Albemarle County Planning Commission

December 14, 2004

 

The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and public hearing on Tuesday, December 14, 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; Pete Craddock, Vice-Chairman; William Rieley and Jo Higgins.  Absent was David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia (non-voting).   

 

Other officials present were Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning & Community Development; David Benish, Chief of Planning & Community Development; Steve Tugwell, Planner; Claudette Grant, Senior Planner; Juandiego Wade, Transportation 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. 

 

CPA 2004-00005 Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Master Plan:  Proposal to amend the Comprehensive Plan to include, by reference, the updated Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Master Plan. The applicant is seeking a resolution of intent from the Planning Commission. The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport is located on Bowen Loop at the intersection of Dickerson Road (Route 606) and Airport Road (Route 649).  The Airport is located on 558 acres and is zoned Rural Areas and Airport Impact Area (RA and AIA). The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Institutional and is located in the Hollymead Community.  The property, described as Tax Map 32 Parcel 10 is located in the White Hall Magisterial District.  (Juandiego Wade)

 

Mr. Wade stated that this is a proposal to amend the Comprehensive Plan to include by reference the updated Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Master Plan.  The applicant is seeking a resolution of intent from the Planning Commission this evening. Just for background, the airport is located on about 560 acres and is zoned RA and Airport Impact Area.  The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Institutional and is located in the Hollymead Community. 

 

The major recommendations from the updated Master Plan include facility improvements resulting in additional air carrier and general aviation aircraft parking, T-hangers, conventional hangers, passenger and rental car automobiles parking, and construction of a deicing containment facility. The plan recommendations also include land acquisition necessary to achieve compliance with FAA design standards for the Runway Safety Areas and Object Free Areas, as well as the Runway Protection Zones. A medium intensity approach lighting system was recommended to enhance use of runway during periods of low visibility.

The purpose of this work session is to provide the Planning Commission with information regarding the Airport Master Plan Update and also to provide for an opportunity to provide comments on this plan.  Currently the 1994 plan is the guiding document for the County.  This plan is usually updated every 10 to 12 years.  Therefore, they were in the process of updating the 1994 plan.  Staff would like to treat the master plan as an essential conceptual development plan in review and approval of site plans for improvements and will be reviewed based on the consistency with the plan when it is adopted.  Bryan Elliott and Roy Lewis with Delta Airport Consultant, Inc. will present the Plan to the Commission. 

 

On page 2 of the staff report there is some information on the planning and zoning history of this site.  It goes back before 1955. 

 

Overview/Staff comments:

The Master Plan has divided future development into three phases. Phase I improvements are proposed to take place between 2003-2007; Phase II between 2008-2012 and Phase III between 2013-2022. While review and comment on all phases is appropriate, staff proposes the Planning Commission focus on Phases I and II, since these improvements will potentially take place over the next ten years. The Plan is revised every 10-12 years and there will be future opportunities to review Phase III.

The Master Plan identifies the improvements below for Phase I:

  1. West Side Access Road- This is a new road that will access proposed development on the west side of the airport from Rt. 743 and will be open to the public. These improvements are generally consistent with the 1994 Plan. Staff has reviewed the general alignment of the road submitted with the Master and conceptually supports it. VDOT approval of the entrance location and design will be required.
  2. Snow/Maintenance Building- This building will house snow removal equipment and material. Portions of the Airport property on the west side of the runway are within the Chris Greene Lake watershed. The lake is a back-up water supply.  The buildings/site will be designed and constructed to meet DEQ/EPA standards and will not have a negative impact on the watershed or the Chris Greene Lake.
  3. Land Acquisition- Purchase approximately 10 acres directly adjacent to the north of the Airport property to meet the FAA runway protection zone. Staff does not foresee any concerns with the C-A Airport purchase of this property.
  4. Taxiway A- Taxiway A will be overlaid to reinforce. No Comments
  5. General Aviation (GA) Tenant Parking and Overflow Surface Parking - Additional parking for expanding general aviation tenants. Because Airport Road is designated an Entrance Corridor, building within vicinity of Airport Road will be subject to ARB review.  The GA parking area (#46) may be subject to ARB review.
  6. Deicing Containment Tank- A new deicing tank will be constructed. No Comment
  7. T-Hangar- Construction of 14-16 additional hangars. No Comment
  8. Conventional Hangar- Expansion of conventional hangars. No Comment
  9. General Aviation (GA) Apron- The GA apron will be expanded. No Comment

 

The CAAA proposes the improvements below for Phase II:

