STAFF PERSON:                                                                              SUSAN THOMAS, AICP

PLANNING COMMISSION DATE:                                              NOVEMBER 30, 2004

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS DATE:                                              DECEMBER 8, 2004

 

ZMA 2004-0015 BOAR’S HEAD INN AND SPORTS CLUB TENNIS FACILITIES

 

Applicant’s Proposal:

The applicant is seeking to rezone approximately 10.6 acres from R-1 Residential to HC, Commercial with proffers, to allow construction of up to 6 new indoor tennis courts at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.  (see Attachments C and H).  If approved, a major site plan amendment will be requested.  The existing sports club parcel has split zoning: the northern portion is zoned Highway Commercial (as is the Inn), and the southern portion is zoned R-1 Residential (as is the golf course).  The applicant will also seek approval to disturb critical slopes and allow activity within the buffer, with review of the site plan amendment.

Petition for Zoning Map Amendment

Request to rezone approximately 10.6 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.  (see Attachments A and B)  The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Office Service and Institutional in Neighborhood 6.

Character of the Area:

The proposed expansion site is located at the southern edge of the Boar’s Head Inn property, adjacent to and north of Hole Three of the Birdwood Golf Course.  The sports club parcel is bordered to the east by the Ednam Village development and to the west, beyond a pond, by Ednam Forest.  Access is via Ednam Drive and Berwick Court, internal private roadways that serve only the club. 

Applicant’s Justification for the Request:

For the past few years the University of Virginia tennis program has used the sports club facility for its winter activities, consisting primarily of practice with occasional invitational tournaments.  (Regular season tournaments are held at the Schneider courts at Emmet and University.)    The University use has lengthened wait times for sports club members, and the facility is not well designed for tournaments.  Three of the existing courts are in the main building, with three more located in the “Bubble,” which is a seasonal structure, noisy and limited in height.   The addition of six additional courts (and three replaced courts) would accommodate both students and club players.  At this time there is no pending request for more outdoor courts, although the applicant’s concept plan indicates that possibility in the area west of the proposed parking lot. 

Recommendation: 

Staff recommends approval, with proffers.  Staff believes that the additional indoor courts and parking area can be accommodated on the site without adverse impacts to the club, neighborhood or general public.  The applicant has proposed proffers to address permitted accessory uses, building massing and roofline design, adjustment of parcel boundaries, and event parking management. 

Zoning and Subdivision History: 

Original zoning: no information available.

Other activity:

SDP 1999-051 – site plan amendment to add a lap pool, tot pool and two-story building addition on 1.1 acre at the Inn

SDP 2000-022 – site plan amendment to remove existing bath house and add spa facility

SDP 2002-018 – site plan amendment to add laundry storage shed to the existing loading dock

Comprehensive Plan:  

The Boar’s Head Inn is recommended for Office Service in Neighborhood Six of the Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Plan.  Recommended Office Service uses include the following:

 

The Neighborhood Model

Neighborhood Model principles are not strongly reflected in the Inn complex as a whole, which pre-dated the County’s current policy and embodies a formerly suburban approach to development.  Those which are reflected to some degree in this proposal are:

Pedestrian Orientation –  No new pedestrian access from the Inn to the sports club is proposed with this rezoning or the site plan amendment to follow.  The rezoning is requested to better accommodate current demand for tennis facilities at the club (by building more courts), rather than in response to a new use.  Existing guest usage is not anticipated to change but should become more efficient and convenient with shorter wait times.  Despite the fact that there are few sidewalks/paths throughout the Inn and surrounding neighborhoods, the lakes and Inn campus do receive regular pedestrian use by people walking along the internal travelways.  The narrow streets, generally low traffic volumes and speeds, and mature trees make it a pleasant pedestrian environment under most circumstances despite the lack of formal sidewalks. Retrofitting sidewalks in a number of portions of the Boar’s Head complex would be difficult  without damaging or destroying mature landscaping and structures.  For these reasons, staff has not required new pedestrian facilities.

Neighborhood Friendly Streets and Paths – Landscaping/streetscaping make many of the internal streets attractive for pedestrians.  

Interconnected Streets and Transportation Networks - The Inn campus has an internal  interconnected system which functions well under normal usage.  However, presently there is only one access point, Ednam Drive at Route 250 West.  This major intersection is signalized, and VDOT indicates that it is adequate for the expanded use.  In conversations associated with this request, staff has emphasized to the applicant that a second access point will be needed soon.  The applicant agrees, and indicates that it is studying how this might be accomplished through Birdwood Golf Course.  A development proposal is currently under review for the Kappa Sigma property, across from the golf course, and if it or any other proposal is approved it is anticipated that it will incorporate a signal at Ivy Road.  Staff notes that with signalization, the existing golf course intersection would be better equipped to function as a second access point for Boar’s Head.  An event management plan for tournaments and other events that generate parking demand in excess of existing inventory is proffered by the applicant.

Mixture of Uses – The proposed site and neighboring parcels are characterized by a mixture of facilities and uses including inn, restaurant, offices, conference facilities, retail outlets, special events, and sports club.  The adjacent golf course and Worthington Drive residential neighborhood further mix uses on the site.  Several of these uses are very complementary, such as inn, office and conference space, and residential and sports club.

Neighborhood Centers – The Inn serves as a neighborhood center, and has the potential to become a better center with improved access.  It is an important amenity in Neighborhood Six as well as an employment center.

