Albemarle County Planning Commission
ZMA-2004-15 Boars Head Inn
November 30, 2004
The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were Rodney Thomas, Chairman; Bill Edgerton; Cal Morris; Marcia Joseph and Pete Craddock, Vice-Chairman. Absent were William Rieley; Jo Higgins and David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia (non-voting). Mary Hughes was present for Mr. Neuman.
Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning & Community Development; Stephen Waller, Senior Planner; Rebecca Ragsdale, Planner; Yadira Amarante, Senior Planner; Susan Thomas, Senior Planner; Bill Fritz, Chief of Current Development and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.
Call to Order and Establish Quorum:
Mr. Thomas called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.
Public Hearing Items:
ZMA-2004-015 Boars Head Inn and Sports Club (Signs #70, 71 & 72): Request to rezone approximately 13.4 acres from R-1, Residential to HC, Highway Commercial, to allow new indoor and outdoor tennis courts with associated parking at the existing Boar's Head Inn & Sports Club. The property, described as Tax Map 59D2, Section 1, Parcel 15 and Tax Map 75, Parcel 63 (portion), is zoned R-1, Residential and HC, Highway Commercial. It is located on the south side of Ivy Road (Route 250 West), just west of the entrance to Ednam and south of the Boar's Head Inn, in the Samuel Miller Magisterial District. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Office Service and Institutional in Neighborhood 6. (Susan Thomas)
Ms. Thomas summarized the staff report. The most complex part of this project has been the process. There was some confusion at the staff level about how to handle this request relative to the provisions of our ordinance. The process started down the path of a special use permit, but then staff realized because of the split zoning on the parcel that it was not going to be possible. Therefore, the Planning Commission has a rezoning petition before them that on the face of it sounds as though the applicant is asking for a fairly intensive district. But the reality is that Highway Commercial happens to be the only zoning district that would allow such a use when associated with the health club, which puts it into the category of health spa or health facility. Briefly, that is kind of why staffís path twisted and turned. This project has been under review for several months. There is an existing facility at the Boars Head Inn and Sports Club. The Sports Club ownership is the University Foundation. The applicant seeks to expand the tennis courts because the tennis team has been practicing there in inclement weather. This has created some inconvenience for club members because the courts are in short supply with the Universityís sports team using them. There is a lot of demand for tennis in this area and Boars Head is one place where it occurs. Therefore, the applicant would like to expand the indoor courts to accommodate the existing demand as well as the anticipated future demand. If the rezoning is approved, the indoor tennis facility will be enlarged. It will be a large building. The building incentive from staffís standpoint has been since both adjacent parcels are under the same ownership there is a strong desire on the part of the Foundation to make the building as compatible as possible with the adjacent golf course. The golf course is very beautifully landscaped. It is nice that there is an incentive in that direction as opposed to one where there is separate ownership and the impacts fall on different parties. The applicant is present. If there are specific questions, staff would be happy to answer them. It is a very straight forward proposal. If there are any questions on the proffers staff would be happy to answer them.
Mr. Thomas asked if any Commissioner had any questions for staff. There being none, he opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to come forward to speak.
