STAFF PERSON:                                                                  TARPLEY V. GILLESPIE

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                              October 26, 2004

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                              November 10, 2004


SP-2004-44 Albemarle Ballet Theater


Applicant's Proposal:

The applicant proposes a ballet school to be located within an existing structure at 5798 Three Notched Road in downtown Crozet.  The applicant proposes the use of the entire second floor of the building, occupying 3,400 square feet (see attachment B Concept Plan).  The applicant requests the use of two studio spaces, with classes beginning and ending at staggered 15 minutes intervals, with a total of 12 students per class.  (See Attachment C- Letter from Applicant).  This would result in some periods of time with up to 24 students on premises. 



Request for a Special Use Permit to allow a private ballet school in accordance with Section of the Zoning Ordinance which allows for private schools in the C-1 Commercial Zoning District.  The property, described as Tax Map 56A1-1 Parcel 65, contains 1.208 acres and is zoned C-1 Commercial.  The proposal is located on Three Notched Road (Route 240), at the intersection of Three Notched Road and Crozet Avenue (Route 810), in the White Hall Magisterial District.  The Comprehensive Plan designated this property as a part of the Community of Crozet.



The applicants are Gary S. Hart and Sally Hart.  The owner of the property is Unicorn Holdings, L.L.C.


Character of the Area:

The proposed site is located in the central core of downtown Crozet in the historic Fruit Growers Complex building.  The parcel contains a serious of buildings which form the commercial frontage of Route 240 in this segment of the downtown (See Attachment B).  The buildings are typically one and two story frame and block commercial buildings containing uses ranging from restaurants to retail uses.  The entrance to the school will be located at the rear of the building. 




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


Zoning History:

The building was constructed in 1902 as the manufacturing plant for the Crozet Cider Company.  Referred to as the Crozet Cooperage Company, the apple and flour barrel manufacturing plant operated on the site until 1930.  The original development predates the County's site plan requirements.  No site plan has ever been required for this site.  The proposed special use permit will not precipitate a site plan.  



Comprehensive Plan:

The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as a part of the Crozet Development Area.  This property was, until recently, designated as part of the Rural Area in the Comprehensive Plan.  With the adoption of CPA 2003-4, this property, along other properties along the north side of the Route 240 corridor, was designated as part of the Crozet Development Area.  At this time, The Comprehensive Plan does not contain specific future land use designations for these newly added properties.  The property is Zoned C-1 Commercial. 


The Neighborhood Model

Twelve principles of development are set forth in the Neighborhood Model, which is an adopted part of the Comprehensive Plan.  A staff analysis of the manner in which this development proposal addresses each principle is included below.


Neighborhood Model principles most strongly reflected by this proposal are:


Mixture of Uses - The site is characterized by a mixture of uses with considerable variety, a benefit to the neighborhood and the larger area.  A ballet school will provide a neighborhood service use to the area residents.


Neighborhood Centers - Downtown Crozet serves at the center for the entire Crozet community.  There is the potential for additional future uses in the unoccupied portions of the building to supplement the neighborhood center. 


Redevelopment - The new use in an existing building is a positive example of this Neighborhood Model principle. 


Buildings and Spaces of Human Scale -  Buildings and spaces on this site are of human scale, and they provide the urban core of Crozet.


Relegated Parking - Parking located to the rear of the building and is relegated from both Routes 240 and 810.


Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks  - The proposed site sits at the corner of Routes 240 and 810 and benefits from the existing network. 


Principles of the Neighborhood Model that are not strongly reflected on this site are:


Pedestrian Orientation - The entrance to the ballet school is located to the rear of this building in an area without pedestrian facilities.  This makes it difficult to access the ballet school in any manner other than by car.



Zoning and Engineering:

In late spring of 2004, the applicant approached the County Zoning staff and requested a parking determination for the proposed ballet school.  The applicant provided the Zoning staff with a parking study which stipulated that one class would be conducted at a time, with a maximum of 12 students per class.  Based on this information, it was determined that 8 parking spaces would be required for this use.  Currently, the required 8 parking spaces are available and can be accommodated on this site.  There is a shared parking arrangement on this site.  Therefore, none of the parking is to be marked as reserved for specific users. 


The parking requirement is to be tied to the zoning clearance for this and all uses.  Zoning staff has recommended that a minimum number of parking spaces not be included in the conditions of this Special Use Permit, but rather be tied to the zoning clearance for the ballet school.


The pick-up and drop-off area behind the building can accommodate no more than 10 stacked cars at a time.  For this reason, staff finds a maximum of 12 student to be a reasonable limitation to place on this use. 


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


Staff finds that the proposed use is an appropriate reuse of this building and would provide a benefit to the community of Crozet.  However, staff is concerned that, considering the existing infrastructure on the site, 24 students attending classes on this site at one time would be a detriment to the surrounding uses.  Staff finds that a total of up to 12 students attending classes at any given time on this site would have no detrimental impacts.


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

The instructional facility is to be located entirely within the existing building.  The proposal is compatible the site and surrounding areas. 


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

The proposed school use will provide a service to families in the Crozet Development Area and the western Rural Areas district.  Its introduction further mixes uses in the historic core of downtown Crozet, one of the principles of the Neighborhood Model.


            with the uses permitted by right in the district,

This should not impact any other uses in the district.  Building Code and Zoning Services has determined that sufficient parking exists on the site, and the use of a separate entrance to the ballet school portion of the building will help to avoid conflicts with other resident uses. 



and with the public health, safety and general welfare. 

The applicant has asked for two classes of 12 students to occur simultaneously in two distinct studio spaces.  The applicant has offered to stagger the classes at 15 minute intervals to address concerns about student drop off and pick up.  However, staff finds, given the current level of infrastructure on this site that up to 24 students on site at any given time would be a substantial detriment to the general public health, safety and general welfare because the proposed ingress and drop off system would only allow for a maximum of 10 cars to stack in the rear of the building at any given time.  Given the limitations of the existing infrastructure, staff cannot support the proposal without a limitation of students on the site at any given time.



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

1.                  The proposal will be an adaptive reuse of an existing historic building;

2.                  There is adequate parking available on site to address this use with the recommended conditions;

3.                  This proposal reflects several principles of the Neighborhood Model, among them Mixture of Uses, Redevelopment, and Neighborhood Centers.

4.                  The ballet school will provide a neighborhood service to surrounding community of Crozet.



Staff finds the following factor unfavorable to this request.

1.                  The proposed use increases the level of activity on a site which does not have the supporting infrastructure which would normally be required to support such a mixture of uses, leading to staff concerns about vehicular circulation and pedestrian safety. 

2.                  As proposed by the applicant, a total of 24 students could be attending classes on site at a given time.  Staff finds that this number of students could not be supported by the existing infrastructure and would create a negative impact on the site.



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.      Total number of students attending class on site shall not exceed 12.  Breaks of a minimum of 15 minutes shall be scheduled between classes.


2.      Normal hours of operation for the school shall be from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. provided that occasional school-related events may occur after 9:00 p.m.


3.       The parking spaces required for this use shall not be reserved.


4.      On site recitals shall be held on Sundays only.



 A.  Concept Plan
 B.     Letter from applicant dated 9-23-2004

 Return to PC actions letter