Site Planning that Respects Terrain – The indoor tennis facilities are extensive and involve a large structure.  The applicant is attempting to accommodate the sloping terrain to the west of the existing club by stepping down the floor elevation.  Because visual impacts will almost entirely affect the adjacent golf course, also owned by the applicant, there is a strong incentive to create an attractive addition.  The applicant has agreed to break up the mass with a terraced roof.  In staff’s view, Birdwood Golf Course is an area of extraordinary natural beauty and its visual quality should not be diminished by this project.   The applicant indicates that it shares this concern.

Analysis of the Rezoning Request

Relationship between the application and the purpose and intent of the requested zoning district

The applicant is requesting a zoning map amendment from R-1, Residential to HC, Highway Commercial because that is the only zoning district in which both indoor and outdoor tennis courts can be accommodated as a health spa use (the existing sports club).  Following guidance from County staff, this request was originally submitted as a special use  permit for an indoor athletic use on the R-1, Residential [southern] portion of the sports club parcel.  In the review process, staff discovered that because of the split zoning, the 50-foot setback required between the commercial use and the adjacent residential district not only made the building addition impossible but also meant that the current club itself would become non-conforming.  With proposed proffers eliminating the majority of the permitted HC uses, if approved the health spa facilities would be allowed along with customary accessory uses.  There is no intention to develop the parcel for typical Highway Commercial activities, and it does not meet the standard intent of the HC district. 

Anticipated impact on public facilities and services

Roads

VDOT has commented that internal changes to the site will not effect traffic at the Route 250 intersection.  Although internal roads function adequately during normal Inn operation, at times of special events parking and circulation are not adequate.  It would be difficult to enlarge existing roads to current standards (including sidewalks) without very adversely impacting the built environment and character of the Inn complex or even eliminating sections of existing structures.  Therefore, the applicant has proffered an event management procedure that will emphasize parking off-site combined with shuttle services and traffic management on the property.  In staff’s opinion, a second access point should be required with any further expansion beyond the current indoor facility enlargement, including the outdoor courts shown on the concept plan.  As noted, the applicant has indicated that it agrees with this assessment.

A service and/or emergency access currently exists on the west side of the sports club building.  This access should be maintained with the club expansion. 

Water and Sewer

Water and sewer are adequate for the proposed use.

Stormwater management

Existing ponds throughout the golf course can accommodate the increase in stormwater resulting from the expansion.  The Natural Resources Manager has recommended against new impoundments, and in fact the applicant has not proposed any.  With a rezoning, however, County policy generally is to request preservation of the stream buffer whether or not the ordinance requires it.  In this case, the applicant’s concept plan provides for a 50-foot buffer and Natural Resources indicates that this is acceptable.  (see Attachment E)

Schools

The expansion of the club will not impact schools. 

Fiscal Impact

A fiscal impact analysis has not been requested, due to the fact that the additional square footage being requested does not significantly change employment numbers but rather involves mainly a change to programming and spatial needs.

Anticipated impact on cultural and historic resources

No impact is expected on cultural or historic resources.

Anticipated impact on nearby and surrounding properties

The tennis facility expansion will accommodate the University use and also allow a limited  expansion in club membership.  There will be some impact to nearby and surrounding properties from this higher level of activity, primarily in the form of traffic.  However, staff agrees with the applicant that much of the increased capacity will capture and satisfy existing demand.   At a recent neighborhood meeting, many adjacent residents indicated that they are members of the club.

Public need and justification for the change

If the rezoning is approved, the University’s tennis program would benefit from improved winter training.  In staff’s opinion, expansion of the existing sports club use results in less impact to the general public and natural resources than what would result from construction of a new facility, and it also provides an enhanced opportunity for club members who play tennis.  The general public benefits from an opportunity to participate in and watch a higher level of competition because of improved facilities. 

Summary

Staff has identified the following factors favorable to this rezoning request:

  1. The building expansion can be accommodated by the existing site, without adverse impacts to the physical environment, other activities on the site, or nearby properties and neighborhoods.  Some enlargement of the sports club parcel is needed to contain the additional courts, parking and setbacks, but this enlargement has minimal impact on the adjacent residential areas and golf course.  The parcel most impacted by the expansion (golf course) is also owned by the applicant.
  2. The sports club use and tennis facilities have operated successfully in this location for a number of years.  Many neighborhood residents belong to the club, and can walk to it.  Club owners have a strong incentive to make the expanded facilities attractive and as compatible as possible with surrounding development, since the golf course and Inn are under the same ownership. 
  3. The applicant is willing to proffer an event management plan to address parking and circulation impacts from the expanded tennis facilities which will largely keep parking off the site.

Staff has identified factors that are not favorable to this request:

1.      With no approved master plan, the expansion of the club has been and continues to be an incremental process which makes it more difficult to evaluate impacts.

2.      There is currently no second access point to the Inn and Club, although the applicant has been advised by staff (and indicates agreement) that this deficiency must be remedied at the time of any additional development on the site.

3.      The existing development pattern at the Inn and sports club makes it difficult if not impossible to retrofit pedestrian facilities.   

Recommended Action

Staff recommends approval of ZMA 2004-015, with the proposed proffers set forth in Attachment G.

Attachments:

A – Vicinity Map

B – Parcel Map

C – Applicant’s Justification

D – Zoning Comments

E – Natural Resource Manager’s Comments

F – Engineering Comments 

G – Proposed Proffers

H - Concept Plan(s) [full size]
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