Ms. Valerie Long, Attorney, stated that she was present to represent the applicants for this proposal, which are the University Foundation and the University of Virginia Post Properties. The latter entity owns and manages the Boars Head Inn and Sports Club. She pointed out that there are a number of representatives of both entities present this evening in case there are any other questions. Those individuals present include Mr. Tim Rose, President of the University of Virginia Foundation; Mr. Bruce Stouffer, Director of Real Estate Development; and Mr. Fred Missel, who is in charge of their design issues. There are several persons present from the Boars Head Inn, which include Mr. Jorg Lappuner, General Manager of the Inn and Pat Simpson, Director of the Sports Club. She stated that if there are any questions that she was not able to answer sufficiently that one or all of those folks could help. She thanked Susan Thomas for all of her help throughout this process. The process has been very tricky for the applicant in trying to find a zoning category that was appropriate for this property and that would accommodate all of the uses that are going on now and that are expected to continue. The bulk of the Boars Head property is already zoned Highway Commercial and has been for some time. A small portion of one of the parcels comprising the property has split zoning. The northern portion is zoned Highway Commercial and the southern portion is zoned R-1, Residential. In addition, the adjacent Birdwood Golf Course is zoned R-1, Residential. What the applicant is proposing is to rezone the southern half of the one parcel that is currently R-1 to Highway Commercial so that parcel is consistent with the balance of the Boars Head property. Also, the request is to rezone just shy of two acres that is part of the golf course, which would essentially be cut off and added to the Boars Head Sports Club parcel. That property would be rezoned from R-1 to Highway Commercial as well. It is a total of about six acres. The staff report said approximately ten acres. The project has evolved over the past few months. Originally it was going to be a larger area, but now was around six acres. The proposed expansion would accommodate additional indoor tennis courts for the Boars Head Club, which would be used for both the Innís guests and club members. In addition, the facility would support the menís and womenís tennis teams at the University. Therefore, they were very excited about the proposal. The teams have been practicing there during the winter and occasionally holding tournaments and matches. It is not really a facility that is as well suited for these activities as they would like. In addition, by the teams using the courts it obviously takes time away from the existing members and guests for indoor court time. There has been a very high demand for additional indoor court facilities, particularly during the winter months and periods of inclement weather. The proposal is really a net increase of six courts. There are six courts there now with three courts that are inside of the indoor facility and three that are under what is commonly referred to as the bubble. It is an essentially a temporary seasonal structure that can be taken on and off, but it is not an ideal structure in which to play tennis indoors. It is noisy and apparently one cannot play at quite the same level that one can in an established facility. The three bubble courts would be replaced by three new indoor courts. In addition, between three and six additional new courts would be built. There would be a net gain at most of six indoor courts. It sounded like the Commissioners were familiar with the proffers, but she wanted to quickly run through them just to summarize. The applicant has proffered to build the project in general accord with the conceptual development plan, which was on display. They would be bound to build the project in general accord as it is shown on that plan. The applicants have proffered to essentially break up the massing of the building so that it either is made up of a series of smaller buildings or at least appears to be a series of smaller buildings. That could be done through the use of a terraced roof structure, which is called the step down finished floor elevations. The building could be built by taking advantage of the sloping terrain by building it into the side of the slope. By doing that it would make it appear as a series of smaller buildings rather than one large building. The applicant has proffered not to permit any uses on the property that are otherwise permitted by right in the Highway Commercial District. Therefore, they have proffered out the vast majority of by-right uses in the HC District. That really only leaves health spa, indoor athletic facilities, and some other things like that in support of structures like storm water management, roads and things like that. Therefore, the applicant is hopeful that will be agreeable. Finally, in working with the staff and a lot of the neighbors in the area they determined that one of the big issues that they could perhaps address better was the traffic and parking at the property during periodic on-site events. There are events held on the site periodically for such things as swim meets, tennis tournaments and the Boyd Tinsley Invitational Tournament. The applicant has proffered to submit an event management plan for the Zoning Departmentís review and approval that would spell out with more detail exactly how the parking and traffic would be managed during those events. That would include things like assuring the use of off-site overflow lots, which are things that they are already doing. The applicant uses the lots at the golf course and then has folks walk over along the cart paths from the golf course or they use shuttle buses in some instances. They have an overflow grassy area near the pond that they use for large events. They have agreed to put something more formal in writing that the Zoning Department can be agreeable to and have some input on. Therefore, the applicant thinks that will accommodate a lot of those issues. There area a few other issues that they have worked on that she wanted to bring the Commission up to date on. The most common thing that comes up is traffic. The applicant wanted to make sure that there was not going to be an increase in traffic that would cause the intersections to function at poor levels of service. They wanted to make sure that the road network was adequate. Therefore, the Foundation engaged an engineering company to prepare a traffic impact assessment. They were pleased to note that study reported that all of the intersections both internal to the site as well as several intersections external to the site, such as at the Route 250 intersection and a few others farther down Route 250, will not be negatively impacted by the project. In fact, all but one of the intersections even during peak periods of use will perform at a level of service of B or better. There is only one exception. One intersection will be at a C level during peak periods, which was one of the internal intersections. But, other than that, all of the other intersections work well. VDOT was comfortable with that analysis and indicated that the intersection at Route 250 was adequate to support the additional traffic. In addition, we are hopeful and optimistic that any additional traffic that is generated by the project will in fact kind of balance out seasonally. Any increase in traffic will likely be due to additional indoor tennis courts. Those courts are used most heavily during the winter months at which time the outdoor tennis courts are not used as much. So they are hopeful that because indoor and outdoor courts are not always used at the same time that the traffic will balance out well. One other issue that they have addressed in the form of traffic, which is in response to speaking to some of the neighbors near the club, is that there is an access road that she would like to point out. The traffic comes off of Route 250 down Berwick Road and would come around and park in this parking lot and access the facility in this location. This road is owned by Boars Head and is a private road. Deliveries currently use this area as well. One thing that they have agreed to do is to use that road, which was essentially planned only for an emergency access road for fire vehicles. The Foundation has essentially agreed to upgrade their plans for that road so that it can accommodate passenger and delivery vehicles. That way it can be used as an alternate egress after large events so that not all of the traffic is on Berwick and that some of it can come around. In addition, the delivery trucks can come in here, make their deliveries, turn around and then go back out. Whereas, currently all deliveries are using this road.