  1. Air Carrier Glycol Storage Tanks- This is a "Tank Farm" for storage of airline aircraft deicing chemical in an approved DEQ/EPA manner.  Tanks will meet containment requirement of contents as required by the FAA.  The location is not and will not have a negative impact on the watershed or the Chris Greene Lake.
  2. Runway mill and overlay-No comment
  3. Multi-level Parking Deck- Additional parking area to serve airport customers, including long-term parking. The plan identifies decked parking at this location (both for phase II and future phases). Because Airport Road is designated an Entrance Corridor, buildings within the vicinity of Airport Road, including these parking decks, will be subject to ARB review. Staff has no specific concerns with the use of parking decks.
  4. Maintenance Hangar- Construction of a maintenance hangar. No comment
  5. T-Hangar- Construction of additional T-hangars. No comment

 

Once the Master Plan is adopted into the Comprehensive Plan, development proposals submitted for approval will be reviewed for compliance with the Master Plan (and other applicable County codes).

Summary:

The applicant and staff are seeking Planning Commission’s comments on the Draft Master Plan. A public hearing will be scheduled following this work session.  Currently, the public hearing date will be January 18, 2005.

Mr. Thomas asked if there were any questions for staff.

 

Mr. Rieley asked what the notification mechanism for the public hearing.  He asked if only the adjacent property owners were notified.  He pointed out that this was a more global issue.

 

Mr. Benish stated that actually for CPA’s they were not required to notify adjacent property owners.  A general advertisement can normally be done, depending upon the complexity of the proposal and how conceptual it is, they will not notify adjacent property owners.  If directed by the Commission or Board, staff could certainly do it either way. He stated that the Airport Authority has under taken public hearing processes that are part of the FAA requirement.  There was one public hearing at Hollymead Elementary School that he attended.  There has been a public vetting in one round of this, but staff could do that again with the CPA.

 

Byran Elliott, Executive Director of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Authority, introduced Roy Lewis who is the principal planner on their job and also Jim Nixon, both of whom are with Delta Airport Consultants.  Mr. Nixon is their primary engineering design consultant.  As Mr. Wade indicated, they are seeking a comprehensive plan amendment to include their 2004 Master Plan Update that was adopted by the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Authority Board in August in cooperation to the County’s Comprehensive Plan.  Briefly, he would talk about the planning process that they were required to follow as part of the Federal Aviation Administration procedures as well as the Virginia Department of Aviation procedures, both of whom regulate airports in Virginia and the FAA across the United States.  Next, he would go into a little detail about projects that they anticipate undertaking in the next ten years based upon the planning process.  Essentially, there are about eight steps to the planning process that is delineated by the FAA.  Those eight steps are pretty much encapsulated in the doorstop that the Commission has in front of them.  The planning process takes about two years to complete.  Essentially they start out with a snapshot of the existing facilities.  They inventory all of their existing facilities and where they are at a specific point in time.  From that they then develop or attempt to develop forecast of aviation demand for five, ten and twenty years.  Again, they utilize demand forecasting techniques that are promulgated by the FAA.  Those forecasts have to be approved by the FAA as well as the Virginia Department of Aviation before they move further into the planning process.  In a nutshell, all of their aviation demand indicators are forecasted to increase over the next twenty years looking at not only air carrier passengers, but general aviation aircraft operations and the demand for the storage of general aviation aircraft on their field.  Along with that goes an additional demand for automobile parking, storage facilities and other ancillary types of improvements areas on the airport.  From that demand analysis they then interject what those activity levels mean to our existing facilities.  Basically they go through the process of looking at each individual facility and saying can it or can it not accommodate that forecasted demand over the next twenty years.  Then the next step of that is to extrapolate that onto various alternative phases ultimately leading to the development of their airport lay out plan.  The Planning Commission has copies of the airport lay out plan in the notebook.  It then becomes kind of the blue print for funding and development of airport projects.  Essentially when one looks at an airport development project it is funded in several ways.  If it is eligible for federal funding approximately 90 to 95 percent of those funds will come from the Federal Aviation Administration in the form of a grant.  In order to be eligible for those grants, they must have a planning document on file. The balance of those dollars, whether 10 percent or 5 percent, is split evenly between the Virginia Department of Aviation and the Airport Authority.  The typical funding for an airport project, particularly in Virginia, is 90 percent from the FAA, 8 percent from the Virginia Department of Aviation and 2 percent from the Airport Authority.  There are projects that are not eligible for federal funding.  When you begin to look at parking facilities or aviation fuel storage areas or any areas that generate revenue, then the funding for those projects are completely on the back of the Airport Authority.  Those are the funding measures or indicators.  The plan, as currently projected for the next twenty years, will require an investment of over 90 million dollars.  Over the next twenty years they see that level of investment occurring on the airport.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked if the County contributes to this funding.

