining walls.

Proposal: The walls are rendered as brick on the site plan.

Comments: Brick walls will likely be appropriate; however, building materials have not been indicated, and the retaining wall material should coordinate with the building materials.

Recommendations: Indicate proposed building and retaining wall proportions, materials and colors. Provide samples and a typical cross section to describe wall character.

 

7.      Regarding the landscaping:

·         Revise the proposed layout and grading plan to retain the existing significant natural resources (i.e. large shade trees).

Proposal: An existing conditions plan has been submitted. It identifies existing trees on site. The largest trees identified include two 24” red oaks and two 36” oaks near the front of the site. On the back half of the site are shown 31 trees, including a 24” double poplar and a number of 15” poplars, oaks, red oaks, and maples. Across the back property line are shown a mix of maples, poplars, and pines.

Comments: The proposed plan shows no existing trees to remain, although it appears that those across the rear property line could be retained.

Recommendations: Provide a grading plan. Show existing trees along the rear property line to remain.  Indicate limits of construction, staging areas and tree protection on the plan.  Submit a signed Conservation Plan Check List.  To partially compensate for the loss of wooded areas and large trees on site, choose plant species indigenous to the area to form the basis for a site planting plan.  Base all species choices for site planting on the existing wooded area.  Propose plant associations appropriate for the context.  Suggested species include:

·         Trees (large shade): Quercus alba (White Oak); Quercus rubra (Red Oak); Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Polar); Fagus grandifolia (American Beech); Fraxinus americana (White Ash); Acer rubrum (Red Maple)

·         Trees (large evergreen): Ilex opaca (American Holly); Pinus echinata (Short Leaf Pine); Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar)

·         Trees (medium and small): Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum); Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum); Cercis canadensis (Redbud); Amelanchier arborea (Serviceberry)

 

·         Shrubs (evergreen): Ilex glabra cvs. (Inkberry); Myrica pensylvanica (Wax Myrtle); Rhododendron maximum x ‘Roseum’

·         Shrubs (deciduous): Itea virginica cvs. (Virginia Sweetspire); Clethra alnifolia cvs. (Summersweet); Fothergilla major (Large Fothergilla); Hydrangea quercifolia cvs. (Oakleaf Hydrangea)

 

·         Provide street trees (3˝” cal.) 35’ on-center with ornamental trees interspersed along the EC.

·         Specify evergreen screening shrubs along the EC at a planting height of 36”.

·         Locate screening shrubs at the top of the retaining wall at the front of the property.

Proposal: The plan shows “large street trees” approximately 35’ on center along the EC, with “ornamental trees” in pairs along the frontage and “ornamental shrubs” in groups between the paired ornamental trees. These shrubs do not form a continuous border. A planting schedule has not been included. Shrubs are also shown on the parking lot side of the retaining wall at the front of the property.

Comments: Without a planting schedule, the proposed size of the trees and shrubs cannot be determined.

Recommendations: Provide a planting schedule. Indicate that the large EC trees are 3˝” caliper at planting. Indicate that the EC shrubs are 36” high at planting and that they form a continuous boarder. 

 

·         Provide conifers along the east side of the parking areas to reduce visibility of parked cars from the EC.

·         The site shall be landscaped to limit visibility of vehicles and the “sea of parking” effect.

Proposal: Paired “evergreen screening trees” alternate with “parking area trees” on the east side of the building and the parking area behind the building. Species and size have not been identified.

Comments: The perspective sketch shows the evergreens throughout the site as shrubs.

Recommendations: Provide a complete planting schedule so the planting plan can be reviewed in detail.

 

·         Provide conifers, in addition to the shade trees, along the sloped area adjacent to the 11,000 SF vehicle display and storage area to help break up the “sea of parking”.

Proposal: Shade trees are shown in this area spaced approximately 30’ apart.

Recommendations: Provide a mix of evergreen trees, shade trees and mixed shrubs along the full width (25’) and length (180’) of the sloped area south of the 11,000 SF vehicle display and storage area to help break up the “sea of parking”.  Base plant species choices on the existing wooded area and propose plant associations appropriate for the context. 

 

·         Provide additional landscaping, such as conifers and large shade trees, along the north property line to reduce the extended view of parked cars.

·         Provide a plant list with the preliminary landscape plan.

Proposal: Groups of four “evergreen screening trees” alternate with 4 “parking area trees” at the northernmost edge of the parking area.

Comments: A planting schedule has not been included. Depending on the species and size proposed, this planting could be sufficient to meet this condition.

Recommendations: Provide a complete planting schedule for review.

 

·         Provide landscaping along the side walls of the building to reduce the blankness.

Proposal: Paired “evergreen screening trees” are shown alternating with “parking area trees” along both sides of the building. The building design has been significantly revised from the original proposal.

Comments: As illustrated in the conceptual sketch, the side elevations of the building and the proposed landscaping along the side elevations appear to be appropriate.

Recommendations: None.

