Albemarle County Planning Commission

February 1, 2005


The Albemarle County Planning Commission held a meeting and a public hearing on Tuesday,
February 1, 2005 at 6:00 p.m., at the County Office Building, Room 241, Second Floor, 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, Virginia. Members attending were William Rieley, Rodney Thomas, Bill Edgerton, Chairman; Calvin Morris, Marcia Joseph, Vice Chair; Pete Craddock and David J. Neuman, FAIA, Architect for University of Virginia.  Absent was Jo Higgins.


Other officials present were David Benish, Chief of Planning & Community Development; and Greg Kamptner, Assistant County Attorney.


Call to Order and Establish Quorum:


Mr. Edgerton called the regular meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. and established a quorum.


Public Hearing Items:


ZMA 2004-00021 Delta Kappa Epsilon at UVA: Request to rezone 0.22 acres, which is currently unzoned, to R-6 Residential to allow expansion of a boarding house (fraternity house).  The property, described as Tax Map 76A, Parcel C5 is located in the Jack Jouett Magisterial District at 173 Culbreth Road behind Campbell Hall at the University of Virginia. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Institutional in Neighborhood 6. (David Benish)


Mr. Edgerton stated that he was very proud to say that he had been a member of the DKE Fraternity for 37 years.  After checking with Mr. Kamptner, he verified that he had no conflict because he had supported the fraternity, but had never been compensated. 


Mr. Benish summarized the staff report.  Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (DKE) plans to expand its existing fraternity house on the University of Virginia Campus.  The land under the existing house and the proposed addition is currently unzoned. In order for the fraternity to make the building addition, the property must be zoned.  The applicant has requested R-6 zoning for a boarding house use, which is by-right in the R-6 residential zone.  Proffers have been included to limit the use to the boarding house use in conformity with the concept plan submitted.  Today staff received a revision to that concept plan.  There were some grading changes to it, but staff does not feel that the changes are significant.  But, for the proffer that date will need to be adjusted.  The revised plan is posted on the board.  He distributed smaller copies to the Planning Commission.  (See Attachment)


The petition is a request to rezone 0.22 acres, which is currently unzoned, to R-6 Residential to allow expansion of a boarding house (fraternity house).  The property, described as Tax Map 76A Parcel C5 is located in the Jack Jouett Magisterial District at 173 Culbreth Road behind Campbell Hall at the University of Virginia. The Comprehensive Plan designates this property as Institutional in Neighborhood 7.  Attachment C contains the Tax Map showing the parcel number for the fraternity house.


Planning and Zoning History:  The parcel upon which the DKE house sits is currently not zoned because of a unique lease situation.  DKE owns the house but leases the property from UVA.  The DKE building has a separate County tax parcel which corresponds directly with the exterior walls of the building.  Typically, land under ownership by the university and used for university-related purposes are exempt from local land use regulations.  Because the building is privately owned, it falls under the jurisdiction of Albemarle County. 


Character of the Area: The fraternity house is located on Carr’s Hill Road which has other fraternity and sorority houses.  The surrounding property is the University of Virginia.


RECOMMENDATION:  Staff has reviewed the proposal and associated proffers for conformity with the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Ordinance and recommends approval.  The proffers need to be modified to reflect the plan submitted today, which is dated February 1, 2005. That would be a modification from the 20th of December plan.


A letter from the Department of Historic Resources was distributed tonight.  Staff has not seen the letter, but he understood that the applicant had contacted DHR regarding their proposal for the property.  Staff understood that DHR had provided comments back and that they felt that the proposal was compatible.  One of the comments DHR had made to County staff was that the changes were not consistent enough to qualify for tax credit, but they did indicate the addition was compatible and acceptable to them.  He hoped that the letter said the same thing that staff was told by email.  (Attachment – Letter dated January 31, 2005 addressed to Mr. Eric W. Amtmann, AIA from Ann Miller Andrus, Director, Capital Region Office)  He stated that he would answer any questions that the Commission might have.