 

Mr. Elliott stated no that the Airport Authority is an independent political subdivision of the State of Virginia and completely independent of the County or City in terms of funding.  It is self sufficient in terms of its revenue strengths.

 

Mr. Edgerton asked where the funds come from for the Virginia Department of Aviation.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that in Virginia one-half cent of the sales tax goes for transportation funded projects.  The bulk of those funds go for road construction and 2.4 percent of that goes for aviation related projects.  Therefore, that is the source of funds for them.  The Airport Authority would derive its 2 percent from a passenger facility charge, which is a fee assessed to airline tickets or from the airlines or their rent income that they receive from airport aviation purposes.  He stated that he would like to talk about the projects that they see occurring over the next ten years. He pointed out that he would start out with some of the projects that have already been before the Planning Commission and have already been through the planning review process.  First, they are in the process of undertaking improvements to the runway safety area.  The FAA has a regulation for just about everything. There is a regulation that says based upon the type of aircraft operating at the airport, you must have a certain safety area off the end of the runway, which is tufted area that provides an area for aircraft in the event they should land short or go over the end of the runway.  Therefore, they could do so in a safe manner.  That is the project that they were currently working on right now, which involves the end of runway 3 and State Route 606 and Route 743.  This project is currently under construction.  The relocated portion of Route 606 will probably be open for traffic sometime early next week.  Then this roadway will be closed.  They will follow on within the next year to begin the relocation of State Route 743.  Again, this is a safety requirement or a FAA design standard requirement.  The reason that Route 743 has to move over is because a portion of the road lies within the Runway Object Free Area.  That is another safety zone or an imaginary surface that the FAA has. Their desire is to relocate that roadway out of that area.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if there were height restrictions on the free area.  She asked if they could have some things in that area.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that anything within these zones have to be frangible mounted so that if they are hit by an aircraft they will break away without causing any damage.  All of the white towers that you see in this area are fixed by function, but they are designed that if hit by an aircraft they would break away without causing damage.  In an ideal world nothing is allowed in this space and it would just be turf and graded to standards.  The safety area project is estimated to be completed by 2007-2008.  Moving further to the north, they have T hangar road which is for the storage of the smaller general aviation aircraft.  This is a row of T hangars that are currently under construction, and will probably be finished by the first quarter of 2005.  It will house an additional 14 smaller general aviation type of aircraft.  For a point of reference, he pointed out that mobile home park that is at the end of the runway.  He pointed out the area that would accommodate an additional two rows of T hangars for future growth as well as two smaller corporate types of box hangars.  Their primary general aviation area and terminal building is accessed off of Route 606.  They just placed in service a hangar, which is an 18,000 square foot corporate hangar.  They are in the process of beginning construction of the expansion of the general aviation apron in the yellow area, which will add about 5,000 square yards of pavement for the storage of aircraft in that area.  Moving towards the terminal building area, their plan also calls for some additional parking for general aviation customers.  That parking today is directly east of the general aviation terminal area.  With the growth that they have experienced in their general aviation operations they need to provide some additional parking.  Their plan is to bring it to the intersection of Aviation Drive that leads into the GA terminal and State Route 606.  The parking will be tucked behind the existing employee parking area for the terminal.  They do have plans for further extension of the service lots for parking.  During the Thanksgiving holiday they parked in excess of 200 additional vehicles, which was more than they had parking spaces for. The major thrust over the next ten years is to proceed with the expansion to lengthen their runways. Currently the runways were at 6,000 feet. They anticipated during the planning period that the type of aircraft that operates on the field today would pretty much be the same type of aircraft that would be out there in 20 years. That includes the small regional jets that accommodate 50 to 70 passengers and some of the larger end business jet aircraft that you see. The performance criteria for those aircraft dictate that 6,000 feet is not the optimal length, but really it should be extended out to 6,800 feet.  The proposal calls for the lengthening of the runway to 800 feet towards to the north rather than to the south.  When that occurs several facilities will be impacted, which includes several maintenance buildings. When the runway moves to the north because of the fill requirements these facilities will no longer be operational. The plan proposes to relocate those facilities to the west side.  Today west of the runway they own about 132 acres of property, which is completely wooded.  In the 1994 plan they showed a proposed development in this area, but the 2004 plan extends that envelope somewhat, but also adds these aviation support functions that are currently in this area to the west side.  The last major project over the next 10 years is to make this accessible to our employees would be to construct an access road off of Route 743 that would lead into this facility.  Also, one of the requirements that they have under the Federal Aviation Administration is that at least once a day their public safety officers need to do a complete patrol of all the property for security and safety purposes.  Currently they have an unimproved roadway that leads pretty much on the west side of the airfield.  When the runway is extended most of that roadway will be demolished.  Therefore, their proposal is to extend that roadway.  It is a private use roadway at that point and would tie into an existing road that is to the north.  Then that would tie their private road in again to allow that access completely around the air field.  Again, they have submitted this plan to the Federal Aviation Administration and to the Virginia Department of Aviation.  They are addressing their comments and anticipate their approval of the plan in a not too distant future. He stated that he would be happy to answer any questions that the Commission might have on their plan or proposal.