 

8.      Provide complete lighting information, including a photometric plan and manufacturer’s cut sheets with all options identified for the chosen fixtures. Limit site illumination levels to eliminate negative impacts on the EC. Limit building illumination to that which is necessary for safety and security. Show all proposed exterior lights, including wall lights, ground-mounted lights, lights within the entry porch, etc.

9.      Complete information on all proposed signage should be included with the site plan submittal. Clearly indicate intended sign locations on the building elevations. Sign locations must be compatible with the architecture. Wall signs shall maintain a 6” blank border around the perimeter of the sign band. Consider external illumination for building and site signage.

10.  Provide all material and color samples.

Proposal: This information has not been included in this submittal.

Recommendations:

·         Provide complete lighting information, including a photometric plan and manufacturer’s cut sheets with all options identified for the chosen fixtures. Limit site illumination levels to eliminate negative impacts on the EC. Limit building illumination to that which is necessary for safety and security. Show all proposed exterior lights, including wall lights, ground-mounted lights, lights within the entry porch, etc.

·         Complete information on all proposed signage should be included with the site plan submittal. Clearly indicate intended sign locations on the building elevations. Sign locations must be compatible with the architecture. Wall signs shall maintain a 6” blank border around the perimeter of the sign band. Consider external illumination for building and site signage. As illustrated, the building design offers few options for wall signage.

·         Provide all material and color samples for review.

 

11.  Show all proposed accessory structures and equipment on the plan. Show how visibility of these items will be eliminated from the EC.

Proposal: No accessory structure or equipment are shown on the plan.

Comments: The change to flat roofs on portions of the building could limit the ability to use rooftop equipment.

Recommendations: Indicate in writing that no accessory structures or equipment are proposed, or show all proposed accessory structures and equipment on the plan and illustrate how visibility of these items will be eliminated from the EC.

 

12.  Revise the window treatment on the sides of the building to reduce the horizontal nature of the windows and to improve the coordination with the front windows.

13.  Revise the design of the building so the front pediment meets the ridge.

Proposal: The building design has been completely revised and a conceptual sketch has been submitted. Instead of a single, brick-faced building with a hipped roof, the current proposal illustrates a structure intended to appear as a series of five joined two-story commercial buildings with alternating flat (parapet) and pitched roofs.

Comments: The horizontal window and pediment issues do no apply to the new design. Window shapes and placement of the new design appear to be derived from those of the adjacent Photoworks building. The new building has more of a pedestrian scale. It does not look like an automobile showroom. The character of this design supports the appearance of the front parking lot as a typical parking lot, although some features typically associated with car display lots (price stickers) would continue to identify this lot as such.

Recommendations: Provide to-scale architectural elevations for review. Indicate the height of the Photoworks building and windows for reference. Indicate proposed materials and colors and provide samples for review.

 

14.  Provide site sections to clarify the visibility of vehicles on site from the EC.

Proposal: A sketch section has been drawn. It shows the front parking lot approximately five feet below the elevation of the EC. It shows that the grade of the site would be dropped a full story to accommodate the lower service level of the building and the rear parking areas. Where the site currently slopes from 520’ to 504’, a parking lot would be created with an approximate elevation of 504’. At the rear of the site a storage and display area would be created at an elevation of 488’. A strip of sloped land would be situated between the two parking areas.

Comments: The section suggests that the top of the display cars in the front lot, and the customer cars in the front lot would be visible from the EC. It also suggests that cars behind the building would be parked considerably below grade, with new perimeter trees and shrubs well above the parking level. Proposed grading has not been shown on the plan, so these relationships cannot be confirmed by the plan.

Recommendations: Provide a proposed grading plan for review.

 

SUMMARY OF ANALYSIS

The revised design projects the appearance of a commercial building row with related parking at the front of the site. Although a grading plan has not been provided for the current design, it is anticipated that the grading required to accommodate the building and the parking behind the building will not respect the existing terrain as recommended in the ARB Guidelines. The plan suggests that landscaping could be used to soften some of the impacts of the parking areas behind the building, although the landscaping shown would require revisions to meet the ARB’s earlier recommendations. From the Rio Road Entrance Corridor, only angled views into the site would be available for this area. (Distant views from Route 29, north of the site, will reveal the site as an extension of parked cars at Colonial Auto.)

 

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Staff recommends:

 

The following as the primary points of discussion for the ARB:

1.       Revised building location – closer to the EC

2.       Revised building design – commercial row concept

3.       Reduced amount of vehicle display along the EC

4.       Modulating the overall approach to site grading

5.       Proposed site planting

 

Regarding the request for the Special Use Permit:

Although the grading required for this proposal does not meet the ARB Guidelines, heavy perimeter and interior parking lot landscaping is expected to reduce visibility from Rio Road. Although the use of a commercial row design for an auto dealership may raise questions regarding appropriate models for design, the commercial row (or a simplified version of the one shown) could fit with the surrounding context. Staff can support the revised proposal with conditions and recommends that the ARB forward the following recommendation to the Planning Commission/Board of Supervisors:

The ARB has no objection to the proposed use, if the following conditions are met:

1.       Display vehicles between the building and the EC shall be limited to cars parked in a single row, with 9’ x 18’ spaces striped, and display vehicles parked only in those striped display spaces.