Mr. Thomas asked if the access road would be open and usable all of the time.
Ms. Long stated that she believed that is the case. It would be subject to County regulations and other things. They believe that there is space and that it is possible to upgrade that road. Originally, it was only going to be an emergency egress road. They found that after talking with the neighbors and staff that it would be nice to have an alternative egress route, particularly during large events. It would be nice to have the deliveries come in this new route rather than the current route because of the existing residences that would prefer to have as little traffic along there as possible. The Foundation was happy to be able to accommodate that request.
Mr. Edgerton asked if that road doesnít ultimately go into Berwick Road anyhow.
Ms. Long stated that it does.
Mr. Edgerton stated that he was trying to figure out how it was going to give any relief from traffic.
Ms. Long stated that it may not help further down Berwick Road, but it was an issue that was very important to the neighbors who live right in this area. Therefore, the applicant felt like if it was possible to at least reduce the amount of traffic that was going right behind those houses for delivery trucks that they were willing to do so. They recognize that it may be that during large events that if they have traffic coming in here that they may bottle neck on the road. But, at least it will not be a constant stream of egress traffic on that road.
Ms. Joseph asked if that was included in their proffer.
Ms. Long stated that it was not included in the proffers. But, the road was wide enough as shown on their conceptual development plan and they have committed to the neighbors to do that. She noted that she had prepared some comments as to why this facility would be helpful and important to the UVA tennis teams and why it was an appropriate use. If anyone has questions, she would be happy to provide some follow up regarding her comments.
The consensus of the Commission was to have the applicant address those comments. Therefore, Mr. Thomas asked Ms. Long to elaborate on her comments.
Ms. Long asked why the tennis team wanted to have their facility at this location. She noted that they think that it is an excellent fit. Obviously, the team has been practicing and playing some matches there already. It is an efficient use of resources for the club and the tennis club to essentially share facilities and resources. It is better to build a combined facility that they can share since they donít always need the facilities at the same time. If the UVA tennis facility built their own facility off site it would create a greater expense and impact on the terrain. It seemed like a good use of the area. It seems to be working very well already concerning the relationship. The Foundation and the University are very excited about the proposal.
Mr. Craddock asked how many additional parking spaces they are anticipating.
Ms. Long stated that they estimate approximately 30, but it is not set in stone. Obviously, they will have to go through the site planning process and confirm all of that. The parking spaces were shown on the conceptual plan.
Mr. Craddock asked when people come in on that lower level if they were going to be funneled up to the front or will they just go to the tennis court that they are looking for.
Ms. Long stated that she believed that was the case, but she was not exactly sure. She pointed out the location of the entrance to the facility.
Mr. Morris asked what the probability was of getting court time for the current members.
Ms. Long stated that it was extremely difficult. As mentioned, Pat Simpson, the Director of the Sports Club, is here and could provide more specific information if that would be helpful. It is very difficult and frustrating for the members to get indoor court time. Of the existing six courts, three of them are set aside for the UVA team when they need them. Therefore, when the tennis team is using the courts there are only three other courts, which are in the bubble that are not as good. There is quite a demand. Their existing membership has been asking for more indoor courts for some time.