 

Mr. Craddock asked where the church now stands and the 200 year old Oak tree.  He asked how that would be affected by the changes.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that their plans were to leave the Oak tree as it is.  There is a group of folks who have agreed to fertilize and maintain the tree.  Their intentions are to have the tree remain there as long as it lives.  Pleasant Grove Baptist Church is located in this area. He pointed out that the church lies within the Runway Protection Zone.  Again, the FAA would really like those areas off of the ends of the runways completely free of structures.  In particular, they would like to not have any areas of congregation in that area.  The County’s Zoning Ordinance regulations mirror those federal regulations.  But, what it does not address is pre-existing conditions.  They have been working with the church now for approximately six years to try to find a way that they can keep them an active and vibrate part of the County and at the same time try to meet that federal requirement.  Their proposal to the church, as it currently stands, is that they would pay the church the fair market value for their property and their building.  First they would have to subdivide and donate approximately 2 acres of undeveloped land on Route 743, which they currently own, to the church.  Then they would provide the church with a sum of money that both parties believe would be appropriate for them to be able to reestablish their church in this area.  He pointed out that the land would have to be subdivided and rezoned for a church.  If all of that comes through then they would still be faced with the problem of what they would do with this church structure. 

 

Ms. Joseph asked if the church could just stay.

 

Mr. Elliott stated no because the whole purpose of acquiring the church would be to have it not there.  The church has had a structural engineer from Lynchburg do a study and came back and said that it can be relocated.  They think that they have identified a private resident who is interested in moving the church to their property to have it serve as an apartment, stable, art studio or something of that nature.

 

Mr. Rieley asked if the church did not want the building.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that they gave the church the option of building a new facility or relocating the church and they opted for the new facility.  If they are unable to come to resolution to this it is possible that they could petition the Federal Aviation Administration for a variance. Given the extenuating circumstances of the matter that the church has been in the community for quite some time, it is quite possible that the FAA would concur with the variance.  They will continue to try to negotiate with the church in good faith, but at the end of the day if they are unable to reach resolution they could petition the FAA for a variance to allow the congregation and church to remain.

 

Mr. Benish asked if that was a variance to allow the structure to remain, but not the use.  Or would it allow for the activity.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that it would allow for the activity and the structure to remain.  He pointed out that it would be a compromise to the safety objective concerning the runway.

 

Mr. Rieley stated that as development proposals have come up in the neighborhood of the airport and expressing a concern about the broader picture of development as they continually urbanize in the peripheral if there are specific issues that they should be aware of now that are in that category. 

 

Mr. Elliott stated that there were a couple of those issues.  The first chapter of the Master Plan talks about sufficient road nets systems into and out of the airport. At one point do you reach a congestion factor such that our airport fails to serve its clientele, whether it is a general aviation customer trying to get to the airport in order to catch a flight to go somewhere or whether it is an airline passenger. There has got to continue to be an integrated link between that land accesses with the air access and try to continue to make it as convenient as possible.  It is not lost upon the Airport Authority that they are literally on the edge of the Hollymead growth area as growth and development occur around the airport.  Again, while their noise contours and noise impact area from a technical standpoint are all on airport property, the greater residential development in and around the airport environs create noise complaints.  From a legal and technical side of things it is all very proper. But, they will continually be exposed to noise complaints because noise is such a subjective issue. What one person may perceive as acceptable noise another person may not.  The more urbanized areas with more developments under the airport flight pattern they become somewhat exposed to those complaints.

