STAFF PERSON:                                                                               Sean Dougherty

PLANNING COMMISSION:                                              October 26, 2004

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:                                              December 1, 2004

 

 

SP-2004-045 Charlottesville First Assembly

 

 

Applicant's Proposal:

The applicant’s proposal is for a special use permit to construct additional parking to serve church activities. This amendment of their existing special use permit will add 56 parking spaces. Currently the church has a shared parking agreement with CATEC, but needs additional parking. Unlike CATEC, this parking lot is visible from the church. 

 

Petition:

Request for special use permit to expand church facility by increasing the size of the church parking lot in accordance with Section 15.2.2.12 of the zoning ordinance.  The property described as Tax Map 61 Parcel 153A1 is zoned R-4 and contains 4.71 acres.  It is located in the Rio Magisterial District on East Rio Road (Rt. 631) between CATECH and the railroad bridge.  The Comprehensive Plan designates this area as Institutional in Neighborhood One. (See Attachments B and C for Location Information)

 

Petitioners:

The applicant and owner is Charlottesville First Assembly, represented by Eliot Fendig and Ellie Carter of Terra Partners, LLC.

 

Character of the Area:

The proposed parking lot sits on a slope below the grade of Rio Road between eight and sixteen feet. The Southern Railroad line borders the property to the northwest and Rio Road to the northeast. CATEC is located along the southern edge of this pie-shaped parcel. Across from the church is the Covenant Church of God, which has a larger congregation. Development along Rio Road across the railroad track and north of the property is mixed, including convenience and service-oriented businesses. The remainder of the surrounding neighborhoods are low to moderate density residential.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

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:

 

In 1999, the Charlottesville First Assembly congregation rezoned what was known as Tax Map 61 Parcel 153A (the parcel on which the proposed parking lot is proposed) from CO to R-4 (ZMA 99 – 18). That allowed the church to have the same zoning (R-4) on both parcels. In addition, the church acquired a special use permit (SP 99 – 75) for both parcels, bringing the church into conformity and a site development plan (SDP99-162) allowing for a modular classroom to be placed to the rear of the church. These parcels were combined in 2000 (SUB 00 – 197).

 

 

Comprehensive Plan:

 

The Comprehensive Plan designates this area as Institutional in Neighborhood One. Uses allowed within this designation include public and private schools, universities and colleges and their ancillary facilities, such as stadiums and golf courses.

 

The Neighborhood Model

 

As this is a review for an additional parking lot, only the following neighborhood model principles apply:

 

Pedestrian Orientation - The location of the parking lot, adjacent to the church, provides visual orientation. Rio Road is proposed for widening, but is currently lacking a sidewalk on either side of the road.

 

Neighborhood Centers – The church will continue to serve as a neighborhood center.

 

Relegated Parking - The applicant and staff thoroughly investigated options for screening this parking lot from Rio Road. The parking lot lies well below the grade of Rio Road. It is barely visible to northbound traffic on Rio Road and is screened from adjacent southbound travel by the thick tract of trees lining the railroad tracks. It was determined there was little the applicant could do, in addition to the required street trees and parking lot trees, to mitigate visual impact. In addition, when widening Rio Road, VDOT plans to gain access to the property along the road and the railroad bridge to facilitate construction. It is likely that the widening process will harm or require the removal of any additional screening trees or shrubs. In support of the Neighborhood Model, the existing and proposed parking is to the side of the building. This allows a view, unobstructed by parking, from the road

 

STAFF COMMENT:

 

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 31.2.4.1 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 construction of the proposed parking lot. 

 

            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;

The zoning is R-4, Residential.  The intent of the R-4 district is to provide for compact, medium-density single-family development, permit a variety of housing types, and provide incentives for clustering of development. Within R-4 zoning, churches are permitted by special use permit. As this is a modification/intensification of an existing religious use, it’s not in conflict with this ordinance.

 

            with the uses permitted by right in the district;

Religious uses are considered supportive of uses in residential zoning districts.

 

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 additional parking.

 

Zoning staff have reviewed this proposal for conformity with parking regulations. 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. The County’s Chief of Zoning has granted administrative approval.

 

The number of spaces allowable for the church, including a 20 % increase is 138. The church is proposing 138.

 

SUMMARY

 

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

 

The proposed parking lot is logically sited

Applicant thoroughly investigated options for additional screening along Rio Road.

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

 

No unfavorable factors have been identified.

 

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Staff has reviewed this request for compliance with the provisions set forth in Section 31.2.4.1 of the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval with conditions.

 

Recommended conditions of approval:

 

1. The church’s improvements and the scale and location of the improvements shall be developed in general accord with the concept plan entitled “Charlottesville First Assembly Minor Amendment to Valid Special Use Permit” prepared by Terra Partners, LLC and dated July 19, 2004;

  

2. Day care use shall be prohibited unless approved through a special use permit amendment.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:

 

A.                 Concept Plan

B.                 Location Map

C.                 Property Map

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