Ms. Joseph stated that it sounds like this is not just about tennis courts. Other uses that the applicant is contemplating could go into this footprint, which includes a multi-sports court, fitness facilities, a restaurant, a snack bar, a pro shop, administrative office space and a child care facility.
Ms. Long stated that most of those uses were already there now within the existing club. The reason that they wanted to list those was to make sure that if they ever wanted to rearrange anything they could. There are existing office spaces there now. There are existing child care facilities. There will be as part of this what is being termed as a multi-sport court that would be used for things like racket ball and that sort of thing in addition to the tennis courts. The only other recreational uses that they are talking about are possibly having a small climbing wall as part of the health club. That is why they wanted to reserve the right to have other recreational and fitness uses in the existing health club. All of that is currently contained in this area, which is across the line already zoned. She pointed out the line of the division between this area, which is zoned Highway Commercial, and this other area, which is zoned R-1. They tried to stick to those uses that are already in existence and just recognize that those are recognized accessory uses to a health spa. That is the zoning category that the Zoning Administrator determined was applicable for this use.
Ms. Joseph stated that some golf cart trails and the location of a future sand trap were shown on the plan. She asked if those were existing uses. She pointed out that the word future indicated that they were going to put that use in.
Ms. Long stated that the cart path itself existed and would remain. They have coordinated and confirmed with zoning that it is permissible for that cart path to remain and continue to be used as a cart path. The two new conceptual locations for sand traps are actually intended to benefit the tennis club in an effort to prevent people from hitting their golf balls towards the new tennis facilities. Their research shows that if you locate sand traps near where you donít want people to hit that they will hit away from them. Therefore, they will hit closer to the green. That is part of the plans for the future buffer. There will be some landscaping. The parking lot for the new facility will be located very close to the fairway. Therefore, they want to do everything that they can to minimize interference between the two uses. They will be installing some landscaping and other sort of natural buffers in this location. But, they wanted to make sure that they had the ability to locate additional sand traps in this area as well because they knew that was going to be necessary. The applicant has worked through that with the zoning and planning departments as well. They were comfortable with it as long as it was shown on the plan.
Mr. Thomas asked if there were any more questions. There being none, he invited public comment noting that there were five signatures on the sign up sheet. He asked that the first person signed up, Dillon Walker, come forward and speak.
Dillon Walker, fourth year UVA student, stated that he was on the varsity menís tennis team and was from Houston, Texas. He stated that the first year he was on the team that they were unranked. In the last three years he has watched as the team has grown. Last year the team won the ACC Championship, and finished eighth in the nation. As the program has emerged, their goals have emerged. They want to compete for the ACC Championship and the National Championship every year, which was the teamís goal. One of the things that are hindering their goal was just the lack of court time in an indoor facility. They have been competing for time with the members right now. The last thing they want to do is upset these members because these are the people who come and support the team at their home matches. They want to work it out so that during the winter months the team will be able to develop their skills as players. All of their competition has indoor facilities available.
Sally DuBose, resident of Ednam Forest, stated that the proposed project was visible from her house. Tonight she not only supported the request, but wanted to commend the University for many reasons. She was not so worried about the court time, but felt that they should be able to continue to be a tradition of excellence for the youth in the community and to set an example. She could not think of a finer place to access that, but right there at the Boars Head Sport Club. She supported the request.
Marion Spano stated that she had been a member of the Sports Club for over 20 years, a resident of Ednam Forest for 15 years and served on the Association Board for several years. She felt that it was a wonderful idea that the Sports Club enhances the court situation. As a member she uses the courts a lot in the summer and quite often in the winter time. Between the University students wanting it and the Sports Club members needing it, this would provide good accessibility for both the club members and the UVA team. As a member of the Association, they always felt that it was good to be good neighbors with the Sports Club. Therefore, she was in support of having the UVA Foundation go ahead with the new facilities and hoped that the Commission will consider it favorably also.