 

Mr. Morris asked what problems that they face in managing ground water.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that they have to conform to a number of regulations. They are regulated by the Department of Environmental Quality in that they have a spill prevention control permit, a storm water pollution prevention plan and an oil discharge pollution prevention plan. They monitor water and have to take samples out of the detention basins after a storm event and do testing on those waters to ensure that the water quality is there.  Jim Nixon, their design engineer, has worked very closely with the airport and the County staff in ensuring that all of their stormwater detention facilities adhere to the County requirements.  In the overall scheme of things they are a pretty small generator of those types of chemicals.  They utilize potassium acetate on the runway, which is bio-degradable.  The airlines utilize glycol as well.  They have units during non-storm events that basically come by and collect that material and recycle.  They will begin the process of doing that during storm events.  The EPA and the Department of Environmental Quality have yet to come out with standards on the de-icing collection.  The only thing that they have in place now is the testing requirement, which they currently do.  Until they come out with those regulations, they are still a little fuzzy about how they collect and detain that chemical. The best of all worlds is to put it into the sewer system and have it treated at Moore’s Creek and sent on.  But, they have petitioned on several occasions for that to occur and to make that hook from the storm drain into that, but they have been unsuccessful with that. 

 

Ms. Joseph asked if it was ethylene glycol that they are using for the de-icing agent.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that it was prevolene glycol and not ethylene.  The airlines have their own storage tanks for those units that are double lined.  They have to meet the storage requirements for the potassium acetate and the others as well. They currently meet all of the EPA and DEQ standards. When they start designing the de-icing containment or treatment facilities they will have to meet those regulations once they are promulgated.

 

Ms. Joseph asked if he would speak to the lighting that would be added.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that in phase 3 they call for installation of an approach lighting system to the north.  They currently have that system to the south.  These are systems typically installed and maintained by the FAA.  It is an approach lighting system for aircraft.  They are generally sequential, particularly when it gets to a certain level of bad weather. The lighting is shielded and basically aimed in a manner that is for the benefit of the pilot to lead them in for a landing.  When the ceiling drops there will be some reflections off of the clouds that will make that light go back down. Typically on a clear evening that is not the case.

 

Mr. Joseph asked if it was something that was activated when you have somebody taking off or coming in.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that it was pilot controlled from the cockpit.  In terms of the intensity level there are basically three different steps. The worse the weather the more they would want to pump up the lighting.  That can be controlled internally or by the air traffic controllers.

 

Mr. Rieley asked when the expansion would occur.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that they called for that in the ultimate development, which would be beyond 20 years or beyond the year 2022.

 

Mr. Benish stated that staff wanted to focus in on the first two phases because they figured by the third phase they would be in another reiteration of the plan.  That does not mean to deemphasize the ultimate either, because staff does want the Commission’s comments on everything because once it is in the plan it will remain.

 

Mr. Elliott stated that the blue area was the third phase.  They are evaluating what is shown on the drawing as the intermittent streams that have been identified on this side of the airport that feed Chris Green Lake and would fall under the provisions of the Water Protection Ordinance.  Therefore, any facility that they develop on the west side will have to be sensitive to those areas on the Water Protection Ordinance.

 

Mr. Benish stated that staff was shooting for January 11 or January 18 for the public hearing.  He asked for any comments from the Commission on that.  Tentatively, the day meeting in February has been scheduled for the Board public hearing. 

 

Mr. Rieley moved to pass the resolution of intent to hold a public hearing.

 

RESOLUTION OF INTENT

 

            WHEREAS, the Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to have master plans in order to be eligible to receive grant-in-aid funding under its airport improvement plan;     

 

            WHEREAS, the 1994 Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Master Plan (the “Master Plan”) is the current guiding document for airport operation and development;

 

            WHEREAS, development proposals at the Charlottesville-Albemarle airport (the “airport”) are reviewed by the County for consistency with the Master Plan;

 

            WHEREAS, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Authority recently updated and adopted a revised Master Plan on August 18, 2004;

 

            WHEREAS, the revised Master Plan identifies a number of objectives and major development projects at the airport and in its immediate vicinity, including the extension of runway 3-21, the phased development of additional parking, and the establishment of a range of airport facilities on the west side of the airport; and

 

            WHEREAS, it is desired to amend the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan to incorporate, by reference, the updated Master Plan.

 

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT for purposes of public necessity, convenience, general welfare and good planning and land use practices, the Albemarle County Planning Commission hereby adopts a resolution of intent to amend the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan to incorporate, by reference, the updated Master Plan and to make any other changes to the Comprehensive Plan deemed to be necessary in order to achieve the purposes described herein; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Comprehensive Plan amendment proposed pursuant to this resolution of intent, and make its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors at the earliest possible date.

 

* * * * *

Mr. Morris seconded the motion.

 

The motion carried by a vote of (7:0). 

 

Mr. Thomas stated that the motion carried.

 

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