STAFF PERSON:                                                                                 Sean Dougherty

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                              October 19, 2004

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                              November 10, 2004



SP-2004-046 Lighthouse Worship Center, Inc.



Applicant's Proposal:

The applicant’s proposal is for a special use permit to construct a one-story steel-frame classroom building to the rear of the church property. The building will serve as a fellowship hall and Sunday school facility for 30-40 people. The building will be used on Sunday mornings and one evening per week for worship-related activities. The existing church is housed in a former pole barn that was constructed to facilitate development of the Forest Lakes subdivision. The church has redeveloped the pole barn structure for worship and associated educational uses. There is no existing special use permit for this church. The proposed special use permit will bring the Lighthouse congregation into compliance. The applicant has submitted a concept plan. The proposed expansion will be developed in general accord with that concept plan.



Request for special use permit to expand church facility by constructing a one-story, detached 50 foot by 100 foot steel building in accordance with Section 13.2.2 of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for churches in an R-1 residential zoning district. The property, described as Tax Map 32 Parcel 36E contains 2.217 acres, and is located in the Rivanna Magisterial District at 3349 Worth Crossing. The property is zoned R-1.  The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Transitional in the Hollymead Development Area. (See Attachments B and C for Location Information)



The applicant and owner is Lighthouse Worship Center, represented by Debra Belew, who is a member of the Lighthouse congregation.


Character of the Area:

This portion of the Hollymead and Piney Mountain communities is dominated by its adjacency to Route 29 and Proffit Road. It is located to the East of Route 29 behind Mercer Carpet and the Airport Motel. The area is a mix of developed and developable parcels that include suburban residential and strip commercial development. The church is adjacent to a daycare facility. Directly across Proffit Road are the Martha Jefferson Hospital satellite facility, 84 Lumber, and Southern States. Additionally, the property is adjacent to the Forest Lakes subdivision and other low density residential uses.




Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions of Section 13.2.2 of the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval with conditions.



Zoning History:


The parcel was zoned Agricultural prior to the 1980 Comprehensive Plan. In 1980, a R-1 residential zoning was applied to the property. In 1993, the former owner, Virginia Land Company requested a rezoning to C-1 (ZMA 1993-011). This request was withdrawn. No site plan has ever been required for this site.


Comprehensive Plan:

The Comprehensive Plan designates this area as Transitional in the Hollymead Neighborhood.  Zoning is R-1, Residential.  The intent of the R-1 district is to provide low density residential. Within R-1 zoning, churches are permitted by special use permit.


Transitional areas are intended to be used primarily between residential areas and commercial or industrial areas, or in areas where flexibility of land uses may be necessary or appropriate to blend changing circumstances (e.g. where long term public improvements are anticipated or areas where development/re-use is encouraged).


The Neighborhood Model


Because the special use permit is for an existing property with a single building addition, only these principles of the Neighborhood Model apply:


Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale – The building is single-story, and reflects the scale of the redeveloped pole barn.


Pedestrian Orientation – At present there are no sidewalks along Worth Crossing. While a sidewalk from the church to Worth Crossing and across the frontage of Worth Crossing would help meet this principle, the size and scale of the additional building seems disproportionate to a requirement for pedestrian access across Worth Crossing. The distance from the church to the street is roughly 250 feet. If redevelopment of this site occurs in the future, opportunities for meaningful pedestrian connections will be much greater.


Neighborhood Centers – The church acts as a center in this part of the Hollymead Development Area.


Relegated Parking and Site Planning That Respects Terrain – Staff suggested locating the new building closer to the road. This was not feasible given the topography in the area and the existing church building. In addition, the building is utilitarian in design and use of materials. In the proposed location, the new building is screened from the road by the existing building and adjacent day care center.






This review was conducted with consideration of The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 which states:


No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that

imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly, or institution – (A) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (B) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.



Staff’s Address of 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; 

Staff has not identified any detriment to adjacent property that would result from the new building. 


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

The proposal is compatible with the site and surrounding areas. 


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

As this is an intensification of an existing religious use, it’s not in conflict with this ordinance.


            with the uses permitted by right in the district;

Building Code and Zoning Services has determined that sufficient parking exists on the site. The church will continue to function much the same, with the addition of more space.


and with the public health, safety and general welfare. 

Staff does not have concerns regarding public health, safety, and general welfare in relation to the proposed special use permit.


Engineering and Zoning Comments


County engineering staff visited the site and found no issues which would need to be addressed with the building addition. Zoning staff have reviewed this proposal for conformity with -1 and parking regulations.


A site plan is not required for the expansion of the church because no additional parking is being provided or needed. The Zoning Ordinance requires that, for church uses, the number of required parking spaces shall be determined by the Zoning Administrator. In making the determination, the Zoning Administrator is to consider the recommendations of a parking study provided by the applicant as well as traffic generation figures, parking demands and any other relevant information. 


In August,



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


The proposed building makes more efficient use of the church property

There is adequate parking available on site to address this use. 

The church will continue to provide a neighborhood service to surrounding residential areas.

No Unfavorable factors have been identified.




Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions set forth in Section of the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval with conditions.


Recommended conditions of approval:


1. The improvements and the scale and location of the improvements shall be developed in general accord with the concept plan dated November 4, 2003.


2. The size of the proposed building will be no larger than 50X100 feet


3.  There shall be no daycare center or private school on site without approval of a separate special use permit.






A.                 Concept Plan

B.                 Location Map

C.                 Property Map

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