Holmes Brown stated that he was 90 years old and has only been playing tennis 80 of those years. The program at the Sports Club is improving his backhand. Therefore, nobody should ever give up. He stated that he had been President of the Ednam Village Ownerís Association for three terms. Therefore, he knew most of the members of the club. He pointed out that his house was the closest possible one to the tennis courts. He noted that he bought the house on purpose, and he had agreed to sell it when he was 100 years old to another member of the Sports Club. This wonderful community has doubled in size since the Sports Club was started, but yet the Sports Club has practically the same facility it had at that time. The membership has also increased. There just has to be more room so that the members can get the tennis that they want. Right now it is very difficult, particularly in the winter, to play tennis. Therefore, they need those courts.
Dirk Katstra, Associate Athletic Director and a member of their senior staff, stated that as they look to expand their program they set some very aggressive goals in the athletic department. They speak to goals of graduating all of their student athletics to winning championships and to operating with physical integrity and to building great facilities for both their student athletics and our fans to attend that are in keeping with the architecture and beautiful nature of our community. Finally, they want to attract top quality student athletics to our community and University. If you look at this proposed project at the Boars Head, it really hits on every one of our goals. If you look at the facilities that they have built over the past several years, such as Scotts Stadium and Davenport Field, those facilities are great facilities. Those facilities are some of the best in the country. They have a good facility in the Boars Head for their UVA Tennis Program. This expansion will make it a great facility. It would allow our coaches to compete each and every year not only for ACC Championships, but National Championships. It would allow them to recruit not only the best tennis players in the country, but the best students and student athlete tennis players in the country to our University. It hits on every goal that they aspire to have at this University for excellence. They shoot every year to have the number one academic institution in the country. As an athletics program, they want to have that very same goal and shoot to be the ďStanfordĒ of the east since Stanford wins in almost every single sport. This would help our tennis programs immensely. It would definitely help the club membership and the Boars Head Inn as a resort. It seems that this would be a win/win/win for all of the people involved. The Athletic Department wants to look for ways to be collaborative when they look to build excellent facilities. This is most definitely a joint effort on the Athletic Department, The Boars Head Inn and the UVA Foundation to provide what he believed to be a win/win/win for everybody involved.
Deerwood Chase, member of the Boars Head Sports Club for over 40 years and a resident of Ednam Forest, stated that they have had an extreme imbalance between availability in the summer months and winter. They have all been complaining for years and this seems to be an outstanding opportunity to bring that back in balance. The traffic problem wonít be as great in the winter time even if all of the courts are built because they would not have the swimmers and there is practically no use of the outdoor tennis courts in the winter time. From that respect, he did not think that it really changes the overall dynamics of the area any more than it would in the middle of the summer time when they are able to get courts and play there. The bubble that is now in his view is a much bigger eyesore than the facilities that they are proposing to build on a permanent basis. Those of us who play doubles canít play doubles as well in the bubble. He supported the proposal.
Mr. Morris stated that he had indicated that it was difficult to obtain court time. He asked what the process was now as a member that he has to go through to get court time.
Deerwood Chase stated that right now they had a computer lottery. He noted that one would have to identify in advance the people that they were going to play with, which in itself was very restrictive because they usually gather about six people that want to play. Nobody can apply for any other group and are therefore blocked out of everything else. In other words, you could not be on his list and on somebody elseís list to play on any of those same times. For those persons who are working and can only play late in the day or in the evening, it was extremely difficult. They use to have an open lottery where everybody got together, but that was also impossible. The computer just completely takes it over now. Many persons just donít get a court at all.
Steward Chase supported the project since he saw it as a win/win/win situation. He stated that they needed to support the tennis teams, but also need to provide court time for the members of the club
Mr. Thomas asked if there was anyone else in the audience that would like to speak on this application. There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for discussion and possible action. He asked if there was going to be a cart path going into where the tennis courts were going to be.
Ms. Thomas stated that her understanding was that the cart path was going to stay in the same place. It will continue to be used as a cart path. It does actually cross a portion of what is being rezoned. In that sense there is a nonconforming use, which was a question that she had asked Jan Sprinkle because they were creating one. Normally, they donít like to do that, but it is not the first time that it has been done. It is well understood what it is all about. That little sliver of property to the east of the existing boundary is more to provide the required buffer between the Highway Commercial and the R-1, Residential than for any active purpose. She asked Ms. Long if that was correct that the path was there now and would stay.