2.       Limit building illumination to that which is necessary for safety and security.

3.       Limit the level of illumination of site lighting to eliminate negative impacts on the EC, to the satisfaction of the ARB.

4.       The site shall be planted to limit visibility of vehicles and the “sea of parking” effect, to the satisfaction of the ARB with a species palette based on existing trees to be removed.

5.       Vehicles shall not be elevated anywhere on site.

 

Regarding the Conceptual Plan and Building Design:

Staff offers the following comments that should be addressed, in addition to the items included on the ARB preliminary site plan review checklist, with the next submittal:

 

1.       Display vehicles between the building and the EC shall be limited to a single row.  Indicate on the drawings the different functions of each parking area.  Indicate on the drawings that the display spaces shall be striped to a size of 9’x 18’ and that display cars will only be parked in striped spaces.  

2.       Indicate on the plan that vehicles shall not be elevated anywhere on site (through the use of racks or other lift devices).

3.       Provide spot elevations for the retaining wall along the EC indicating top of wall and bottom of wall relationships at the highest and lowest points of the wall. Re-grade the 2:1 slope to a 3:1 slope.

4.       Indicate proposed building and retaining wall materials and colors. Provide samples for review and a typical cross section of retaining walls to show proportions and overall character.

5.       Provide a completed proposed grading plan for review.

6.       Show existing trees along the rear property line to remain.  Indicate limits of construction, staging areas and tree protection on plan.  Submit signed Conservation Plan Check List. 

7.       To partially compensate for the loss of wooded areas and large trees on site, choose plant species indigenous to the area to form the basis for a site planting plan.  Base all species choices for site planting on the existing wooded area.  Propose plant associations appropriate for the context.  Suggested species:

·         Trees (large shade): Quercus alba (White Oak); Quercus rubra (Red Oak); Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Polar); Fagus grandifolia (American Beech); Fraxinus americana (White Ash); Acer rubrum (Red Maple)

·         Trees (large evergreen): Ilex opaca (American Holly); Pinus echinata (Short Leaf Pine); Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar)

·         Trees (medium and small): Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum); Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum); Cercis canadensis (Redbud); Amelanchier arborea (Serviceberry)

·         Shrubs (evergreen): Ilex glabra cvs. (Inkberry); Myrica pensylvanica (Wax Myrtle); Rhododendron maximum x ‘Roseum’

·         Shrubs (deciduous): Itea virginica cvs. (Virginia Sweetspire); Clethra alnifolia cvs. (Summersweet); Fothergilla major (Large Fothergilla); Hydrangea quercifolia cvs. (Oakleaf Hydrangea)

8.       Provide a complete planting schedule, including plan species (Latin and common name), size on planting, total numbers of plants and plant form (B&B, container etc.).

9.       Indicate in the planting schedule that the large EC trees are 3˝” caliper at planting.

10.   Indicate in the planting schedule that the EC shrubs are 36” high at planting.

11.   Indicate additional shrubs to form a continuous boarder along the EC side of the retaining wall. 

12.   Provide a mix of evergreen trees, shade trees and shrubs along the full width (25’) and length (180’) of the sloped area south of the 11,000 SF vehicle display and storage area to help break up the “sea of parking”.  Base plant species choices on the existing wooded area and propose plant associations appropriate for the context. 

13.   Provide complete lighting information, including a photometric plan and manufacturer’s cut sheets with all options identified for the chosen fixtures.

14.   Limit site illumination levels to eliminate negative impacts on the EC.

15.   Limit building illumination to that which is necessary for safety and security.

16.   Show all proposed exterior lights, including wall lights, ground-mounted lights, lights within the entry porch, etc.

17.   Complete information on all proposed signage should be included with the site plan submittal.

18.   Clearly indicate intended sign locations on the building elevations.

19.   Sign locations must be compatible with the architecture.

20.   Wall signs shall maintain a 6” blank border around the perimeter of the sign band.

21.   Consider external illumination for building and site signage. As illustrated, the building design offers few options for wall signage.

22.   Provide all signage materials and color samples for review.

23.   Indicate in writing that no accessory structures or equipment are proposed, or show all proposed accessory structures and equipment on the plan and illustrate how visibility of these items will be eliminated from the EC. The change to flat roofs on portions of the building could limit the ability to use rooftop equipment.

24.   Provide to-scale architectural elevations for review. Indicate the height of the Photoworks building and windows for reference.

25.   Indicate proposed materials and colors on the drawings and provide samples for review.

 

 

Go to ATTACHMENT D – ARB Action Letter dated September 16, 2004

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