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


Mr. Neuman arrived at 6:10 p.m.


Mr. Rieley stated that he had a question relating to lighting.  On special use permits and rezonings in the past the Commission has often requested that the lighting on the property be brought into compliance with the current Zoning Ordinance as a condition of approval.  He pointed out that he had not seen any discussion of that issue in the staff report.


Mr. Benish pointed out what would be subject to the rezoning as a recommendation would be the building only because that was the only piece of the property being zoned.


Mr. Rieley stated that was because the land was not owned by the applicant.


Mr. Benish stated that the rest of the property outside the building, staff would treat like any University property, which would be exempt from the Zoning Ordinance.


Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any other questions for staff.  There being none, he opened the public hearing and invited the applicant to come up and address the Commission.


Eric Amtmann, of DEGP Architects, stated that he was present tonight to represent Delta Kappa Epsilon.  He pointed out that the owners were present.  He thanked the County and the Commission for their assistance in an expedited review. As staff mentioned, it is a unique scenario with the involvement of UVA.  But, things have gone very quickly and they appreciate that.  He stated that they were in full agreement with the staff report.  It is very thorough and complete. The only item that he planned on addressing tonight was just to make sure that the Commission had received the DHR report and to reiterate what staff said - that their general consensus is that the new construction is appropriate to the historic district.  That is basically all that they need to address to that matter.  As far as the lighting goes, there is no other existing outside site lighting.  There are some down lights on the porch structures on the existing building.  In the new construction, all that they would be providing is three exterior wall sconces at exterior doors.  There is no other outside site lighting proposed.  If there are any other questions, he would be happy to address them.


Mr. Edgerton asked if there were any questions for Mr. Amtmann.  There being none, he asked if there were any other members of the public who would like to address the Commission on this rezoning.  There being none, he closed the public hearing to bring the matter back before the Commission for discussion and a possible action.


Mr. Thomas asked if the City had any input on the lighting since the property was surrounded by the City.


Mr. Edgerton stated that Ms. Joseph had asked that same question by email.  He pointed out that the City has been contacted, but they have no comment.


Mr. Benish stated that typically the city would treat this just as the County would.  They would treat land in what is called Area A, which is the University Grounds, the same because they are exempt from local regulations. From what he understands that even in situations like this, they don’t review as we do. But, the City does not have any comments regarding the proposal.  County staff did not ask the City specific questions about the lighting since staff did not think any regulations that they might have would apply.  


Mr. Morris made a motion to recommend approval of ZMA-2004-00021, Delta Kappa Epsilon at UVA, subject to the attached proffers as revised.


Mr. Craddock seconded the motion.


Mr. Rieley asked if they would accept a friendly amendment to add a condition stipulating that all of the buildings on both the existing and proposed extension should be brought into compliance with the current County lighting ordinance.


Mr. Kamptner stated that this would need to be a proffer because this is a rezoning request.


Mr. Rieley stated that the Commission could not condition it.


Mr. Kamptner pointed out that it would have to be a voluntary proffer made by the applicant.


Mr. Rieley suggested that the Commission ask the applicant about that.


Mr. Amtmann stated that the owner will agree and provide that proffer.


Mr. Rieley thanked the applicants for agreeing to add that proffer.


Mr. Morris amended his motion to include the addition of the lighting proffer offered by the applicant.


Mr. Craddock seconded the friendly amendment to the motion.


The motion carried by a vote of (6:0).  (Higgins – Absent)  


Mr. Edgerton stated that the motion carried and the request would be heard by the Board on February 9.


Mr. Benish advised the applicant that it would be most desirable to have the signed proffers delivered to staff by Thursday morning (2/4/05) for distribution to the Board prior to their February 9 meeting. Generally one of the requirements of the Board is that they have signed proffers in hand at least by the meeting.  He pointed out that he wanted to make sure that the applicants understood that.


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