Mr. Thomas asked if there was any interconnectivity between the golf course, the parking lot and the tennis facility of a path or anything else.
Ms. Thomas stated that people use a cart path to get from one to the other and it was pretty common during these events. As mentioned in the staff report, staff put the applicant on notice that they canít do much more expansion without a separate dedicated more formulized vehicular entrance to this. She felt that part of that was dealing with the Ivy Road situation and where a good intersection would be. There seemed to be some things that are moving towards a consolidated entrance at the golf course entrance with potentially a signal. There is no guarantee of that until they review the Kappa Sigma property proposal, but part of it was just figuring out exactly where the best alternatives would be. She felt that area was maturing in the sense of how the transportation is going to work.
Ms. Joseph stated that on page 4 of the staff report under roads in the last paragraph, staff had said that service, and/or emergency access currently exists. She asked if there was some mechanism that they have in some other approval that says that road will continue to be maintained.
Ms. Thomas stated that the reason that they did not write it into the proffers was because they were dealing with the whole stream buffer issue. Therefore, staff did not want to be too rigid about it in case there were some storm water issues that they had to deal with in terms of it being a more formal road for more than service vehicles or emergency access. That was the original thought. During the times of a whole lot of activity it would be opened up in one way direction and vehicles would exit that way. The Commission is going to be hearing a request for a critical slope waiver and a buffer modification, which the Commission has to grant, but she was unsure of that date. That might be an issue that the Commission can take up with the site plan at that time.
Ms. Joseph asked staff as a planner if she saw the need for this. Since it is in the staff report, is this something that the Commission should be considering at this point because it was something that they could not ask for on a site plan.
Ms. Thomas stated that it could probably be requested on a site plan under the safe and convenient access provision. She felt that it was a very positive thing and that was why she had said it should be maintained with the club expansion in terms of an emergency use or a special event use. She pointed out that she did not call for it as being more of a road because of its location near the buffer and she wanted to try to accommodate Tamaraís concerns, too. She would be satisfied if it were used for more of an occasional use and a service use and not for a formal internal road. She stated that would be an emergency or special event alternative access or a service use. As a mechanism, it is shown on the conceptual plan.
Ms. Joseph asked if it was their expectation that it would be maintained.
Ms. Thomas stated that it would be maintained in the sense that it would still be on the conceptual plan.
Ms. Joseph asked if it would have to be maintained in a safe manner so that the road could be used.
Ms. Thomas stated that it was her expectation that it could be used during special events.
Ms. Joseph asked Mr. Kamptner if they saw this on the conceptual plan if their expectation was that it would be maintained as a service road.
Mr. Kamptner stated that there was no mechanism in the concept plan itself that requires it to be maintained, but if it was on the site plan it would.
Mr. Cilimberg stated that he felt that it would be safe to say that if it was on the conceptual plan, then it would be on the site plan. The site plan requires that these be maintained.
Mr. Kamptner stated that it could not be eliminated without amending the site plan and will be subject to site plan review.
Mr. Thomas stated that he thought that the answer was that the road would be maintained.
Ms. Joseph agreed with Mr. Thomas, but had one more question for Mr. Kamptner. One of Jan Sprinkleís comments was about taking the piece from the R-1 zoning and attaching it to the other parcel so that part of the golf course then becomes nonconforming. She asked if that was anything that the Commission needs to consider at this point.
Mr. Kamptner stated that they could consider it, but zoning has looked at it and are comfortable with it. The concern is if the golf course becomes nonconforming and is a nonconforming use on the HC property. In this case that means that what the applicant could modify on the golf course on that part of the HC will be restricted somehow. Given the amount of land involved, it should not be a big problem.
Mr. Morris moved to recommend approval of ZMA-2004-15, Boars Head Inn and Sports Club, with the proffers set forth in the staff report.
Ms. Joseph seconded the motion.
The motion carried by a vote of (5:0). (Rieley, Higgins Ė Absent)
Mr. Thomas stated that the motion carried and would be heard by the Board of Supervisors on December 8.
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